Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
So far, Samsung's sole offerings towards the large-screen smartphone seeking segment of customers used to be the overly work-oriented Note phablets, and the rather unimpressive Galaxy Grand & Galaxy Mega phones. There was no big-screen smartphone with an all-around premium design in Samsung's line-up to give high-end phablet buyers exactly what they're after — a beautiful, jumbo-sized phone with the latest technology. Nothing more, nothing less.
That was certainly an oversight, for this is exactly where the Apple iPhone 6 Plus came in, and that's where the Galaxy S6 edge+ wants to rule. The new S6 edge+ is a logical move by Samsung, and thanks to its many strong qualities, it could turn out to be the best, or among the best alternatives to Apple's phablet. Only time will tell how the Galaxy S6 edge+ will fare against its adversary. For now, let's have a look at the two next to each other.
Handsome, premium, impeccable, and a collection of other superlatives.
The S6 edge+ and the iPhone 6 Plus are probably the handsomest phablets in existence! Not that there aren't any other respectable-looking big screen phones out there, but these two do it for everyone! Well, almost everyone, but you have to be quite the special one to try and downplay their impeccable looks. The Galaxy S6 edge+, even if it's merely an oversized S6 edge, makes for quite the show with its dual-edge curved screen and impressive metal and glass build. It's so flashy, it makes the iPhone 6 Plus, which is all anodized aluminum, appear understated in comparison. Then again, Apple's phablet isn't such an unapologetic fingerprint magnet, either!
Nearly everything found on the S6 edge is present here again with the S6 edge+, so that includes the handy fingerprint sensor, heart rate sensor, rapid charging microUSB 2.0 port, and built-in wireless charging. Save for the fingerprint sensor, which is equally easy to use on both, none of these make an appearance in the iPhone 6 Plus. Then again, we'd like to note that rapid charging and fast wireless charging would make for welcome additions to the iPhone.
The absence of SD card slots and removable batteries is what Samsung and Apple's phablets have in common, much to the detriment of power users. Another thing in common is the solid all-around construction, thanks to the choice of premium materials and serious design effort that went into putting. Despite having a larger, 5.7-inch display, the Galaxy S6 edge+ is the smaller smartphone, at 6.08 x 2.98 x 0.27 inches (154.4 x 75.8 x 6.9 mm) and 5.40 oz (153 g) of weight, while the iPhone 6 Plus, which has a 5.5-inch screen, measures 6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 inches (158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm) and weights 6.07 oz (172 g). Still, while the S6 edge+ is better proportioned, it isn't necessarily more comfortable to hold.
With smartphones as handsome and carefully crafted as these two, words do start to come short at some point, so checking out the photos we have, or even better, seeing the two in person, is imperative. Wherever you happen to be, these bad boys will turn heads!
The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ has the better specs, but its exceedingly high Quad-HD resolution is of questionable purpose.
With its 5.7-inch, 1440 x 2560 resolution Super AMOLED display, the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ has an upper (and a quite literal) edge on the iPhone 6 Plus, which has a 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen of lower 1080 x 1920 resolution in terms of size and fidelity. It has to be noted, though, that the exceedingly high Quad-HD resolution is still of questionable purpose in this day and age.
In practice, the iPhone 6 Plus's screen does not look any less sharp, even though Samsung's display has a pixel density of 518 pixels per inch, whereas Apple's racks up 401ppi. The superiority of the S6 edge+ is evident in other aspects that contribute to display quality. Its color temperature of 6700 Kelvins is much closer to the 6500K reference value than the iPhone 6 Plus' rather cold 7300K, a temperature that makes for a slight blueish tint.
However, Apple's screen is brighter than Samsung's, achieving an impressive maximum brightness output of 574 nits, whereas the latter goes up to 502 nits. With this in mind, both displays are good enough for reliable outdoor viewing, provided it isn't excessively bright out there. And with a minimum brightness output of 1 nits for the Galaxy S6 edge+, and 4 nits for the iPhone 6 Plus, respectively, the screens on these phablets are ideal for bedtime viewing as well!
Speaking of darkness, AMOLED technology has long been praised for achieving deep, natural blacks, which makes for lively and contrasting images. Not that the iPhone 6 Plus doesn't deliver on that front, given that its gamma value of 2.18 is so very close to the reference 2.2 value and helps for great contrast and realistic color highlights. With a slightly lesser value of 2.12, Samsung made the Galaxy S6 edge+'s lighter shades of gray a tad brighter than they appear in reality, resulting in a slight contrast boost.
And where color balance is concerned, the S6 edge+ does present the RGBs in more correct proportions than the iPhone 6 Plus, which, even as it is, has a tad too much of the blue paint mixed in. But as this particular metric goes, Apple's display is still quite uniformly balanced, just like a proper high-quality screen should be.
AMOLED screens, however, still aren't as solid as IPS LCD screens when it comes down to viewing angles. The Galaxy S6 edge+ delivers outstanding viewing angles as far as retaining brightness and contrast goes, but on the downside, colors exhibit dramatic shifts in their quality as we turn the screen even slightly, which is not a problem on the Apple iPhone 6 Plus.
As a whole, both phablets have top-notch displays that are superb for multimedia consumption, but the one the S6 edge+ is a bit more exciting, as it lets users choose among a selection of optional display modes tailored for different types of content. It is also slightly bigger, and the added visual bonus of dual edges makes for an undeniably slick package!
Interface and Functionality
The Galaxy S6 edge+ does some cool shortcut stuff with the edges, but it doesn't have a killer app against the iPhone 6 Plus.
Android and iOS have never been the same, and the TouchWiz experience on the Galaxy S6 edge+ will definitely remind you of that with its pastel colors and breezy animations. They even make iOS 8 appear a little too cold and modernistic in comparison. Both operating systems are quite advanced at this point, and with nearly matching feature sets. Samsung tried to make the S6 edge+ stand out with its unique ability of letting users launch any of five pre-selected apps by swiping the screen edges and tapping on the icons. But a killer feature, this is most certainly not.
In addition, the Galaxy S6 edge+ offers more in terms of customization and personalization over the iPhone 6 Plus. Not only is this in the nature of Android itself, but Samsung incorporated theming in addition to older staples of the OS, such as homescreen and lockscreen widgets. Comparatively, iOS doesn't offer user themes, and widgets are banished to the navigation drawer.
The iPhone 6 Plus can be used natively in landscape mode, unlike the Galaxy S6 edge+. Also, both phablets have software aids for one-handed usage, but Samsung went the extra mile in using all that screen real estate, and brought in Multi Window functionality. Always doing things its own way, Apple tends to urge developers into creating apps that take proper advantage of the screen, adding extra panes with information and optimizing their interfaces. That's no substitute to actual multitasking, however, and something akin to Multi Window is yet to materialize on the iPhone 6 Plus. Still, double-pressing the home button in iOS 8 displays not only your recent apps, but also your recent and frequently accessed contacts.
All things considered, both phablets make good use of the available screen real estate, thanks to their powerful operating systems. And although the Galaxy S6 edge+ may have the lead in this regard with its elaborate multitasking features, it has to be acknowledged that the dual-curved display isn't being used towards any meaningful practical benefits just yet.
Processor and Memory
It's pretty mind-boggling what the iPhone 6 Plus pulls off with approximately one-third of the Galaxy S6 edge+'s hardware power.
Being hi-end devices, both the Galaxy S6 edge+ and the iPhone 6 Plus are blazing-fast, yet the Apple device is more immediate and fluid in its responses. What's more interesting is that both phablets accomplish their superb performance with very different hardware components ticking inside.
The Galaxy S6 edge+ ships with the latest Exynos 7420 system chip, made using the industry-leading 14nm FinFET process in Samsung's foundries. The CPU running the guns here is an octa-core one with four Cortex A57 cores clocked at up to 2.1GHz, and four more power-efficient A53 cores clocked at up to 1.5GHz. The CPU artillery is complemented with the ARM Mali-T760 MP8 GPU, 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, and the UFS 2.0 storage technology that's capable of downright excessive reading and writing speeds.
Next to such an imposing spec sheet, most smartphones, the iPhone 6 Plus included, appear lacking. On paper, Apple's flagship has just a dual-core A8 CPU with a maximum clock speed of 1.4GHz, a decent PowerVR GX6450 GPU, a mere gigabyte of LPDDR3 RAM, and trivial eMMC storage. Not very impressive, compared to what Samsung packed in the Galaxy s6 edge+, but in practical reality, Apple's phablet runs faster and smoother. The key word is optimization! With full control over the hardware and software designed to take full advantage of it, Cupertino is able to pull off a quick and responsive user interface, while also being able to run the latest, most graphically intense mobile games. There's little you can throw the iPhone's way that would make it break a sweat, save for keeping many apps open at once.
In graphics benchmarks, the Galaxy S6 edge+ and the iPhone 6 Plus keep near parity, with Apple's phablet taking a minimal lead over Sammy's at times. However, it has to be noted that the S6 edge+ is able to comfortably keep up in the performance race while carrying the processing load of its 1440 x 2560 resolution display. That's no small feat! The iPhone 6 Plus has an easier time, as it renders things in a lower, 1080 x 1920 resolution.
Storage-wise, Apple sells the iPhone 6 Plus in 16, 64, and 128GB configurations, while Samsung sells the Galaxy S6 edge+ in 32GB and 64GB variants. Storage cannot be expanded via microSD card on either phone.
Internet and Connectivity
With their big, crisp screens, it comes as no surprise that the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Apple iPhone 6 Plus offer a superb browsing experience.
With their big, crisp screens, it comes as no surprise that the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Apple iPhone 6 Plus offer a superb browsing experience, being able to fit lots of online content and quickly scroll through it. Speaking of which, in this day and age, Apple's long-running Safari browser has smoother scrolling, panning, and zooming, compared to Chrome running on even the most recent Android devices out there. Reading fine text is possible on both, and if you are able to enjoy 4G LTE connectivity in your area, you'll be able to get the best of it, thanks to the phablets' up-to-date modems.
On the connectivity side of things, the Galaxy S6 edge+ supports 4G LTE with a staggering amount of support for various bands. It's also got MIMO (2x2) antennas for improved reception and dual-channel Wi-Fi, as well as NFC, Bluetooth 4.2 with support for the low energy profile, and positioning via GPS, Glonass, and the Beidou systems.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 6 Plus is available in both CDMA and GSM flavors, coming with VoLTE support to grant us wideband high-quality calls. Not only is the call quality enhanced by this, but it also permits us simultaneous voice and data connections. That's a feature of the Galaxy S6 edge+ as well, though. The iPhone 6 Plus also has aGPS with Glonass and Bluetooth 4.0 LE, along with Wi-Fi 802.11 ac connection and NFC.
Connectivity wise, both phablets are future-proof for the next 2 to 3 years, at least, in terms of supported standards. And as for browsing, their big screens and fast chips take excellent care of that — no worries!
Both devices' cameras are best in class, yet they take very different photos.
The iPhone 6 Plus is currently one of the most popular digital cameras in the world. One cannot realistically hope to compete in the high-end smartphone market without putting out a camera that's at least, say, 75% as great as the one Apple brings to the races every year. Mind you, Samsung is very aware of this, which is why it has traditionally been a company that offers one of the best cameras in the Android realm. Thus, it aims to continue this tradition with the S6 edge+, as it uses a very similar 16-megapixel rear/5-megapixel front camera combo to what we know and love from the Galaxy S6 edge. Both the front and rear cameras feature wide, f/1.9 aperture lenses, which is a good asset if you care about collecting more light and getting good pictures in the dark.
Meanwhile, Apple sticks to its long-perfected, but possibly prime for a megapixel count upgrade at this point, 8MP iSight rear camera. It is complemented by a five-element f/2.2 aperture lens, true-tone dual-LED flash, 1080p video recording, and a neat 240 FPS slow motion capture at 720p. The front cam is just a 1.2MP unit, which is, apparently, still good enough by Apple standards. Then again, more pixels simply make for larger, but not necessarily better selfies.
Components aside, the camera app on the Galaxy S6 edge+ is largely the same as on the Galaxy S6 edge, with two modes being the big cheese here: the self-explanatory auto mode, and the manual 'Pro' mode. The latter can now also control shutter speed on the Galaxy S6 edge+, as well as support to capture images in RAW format for complete freedom in post-processing.
Apple's camera app too has a familiar interface, and sees the addition of manual control over the image's focus and exposure. Holding down a finger on an area of the frame will lock the focus and exposure at that point. If needed, the exposure can be adjusted with the help of a slider. The manual controls are designed in a way that makes them really easy to use even by non-experienced photographers, whereas Samsung's solution is to give away the entire shop. Those with the desire to take the S6 edge+'s camera sensor to its full potential will certainly appreciate this approach.
On a bright, sunny day, both the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ and the iPhone 6 Plus yield warm-toned photos, although the latter tends to be closer to the natural colors that you'll be seeing through your eyes in real life. But warm is the general white balance preference for both devices, and it seems that's what the mass user is after these days. It has to be noted, though, that the iPhone 6 Plus offers superior automatic exposure. In almost all daylight samples we took, the big blue sky looks absolutely gorgeous and lifelike, whereas the Galaxy S6 edge+ makes it appear pale and overexposed. On the other hand, the Samsung phablet delivers punchier and more impressive photos overall, opting for a lift in brightness and crispness achieved via sharpening. The iPhone 6 Plus's output appears ever so softer in comparison.
Where fine detail is concerned, it comes as no surprise that the Galaxy S6 edge+ fares considerably better, as it has double the megapixel count of the Apple iPhone 6 Plus. However, the 8MP iSight camera still manages to capture an impressive amount of fine detail — impressive for an 8MP sensor, that is. However, those looking to crop photos will naturally flock to the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+'s bigger 16MP sensor.
HDR photos taken by the Samsung phablet keep the warm white balance, but smash the light dynamics to amplify the camera's inherent punchiness into a full blown assault on the visual senses. However, the exaggerated lighting results in a loss of sharpness, as evident by the corners of the building in HDR sample number 4. The iPhone 6 Plus has no such problems, and its HDR mode serves merely to sweeten up the image, lift the contrast, and brighten up those darkened areas.
In low light situations, the Galaxy S6 edge+ overtakes the iPhone 6 Plus. Despite the colors not being as natural as Apple's, photos stay impressively crisp and the exposure is quite right, while the iPhone's photos come out darker and a fair bit softer in comparison. The Samsung phablet soaks in more photons, managing to make the most of the available light sources to illuminate the scene. You'd have to fire up the iPhone 6 Plus' HDR mode at night to get in the same ballpark. And, should you decide to help yourself with the LED flash, expect the Galaxy S6 edge+ to stay relatively neutral and even, while the one on the iPhone 6 Plus will impart a hint of yellow to the scene, distorting colors a bit in the process.
Finally, let's have a quick look at the front cameras mounted on these champs. Well, with a 5MP front cam, the Galaxy S6 edge+ captures much more of your face and surroundings than the iPhone 6 Plus' 1.2MP selfie snapper. That's not much of a problem, unless you'd like to include more people in your selfie beside your beautiful self. In this case, the bigger resolution and wide angle lens on the Galaxy S6 edge+ will serve you better. Both cameras, however, have some particular flaws. The one on the S6 edge+ has the weird skin smoothing thing enabled by default. From our perspective, you'd come off looking a bit too smooth-faced than a normal life, devoid of trips to the plastic surgeon, would suggest. And over on the iPhone 6 Plus's side, the 1.2MP image is usable for Instagram, but rather noisy.
No 4K on the iPhone 6 Plus, but plenty of details go around with it and the Galaxy S6 edge+.
Where video quality is concerned, the Galaxy S6 edge+ is a beast of a phone. Between the various shooting modes, which span resolutions from 3840 x 2160 UHD down to VGA, the only major difference between them is detail. Therefore, if you want the highest amount of captured detail, it’s best to go with UHD recording, as details are in full force throughout the recording. Beyond that, we’re ecstatic to see that the Galaxy S6 edge+ offers image stabilization to keep things steady, clear & distinctive audio recording, gradual exposure adjustment, and spot-on continuous auto-focus.
It has to be noted that the iPhone 6 Plus does not make use of its optical image stabilization feature while taking videos. It sticks to a digital implementation, which produces better results than a hardware module, according to Apple. The difference between the two algorithms is hard, if not impossible to tell in practice for the majority of users. Besides, video quality is typically great and reliable in all but the most extreme light situations.
Nevertheless, we do appreciate that Apple has finally incorporated continuous auto-focus and improved audio quality, as voices that used to sound distant in past iPhones now come out more prominent. For those looking for 4K ultra high-resolution video recording, though, Apple will disappoint you yet again, as the iPhone 6 Plus doesn't offer it, unlike most of its rivals. However, the smartphone does have a unique trick up its sleeve, as it's able to capture 720p video at an incredible 240 FPS, making for some of the best slo-mo footage ever to come from a mobile device!
The Samsung Galaxy S6+ and the iPhone 6 Plus are just perfect for the occasion.
At 73.1dB, the Galaxy S6 edge+ is powerful enough to kick out the jams, not deafening like the S6 edge before it, but not as shrill either. Interim, the iPhone 6 Plus' internal speaker cranks out a maximum volume of 71.6 dB, which is still quite loud, and quality is pleasant due to its crisp tone. Of note is that the speaker doesn’t crackle at the loudest volume.
Where watching video is concerned, we’re happy to report that both the Samsung Galaxy S6+ and the iPhone 6 Plus are just perfect for the occasion with their large, nicely calibrated screens and powerful hardware. Videos look alive and play back smoothly.
Setting the Galaxy S6 edge+'s display to ‘adaptive’ mode offers the most ideal video watching experience on the phablet, since the contrast and color saturation are manipulated to achieve the best possible visual results. The iPhone 6 Plus doesn't benefit from such multimedia enhancements. And as for the stock music players found on the devices, Samsung's now favors a cleaner look than before, while the iPhone 6 Plus' music player remains unchanged from last year’s offering with iOS 7, so the visuals and functions are identical. And even though it continues to be integrated with iTunes Radio, we’re still required to go into the phone’s settings menu to adjust its equalizer setting, which isn't very logical.
The Galaxy S6 edge+ is pretty good and capable for calls, with voices coming in and out fairly clear. Turning on the extra volume mode, though, can further strengthen the tone, even if only by a little bit. But what do you know - calls are pretty decent with the iPhone 6 Plus, too! Voices are very audible through the earpiece, thanks largely to the strong volume of the earpiece, which makes it easy to use even in noisy environments. The speakerphone, however, feels subdued. Thankfully our callers have an easy time on their end making us out.
The Galaxy S6 edge+ has a longer-lasting battery.
In addition to greater battery life, the Galaxy S6 edge+ offers a very fast recharge time, too, taking only 80 minutes to go back to 100%! Moreover, the Galaxy S6 edge+ also features built-in wireless charging as an alternative for those who relish this method. The iPhone 6 Plus couldn't catch up to neither of these developments for some reason. Maybe Apple is being complacent. Maybe integrating fast charging or wireless charging comes at the expense of something else that's more valuable to the typical iPhone user. Only the gang at Cupertino knows, but regardless, fast charging tech is pretty high on our list of iPhone demands, and the same goes for any other up and coming expensive smartphone, actually!
Given how closely the Galaxy S6 edge+ matches, and sometimes outperforms the iPhone 6 Plus's core appeals — namely great design, a fully fleshed-out user experience, solid performance, and a great camera — we're keen on naming it the best Android competitor to Apple's phablet. However, it will be time that will prove us right or wrong.
If you ask us, the Galaxy S6 edge+ has everything — everything save for iOS, that is — to account for a dent in Apple's quarterly report. It also has a superior screen, longer battery life, and a striking, innovative design. In other words, the S6 edge+ is plain cool — just like the iPhone has always been. Depends on taste, we guess. Regardless, we'll be watching the oversized S6 edge's market performance with a genuine interest. We're also curious about your opinion on which device makes for a better all-around phablet. Give it a run!
- Striking glass design
- Bigger screen and more efficient body
- Longer battery life
- Striking metal design
- Apps take greater advantage of the screen
- Simpler and more intuitive to use