Interface and Functionality

Samsung has finally stripped the fat off TouchWiz, and it now runs smoothly, with almost no stutter, and a few new tricks up its sleeve. iOS 8, on the other hand, is its familiar self: a smooth and user-friendly platform.

Expectations ran rampant that Samsung will go back to the drawing board for a complete revision of the TouchWiz UI, and while change has arrived, a lot has stayed the same. There is one fundamental change that has happened under the skin and that is the arrival of Android 5.0 Lollipop with all the performance improvements of the latest version of Google’s operating system. The iPhone 6, on the other hand, features iOS 8, a platform that is much less prone to change, sticking to to a proven formula of simplicity and lack of elaborate customizations.

First, a quick look at the new TouchWiz UI shows that one thing has remained the same: the cartoonish stock Samsung icons that many hoped to see redrawn. Digging a bit deeper, though, one discovers that the underlying apps have undergone a Lollipop-inspired transformation: they are all color-coded with a flat, material design inspiration. The settings menu - a traditionally puzzling endless list of options - has also been simplified, and is now easier to find your way around it. We’re also happy to - finally - see the option to add a quick-access toggle for a flashlight in the notification shade. The signature multi-window feature of TouchWiz has now moved as well, and is found in the multitasking cards.

Samsung has introduced themes in TouchWiz with its A series, and it takes the concept to the next level in the Galaxy S6 with a wider choice of themes. Selecting a new theme changes not only the wallpaper and icon style, but even some widgets, sounds and font style. So far, themes do look a lot like custom Android launchers, but with the important distinction of having deeper access, so much so that with themes, you can have custom first-party apps like a custom dialer. There’s also a theme store (part of Samsung’s Galaxy Apps store), where you can buy artistic themes created by others.

One new gesture in TouchWiz is worth singling out: the double click on the home button now takes you directly to the camera app from any place in the UI and even from the lockscreen (previously, double clicking used to bring up S Voice). This is a clever new addition and being a universal gesture will make it much easier to capture those impromptu moments.

It’s interesting that Samsung has decided to include a separate folder with pre-installed core Microsoft Office apps on the Google Android-powered S6. We’re yet to see whether this folder will come to all markets, but it’s a provocative decision, showing preference for Microsoft’s office solution over the competing Google Docs.

iOS 8, on its part, is a well-known platform that needs little introduction. It differs vastly from Android, if just for the fact that it does not have a dedicated app drawer, nor the rich customization options that Google’s platform offers. On the flip side of things, the iOS ecosystem of apps is richer, and the platform is more fit for gamers, as the latest releases arrive sooner and often exclusively to iOS.

Basic functionality, things like telephony and texting, are well covered on both phones with rich contacts and phone apps, as well as straightforward messaging apps. iOS 8 has also recently added support for third-party keyboards, so you can have popular keyboards like SwiftKey and Swype, which is nice. The stock keyboards, however, do an excellent job with well spaced out keys and a quick, adequate tactile response to your taps.

Processor and Memory

Samsung uses its own 14nm Exynos 7420 system chip, and it’s a great performer, on par with the super-fast Apple A8 SoC.

With Samsung’s sudden decision to use its own Exynos SoC instead of Qualcomm, we have the Exynos 7420 on the Galaxy S6. And that’s a good thing: this is the first 14nm chip we see on a smartphone, and - with some optimizations that have taken place in the TouchWiz UI - we can finally say that Samsung’s new flagship runs fairly smoothly. The Apple iPhone series, on the other hand, is known for its smooth performance from the very first editions, and the iPhone 6 is no exception to that rule with its Apple A8 chip.

Looking at the tech specs, the Exynos 7420 on the S6 features four Cortex-A57 high-performance cores running at up to 2.1GHz and four power-savvy Cortex-A53 cores clocked at up to 1.5GHz, all connected in a big.LITTLE setup. The Galaxy S6 ships with a Mali-T760 GPU and sports 3GB of RAM. The iPhone 6, on its part, features the dual-core Apple A8, but core counting is a tricky affair, and one should keep in mind that the cores here are larger and much more powerful, so it’s no surprise to see that the crucial single-core performance is still higher in the iPhone 6 (but the S6 wins in multi-core performance). Apple has taken some criticism for including just 1GB of RAM on the iPhone 6, which forces apps to reboot more often, making multitasking theoretically a bit faster on the S6.

In daily usage, though, what matters most is that both do a good job running Android 5.0 Lollipop and iOS 8, respectively, smoothly and fairly lag-free.

Looking at graphics/gaming benchmarks, it’s easy to notice that the Galaxy S6 does well, but can’t get to the blazing fast framerates on the iPhone 6. The reason is obvious: the Quad HD resolution means more pixels and a higher load on the Galaxy S6. This often results in a huge advantage of more than twice as high framerates on the iPhone, making it the more suitable device for gamers.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 has an advantage when it comes to the amount of internal storage in the most popular basic model: 32GB versus 16GB on the iPhone 6. The next tier moves to 64GB for both the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6, where we have parity.

Samsung has also done away with one signature feature for its flagship Galaxy series: microSD cards. The new Galaxy S6 does not feature expandable storage, just like the iPhone, so you’d have to clean up contents more often or rely on the cloud to store your data.

Sunspider Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S6 354.5
Apple iPhone 6 353.4
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S6 37
Apple iPhone 6 48.9
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S6 16
Apple iPhone 6 25.8
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S6 1767
Apple iPhone 6 1239
Geekbench 3 single-core Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S6 1440
Apple iPhone 6 1630
Geekbench 3 multi-core Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S6 5127
Apple iPhone 6 2927

Internet and Connectivity

Surfing the web is fast and stutter-free, and both phones support a plethora of 4G LTE bands.

The Galaxy S6 ships with two pre-installed browsers: Samsung’s feature-rich solution that offers neat options like a full-screen view, and the mobile version of Google Chrome. The iPhone 6, on its part, comes with mobile Safari pre-loaded, which is a nimble browser that comes with support for the very convenient iOS touch gestures for navigation - something that Android phones do not have.

Surfing the web is a fast and smooth experience on both devices: it’s hard to notice any slowdowns when scrolling around a page, or zooming in and out.

Samsung has upped the ante with 4G LTE connectivity as the Galaxy S6 features more LTE bands than earlier Galaxy devices. The iPhone 6 is also a record-holder as it sports between 16 and 20 different LTE bands (models vary slightly).

Other standard connectivity options on both include: dual-channel Wi-Fi, aGPS with Glonass, Bluetooth 4.1, and NFC.

The Galaxy S6 supports MHL 3.0, a standard that makes it possible to stream 4K videos to a TV, while the S5, for instance, only supported MHL 2.0 and 1080p streaming.

Then, the S6 also has the advantage of having an infra red (IR) beamer and a dedicated Peel Smart Remote app that allows consumers to use the phone as a TV/AC remote, which is nice. The app also doubles as a TV guide, while for the iPhone 6 such features are lacking.



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: 17362; 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: 3785; 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 : 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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