iPhone vs Galaxy S. Galaxy S vs iPhone. It’s a battle that has been raging since 2010, though it really only started to heat up with the release of the Galaxy S3 in 2012. These two lines of phones have often represented the peak of the smartphone industry, not because they are always the “best” phone available, but because of their popularity among consumers. This hasn’t changed in recent history, as both the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S6 have shattered sales records. With each phone being as popular as they are, which should you buy?
In this article, I’m going to compare these two phones in a number of ways, and in the process you will hopefully get a better idea of which phone will suit you better. Let’s jump right in.
Both the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6 are beautiful devices. Indeed, they both seem to draw on similar design motifs (I doubt that was an accident on Samsung’s part). The main difference between each is that the S6 uses a glass back, not unlike the iPhone 4 or 4S, while the 6 is encased in aluminum. Your mileage may vary, but some might not like the smudges and potential for shattering associated with the S6’s glass backing.
All in all though, the 6 is far more of a departure from previous designs than the S6 is. Comparing it to the iPhone 5S, the 6 is nearly unrecognizable, whereas the S6 looks very much like previous iterations when looking at it head on. That’s not a bad thing though, as there was nothing inherently wrong with Samsung’s design. They just had to spruce it up a bit with higher quality materials, which they accomplished with the S6.
Each device has a prominent home button that comes equipped with an advanced fingerprint scanner (Samsung greatly improved upon the technology used in the S5’s home button). While many won’t like how much space they take up, there’s no denying how useful they are.
The Galaxy S6 also comes in another variant, dubbed the S6 “Edge.” The only difference is that he screen bends around the sides of the device’s chassis, giving it a sleeker and more unique look. There isn’t much practical use for it yet, but it sure does look amazing (though it will set you back another $100).
What’s funny about the designs of these phones is that both Apple and Samsung seem to have pulled a page out of each other’s books. Apple increased the screen size of their device, while Samsung improved upon build quality. Both were trying to address perceived deficiencies, and I think that they each accomplished what they set out to do in that department.
Both phones are fairly similar in size. The S6 is slightly larger, but it also comes with a bigger screen (5.1″ vs 4.7″ on the iPhone). The iPhone is a tiny bit thinner than the S6, not including the camera bulge on either one.
Either way, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem carrying either phone around in your pocket or purse. Additionally, the screens on each phone are large enough for pretty much anything you would want to do, including reading and watching videos.
The displays on each phone are magnificent, though the Galaxy S6 just might “edge” the iPhone out in this department. Not only is it slightly larger, but its resolution is much better. We’re talking 2560 x 1440 pixels for the S6’s screen versus a mere 1334 x 750 pixels for the iPhone 6. Having played around with both, there’s not really as much of a difference as the numbers would suggest. But there is a difference. The flip side to this is that having a lower resolution means the iPhone 6 won’t have to work as hard to power certain apps and games, which might mean greater battery life and overall longevity down the road.
I won’t get too technical on you here, as numbers really don’t tell you much when it comes to smartphone performance. Here are the essentials: the S6 comes with an eight-core processor and 3GB of ram, while the iPhone 6 comes with a dual-core processor and 1GB of ram. The S6 wins handily in certain benchmarks like Geekbench 3, but falls short in tests that measure browser speed. When it comes to the actual fluidity of the device, and overall user experience, the iPhone wins out (though just barely).
Samsung’s TouchWiz software continues to hold back the S6, as despite its powerful hardware it suffers from the occasional stutter or freeze that you won’t find on an iPhone. They do deserve some credit though, as the S6 runs far smoother than previous Galaxy S phones.
That said, power users should probably opt for the Galaxy S6. If you are tech savvy, you’ll be able to find ways to get the most out of that device’s impressive technical capabilities. Though the iPhone might “feel” smoother, it’s still outclassed from a hardware perspective.
You’ll have to decide on your priorities yourself. Those who want a smooth, streamlined experience should probably pick the iPhone. Those who want more raw power and potential for customization should opt for the S6.
Battery Life and Overall Longevity
Both of these phones are top-of-the-line right now, but in just a few months that will no longer be the case. Which of these can you rely upon to get you through the next few years?
They each come with non-removable batteries, meaning you need to take care of the one you have so that it lasts the entirety of the time you have the device. Often times, batteries begin to lose their charge over the course of a two year contract, and if they aren’t replaced, you’ll notice. Since the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6 both have sealed batteries, you’re going to see degrading battery performance no matter which you choose.
Indeed, both the S6 and iPhone 6 have average to poor battery life as it is. The S6 actually has a smaller battery than its predecessor, and Apple opted to slim its device down rather than give it more juice to work with. No matter which you choose, you’ll be forced to charge once or maybe even twice a day, depending on use.
What about software updates? There’s no question that Apple is better about supporting their older devices. Any iPhone 6 user should expect to get iOS updates all the up until they hit iOS 11, at the very least. That’s about three years of support, which is better than what most Android phones offer.
But is that a good thing? Often times, iOS updates will hurt your older phone more than they help, leading to battery drain and performance slowdowns. So even if the Galaxy S6 isn’t supported by software updates for as long as the iPhone 6 is, it probably won’t matter since installing new software on old hardware has diminishing returns anyways.
Bottom line is that you can safely assume each of these devices will last you through your two year contract, and then some. Beyond that, it’s your choice if you want to upgrade (I doubt smartphones will be all that different in 2016, so it might just be better to save your money and wait a bit longer…)
The Galaxy S6 is unquestionably the better value right now. At $199 on contract, it’s the same price as the iPhone 6, while being around six months newer. Additionally, the entry level version of the S6 comes with 32GB of storage as opposed to 16GB on the iPhone, meaning you’re getting more for your dollar.
If you are fully invested into the iOS ecosystem, then the iPhone would likely be the better choice. For anyone not tied to a particular operating system though, the S6 will give you more for your money.
You really can’t go wrong with either of these phones. Both are beautifully crafted devices with enough computing power to get you through the next several years. In a way, Apple and Samsung drew upon each other’s strengths with these two phones. The iPhone 6’s enlarged screen size is clearly a nod to the success of the Galaxy S line, and the S6’s immaculate build quality is undoubtedly a nod to the success of iPhones.
This can only mean good things for you, the consumer. Indeed, the success of both of these phones has me excited for what will be released in the years to come. In just a few short months, we’ll see how Apple responds to the S6 when they release the iPhone 6S. (Are these names getting confusing or is it just me?)
To learn more about these phones from their manufacturers, and to purchase one if you so choose, check out these links:
Do you own an iPhone 6 or Galaxy S6? What are your thoughts on this subject? Share your comments below!
Featured photo credit: Samsung Galaxy S6/ Maurizio Pesce via flickr.com