iPhone 6s Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note5: in-depth specs comparison

iPhone 6s Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note5: in-depth specs comparison
So, what is the best smartphone with an extra-large screen that money can buy today? The Samsung Galaxy Note5 is one of the first handsets that come to mind. With a gorgeous display, super-fast internals, and a potent camera, it would be an excellent pick. Plus, with its glass-and-metal construction, Samsung's phablet is quite the looker. 

Today, however, Apple announced a smartphone that's going to give the Galaxy Note5 some serious competition. We're talking about the iPhone 6s Plus, of course. Like the Note5, Apple's phablet is powerful and good-looking, not to mention that rich iOS app ecosystem it has behind its back. Okay, you can probably see where all of this is going. It is time for an in-depth comparison between the Samsung Galaxy Note5 and the iPhone 6s Plus, based on specs and data that we know.

Design


Few would disagree with us if we say that the Samsung Galaxy S6 is a great-looking smartphone. It is constructed of two pieces of glass, held together by a metal frame – an approach that has "premium" written all over it. And the way light bounces off the phone's shiny surface is quite mesmerizing, although those who aren't much into shiny things could be turned off by it. As for the iPhone 6s Plus, it catches one's eye with its metal-made body. We'd describe Apple's phablet as not as flashy as the Note5, but it definitely resides in the same ballpark when it comes to feel and appearance. 

In terms of size, the Samsung Galaxy Note5 has the upper hand. It is physically shorter and more narrow despite packing a screen bigger by 0.2 inches. Plus, the iPhone 6s Plus is 0.74 oz (21 grams) heavier, and that's a considerable difference.

Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Dimensions

6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.77 oz (192 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Dimensions

6.03 x 3 x 0.3 inches

153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Dimensions

6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.77 oz (192 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Dimensions

6.03 x 3 x 0.3 inches

153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

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



One thing we don't quite like about the Galaxy Note5 is that fingerprints stick to its surface easily. In contrast, the iPhone's back is immune to them.

Speaking of fingerprints, both the Samsung Galaxy Note5 and the iPhone 6s Plus come with built-in fingerprint scanners in their home buttons. The scanner's main purpose is to enable secure and hassle-free phone unlocking by replacing the user's PIN, but they also allow payments to be authorized with a simple scan. Both Samsung Pay and Apple Pay are already active at participating locations in select countries.

A perk you'll only get with the Samsung Galaxy Note5 is the S Pen digital stylus, which rests in its dedicated silo. Its function is obvious – to allow users to take down notes and sketches in a natural, intuitive way. You won't get a stylus along with an Apple iPhone 6s Plus, but its lack isn't too big of a deal, in our opinion.


Display


The screens on these two smartphones are more different than it seems. In the left corner, the Samsung Galaxy Note5 has a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display, while the iPhone 6s Plus in the left corner packs a 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen panel. The Note5's display isn't only bigger. It has the greater resolution and pixel density – 1440 by 2560 pixels (518 ppi) vs 1080 by 1920 for the iPhone (401 ppi). But the difference in pixel count is not that big of a deal, in our opinion. In actuality, both screens deliver plenty of details in their images, and a naked eye will have a hard time discerning the difference in resolution between the two screens.  

One of Apple's new trump cards is called 3D Touch. In plain words, it as a technology that allows pressure strength to be detected by the touchscreen, and this has paved the way for new gestures in the iPhone's UI to appear. For example, a light touch on an email in your inbox will let you have a peek at its contents. The same kind of touch will also let you preview images in your gallery, webpages from links, or places in Apple Maps, to give a few examples. The Note5's display isn't quite as advanced and can't sense pressure levels, although you can use the S Pen to preview content in a similar fashion.  

Software and functionality


Oh boy, where do we even start? Perhaps we should firstly point out that the iPhone 6s Plus runs iOS 9 – Apple's own mobile operating system. The Samsung Galaxy Note5 comes with Android 5.1 out of the box, which is a different OS and its own distinct ecosystem. 

Apple's iOS is known for its simplicity and ease of use. Instead of cramming its software with all kinds of bells and whistles, Apple focuses on implementing features that matter and improve the user experience. In iOS 9, for example, users will get to enjoy a much improved Siri experience with always-on functionality, transit directions in Apple Maps, the freshly added News app and the overhauled Notes app, a keyboard with a handy trackpad functionality, and a lot more. In addition, the iOS portfolio of software holds a rich selection of quality apps and games. And since Apple has tight control over the software running on its hardware, performance and reliability are top notch. 

TouchWiz – Samsung's custom interface that we find pre-installed on the Galaxy Note5 – also tries to stick to the "less is more" principle. Still, the software is infused with features that leverage the S Pen. For example, notes can be taken quickly by simply pulling the stylus and writing straight on the lock screen. You can write notes not only in your virtual textpad, but also on UI screensots, on images, even on PDF documents. In terms of apps, Android definitely has the quantity part of the equation covered, although the quality of some could be a bit lacking.


Processor and memory


As if the iPhone 6s Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note5 weren't different enough, they're powered by two very distinct processors. Inside the new iPhone model ticks an A9 chip, designed by Apple itself. Built right into it is an M9 co-processor, which is a low-powered piece of silicon that communicates with the phone's sensors. Further technical details have not been disclosed, but it is speculated that the A9 SoC is comrised of a quad-core CPU where two cores run at up to 1.7GHz and two 1.2GHz cores take care of less demanding tasks. 

On paper, the Samsung Galaxy Note5 sounds much more impressive, touting an Exynos 7420 octa-core chip. Four Cortex A57 cores inside it run at up to 2.1GHz, and four more power-efficient A53 cores are clocked at up to 1.5GHz. Also, 4GB of RAM have been thrown in for good measure. To no surprise, the Samsung Galaxy Note5 performs well in performance benchmarks and gets our thumbs up in real-world use. The iPhone 6s Plus, however, is not going to disappoint in this respect either, or at least we're not expecting it to. And we don't have a reason to as Apple has always done a great job at ensuring the fluid performance and responsiveness of its handsets. 

Point goes to Samsung for offering a base Galaxy Note5 with 32GB of on-board storage, while a base iPhone 6s Plus has just 16 gigs to offer. However, the iPhone 6s Plus can be bought with up to 128GB of storage capacity, while the Note5 can be had with no more than 64GB of storage. Neither of the two supports storage expansion via memory cards of any kind. 

Camera 


No smartphone can be considered a true high-end device if it isn't outfitted with a great camera. Apple is ticking the right checkmarks with a 12MP iSight camera with a Dual Tone LED flash and, at least in the iPhone 6s Plus' case, optical image stabilization. Since traditionally, Apple's smartphones have been great performers in the camera department, the expectations for the newest model are set high. Only an in-depth specs comparison will show if the new iSight camera brings it on, but looking at the first photo samples, we're lead to believe that it is really, really good. 


As for the Samsung Galaxy Note5, we've had the chance to test its camera already, and we can confirm that it is an excellent one. Specs-wise, it has 16MP of resolution to work with and OIS to keep the frame steady. In all likeliness, the quality of the produced images will be comparable to what the iPhone can capture. An advantage for the Note5, however, is the more sophisticated interface, allowing photography enthusiasts to take full manual control over the image. In contrast, the iPhone's camera app keeps things as simple and user-friendly as possible. Another strength is the Note5 camera's F1.9 aperture (vs F2.2 for the iPhone), which could translate to better low-light photography.


Expectations


We really don't want to be in the shoes of someone picking between one of these two smartphones. Judging by what we've seen so far, we can safely say that both the iPhone 6s Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note5 are great high-end phones. And they have a lot to justify their price tags with - they are good-looking on the outside and pack tons of technology on the inside. At the end of the day, it is up to you to pick a favorite. If you're into shiny, flashy looks, if you're experienced with the Android operating system, and if you find the S Pen stylus kind of cool, give the Samsung Galaxy Note5 a try. And if you'd rather go with something that's less sophisticated, but user-friendly, reliable, with tons of great apps to choose from, or if you're simply drawn by that sexy pink color, mark September 25 in your calendars as that's when the iPhone 6s Plus is due to launch.  

Related phones

iPhone 6 Plus
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A8, Dual-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 2915 mAh(24h 3G talk time)
Galaxy Note 5
  • Display 5.7" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 7 Octa, Octa-core, 2100 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3000 mAh(22h 3G talk time)

FEATURED VIDEO

43 Comments

1. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

I bet it's the perfect time to get a Note 4 :) cheaper than these two yet still so awesome

15. thegeneral7010

Posts: 437; Member since: Dec 10, 2014

well note 4 is the worst ever treated phone by samsmg They completely destroyed it with slow with no features updates Last year note4 was better than Iphone 6 plus but this time I have ta admit that apple beated the ass of Samsung in every thing except display & battery life A9 processor is truly scary it has 70% more apu power than A8 which is already a monster till this day and 90% better graphics than A8 which is still giving the best graphics you can have in a smartphone it is more than amonster , also forch touch is going to be basic in every future smartphone, live photos is also fantastic I believe that Iphone 6S deserves to be bought over note4,5 or S6 .

35. TyrionLannister unregistered

The A9 is not that much of a monster actually. The Exynos 7420 is about 2X faster than the A8, which makes it faster than the A9 too. About graphics, the 7420 has about 40% on the A8. So yes, the A9 is faster but not that much. The things that bother me about 6S is the 1 GB RAM and the 750p screen. I was expecting 2GB RAM adn 1080p at least. I know the display is great in quality but 330 PPI is too less and I'm spoiled by high res. displays.

37. Diezparda

Posts: 941; Member since: Oct 23, 2013

Yep 2 gigs of ram wouldn't hurt their account. C'mon Apple at least for that kind of price tag give us your best shot. 750p screen & no OIS on 6S... Apple not yet confirm it's 1 gig of ram, where did you got this info?

38. rubyonrails3

Posts: 375; Member since: Oct 01, 2014

A9 is beast of its kind, from last year experience i have seen iphone and note bechmarks are close.. which make it funny fact android with all those cores and iphones with 2.. i think things should be measure by what they do ( i means what they run ) so A9 will run iOS which it does best..

43. mmikaeel

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 07, 2015

6S has 2 GB of RAM already!!

40. iLovesarcasm

Posts: 589; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

iTunes is the real monster, it will kill your credit card.

16. neela_akaash

Posts: 1239; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

The RAM and Battery had a biggest disappointing part of iPhone 6S. The already bad battery performance even got worse...... Only thing looks good is that 3D touch. I know there are lots of things can be done using that force touch technology....

23. c.hack

Posts: 614; Member since: Dec 09, 2009

I have no problem going from 6AM to 11PM with my iPhone 6 with 20% left. My friend's Samsung S6 barely makes it until lunch. Battery life on the 6 plus is even better. Samsung can't even compete.

27. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 966; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

You're clearly using it a lot differently than your friend. I see people get 2 or 3 days out of an S6, and others only last 6 hours. Different users, different habits.

33. Babert

Posts: 165; Member since: May 08, 2013

yeh i donno y battery consumption sucks on my S6! other than that hands down beats the s**t out of iphone 6

19. Larry_ThaGr81

Posts: 592; Member since: May 26, 2011

Yeah you really aren't missing much in terms of real world performance, should you decide to pick up a Note 4. If you consider how much you get for what you can purchase a Note 4 today, you would be getting a better deal unless cosmetics are of high value to you. If appearance and the feel of your device is important then the Note 4 would be the worse choice of the three smartphones. Since I rock all my past and present smartphones inside of a case without fail, the newer phones would not suite me well. A quality camera and storage space was important to me, so it was an easy decision for me to purchase a Note 4 since the Note 5 virtually came with the exact same camera as the Note 4.

2. talon95

Posts: 998; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

Congratulations son, your bride has been selected, and the arranged marriage is set for Sep 25. If you don't like her...tough luck you'll take her now or you'll take her next year!...I mean, I picker her myself and I just think she's amazing-incredable-magical! Sure she's a little plain, glasses, flat, a square....but inside, that's where the magic is. Not that she's got a lot of brains, but for a little extra money she can take some college classes and increase her mental capacity. She says she likes to rough house, but be careful that you aren't overly forceful or you'll get undesireable reactions. So long as you're getting good vibrations you should be alright, as long as you can make sense of it and it doesn't get over complicated. She's a white girl, but she's willing to tan or dye her hair if that suits you, so if you wated some cultural diversity...tough...but did I mention, she's fast. feaky fast. Just be sure to feed her often or she gets low blood sugar, runs out of steam, and looses her mind...but who doesn't right? On the financial side, there is a hefty dowry to pay. And don't use up all your money because she's got expensive tastes. Her clothes are expensive, and she only shops online at this one store, and pays a premium price for everything with fast delivery. If you don't like what they offer....Tough! You're not getting anything else from this family, so just hurry up and choose before I disown you. And no complaining, you can't have everything you want. She's really not half bad, and choices is over rated, so just leave that to me. Congrats on getting everything....they wanted for you (or were able to provide...within reason, and budget, and other logistical limitations) I really wish I was like you and didn't have so many choices. That just makes it messy. What's love got to do with it anyways. :P Just playing, no offense.

3. darkkjedii

Posts: 31039; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Can't accurately judge until the 25th, but my Note 5 is the best device I've ever used hands down, and bar none. End of comment...

12. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 966; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

I couldn't agree more. I really like my Note 5

34. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

Seriously, how many devices you buy every year?

36. darkkjedii

Posts: 31039; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

That doesn't require an answer, but I like the latest greatest.

41. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

Good!

39. HouTexan

Posts: 461; Member since: Jan 08, 2012

Yes, DJ, my Note 5 is a splendid device. I just picked it up on Saturday

4. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

iPhone 6S...why are the bezels so big? Samsung is through master of making big pbones. The Note is bigger, yet smaller than the iPhone 6S Plus. Oh and everything the Note is better at, you tried to downplay it. The Note packs more sensors and even a larger set of cameras yet has a smaller bezel on the top. Because of a slimmer home button, smaller bottom bezels too. Sams u ng got the same fingerprint reader Apple has, in an even smaller package and it works faster too now. The Note 5 and S6s all.of them will still take better pictures. The AMBLED displays have netter color accuracy, are bigger and consume less power. Yet the Note 5 even with a smaller battery gets a longer use time. I bet the iPhone with a smaller battery now is going to last even less time. One S6 and one Note 5 are better than 3 years worth of iPhones. I didn't like the Note 5 as mush as I though, but the Edge Plus is awesome. The iPhone should be less. The S6 comes out after the iPhone 6 and beats it. The iPhone 6s comes out and it's new and it can't beat the S6 still?

42. verty

Posts: 132; Member since: May 07, 2012

Iphone arena at it again!!! So biased a review. Are you talking about the same note series I know comparing it to the iOS i know???!!! Why can't you just do a neutral ground review. BS it is Mann when you are trying to swing votes. Do your job well! This ain't no political rally.

5. thegalaxy89

Posts: 18; Member since: Feb 03, 2015

I think we underestimate the importance of the SAR rating. Shouldn't that already be public knowledge and shouldn't it be mentioned/disclaimed in every news feature about a phone? I think so, especially when you label your article as in depth.

7. TSMan2

Posts: 363; Member since: Aug 20, 2015

SAR rating is not good to be mentioned here. Especially today.

6. phichart

Posts: 335; Member since: May 03, 2014

Iphone 6s plus look like cheap phone!

11. TSMan2

Posts: 363; Member since: Aug 20, 2015

The fugliest iPhone design EVER. And the tech media keeps on calling it a "beautiful phone" Despite of, when first leaks came, one year ago , they were disappointed with those bezels and plastic inserts on the back). But later the design "magically" started to grow up inside their hearts. Even now one year later with same (even heavier and bulkier "premium design")

8. Cheezwiz

Posts: 500; Member since: Dec 29, 2014

I can't wait for the end of "subsidized" phones in the US so that people can see the absolute insanity of paying $700 for a phone. Holy shnikes that's just silly. A Moto X Pure at $399/$449 or an upcoming Nexus 5X at $399 are sounding better every second. forget apple.

13. TSMan2

Posts: 363; Member since: Aug 20, 2015

Note is in some different category, though. And nothing but other Note can replace it, yet.

18. EC112987

Posts: 1215; Member since: Nov 10, 2014

why not get both an iPhone and a moto x?

26. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

How? The phone is cheaper divided into 24 because u only pay retail plus tax. W I think subsidizing u pay a higher service Costa and stuck for 24 months. At least with no subsidiary I pay 50% and upgrade every year like I do anyways.

9. Switch00

Posts: 536; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

Large not extra large. Yet still too small for optimum use. Both lack at least physical camera button, both lack superb earphones w remote included in the box, which are serious flaws. Both have a lot of room for design improvement. I'm available for any help needed.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.