Android manufacturers have been releasing new devices all summer long, but there's been one other major smartphone player that has, until now, been watching from the sidelines. Apple has finally come to play , revealing details of the iPhone 6S and 6S+, which the American manufacturer hopes will outshine the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+. These are two of the biggest contenders in the entire smartphone world, but which comes out on top? Find out in our Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ vs iPhone 6S Plus comparison.
There's no curved screen, no customizable design, no removable parts and nearly no new design features on the new iPhone; it's exactly the same as the iPhone 6. Its thin body is wrapped in a metal frame and sealed by two scratch-resistant opaque glass panels. The home button is, as always, located directly below the display and also acts a fingerprint reader, while the volume keys remain on the right-hand side along with a switch that alters the notification mode. The power button is on the opposite side, just above the SIM card slot.
In contrast, Samsung has made several major changes to its most recent releases, which see it edging closer towards Apple's philosophy by offering top-end design but withdrawing the ability to expand the memory or remove the battery.
One recent design leap, possibly devised to attract the attention of Apple users, was Samsung's introduction of the curved screen, alongside a host of other innovative features. The S6 Edge Plus continues this incremental progression by adding a fingerprint reader on the front panel, moving the volume keys to the left side and the power button to the right.
iPhone 6S Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+: Display
Apple hasn't yet embraced the transition from smartphone to phablet and 6S Plus keeps the display at 5.5 inches, offering a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080. This will mean images should be bright, sharp and well-balanced, just as they are on the iPhone 6 Plus.
One long-awaited feature does make its debut on the 6S Plus – Force Touch technology, initially trialed on the Apple Watch. It means the phone can establish the amount of pressure exerted on the screen, allowing you to perform two functions (such as increasing volume and skipping a track) at the same time. It's worth noting though that Apple were actually beaten to the punch here; Huawei unveiled the same technology on its Mate S at IFA 2015.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ offers a considerably bigger screen (5.7 inches) and an impressive resolution of 2,560 x 1,140 pixels QHD. Samsung doesn't yet offer Force Touch but the Edge 6+ display is curved on both sides, making it both alluring and functional, particularly with dedicated functions such as People Edge and Apps Edge.
iPhone 6S Plus + vs Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+: Software
It's been out for less than a month, so the Galaxy S6 Edge+ runs the latest version of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, supported by an improved TouchWiz interface with smoother and more innovative features. Samsung has also promised that the phone will be upgraded to Android Marshmallow as soon as possible, so presumably by the end of this year.
The Edge functions also let you select up to five contacts and assign them colors that flash up when they are calling. You can also save five apps that can be easily accessed through the edges of the phone. The smartphone also offers voice and gesture commands, a heart rate monitor and extensive personalization options.
The new iPhone 6S+ will be the first to run iOS 9, which is pretty similar to its predecessor but has a different and more eye-catching font. There have been several improvements to Siri (Apple's voice activated technology), so the in-phone assistant can now handle calendars, contacts and third party applications better.
Another interesting upgrade is to be found in Notes. The updated version lets you insert photos, drawings and links to notes. Apple Maps has also had an overhaul and the News app works so well it puts Flipboard in the shade.
While both smartphones have highly functional user experiences, Android does retain the significant advantage of being an open source and fully customizable platform.
iPhone 6S Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus: Performance
The supersized Samsung is powered by a Exynoss 7420 processor and is well supported by 4 GB of RAM, while the latest update to Android Lollipop means the phone performs extremely well.
We've had the opportunity to test this phone pretty thoroughly now – using heavy apps, testing the graphics card with high definition games and using all the advanced features – and there's no doubt that this is the real deal in performance terms.
Apple's latest creation has a 64-bit A9 processor powered by 1 GB of RAM, quite a substantial drop in specifications compared with the Samsung. But, as always, Apple has done an excellent job of optimizing its system. However, we haven't had a chance to properly test the iPhone 6S+, and only time will tell how smoothly it runs.
iPhone 6S Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+: Camera
The camera on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is unrivalled in the market. The 16 MP (back) and 5 MP (front) cameras don't sound all that flash, but our tests have shown that they produce stunning results, whether inside or out, with artificial or natural light, with and without flash. The photos we took were always sharp, had accurate color representation and were consistently above the level you might expect from the specifications.
Apple has always done pretty well in photography terms too, although it's never quite been at the top of the class. We don't know a huge amount about the camera on the 6S Plus just yet but we understand the main camera will offer 12 MP. Will that be enough to compete with the Edge 6+?
iPhone 6S+ vs Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+: Battery
Apple is notoriously evasive about the size of its iPhone batteries. As such, it's nearly always the last information to leak and is often tucked away in the small print upon release. Therefore we can only assume that, like its predecessor, the iPhone 6S+ should make it though the day but probably won't be able to make it 24 hours without a charge.
Thanks largely to its impressive but power-hungry display, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ shares battery problems with its rival despite a battery capacity of 3,000 mAh. However, its fast charging feature does mean you can get the battery up to 50 percent again with just 35 minutes.
iPhone 6S Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+: Price
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ has two different prices, with the 32 GB version coming in at around US$779 mark and the 64 GB version setting you back around $859, depending on where you buy it. The iPhone 6S+ has three price levels; the 32, 64 and 128 GB versions are expected to retail at €799, €899 and €999 (US$894, $1,005 and $1,117) respectively.
iPhone 6S Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+: Conclusion
So which should you buy – the iPhone 6S Plus or the Galaxy S6 Edge+? There are several things to consider. Both phones have a great design and we don't think either would disappoint, but the S6 Edge+ has a unique design among smartphones of all platforms – those curved edges. But on the display front, the iPhone 6S Plus will come with Force Touch, meaning its display can sense more inputs and perform tasks that the Edge+ can't.
Looking at sheer performance, the S6 Edge+ is clearly better equipped. It has more RAM and more power overall, meaning that, on paper at least, you should choose Samsung's offering if specs matter to you. Same goes for the camera – going on the numbers, it produces better images.
With not much between these devices in terms of price, it might come down to a platform choice for you. Do you want to be within the Apple ecosystem, using Apple Music and the App Store? Or do you prefer what Google and the manufacturers of hardware running Android can provide, such as the Play Store and customized interfaces? That could help you decide. But objectively speaking – and before we get to use the iPhone 6S Plus, we'd suggest that the S6 Edge+ is the more compelling choice overall.