Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus

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Introduction


With the Galaxy Note5, Samsung vows to continue its ongoing crusade in the land of premium design, where it reserved itself a place with the snazzy Galaxy S6 and S6 edge earlier this year. Yet needless to say, there's more to the brand new Galaxy Note handset. Similar to the previous installments in the Note lineup, the new S Pen-boasting device is quite the well-endowed gadget.

Truth is that the Note5 has one real enemy on the market, and it's no other than the Apple iPhone 6 Plus. The latter is Apple's first foray into phablet territory, and, judging from the company's financial performance ever since the handset's debut, there has been a solid craving for a supersized iPhone. This means that the Galaxy Note5 is about to face much more severe competition than any of its predecessors.

Design

The iPhone meets a formidable rival in the face of the Note5

Fully boasting Samsung's new design language, which was introduced along with the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, the Galaxy Note5 is another exquisite rendition of the same seemingly-winning formula. With a metal frame and glass at both the rear and the front of the Note5, it's hard to deny that it stands out with its head-turning design. However, this premium package has taken its unfortunate toll on three of the features that were once staples of Samsung's devices — the microSD card slot, the removable rear cover, and the removable battery, all of which are missing. Alas, the glass back is nothing short of a fingerprint magnet.

In the opposite corner, we have the Apple iPhone 6 Plus – a device that also employs a list of outstanding design traits. Well, the matte aluminum body is not shiny and as eye-catchy as the metal-and-glass Note5 sandwich, but there's virtually nothing to hate about the design of Cupertino's largest phone to date. On the contrary – it can be safely viewed as exemplar in terms of exterior looks. As an added bonus, the iPhone 6 Plus is not prone to attracting greasy fingerprint smudges (except for that Apple logo at the back – it's hard to keep it smudge-free!). Just bear in mind that the iPhone's surface is somewhat slippery, as is the case with the Samsung phablet.

Size-wise, the Galaxy Note5 is certainly the one boasting the superior screen-to-body size ratio – an often overlooked yet rather important metric. Samsung has succeeded in fitting a larger display than the one on the iPhone. Yet, that's not all – the Note5 is also a bit more compact than Apple's representative.

Both phones share many similarities in their layouts. First of all, we have power buttons positioned on the right side and volume buttons on the left side (bear in mind that the Note5 now comes with two separate hardware buttons for volume adjustment, similarly to the iPhone). The two rivals have their hardware home buttons placed at their front sides, below their screens. Moving on, both have their loudspeaker, data/charging ports, and 3.5mm audio jacks at the bottom; the rear cameras of each phone protrudes from its body, though the iSight one on the iPhone does so in a less intrusive way. By the way, there's a cool hardware feature on the iPhone that the Note5 is devoid of – a mute switch; meanwhile, the Samsung phablet has a S Pen stylus that allows you to scribble down digital notes, but we'll talk about it later in the comparison.



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


Display

The Note5 has a more accurate display, but the iPhone beats in terms of gamma reproduction

Continuing Samsung's years-long tradition, the Galaxy Note5 is equipped with a Super AMOLED display – a 5.67-inch unit with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels and a top-notch pixel density of 518ppi. The display panel is rather similar to the one that can be found on last year's Note 4, though a bit tweaked in terms of overall image accuracy. On the iPhone 6 Plus, we have a 1080p 5.5-inch display, which totes a pixel density of 401ppi. Although there's a huge rift between the sharpness of the two displays on paper, in reality, both appear pretty much on par to the unarmed eye in this regard.

How do these two displays fare against one another? The performance of both is top-notch, but the Note5 has the upper hand here. Although it has a lower maximum brightness than the iPhone 6 Plus (574 nits vs 470 nits), the Super AMOLED is superior in most other aspects. Kicking off with color representation, the Note5 matches with more of the ideal targets on the color gamut chart. The iPhone is also calibrated rather well, but its display reproduces whites with an ever so slight blueish tint, while magentas and yellows, for example, appear a bit darker than the ideal target.

Clocking in at 6722K, the Galaxy Note5 is closer to the ideal white point color temperature of 6500 Kelvins, while the iPhone 6 Plus is a bit colder at 7318K. In terms of gamma reproduction, however, the iPhone 6 Plus is a bit ahead – despite that dark areas of the image appearing slightly brighter than they should at the lower levels of the grayscale chart, the rest of the iPhone's gamma readings remain mostly aligned to the ideal curve of 2.2 for the rest of the ride; the Note5, while exhibiting mostly correct gamma levels up until a certain point, generally tends to display lighter areas of the image brighter than they should appear.

In terms of Delta E grayscale error, which shows whether the different shades of gray don't swerve from the ideal readings, the Note5 reigns supreme with a measurement of 1.94, whereas the iPhone 6 Plus is more inaccurate at 3.82 (the ideal reading is 0) and tends to add a slight blueish tint to the lighter hues of gray. Same can be said about the Delta E rgbcmy scenario, where the Note5 exhibits a lower margin of error (1.32) in comparison with the iPhone 6 Plus (3.05), with the ideal once again being 0. This means that the display of the Note5 is generally more color accurate as a whole.

Viewing angles on both devices are very good, with the iPhone losing way less of its grayscale and color accuracy when viewed under a 45-degree angle, whereas the Note5 doesn't tend to lose its gamma and brightness reproduction qualities in the very same scenario.

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