I wasn’t over the moon with the Galaxy S6, Samsung's latest phone, when I first got it back in March.
I dislike the software layers, or “skins,” that Android phone manufacturers like Samsung, LG, and HTC add to their phones, so I normally opt for Google’s Nexus phones that run the "pure" version of Android.
The iPhone 6 is a fantastic phone and it performed admirably when I tried it out for a couple weeks. But I stuck with the Samsung Galaxy S6 because it is superior in three key areas that you can't argue against: Call quality, display sharpness, and photos.
I also enjoy Android more than Apple's iOS software because it allows for more customization, but that's a matter of personal preference.
Here's why I went back to the Galaxy S6.
The screen is simply stunning.
After a week and a half of using the iPhone 6, I was just about set on keeping it, and I was going to sell the S6.
But after picking up the S6 again to reset it to its factory settings, I noticed how its display was brighter, more colorful, and sharper than the iPhone 6. Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone 6 has a sharp display too, but the S6’s is brilliant.
At 5 inches, I prefer the S6's slightly larger display compared to the iPhone’s 4.7-inch display, and the fact that the S6 isn't that much bigger in my hand is a huge plus. Samsung achieved this by making the top and bottom bezels (borders surrounding the screen) on the S6 smaller than the iPhone 6's.
Hypnotized by the S6's larger, sharper display, I switched the SIM card from the iPhone to the Galaxy, just to make sure I wasn’t making a mistake.
From there, my findings would snowball to the conclusion that iPhones still have no place in my pocket.
Calls are clearer.
I received a call soon after making the SIM card switch and immediately noticed the voice coming through the S6's earpiece was far clearer and crisper than the iPhone’s, which still sounds fine, but now sounds relatively muddy and hollow to me.
Photos are look better
The next revelation came when I went to my Google Photos account from my computer to gather pictures I had taken with both the iPhone and Galaxy.
Both phones take exceptional photos, but the iPhone takes pictures in a 4:3 aspect ratio, which means they have a somewhat squat, narrower field of view compared to the Galaxy’s camera, which takes pictures in a 16:9 ratio. It could be said that what the iPhone lacks in field of view it makes up with slightly taller photos that capture more vertical detail, but unless you have an old 4:3 monitor or TV, you’re going see black borders on either side of the picture that could have been showing you more detail of a subject's surroundings.
Check out the difference between the iPhone's 4:3 and the Galaxy S6's 16:9 aspect ratios on my computer's screen below.
Samsung Galaxy S6:
Taking photos on the S6 was also a better experience, as its camera has built-in optical image stabilization (OIS) that reduces camera shake to prevent blurry images. Though the iPhone 6 doesn’t have OIS (only the iPhone 6 Plus does), I didn’t experience blurry images, but I’d still rather go for the camera with built-in OIS for peace of mind.
Android had something to do with it, but it wasn't everything.
When it comes to operating systems, I also have a general preference towards Android, but I would have been totally happy with an iPhone if it equaled or surpassed the S6's attributes.
One of the reasons why I slightly prefer Android is that it lets me customize the way my icons look and where I place them on my home screens. For example, I’ve placed all my icons towards the bottom of my home screen simply because I prefer having them there, and I’ve made all my icons white because I can and I think it looks good. Then there are the widgets like the minimal clock in the image below.
And if I wanted to, I could go in deep and install pure Android on the Galaxy S6 to make it run like a Nexus device, but that requires some tinkering and special know-how.
I also find the way Android handles notifications is much better than in iOS. For example, multiple email notifications will be grouped together in Android's lock screen or notification shade, which leaves enough room for other notifications from other apps to be visible in a small amount of space. And I can swipe away the entire grouping to dismiss the notification, too.
On the iPhone's lock screen, I was often faced with an absurdly long scrollable list of individual emails and other notifications, and each individual notification needed a swipe followed by a tap on the small "X" to be dismissed.
At the end of the day, both iOS and Android have their own pros and cons that essentially leaves it up to the users to decide which one works best for them.
However, for its better call quality, larger and sharper screen, and better camera, the Galaxy S6 is definitively the better smartphone.