Call quality

Good microphones and average earpiece sound marks the call quality course of the two phablets.

Call quality with the iPhone 6 Plus is pretty decent. For the most part, voices are audible through the earpiece, thanks a great amount to its strong volume, which makes it usable in noisy environments. The speakerphone, however, sounds slightly subdued in comparison with the best out there. Our callers had an easy time on their end making us out, thanks to the excellent noise-canceling microphone set on the iPhone 6 Plus.

Note 3 is not the best sounding phone we’ve used for phone calls, but nonetheless, it's effective enough for the occasion. Through the earpiece, voices pop with authority thanks to its strong volume – though, there’s a hint of crackling when it’s placed at the loudest setting. It’s noticeable, but quickly remedied by lowering the volume a couple of notches. Still, voices through the earpiece sound very natural in tone. However, we can’t say the same on the other end of the line, as voices tend to sound robotic. Switching to the speakerphone, we’re neither impressed or disappointed, as it works enough to get us through our conversations.

Battery

With their unremarkable endurance, both Note 3 and iPhone 6 Plus will make you reach for the charger at the end of the day.

Apple doesn't cite the exact battery capacity of its iPhone 6 Plus, though dismantling efforts peg it at 2915 mAh, which is in the phablet category ballpark. Apple cites 12 hours of browsing on Wi-Fi, and 14 hours of video-watching on a charge, which are excellent numbers. On our demanding battery benchmark, however, it scored six hours and a half, or close to what the Note 3 musters. Of course, your mileage will vary, depending on the workload and the screen brightness, but overall the 6 Plus should get you through one full day on a charge with normal usage, and even further with light one.

Note 3's huge 3200 mAh battery might have delivered impressive battery life last year, but this year most flagships and midrangers made huge strides in that regard, pushing the Note 3 down the endurance ladder, about equating it with Apple's phablet. Samsung cites 21 hours of talk time on a charge, and 22 days on standby.

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage. All devices that go through the test have their displays set at 200-nit brightness.

hours Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
6h 32 min (Average)
Samsung Galaxy Note3
6h 8 min (Poor)


Conclusion


The iPhone 6 Plus is Apple's first foray into the phablet borderland, and it impresses on most counts. It brings everything you can expect from an iPhone in a much larger package – the build is as premium as ever, and the screen is bright and very accurate. In contrast, the Note 3 has a not-so-impressive plastic body, but it has replaceable battery and microSD slot. Note 3's AMOLED screen is not color-accurate, though many love the oversaturated hues it produces.

The iPhone 6 Plus comes with excellent camera, which excels in low-light and video capture, thanks to its large pixels and optical image stabilization. Apple's phone also supports a record number of LTE bands, for a truly globetrotting experience.

Note 3 isn't too shabby either – its camera is also great, and it has some software and alternative input aces up its sleeve like split-screen multitasking, or the embedded S-Pen stylus.

For a few years now, Samsung dominated the phablet segment that it created. However, after seeing rivals pop up from most other companies, Apple is now also joining this game, and its model is on par with the best.



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