Do we have a good one for you today – the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were announced today and we wanted to take a quick look at the new competition for the Android smartphone market. We will take a look at the some older standbys – the Nexus 6 and HTC One M9 – and a few newer models, such as the LG G4, the Moto X (2015), the OnePlus 2 and finally, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. Yes, that is quite an array of devices and we know that the Nexus 6 is getting outdated, as well as the HTC One M9, but they are what is out there to purchase, so we are including them as well – but not to worry as they hold their own.
iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
Let us first talk a little bit about the new models from Apple and what exciting new features they will throw at the Android community. If we gauge the enthusiasm based on what the USA Today said, and I quote, “Apple’s iPhone 6s is already a bore,” and “stock Shares of Apple have fallen 6.2% in the 30 days prior to Wednesday’s widely anticipated announcement of the iPhone 6S.”
It seems that Apple has made a few incremental changes – the usual faster processor and they finally increased the RAM to 2GB and added 4MP to the camera to bring it up to 12MP and the usual hardware and software tweaks. However, for the most part, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will look about the same externally, although they took a clue from what Samsung did on its Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 and to avoid another ‘bendgate,’ increased the aluminum strength from 6000 Series to 7000 Series.
The most important upgrades are inside and one of the most important upgrades is their new 3D Touch or Force Touch Display. This is also present on their Apple Watch and is a nice way to avoid going through multiple screens – simply press harder on the display to jump to other screens. For instance, you look for a restaurant under Maps and when you find it, just press harder on the display and Maps will immediately bring up turn-by-turn instructions – a slick way to jump between screens…but doesn’t Android already allow you to press harder on the display to cut, paste, delete, move things about?
Compared to the Android Models
Let us start at the outside and work our way in, so we will start with build quality – the iPhone 6s/6s Plus have impeccable build quality, however, the new Samsung Galaxy Note 5, the HTC One M9 and OnePlus 2 have nothing to be ashamed of and hold up quite nicely in quality. Even the LG G4, Nexus 6 and new Moto X (2015) are built solid and with the G4’s slightly curved body and the curved backs of the Nexus 6 and Moto X are much more interesting than the iPhone design.
The display of the new iPhone 6s and its 4.7-inch display and the 6s Plus and its 5.5-inch display have kept their 326 pixels-per-inch (PPI) and 401 PPI, respectively. Apple has stayed with merely a 720p (HD) display on the iPhone 6s and only 1080p (FHD) on the iPhone 6s Plus…so no QHD this year. The Note 5 has about 515 PPI on its 5.7-inch display, the LG G4 has 538 PPI on its 5.5-inch display, the Nexus 6 has 493 PPI on its 5.96-inch display, the Moto X has 520 PPI on its 5.7-inch display, the HTC One M9 has 441 PPI on its 5.0-inch display and finally, the OnePlus 2 has 401 PPI on its 5.5-inch display. So you can see that even the OnePlus 2 has the same amount of PPI as the iPhone 6s Plus while the other models have considerably more resolution. The Galaxy Note 5’s display was rated the best display in the world by DisplayMate.
Starting with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus – here there was a big upgrade to the 64-bit A9X processor – the same chip in the iPad Pro – which should boost up its speed considerably from its previous A8 processor. The Note 5 uses Samsung’s own 64-bit Exynos octa-core processor that allows the device to fly through its tasks. The OnePlus 2 uses the 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor. The HTC One M9 uses the 64-bit Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor. The Moto X uses a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor and the LG G4 also grabbed the 64-bit Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor. The little older Nexus 6 uses a 32-bit Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor.
Apple made a bold move and increased its RAM from 1GB to an awesome 2GBs – if I sound sarcastic, it is because I am. The Galaxy Note 5 sports 4GB of DDR4 RAM, the OnePlus 2 has 4GB of RAM, the LG G4 has 3GB of RAM, the Nexus 6 has 3GB of RAM, the Moto X has 3GB of RAM, and the HTC One M9 has 3GB of RAM. All of the Android devices have more RAM than the iPhone 6s/6sPlus, however, it must be said that 2GB is a lot of RAM for a smartphone that is not asked to multitask or use multiple windows on one display…the less you can do the less ‘horsepower’ you need.
Apple has still stuck with their usual three sizes of flash memory 16GB/64GB/128GB – why they have not bumped that up from 16GB to 32GB is beyond our comprehension. The Note 5 has 32GB and 64GB options, but uses a much faster UFS 2.0 memory. The OnePlus 2 has 64GB and the Nexus 6 offers 32GB or 64GB…and just like the iPhone, those models do not offer any room for expansion. The HTC One M9 comes with 32GB of storage, the LG G4 has 32GB and the Moto X has a choice of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB – however, all of those models offer a means to expand the internal storage via a built-in microSD card slot.
To give them their due, Apple iPhones have always been a great point-and-shoot smartphone, and they did this all with only an 8MP sensor, and they had a dismal 1.2MP front-facing camera (FFC). A funny thing happened over the past two years – the Android devices, especially the LG G4, Sony’s Xperia series and the Galaxy Note 5 have surpassed the iPhone in picture taking. Not only do they offer a better point-and-shoot picture, but the camera software on the top Android smartphones offers more options and the ability to shoot manually and adjust the settings to your liking.
The new iPhone 6s/6s Plus now use a 12mp main camera sensor and a 5MP sensor for the FFC. They use a dual-tone LED flash and phase detection autofocus, with OIS reserved for the 6s Plus model. The Note 5 uses a 16MP ISOCELL sensor, with LED Flash, autofocus, a large f/1.9 aperture and OIS for its main camera and a 5MP wide-angle and f/1.9 aperture. The new Moto X uses a 21MP main shooter and a 5MP FFC and the HTC One M9 uses a 20MP sensor for the main camera and a 4MP UltraPixel lens for the FFC. The LG G4 uses a 16MP sensor with laser autofocus, dual-LED flash, OIS and a f/1.8 aperture for the main camera and a large 8MP sensor for its FFC. The OnePlus 2 uses a 13MP sensor for the main camera along with laser autofocus and a 5MP shooter for the FFC. The Nexus 6 has a 13MP main camera and a smaller 2MP FFC for its selfies and video chatting.
When it comes to batteries, Apple has never really fared too well in this department and from what we can tell so far (Apple does not like to give out battery sizes) the iPhone 6s is keeping its 1810mAh size and the iPhone 6s Plus is retaining the 2910mAh battery. However, there are reports that the iPhone 6s may only have a 1715mAh battery and the iPhone 6s Plus may drop to 2750mAh – either way, they are fairly small. They are non-removable and Apple still does not offer wireless charging. The Galaxy Note 5 has a 3000mAh non-removable battery and offers quick wireless charging. The OnePlus 2 has a large 3300mAh non-removable battery and the Nexus 6 has a large 3220mAh non-removable battery and offers wireless charging. The HTC One M9 has a 2840mAh non-removable battery and the Moto X has a 3000mAh non-removable battery with wireless charging. Finally, the LG G4 has a 3000mAh removable battery and optional wireless charging.
To wrap this all up I will not go into great detail about what all of these devices have and do not have. I just need to point out that all of these devices have NFC capabilities except the OnePlus 2. We also need to point out that Apple’s NFC is only good for Apple Pay and nothing else. The iPhones, Galaxy Note 5 and OnePlus 2 all have fingerprint sensors, although the OnePlus 2’s can only be used to unlock the phone.
The Galaxy Note 5 is the only device that comes with an S-Pen and great productivity software that takes advantage of that pen. It truly is a phablet – part phone-like and part-tablet like. The Note 5 and the LG G4 make an easy time to use multiple screens and multitasking…this cannot be done on the iPhone.
Our main purpose here was to look at the new features and improvements Apple included on the iPhone 6s/6s Plus and how they compare to what is already being used in the Android kingdom, and we are happy to report that the new iPhone does not have anything better than the Android offerings. A faster processor, 2GB of RAM and camera improvements – nothing we haven’t seen on the Android flagships. Their biggest news is the new Touch Force called “3D Touch Display.” Already we see Apple is luring buyers in with the misleading words “3D,” as if the display is somehow 3D when all it means is that if you press down on the screen it will actually do something. Android has already had this capability for doing many functions.
The long and the short of it is – there is nothing on the iPhone 6s/6s Plus that should lure an Android user away from our more customizable and free environment. If you already use an iPhone 5s and still want to stay in Apple’s strict ecosystem, then it would certainly be worth your while to upgrade to the iPhone 6s, but if you have an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, you might want to think twice about whether it is worth the upgrade this year.