x PhoneArena is hiring! News writer

Apple iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus vs iPhone 5s: in-depth specs comparison

Posted: , posted by Victor H.

Tags :

The new Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 have finally gone official, but apart from being bigger than the iPhone 5s what else has changed?

That’s the question we asked ourselves after seeing Apple overhaul its iPhone lineup with the 4.7” iPhone 6 and the phablet-sized 5.5” iPhone 6 Plus, a huge departure from the compactness of the 4-inch iPhone 5s and iPhone 5.

To answer that, we dive deep in all the various aspects of the new iPhones and how they compare with the iPhone 5s.

Design: even thinner

The most visually noticeable change in the new iPhones is their size, of course. Apple has defined its own preconceptions about smartphone size and announces two phones that are not that well-tailored for single handed use. In fact, there’s even a Reachability feature on the iPhone 6 Plus that cuts the screen in half to let you reach apps with one hand. This difference has to be considered: not everyone will find the iPhone 6 Plus 5.5” screen comfortable to use. For those people, the 4.7” model would be the better fit. The iPhone 5s? It’s still on sale for a more affordable, $99 starting price and its biggest plus is the single-hand-friendly 4” display.

But gone are the times of the sharp edges and flat sides of the 5s - in the iPhone 6 versions Apple goes for an iPad mini-like style with a curved edge on both devices. The appearance has not changed radically, but you can tell this is a re-design. Apple is still using the same quality materials, though: aluminum all around, with only two outlines of plastic on the back of the phone for better reception.

Just like the iPhone 5s, both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus feature fingerprint recognition coming with Touch ID. The button layout, however, has changed: both new phones have now got their power/lock key on the right side so you can easily reach it, while it was on the top for the 5s.

Display: S, M, L

The iPhone 6 Plus is ‘bigger than bigger’, so then the iPhone 6 is just ‘bigger’ than the 4-inch iPhone 5s. Yes, times have changed at Apple, and even the Retina screen has evolved to Retina HD. The iPhone 6 now boasts a resolution of 750 x 1334 pixels, while the iPhone 6 has 1080 x 1920 pixels. Actually, this ‘Retina HD’ moniker makes little sense for the 4.7” iPhone that has remained with the same sharpness as the 5s (and the iPhone 4 for that matter), and a pixel density of 326ppi. The title, however, is well deserved for the iPhone 6 Plus with a higher, 401ppi pixel density.

Screen brightness is already high on the iPhone 5s, reaching levels of around 500 nits, and that makes it easier to read outdoors, under the bright sunlight, and the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus also feature the same high peak brightness, but add a new polarizer for improved sunlight legibility and “dual domain pixels” (a technology that we know little about) that contributes to better viewing angles.

The iPhone 5s has been one of the gold standards of screen quality with a nicely calibrated display adhering to the industry-standard sRGB color gamut. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are also proudly caring that sRGB coverage, but we’re yet to test them and see how accurate are their colors.

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.

Interface: iOS 8

Apple is known for its quick and all-encompassing updates, so in terms of interface there is little to talk about: the iPhone 5s, just like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will feature the new iOS 8. And no, it won’t get it months after the new phones (wink, Android, wink).]

The key new features in iOS 8 revolve around payments and health and fitness. The Apple Pay system for contact-less payments is a huge effort rolled out in collaboration with the major card providers Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, along with the nation’s biggest retailers: Starbucks, McDonalds, the Apple Store, and many others of course. The payment solution is using NFC and secures transactions with Touch ID, plus it’d work on the new Apple Watch.

The Health hub with the new Fitness and Workout apps is a one stop shop for all your health stats, and a place where you can unlock achievement and just stay motivated to keep a healthy lifestyle.

Processor and Memory: aboard the 20nm ship

After the Apple A7 with a custom-designed by the company Cyclone processing core, stakes were set high. Luckily, Apple does not disappoint and is one of the first to come up with a 20nm chip that delivers 25% more processing power and up to 50% more graphics power, while at the same time being more power efficient and smaller. This smaller A8 still packs nearly double the size of transistors: there’s more than 2 billion transistors in this new chip.

Of course, the new Apple A8 comes with a 64-bit-enabled system chip. The iPhone 5s started this, and with most top apps already running on 64-bits, the Apple ecosystem has already made the transition.

Many have criticized Apple for charging a lot of money for relatively modest bumps in memory, but with new storage options, the company breaks the mold. The basic iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models start at 16GB, but rather than going to 32 gigs for the next model like the iPhone 5s, their next version steps up directly to 64GB of internal storage. We now also have a third model with 128 gigs of included storage on both sizes of iPhone, a first for Apple, and a very rare occurrence for Android phone makers. Expandable storage via microSD cards is still nowhere to be found, though.

Camera: better video, new sensor

The 8-megapixel iPhone 5s iSight camera gets a huge upgrade, and while it keeps the name, it has a newer (but we don’t know whether it’s larger) sensor, a significantly updated camera app and new video options.

Why is Apple not going to the more market-appealing 13-megapixel or 16-megapixel sensor sizes? Simple, the company explained how important pixel size is to picture quality in the iPhone 5s, and it’s adhering to those sane statements. Indeed, the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus feature 1.5 micron pixels, larger than the 1.1 micron pixels on competing Android flagships like the Galaxy S5. In terms of optics, we have the same five-element lens as in the 5s, but this time it’s gotten a wider, f/2.2 aperture (the iPhone 5s had an f/2.4 one) and a sapphire cover.

In terms of video, Apple continues supporting 1080p, so there is no 4K capture capability. However, you now also have the option to record 1080p at 60 frames per second in addition to the traditional 60fps option. A new slo-mo mode allows you to capture a twice the frame-rate for a twice more pronounced effect: 720p at 240fps.

Also, while being nearly identical, the iPhone 6 Plus has got the benefit of optical image stabilization, while the iPhone 6 will only have digital stabilization.

Battery: the quest for longevity

Ah, battery! The iPhone has adhered to the mantra of the 10-hour battery life in all three aspects: talk time, web browsing and movie watching, but having larger iPhones has actually enabled Apple to pack bigger batteries and squeeze even more juice out of them.

The new iPhone 6 Plus is thus the champion of battery life with great talk time of 24 hours, and the iPhone 6 also outperforms the iPhone 5s by a small margin.

Conclusion and expectations

The new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus replace the current iPhone 5s as the top model, but they don’t push it out of the market - it will just continue selling cheaper. This effectively makes Apple a company offering phones in three sizes now, and covering everyone’s tastes.

That’s why we expect not only the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to warm up the hearts of consumers loving bigger phones, but also the iPhone 5s to continue selling admirably. With more synergies courtesy of the Apple Watch, the reasons to buy an iPhone are growing more and more.

Apple iPhone 5s vs Apple iPhone 6 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus


  • Options

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Latest stories