Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6: How Samsung is set to take on Apple

iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S6: A look at the S6 features that could topple the iPhone

The Samsung Galaxy S6 has been announced, and will hit shops on April 10. When it does land, we fully expect a titanic tussle between Samsung’s latest Galaxy instalment and the iPhone 6.

In recent years, Samsung has been the only manufacturer capable of offering up a flagship smartphone handset with anything approaching the global popularity of Apple’s iPhone range. The Korean company certainly has a big challenge on its hands after the chaps at Cupertino shipped a whopping 74.5m iPhones in the three months leading up to Christmas last year.

Samsung has gone back to the drawing board with a stylish new design for the S6, which means that this year could see the biggest scrap yet between these two tech titans.

Here’s how Samsung looks set to take on Apple when its new flagship phone arrives.

VIDEO: Watch our Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 comparison

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6: Design

Samsung Galaxy S6: 6.9mm thick, aluminium unibody and glass panel
iPhone 6: 6.9mm thick, anodised aluminium back

While Samsung’s much rumoured radical redesign manifested itself in the Galaxy S6 Edge variant, that’s not to say that the plainer Samsung Galaxy S6 isn’t a marked step forward for the brand too.

The company has drawn criticism for growing stagnant with the look and feel of its devices in recent times, and while the Galaxy S6 doesn’t look massively dissimilar to the Galaxy S5 at an initial glance, you only need to look (and feel) closer to see what a massive improvement it is.

Following the lead of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the Samsung Galaxy S6 sports a stylish metal chassis. However, there isn’t a hint of plastic here, as both the front and rear surfaces are coated in Gorilla Glass 4. Just under the back panel, meanwhile, there’s a unique shiny finish that changes colour according to the angle of the light.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

Of course, Samsung needed to up its game considerably with Apple continuing to knock it out of the park on the smartphone design front. The iPhone 6 set a new standard with its slim, all-metal smartphone design – especially when you add in that gently tapered display.

Samsung has an opportunity here, though, because while the iPhone 6 is a fine-looking phone, it has its weaknesses. It’s not the knock-out design watermark that the iPhone 4 was.

Samsung hasn’t capitalised on one of the iPhone 6’s main design shortcomings – it’s sticky outy camera lens – because the Galaxy S6 camera sticks out even more.

However, with claims that the metal chassis on the Galaxy S6 is 50 percent stronger than previous materials, Samsung was able to boast that its phone won’t bend – unlike the iPhone 6.

Of course, Apple can counter by pointing out that the Galaxy S6 has plainly pinched a number of iPhone 6 design cues, such as the rounded metal rim and the whole speaker and charger port layout.

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6: Screen

Samsung Galaxy S6: 5.1-inch, QHD ‘2K’ Super AMOLED
iPhone 6: 4.7-inch, 1334 x 750 IPS LCD

As expected, Samsung has upped the resolution of its next flagship to the QHD standard, which is the same 2K resolution as can be found on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. At 2560 x 1440, this certainly gives the iPhone 6’s 1334 x 750 screen a bit of a tanking on the sharpness stakes.

Of course, some of that is offset by the fact that the Galaxy S6 display is considerably bigger than the iPhone 6’s 4.7-inch example. There’s no avoiding it though – the Galaxy S6 display is much more pixel-dense then the iPhone 6 screen – we’re talking 577ppi versus 326ppi.

Whether you need such a pixel-dense screen on a sub-6-inch screen is another matter, of course, and we doubt many iPhone 6 users would complain of a fuzzy picture.

Samsung has stuck with its Super AMOLED technology for the Galaxy S6, and you won’t find us arguing. In Samsung’s hands, this approach produces vibrant pop-off-the-screen pictures without the same level of over-saturation or nasty yellowy whites that other manufacturers seem to struggle with (hello Motorola).

The plain Galaxy S6 doesn’t have the innovative dual-curved display of the Galaxy S6 Edge, but it remains to be seen whether this is innovation for innovation’s sake, or even if the bendy screen will actually prove a distraction when watching movies and playing games.

SEE ALSO: The case for and against 2K displays

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6: Power

Samsung Galaxy S6: Exynos 7420 64-bit octa-core, Mali T760 GPU, 3GB RAM
iPhone 6: Apple A8 64-bit dual-core 1.4GHz, PowerVR GX6450 GPU, 1GB RAM

The iPhone 6 features Apple’s punchy A8 CPU – a dual-core 64-bit chip with a seriously swift GPU attached – backed by 1GB of RAM. This is a different approach to that taken by Android chip makers, who typically go for a quad-core GPU and at least 2GB of RAM.

But the proof is in the pudding, and most benchmarks show that the iPhone 6 is one of the fastest performers out there for common mobile tasks.

It remains to be seen how well the Samsung Galaxy S6 will carry the fight to the iPhone 6. There are certainly question marks, with confirmation coming that Samsung has ditched the potent and popular Snapdragon 810 in favour of its own chip.

Samsung has packed the Galaxy S6 with its own Exynos 7420 chip, which offers a very similar octa-core, 64-bit set-up to the aforementioned Snapdragon 810.

Preliminary benchmark tests suggest that performance is roughly on a par, but it also seems as if the Galaxy S6’s Mali T760 GPU isn’t quite up to scratch. We doubt it’s up to the standard of the iPhone 6’s super-fast PowerVR GX6450, which could be a problem with that pixel-dense screen when tackling high-end games.

Elsewhere, the Samsung Galaxy S6 features 3GB of RAM – that’s three times the amount found in the iPhone 6. More important here, however, is the speed of that RAM. The Galaxy S6 is the first phone to feature DDR4 memory, which is 80 percent faster than the iPhone 6’s DDR3.

This should give the Galaxy S6 a massive performance boost. Flipping between multiple active apps in particular should be stronger on the Galaxy S6 – though that’s as much of an Android thing as it is a hardware thing.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6: Storage

Samsung Galaxy S6: 32GB, 64GB and 128GB, no micro SD card support
iPhone 6: 16GB, 64GB, 128GB, no micro SD card support

Samsung has caused a bit of a stir by dropping micro SD support with the Galaxy S6 – the first of its flagship range to do so.

It’s clearly emulating Apple’s approach here, which is all about providing a more streamlined and speedy approach to storage.

Samsung still wins this round despite that omission, simply by virtue of the fact that it has dropped the 16GB allotment and adopted 32GB as its starter specification, while Apple has done the opposite.

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6: Camera

Samsung Galaxy S6: 16-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front camera, single LED flash, optical image stabilization
iPhone 6: 8 megapixel, phase detection, dual LED ‘True Tone’ flash

The Galaxy S5’s camera is one of the best we’ve used for all-round performance and ease of use. So how is Samsung going to improve things? Well, it’s stuck with a 16-megapixel image sensor, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been vastly improved.

With an f/1.9 aperture (front and back), the Galaxy S6 promises to improve the speed and low-light performance of its shots, while a real-time HDR mode should boost image quality further. Meanwhile, the camera app interface has been cleaned up significantly.

Apple stuck with an 8-megapixel camera for the iPhone 6, just as it did with the  iPhone 5S, the iPhone 5, and the iPhone 4S before it.

Of course, much like with its screen resolution and CPU set-up, Apple does things its own way when it comes to camera tech. And just like with those aforementioned components, it’s tough to argue that Apple’s way doesn’t work beautifully.

The iPhone 6 takes some of the best photos of any smartphone, and it does so quickly and reliably.

Of course, the Galaxy S5 was no slouch in this department either, and the Galaxy S6 looks to be even better. Apple has been the smartphone camera king for some time now, but Samsung looks set to provide some major competition.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5S
Galaxy S6 camera

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6: Software

Samsung Galaxy S6: Android Lollipop with TouchWiz UI
iPhone 6: iOS 8.2

Samsung may have addressed one glaring problem in the shape of its physical handset design, but from what we’ve seen it’s only gone part of the way with another.

The company’s TouchWiz UI has drawn widespread criticism for its heavy-handed additions, unnecessary apps, and needless tinkering with its solid Android underpinnings. Samsung has improved matters with the Galaxy S6, but arguably not enough.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 will run on Android 5.0 Lollipop, of course, which is a great mobile operating system (or it will be, once all the bugs have been ironed out). But it’s what Samsung layers on top of Android that leaves a question mark hanging.

Samsung’s tendency to throw everything but the kitchen sink at the functionally complete Android OS can be bewildering, though it does differentiate its phones from the competition. While Samsung phones can generally DO more than the equivalent iPhone, they’re simply not as nice to use on a day to day basis.

Samsung has made big improvements in this regard, with more elements of Android Lollipop shining through and far less bloatware, but the latest version of TouchWiz on the Galaxy S6 still lacks the cleanness of stock Android.


Early Verdict

Samsung Galaxy S6 or the iPhone 6? We obviously can’t say anything yet, but from what we’ve seen of the Galaxy S6, we could have one of the biggest threats to an incumbent iPhone yet.

The truth is that that Samsung Galaxy S series and the iPhone series haven’t had all that much in common in recent years, but now Samsung appears to be targeting the one area Apple has always dominated: design.

With a metal chassis and divisive touches like the lack of microSD support and waterproofing, not to mention a non-removable battery, the Galaxy S6 design is closer to the iPhone than it’s been since the days of the iPhone 3GS.

It appears to have made a phone that’s as stylish as it is functional – the only trip up here could be with that blasted TouchWiz UI, whether it’s been improved or not.

iPhone 6 or Galaxy S6: Which do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below

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