Introduction

The Samsung Galaxy S6 or the Apple iPhone 6: like it or not, this is the big question for smartphone buyers in 2015.

After Apple upped the ante by finally releasing a large-screen iPhone, and one that is shockingly slim and stylish at that, Samsung has come back strong with a comprehensive overhaul of its Galaxy S. Gone is the cheapo plastic in the S series: coming to replace it is a toughened glass on both the front and the back, and a sturdy metal frame - a construction that has to take on the solid all-metal iPhone 6.

The rest is a battle of differences: the Galaxy S6 against the iPhone 6 is also a lot about Android vs iOS, a 16-megapixel camera versus an 8-megapixel one, an octa-core Samsung chip against a dual-core Apple SoC.

It’s also about TouchWiz, a skin that has traditionally been perceived as lagging in speed and often featuring gimmicky, rather than genuinely useful features. Well, it has also changed with a radical overhaul by Samsung, just to make things all the more interesting.

At the end of the day, though, consumers want one question answered: which one should they buy? Let’s take a look at the details and try to answer that question.

Design

Plastic gives way to a stylish combination of glass pieces and a metal frame on the Galaxy S6, while the iPhone 6 boasts an all-aluminum body. Both are thin, extremely well built phones with a premium feel.

After many years of sticking with uninspiring plastic designs for its flagship phones, Samsung has finally listened to all the whispers of disappointment and its new Galaxy S6 is made of finer quality materials: the S6 features a sturdy metal frame sandwiched between pieces of glass, and not just any kind, but toughened Gorilla Glass 4. Samsung has also added more color to its flagship: the S6 comes in a choice of black, white, gold, and blue. The Apple iPhone 6, on the other hand, features an all-aluminum build with a choice of space grey, silver, and gold.

Both the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6 are impressively thin devices: the iPhone 6 is a hair thicker at 6.9mm, while the Galaxy S6 measures 6.8mm in thickness. The difference is barely noticeable, but what is noticeable is that both phones have a slightly protruding camera module resulting in a hump on the back of both devices (a larger one on the Galaxy S6).

The two phones are fairly lightweight: 4.87oz for the S6 and 4.55oz for the iPhone 6. Given the larger screen in the Galaxy S6, it’s also no surprise that the Samsung phone is also larger: 5.65” tall and 2.78” wide, while the iPhone 6 is a more manageable 5.44” tall and 2.64” wide. However, saying that the S6 is larger would not give Samsung credit where credit is due, and that is the fairly slim side bezel that makes the S6 one of the most compact and single-hand-friendly phones for its 5.1” screen size.

Buttons have a reassuring click on both phones, and on both, keys are sufficiently large, with identical positioning of the keys: -the lock key – on the right, and the volume buttons - on the left.

We’re also happy to see a fingerprint sensor embedded in the home button on both phones: the Galaxy S6 is the first phone from Samsung to use a new tap-based fingerprint reader (a change from swipe-based finger scanners it used before), and it works quickly and accurately, almost as the one on the iPhone 6. While you are limited to using the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone for Apple Pay, unlocking the phone and authorizing App Store purchases, though, the fingerprint functionality on the Galaxy S6 is not restricted to that, as third party apps can use it as well.


Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.78 x 0.27 inches

143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 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 S6

Samsung Galaxy S6

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.78 x 0.27 inches

143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 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 5.1” Super AMOLED display on the Galaxy S6 is not only among the sharpest we’ve seen, but it’s also remarkably well calibrated, with gorgeous colors. The iPhone 6’s LCD screen is also a very nice display with pleasing colors.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 features a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display, larger than the 4.7” IPS LCD screen of the iPhone 6. With a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels (Quad HD), the screen on the Galaxy S6 is extremely crisp and paper-like with a pixel density of the record 577ppi. The iPhone 6, on the other hand, features a more modest resolution of 750 x 1334 pixels, which works out to a pixel density of 326ppi. The difference in the numbers is staggering, but the actually perceptible difference in sharpness is not that big at all: you’d notice a slight pixelization on the iPhone if you stare from very up close, while from regular distances, the difference is minimal.

With sharpness reaching levels that will please most people these days, the last remaining frontier to conquer in the way towards the ideal display now seems to be image quality. Last year’s Galaxy S5 had a display with an annoying greenish tint that spoiled Samsung’s AMOLED efforts, but this year, it seems that the Galaxy S6 edge is extremely close to being perfectly color accurate. Below, we’ll dive in the technicalities that show the differences between the Galaxy S6 and the iPhone 6 screen quality, but first, let us say that both of these displays look absolutely beautiful, and these are without a doubt two of the best smartphone displays out there.

Now, in the S6 you get to those nice, natural colors if you choose to use the ‘Basic’ screen mode (go into Settings > Display > Screen mode, and select Basic), as with the S6 you have the option of picking other modes with mostly overblown, punchy but unnatural colors. The decision is up to the user, but we would prefer going with the ‘Basic’ screen mode, as it aims to reproduce color in the way it was meant to be seen. What we mean by this is that colors adhere to the industry-standard sRGB color space, and with impressive accuracy: color temperature at 6600K means that you get natural-looking whites that do not appear somewhat bluish, and gamma at 2.11 is relatively close to the reference 2.2 value. Also, you have color saturations that are practically perfectly seated in their reference values, very near the ideal sRGB color calibration profile.

The Apple iPhone 6, on its part, also has a very good LCD display when it comes to colors, but it’s a step below the nearly perfect calibration of the Galaxy S6. Color purists will notice that whites appear a bit on the cold side, and color saturations are just a bit off.

It’s also worth mentioning the great progress Samsung has achieved with maximizing brightness on AMOLED displays. The Galaxy S6, in particular, comes with Samsung’s brightest AMOLED panel, reaching 563 nits at maximum levels. Brightness on the S6 is still a step below what the iPhone 6’s LCD display can exhibit, though, as it can deliver about 606 nits of peak luminance.



FEATURED VIDEO

31 Comments

1. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

S6 ftw!

2. TyrionLannister unregistered

PA, redo your benchmarks FFS.

10. seven7dust unregistered

benchmarks are pointless !!! even a nexus 5 will not slow down with any game or task you can through at it. Phones are all about efficiency and battery life , samsung has 14 nm which is good improvement over the iPhone.

3. donfem

Posts: 708; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Thanks for the big improvements. Respect to true inovations. Sammy for the world.

5. bello

Posts: 27; Member since: Mar 01, 2015

Samsung is on the top right now with the most powerful beautiful durable smartphone ever good luck sammy

17. seven7dust unregistered

powerful yes , most durable ? , lets wait for tests , plastic>glass in terms of duarbility.

25. tedkord

Posts: 17318; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

We've seen some tests, and they're pretty impressive.

6. SamsungEU

Posts: 147; Member since: Dec 29, 2014

Is the S6 on final software?

8. Mitsjke

Posts: 29; Member since: Mar 28, 2015

Imagine people arguing at the grocery store about whether a complete stranger should buy bananas or oranges...

9. g2a5b0e unregistered

Such a good analogy. +1

12. jesusnexo unregistered

but bananas have potassium :(

16. walkman800

Posts: 113; Member since: Aug 26, 2014

bananas are better pre-workout meal. Suck it, orange!

24. bucky

Posts: 3778; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

And they can be used as a size comparison. Oranges suck.

27. jesusnexo unregistered

guh f**king fanboys.... your outdated banana cant compete with the orange master race

32. zacsaturday

Posts: 262; Member since: May 09, 2014

What if I dislike Oranges (or are allergic to them) :)

11. iphonexus

Posts: 130; Member since: Jan 04, 2015

Galaxy s6 can beat iphone 6 in anydepartment except for gpu due to quad hd resolution

13. Flippyphone

Posts: 67; Member since: Jul 15, 2014

They're both great phones, main difference being the iPhone is better if you don't want to use your brain and the S6 is better if you do.

14. yick04

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

I love how with all of these S6 vs iPhone 6 articles that I see around the web, no one has the balls to make a conclusion. They all end in "oh whichever phone works for you is the right phone for you".

15. g2a5b0e unregistered

That's because it's true. Do you need validation to make you feel better about your purchase? It's all subjective. Get over it.

29. yick04

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

That's not the point. Obviously people are going to draw their own conclusions, even if the writer did actually make a decision. But no writer has yet found the nerve to declare their own winner because they fear the fanboys on either side.

18. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

LOL PA when will you ever get unbiased????? Every iphone 6 vs S6 I have seen, the S6 completely trashes the iphone. Suddenly it performs utterly crap. Is that because you guys in all of the low light photos, point the S6 directly into a lightsource? OMFG, you guys dont have be objectiveness to get over that the crap iphone got beaten badly by an android phone..... And in gaming performance/3D, how about showing real life fps while gaming, instead of those benchmarks? You guys are just exactly like apple themselfes, only pointing out things where apple does well, and hide things where they dont perform well......Its gettin to the point where one is gettin sick.....

19. kotan24

Posts: 311; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

I have an iphone 6 plus as my daily driver. I work at a Tmobile store been using the s6 for a week now, and in all honesty this time sammy beat the crap out of iphone in all departments except of course the app quality and games, besides that the iphone got owned, sorry apple fans. ;)

23. CtK4949

Posts: 35; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

I never understood why its Samsung fault if it doesnt have the app or games?? That is Android/developers fault??

21. CtK4949

Posts: 35; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

WTF is 750 x 1334 resolution?!?!?!

26. tmcr7

Posts: 180; Member since: Nov 02, 2011

PhoneArena, your reviewers don't have the balls to say that the Galaxy S6 is the clear winner.

30. Moose

Posts: 418; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

I wouldn't buy either of these phones. I think that wide top and bottom bezels are ugly and the physical home button is so mechanical and obsolete, makes these phones look old fashioned and inelegant.

31. mirexcool

Posts: 65; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

I like this one :http://goo.gl/zT9ZFv and Aliexpress deliver without problems and the price is lower

33. Doooo

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 11, 2015

"Last year’s Galaxy S5 had a display with an annoying greenish tint that spoiled Samsung’s AMOLED efforts." ... WHAT?? -_-

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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