Apr 17th, 2015

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We know, you’ve no doubt heard the claims that the iPhone 6 is the “best smartphone” in the market. At least, according to some. Now that the Samsung Galaxy S6 has finally launched, you’ve probably been curious to see how the 2 heavy weights match up. Wonder no more, friends. This is our Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 face-off.

Design/Build quality (Winner: Galaxy S6 Edge)

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Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, but there’s no denying Samsung did a bang up job updating the Samsung Galaxy S6 for 2015. We’ll admit, the Samsung obviously took some design cues from the iPhone 6. The familiar billet drilled speaker holes, headphone jack placement. Sure, the rest of the phone is all Galaxy, but the bottom of the S6 looks nearly identical to the iPhone’s.

And where someone might make the argument the rest of the phone is similar too, the Galaxy S6 Edge smashes previous conventions with an all new double-sided curved display. It’s not really functional so much as it is just damn cool to look at.

We still love the 2.5D glass on the iPhone 6, but it’s clear the Galaxy S6 Edge is a double threat — rock solid build quality, coupled with futuristic design. The Edge most certainly has the edge in this category.

Display (Winner: Galaxy S6)

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The iPhone 6 was released nearly a year ago, a time where every Android flagship was boasting a 1080p display. While there is no excuse for Apple to release yet another iteration of the iPhone with a 1334×750 display, the iPhone 6 made up for it with Apple’s new multiple-domain LCD panel or “dual-domain pixels” that allowed for exceptional viewing angles. Color reproduction is top notch as well, even if things can occasionally look a tad washed out.

Samsung on the other hand has built a thriving business around their display panels, with Super AMOLED being their crown jewel. AMOLED offers the deepest blacks, the most saturated colors, and fantastic refresh rates. Arguments of over saturation are quickly laid to rest thanks to Samsung’s TouchWiz software which allows you to tone it down to your liking. And while 2K display sounds a bit like overkill, it’s hard to go back to anything else after your eyes have been spoiled by it for a few weeks.

The Galaxy S6 Edge also uses a flexible version of Samsung’s AMOLED panels, one that is curved around both sides of the device. It sounds great in theory, but when viewing the device head-on, images become warped and colors can look off at an angle. The Edge panel might win in sex appeal, but it’s clearly the loser here.

Hardware (Winner: Galaxy S6)

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There’s no denying the iPhone 6 is built well enough, but mobile technology has been advancing at a lightning quick pace. Quicker than even Apple can keep up. The iPhone 6 added NFC capabilities, but they’re tied down to Apple’s payment method and not open to anything else.

Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy S6 features technology that supports both wireless charging standards, has adaptive fast charging that brings the battery to 50% in only 30 minutes, heart rate monitor for health nuts, a much louder speaker, and a fingerprint scanner that performs as flawlessly as the iPhone’s. Users can also use NFC right now to transfer data, sync with Bluetooth devices, or yes, make mobile payments using Google Wallet. Once Samsung Pay is officially ready, you’ll be able to use the phone as payment anywhere regular credit cards are swiped via Magnetic Secure Transmission.

With a doubt, the Samsung Galaxy S6 takes the hardware win on this one, leaving the iPhone 6 back in 2012 where it belongs.

Camera (Winner: Galaxy S6)

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You know the story. The iPhone has long been the standard of mobile photography. Mixing a stupid simple interface with consistently great output, there hasn’t been an Android device that could really compete with the iPhone — until now.

For the Galaxy S6, Samsung has added a 16MP sensor that produces crystal clear visuals. This is thanks in part to a new f/1.9 aperture lens that allows more light to hit the sensor, and Optical Image Stabilization to compensate for shaky hands. The result are photos that look great no matter the lighting conditions. Oh, and there’s also a high resolution 5MP front facing shooter for selfie addicts.

The iPhone 6 on the other hand is using an 8MP camera with f/2.2 lens, along with a 1.2MP from facing camera. We’re not going to sit here and tell you photos taken with the iPhone 6 look bad by any means. It’s just the iPhone has finally been trumped by the Samsung Galaxy S6 which offers sharper images, more shooting modes, superior imaging hardware, and better control of the camera with a new Pro mode.

Battery life (Winner: iPhone 6)

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 battery life

Battery life is always one of the hardest specs to talk about in mobile devices, mainly because it’s never the same between 2 people. Having spent months with the iPhone 6 and a few weeks with the Galaxy 6, I think I have a good idea of how far the battery will take me on each. For the most part, they’re evenly matched despite their huge battery size differences: the iPhone 6 is equipped with a meager 1,810mAh, while the Galaxy S6 packs a much larger 2,550mAh battery.

I found that both will take my about 15 or so hours depending on use. Battery life on both seems to deplete evenly the more you use them. But it’s only on the iPhone 6 that when left alone, the battery barely drops at all when in standby. Keep in mind, that’s with all the same social apps, and constant notifications coming through the entire day waking up the display.

The battery on Galaxy S6 on the other hand seemed to drop no matter what I did. We have seen reports of battery life issues across various carrier versions of the device, so that’s definitely something to consider (although my devices didn’t show any of the symptoms). A buddy of mine sends me screenshots on the daily of his great battery life, meanwhile both my regular S6 and S6 Edge are barely pushing 12 hours if I’m lucky. Not sure what gives, but until Samsung can get their house in order, the iPhone 6 takes the win on this one.

Software (Winner: Galaxy S6)

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We’ll admit, Apple’s been doing some great things with iOS as of late. Notification widgets are interesting and background app refresh are all nice additions Android users have been enjoying for years. Oh, and who can forget those cute new emoji.

But when you leave software features to the big boys, Samsung always comes out ahead. We mentioned this in our review, but despite Samsung removing much of their bloat from TouchWiz, the OS itself is still chock full of features. There’s too much to list here, but our favorites are Multi-view window for displaying 2 apps at the same time, quick gestures, and emergency features.
The best part is these software features no longer bog down the OS. TouchWiz is finally as fast as stock Android, making it a joy to use.

If you’re an iOS user, don’t worry. We’re sure you’ll see a few of these features in a few more years. Maybe with iOS 10.

Price (Winner: Tie)

Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 pricing

The base model Samsung Galaxy S6 starts at $200 on contract for 32GB model, or $680 full price (there’s also the $800 unlocked international model). From there it jumps $100 for every storage increase — 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB. The Galaxy S6 Edge also sees another $100 bump simply for its gorgeous curved AMOLED display.

The iPhone 6 on the other hand, starts at 200 for the 16GB model ($650 unlocked), then jumps an extra $100 to the 64GB version, and another for hundred bucks for the 128GB option. For whatever reason, there is no 32GB model, a clever move by Apple to nudge consumers into grabbing the 64GB iPhone 6.

While pricing is for the most part the same across the board, the regular Galaxy S6 offers more internal storage at the base configuration. It’s the next 2 tiers — 64GB and 128GB — that things even out, with the S6 Edge being the most expensive out of the bunch.

Verdict

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If you’ve made it this far, we think it’s pretty obvious the Samsung Galaxy S6 is the clear winner in this race. The phone offers more hardware for your money, a superior camera, and all around better software experience. From here, the real question is whether you’ll be opting for the S6 Edge, and in what color.

The Galaxy S6 scores almost a clean sweep in our comparison, tidily defeating the iPhone 6 in just about each of the categories we examined. For those keeping score at home, here is the final tally:

  • Design/Build: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
  • Display: Samsung Galaxy S6
  • Hardware: Samsung Galaxy S6
  • Camera: Samsung Galaxy S6
  • Battery life: Apple iPhone 6
  • Software: Samsung Galaxy S6
  • Price: Tie

Who do you got?

It’s pretty obvious which phone we would want to have in our pocket, though the decision might not be so close for others. There is no denying the iPhone 6’s place among the smartphone elite, but does Samsung win this round? Let us know which phone you are going with in the below poll.