Introduction


The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is a phablet. One of the very best on the market right now, actually. But its 5.7-inch screen can be a polarizing factor. So much so that another popular device, the iPhone 6, will likely also come to mind if you're considering a new handset. Especially if you're uncertain that a larger screen is necessarily the better choice. In that kind of scenario, when you're feeling on the fence between two form factors, digging out the pros and cons of both phones can swing the discussion in either one direction. So take your legal pad out, for we're about to go through the Note 4's and the iPhone 6's every nook and cranny.

Design

The chubbier Note 4 is less elegant and inspiring next to the iPhone 6 and its all-aluminum unibody, but we can't argue with the practicality of its design.

Putting aside the differences in size for now, it should be immediately obvious that the underlying design philosophy with Samsung and Apple is quite different. For its part, Samsung definitely managed to create the most attractive Note device yet – the phablet's most basic shape is still of a rounded rectangle, but some changes are impossible to miss. For example, while still on the topic of the shape, Samsung has added four bumps at the four edges of the Note 4, the idea being that they'll better absorb shock from the inevitable drops that most devices go through. Also different are the phone's frame and rear shell – we're now looking at a metal encasing and a newly-textured, but still fake leather back.

With the iPhone 6, the narrative is different. For one, Apple continues its track record of using aluminum only for the exterior of its phone, but there are some generational changes from the now aging, iPhone 5s. The most important of those is the switch to a circular, tube-like frame, and the addition of several contrasting plastic bands at the back, where the antennas reside. Obviously, deciding which one you like more is a personal matter, but we tend to like the way the iPhone 6 sits in our hand better.

Unpinning the topic of size, it should be perfectly understood that the Note 4 is a significantly bulkier device in all possible meanings of the word – height, width, thinness, and, of course, weight. Indeed, despite the relatively bezel-heavy construction of the iPhone 6, it's still a one hand-friendly device, while the Note 4 requires you to make use of both for the most part. Thankfully, Samsung (and Apple, too) have had the good sense of placing the power and volume keys on the right and left side of the device, respectively, making them easy to reach. We are also happy to note that these all provide great travel and feedback.


Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Dimensions

6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches

153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm

Weight

6.21 oz (176 g)

Apple iPhone 6

Apple iPhone 6

Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 inches

138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm

Weight

4.55 oz (129 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Dimensions

6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches

153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm

Weight

6.21 oz (176 g)

Apple iPhone 6

Apple iPhone 6

Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 inches

138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm

Weight

4.55 oz (129 g)

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



Display

The Note 4's display is not only larger and more pixel-dense, but also more color-accurate overall.

You already know that the Note 4 is the bigger device between the two, and the only culprit here is its display. We're looking at a massive, 5.7-inch Super AMOLED screen by Samsung, with an extremely high resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels (Quad HD). This works out to a whopping 515 pixels per inch – more than your eyes can take advantage of unless you spend your hands-on time looking at the screen an inch from your face. Turning to the iPhone 6, we've got a much smaller, 4.7-inch IPS screen with a comparatively lower resolution of 750 x 1334 pixels, good for a density of 326 ppi. Sure, this implies an obvious disadvantage for the iPhone 6, but as we noted before, in most usage scenarios, the iPhone 6 appears essentially as sharp as the Note 4.

But what about color reproduction? Interestingly enough, we have a pretty unusual development here – Samsung's Super AMOLED screen actually proves to be superior, which hasn't been the case at all until now. Instead of the usual overstated hues that have become synonymous with AMOLEDs, we now have a well-tuned display if you choose the 'Basic' display mode, with an outstanding color temperature of 6667 K (6500 K being the reference value), and fairly low levels of color and grayscale errors. All of this translates into a natural image that adheres to the conventional sRGB color space, and that's great. In comparison, the iPhone 6 is slightly lagging behind, but only because the Note 4 aced this category. Its screen's color temperature is good, at 7162 K, but a bit cold in comparison. Color error is also fairly low, but not as good as the Note 4. Of course, those of you who appreciate the AMOLEDs of old, can still choose 'AMOLED photo' to get the familiar, punchy look that Samsung devices are known for. Lastly, we do have to point out that the Note 4's average gamma, at 1.97, is inferior to what you get with the iPhone 6 (2.23, with 2.2 being the reference value). This is result of brighter highlights than optimal only, however – dark parts of the image are still as dark as they should be, so this translates to slightly more contrasty image.

One area in which iPhones traditionally excel remains a domain of the 4.7-inch panel of the 6, however – maximum brightness. The Galaxy Note 4 peaks at 468 nits, which is good, but not exactly as great as the 606 nits of the iPhone 6. In practice, both phones provide a great viewing experience out on the sunlit street, though the iPhone 6 is a bit better in this regard. For what it counts, the AMOLED screen of Samsung's phablet can go as low as 1 nit (7 for the iPhone), and that implies a bit superior comfort in environments with poor lighting, like reading in the bed.



FEATURED VIDEO

72 Comments

73. psychok9

Posts: 43; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

Today I've tried to "iphonize" a "night" Note 4 photo in three moves. More coolder photo (photo filter, select blue, +14%) Adjust brightness/contrast: (reduce brightness and increase contrast). Reduce size of the image (less pixel) -65%. And in the end, you still have much more details...

72. viper7916

Posts: 25; Member since: Jun 21, 2013

I checked the article because at the price point of the phones this was the best for the cost of the phones on my carrier. Note 4 for $150 and iphone 6 16gig for $300. Im leaning to the Note 4.

70. psychok9

Posts: 43; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

This comparison seems a joke... I see LESS noise and more bright photos in night mode! On IP6 the photos are very dark and noisy... Seriously?

67. ezgadgetblog

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 30, 2014

I have been using this phone for 2 weeks now and cant say enough how good it is. I have compared this with iPhone as well in my blog posts on wordpress. ezgadgetblog dot wordpress dot com

60. durag1

Posts: 35; Member since: May 29, 2012

Welcome to iPhone Arena!!!!!!!!! What a joke!!!!!

51. alaw.14

Posts: 431; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

Adreno 420 outperforms the gx6450 with a 1080p screen. Sd805 destroys a8 in some physics test. But actually SD805 and A8 will offer the same performance. Both are no match for nvidia's tegra k1 with kepler gpu. https://gfxbench.com/compare.jsp?benchmark=gfx30&D1=Apple+iPhone+6+Plus&os1=iOS&api1=gl&D2=Samsung+Galaxy+S5+%28Adreno+420%2C+SM-G901%29&cols=2

50. gigaraga

Posts: 1454; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

Note 4 has no competition, so putting it up against a popular but weak phone, isn't a comparison.

49. MattL

Posts: 19; Member since: Oct 13, 2014

Why did you compare the Note 4 to the iPhone 6 plus? This comparison makes no sense.

52. gigaraga

Posts: 1454; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

This is the iPhone 6, not the Plus you know. The last sentence makes sense though.

48. Duke19

Posts: 27; Member since: Oct 02, 2014

A friend of mine was showing me his new iPhone 6 yesterday, and just pointed out that he "liked the bigger size and screen, but its an iphone and not much has changed". iPhones are great for their purpose - a simple phone that is well built with a simple OS. The Note 4 on the other hand, is in an entirely different class of usability and features. For my money, I want my flagship phone to have some type of wow factor to it - and I feel like Apple is getting away from that lately. They sell on name alone, and while there are no real weaknesses to the currrent iPhones, I don't really see any major improvements over the 5/5s either.

46. mike_t

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 13, 2014

These are just very different devices with completely different use cases so the comparison is interesting, but not all that useful. We ended up buying both. The iPhone 6 for my wife as the Note is just too large, and all she does is text, phone calls, and use the camera. The smaller iPhone is perfect for that. I got the Note 4...as an engineer I enjoy the complexity and all the features it offers, not to mention I can't go back to LCD after getting used to the superior contrast of AMOLED (though I did not like the over saturated colors, and poor grayscale calibration which thankfully has been addressed with the Note 4). Ultimately I suspect preference of ecosystem will be the primary decision maker for most. Are you an Apple or Android (or Microsoft, or Blackberry) person? For Apple and Android these are clearly the cream of the crop for both. You really can't go wrong with either.

39. VHMP01

Posts: 93; Member since: Aug 27, 2014

"Note 4 is less elegant and inspiring next to the iPhone 6 and its all-aluminum unibody"... Note 4 less elegant? What can be more out of taste than Golden & White? Plus the 'all-aluminum' means also 'cheap' aluminum! No matter how many times you repeat 'premium', still aluminum is the cheapest metal on earth! Yes, the one we all throw in the trash with cans.

36. hitmantb

Posts: 79; Member since: Jul 26, 2012

Samsung stock another new low. Apple is just toying with Samsung like Intel toyed with AMD. Dual core kills quad core, architecture wise iOS is just on a completely different level right now. Having said that, Note 4 is the better value with $200 trade-in from Bestbuy and 32GB out of box, replaceable battery also allows you to rejuvenate your battery life 2 years from now. And of course easy root access for pirated contents and cheats for games. iPhone 6 will dominate the high price segment. Note 4 is good for geeks.

33. darkkjedii

Posts: 31797; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Leave this one up to big brother.

32. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

I'm slowly losing respect for Phone arena. You guys have every right to thing the iPhone is a better device, that's perfectly fine. But now there are at least 2 PA writers going out of their way to degrade the Note 4 while most other tech reviewers are calling this the best looking phone Samsung has ever made. Every other reviewer is using superlatives while PA users words and phrases like "chubbier", "less elegant" and "doesn't feel as sophisticated". Hell, I'll bet even the Apple insider would give the Note a more objective review than iPhone rent right about now. I was looking for every reason I could to skip this device, but when I saw it and felt it in the hands I knew this was the best phone on the market period! You can disagree, but you guys are doing much more than that with all the negativity. What gives?

34. darkkjedii

Posts: 31797; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Looks awesome to me bro, especially the white/chrome one.

37. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Heck yeah! You know I'm not a fan of the iPhone, but I'm willing to admit it is a really nice looking phone now that I've seen it in person. This new iPhone 6 and 6 plus are fantastic looking devices, so much so that for the first time I actually thought about getting one myself(and still might).   But never have I seen PA seemingly bash a device that everyone else is praising just to keep the iPhone in its own separate "premium handset" status.

40. tedkord

Posts: 17519; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I've seen them person, even tried them. The grey is almost passable, the other two colors are hideous phones. The iPhone 4/5 were beautiful devices (except in tacky gold). That was one of the best looking designs out there. This is just ugly. I'd put a case on it even if it weren't prone to bending in pocket. The Note 4 is actually a more attractive device, and I never thought I'd be saying that. I never gave Jobs much credit with Apple designs, but seeing iOS7+ and the new iPhones, it's become clear Ive needed his guidance and veto. Steve Jobs kept Jonny Ive in check. (and of course, the looks take nothing away from the performance, which is, as always, great. And that is ultimately more important)

44. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

I agree, the Note 4 just kills the iPhone design-wise. The old iPhone is a much better design, but I love the fact that you can switch orientations now. I know, it's simple but I've been waiting for Android to do that since the beginning. I prefer landscape and the only way to get it with most Android devices is to download a different launcher. There is still the crippling lack of customization that's holding me back, but other than that... The 6 plus it's a winner.

38. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Oh and yes... the white is killer!

54. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

I personally don't think it's an overall better device. But I do think it is prettier (the iP6) and that it definitely feels more elegant in the hand. To a certain extent, this is obviously a subjective call (and always will be), but not entirely. And sure, the Note 4 is Samsung's best-looking phablet yet, but this is a comparison, and it doesn't quite compare just yet - even though Sammy is getting there. Slowly. By the way, nobody is going out of their way to 'degrade' the Note 4 here. We're just sharing our opinion. Oh, and we try to steer clear of what every other tech reviewer says about the Note 4 (or any device, for that matter). It's our review, after all.

56. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

I respect you for the reply back, thank you for doing so. I will try to keep in mind that these are your opinions as well. But I'm being totally honest with you when I say there seems to be nothing Samsung or any other OEM can do design-wise that will ever compare to the iPhone in PA's eyes. Most devices deserved the bashing they got, especially Samsung. The Note 4 is arguably the best looking phone but PA had been slamming it on every review and comparison. I could be wrong, but it seems as though you guys are biased. I know that word gets thrown around a lot, but that's how it looks in this end. And sorry if I came off like a rabbit fancy in the first comment.

68. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

Late reply, I know, but whatever. There's no bias here, just opinion. I wrote this review, and sure, it went through edits like every review does, but the design section is pretty much untouched. I'm an Android user, and have been for years. The last Apple product I've owned was the ancient iPhone 3G. That's it. I don't plan on buying an Apple product any time soon, but that's because I know precisely what I want, and it's not what Apple has in store right now, not because their products "suck" as the Android diehards are constantly asserting. Apple doesn't pay my salary, PhoneArena.com does, so I really don't understand what kind of ulterior motive one would suspect me of having to suggest that I'm favoring a product intentionally. Credit where credit is due. That's how I go about my job. Branding is unimportant.

71. psychok9

Posts: 43; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

@Chris.P Than you must look again this: http:/ /oi62.tinypic.com/2afh0yc.jpg Where you see more noise? Which is the more bright photos? If you look Ip6 photo is really dark and noisy. Bye ;)

27. wando77

Posts: 1170; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

There is a 64Gb version of the note 4 coming and you say users have to settle for 32gb? How about apple users have to settle for 16gb unless they fork out and extra $200? And the read speeds don't matter as you have the apps on the internal memory and the extra space on any phone (apple or android) is usually used for music and videos (which the microsd cards read more than fast enough)

42. killerfrog7000

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 13, 2014

Correction an extra 200 dollars will give them a 128gb handset and an extra 100 dollars will give them a 64gb handset

55. wando77

Posts: 1170; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

What I was getting as was for the max iphone it was $200 more. For a 64Gb note 4 you can pay $80 to get an extra 128gb on top of the 64Gb. Gives you 64Gb more than the top end iphone at a far lower cost

25. scarface21173

Posts: 702; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

This is a paid site by apple

24. HildyJ

Posts: 346; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

So, according to the review, the iPhone 6 is better for low light photography, access to new games, and not being a huge phablet. The Note 4 is better for everything else. Advantage, Samsung.

23. wando77

Posts: 1170; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

And 1 nit minimum vs 7 nits minimum is ONLY a bit superior? lol

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