The iPhone 6S is shaping up to be the best iPhone that Apple has ever made - and the Galaxy S6 is the best Galaxy that Samsung has ever made. Could Apple tempt you away from Samsung, or vice-versa? Find the answers in our Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6S comparison.
Apple tends to follow a formula for design changes: it creates a new design in year one, tweaks it very slightly in year two for the “S” version, and comes up with a brand new design the year after that. This is an “S” year, so we’d expect design changes to be minimal. Expect the screens to remain at 4.7 and 5.5 inches for the S and S Plus, and for a new color option to appear - probably Rose Gold to match the Apple Watch.
Samsung has tried very hard with the Galaxy S6 design and it’s more premium than previous models, but there’s a bit of the cover band to it: it looks very like an iPhone, but if you look closely at details such as the way different parts and ports line up, Samsung hasn’t paid the same attention to detail that Apple has. Don’t get us wrong, it’s very good, but Apple’s engineering is just that bit better.
Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6S comparison: display
Apple’s displays are already very good, offering resolutions of 1344 x 750 (326 pip) in the standard phone and 1920 x 1080 (401 ppi) in the iPhone 6 Plus. We don’t expect that to change, but rumors suggest that Apple’s displays will get Force Touch in the S versions. Force Touch is something we’ve already seen in the Apple Watch, and it can sense how hard you’re pressing - so a quick tap might select while a hard press would do something else. Rumors also suggest that some of the larger devices might get sapphire screens and that Apple will change the kind of aluminum it uses to make the iPhone 6S harder to bend.
The Galaxy S6 screen is superb. It’s a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED screen with QHD resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels and 577 pixels per inch. This accounts for 77 percent more pixels than the Galaxy S5, and the highest pixel density for a device with this screen size. Samsung is rightly praised for the quality of its screens, and the Galaxy S6 doesn’t disappoint.
Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6S comparison: processor, memory and storage
Current iPhones have Apple’s A8 processor and M8 motion processor, and we’d expect the S models to move up a generation to deliver better performance per watt. We’d expect 2 GB of RAM too. Apple tends to be quite stingy with storage, so while we think 16 GB is too little storage for a modern smartphone we’re still expecting the iPhone 6S to come in 16, 64 and 128 GB configurations.
The Galaxy S6 specs revolve around the first mobile processor built on the 14nm process: the Exynos 7420, with 64-bit support, eight cores and the new LPDDR4 memory system. The Exynos 7420 has eight cores, with four running at 2.1 GHz for the heavy lifting and another four clocked at 1.5 GHz. The Exynos 7420 also packs a Mali-T760 GPU and 3 GB of RAM. These heavy-hitting specifications, in conjunction with the optimized performance of TouchWiz, provides a smooth experience, without any sudden closures or choking applications. It’s really quick.
Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6S comparison: cameras
iPhones aren’t leading the field when it comes to megapixels: the iSight camera in the iPhone 6 is just 8 MP, and only the Plus gets optical image stabilization. That said, Apple uses exceptionally good sensors to deliver picture quality that’s better than some rival devices with many more megapixels. Rumors say the iPhone 6S will get a bump to 12 MP, possibly with Sony’s very latest sensors to deliver stunning low-light shooting.
The Galaxy S6 camera packs 16 MP on the back and 5 MP on the front. Both cameras have HDR mode in real-time and f1.9 wide-angle lenses which are especially great for low-light shooting, and the main camera has optical image stabilization. Like the iPhone 6 Plus, that means the lens protrudes a little bit.
Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6S comparison: software
The iPhone 6S will run iOS 9, which is expected to have a redesigned Siri virtual assistant, Beats Music integration, public transit information in Maps and Android-style shortcuts.
The Galaxy S6 runs Lollipop, and in a break from the past Samsung enables you to remove preloaded apps - including the preloaded Google and Microsoft ones. You can’t actually delete them, but you can disable them.
Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6S comparison: battery life
Apple upped battery life by around 25 percent when it introduced the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and we’d expect similar or even improved battery life from the 6S thanks to ongoing optimization of iOS and Apple’s evolving processor designs.
Apple hasn’t embraced wireless charging yet, so that gives the Galaxy S6 an edge: it works with any Qi standard charger and uses fast charging mode. The 2,550 mAh battery is less powerful than the one in the S5, but the processor is more efficient and you should expect 16 to 18 hours from a charge.Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6S comparison: early verdict
At the moment we’re comparing a list of leaks with a real product, so picking a winner would hardly be fair. That said, we’re pretty sure that the iPhone 6S will be an evolutionary step: Force Touch could be interesting and the combination of a faster processor and double the RAM is appealing, but if the iPhone 6 didn’t win you over then the iPhone 6S probably won’t either. It’s a bit like a football team you don’t support hiring a really talented player: you can admire the talent, but you’re not likely to suddenly switch sides.
What do you think? Has Samsung pulled ahead with the Galaxy S6?