Apple and Samsung have always been partners in the high-end smartphone business, the latter supplying displays, processors and other electronic parts to the former, but they are rivals as well in the same area. Back in the day, when smartphones first appeared, the battle was between Apple’s iPhone, Samsung’s Galaxy line of phones and few others and this dogfight is still going on.
At the end of last year Apple unveiled its eighth generation of smartphones, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and a few weeks ago, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung presented the Galaxy S6 to the world.
Welcome to a short comparison between the two followed by my personal advice about what phone really deserves your pocket this year.
From a design standpoint there’s not a whole lot to say about the iPhone; Apple carries on its superb design language with a stunning all-metal construction and a superb 4,7” Retina HD screen with a resolution of 1334×750 pixels. The phone feels sleek in the hand, although a little bit slippery (which might make you think about getting a case). On the Samsung side, the S6 feels incredibly smooth. Samsung stepped up its game this year with a metal and glass build that reminds a lot of the iPhone 4 and 4s. The array of ports on the bottom makes it very reminiscent of the iPhone 6 too. The front of the device sports a beautiful 5,1” display with a stunning resolution of 2560×1440 (that is QuadHD): it is incredibly sharp and watching YouTube videos in 1440p is an absolute joy. You can definitely pick up every single detail in your pictures or videos.
Let’s talk specs now: the iPhone is powered by the in-house made Apple A8 processor working together with the M8 coprocessor to better track your movements, it has the usual 1 GB of RAM and comes in 16, 64 or 128 GB flavours. On the back of the phone we can find an 8 megapixel sensor which is capable of shooting 1080p footage at 60 fps and up to 720p at 120 fps for your slow motion camera performances.
The Galaxy S6, on the other side, has the Samsung made octa-core Exynos 7420 which is made of two quad-core chips clocked at 2,1 and 1,5 GHz for an outstanding performance. It is coupled with 3 GB of RAM, and comes in two variants, a 32 and a 64 GB one. The Galaxy S6 sports a new 16 MP sensor which can shoot up to 4K UHD video. It has optical image stabilization (which the iPhone lacks) for keeping your footage still.
As for software, the iPhone 6 comes with iOS 8 and it’s no big surprise for everyone who has used iOS in the past years. It’s simple, smooth and very intuitive. You have your home screens with all of your apps arranged from top to bottom, your Control Center swiping up from the bottom and your Notification Center swiping down from the top. iOS 8 brought no huge change to the iOS platform, which was graphically revolutionised with iOS 7; it focused pretty much on software improvements and bug fixes, even if this release has been tagged as one of the buggiest in the iOS release history.
On the other hand, the Galaxy S6 comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box which is a huge upgrade over 4.4 KitKat both in terms of graphics and features: it’s more stable, smooth and has beautiful animations when opening and closing apps. I’ve never been a huge fan of TouchWiz (which is Samsung’s own proprietary skin on top of Android), mainly because of its not so smooth performance and lag, but even in the software department Samsung has stepped up its game this year. TouchWiz got more fluid, simple and comes with less bloatware than previous years. The results are a simpler experience and less lag.
Both cameras in these two phones are phenomenal; even if the iPhone has half the resolution of the S6’s sensor, colors pop in both cases, but, of course, you’ll be able to crop in much more easily into the pictures taken with the S6. In the video department shooting in 4K with the S6 is beyond awesome, even if OIS is disabled for this resolution. Color accuracy and smoothness are great on the iPhone as well, so, in conclusion, your choice for the camera should be based, in my opinion, just on the resolution.
In conclusion, which phone should you get considering that both of them are extremely valid alternatives and come in at around the same price?
If you like Android, want a bigger display and a stunning resolution on your display, choose the S6: it’s an awesome phone and the build quality this year is absolutely magic for the Samsung flagship.
But, and this is my personal opinion, if you are a lot in the Apple ecosystem (Continuity between iOS devices and Mac computers is awesome), value smoothness, simplicity and performance more than specs alone you might want to consider Apple’s iPhone instead…
ANTONIO DONATELLO DE NICOLA