March 1, 2015
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Whether imagined or real, the rivalry between Apple and Samsung is almost legendary. And nothing brings this rivalry to the fore more than a new flagship release from either company. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were launched in September 2014, and now Samsung has unveiled its latest creation, the Samsung Galaxy S6. But how does it compare with the iPhone? Let’s find out in our quick look at the Samsung Galaxy S6 vs the iPhone 6.

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Samsung has been promising a big upgrade to its design language for a long time now, and with this latest iteration, it looks like Samsung has finally delivered. Beginning with the shift in the choice of material, the Galaxy S6 now features a metallic frame, a concept introduced with the Galaxy Alpha and continued with the Note 4, and a glass back. Now, with its new design, the Galaxy S6 has become more like the iPhone 6, in that it also features a non-removable battery. This is something which we have seen on other Samsung devices like the Galaxy A series, and considering how loved the replaceable battery option was, this change for sure won’t be to everyone’s liking.

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However, the Galaxy S6 isn’t such a radical departure of Samsung’s standard design language that you can’t tell it is a Samsung. Previous design elements are still seen throughout, including the tactile home button up front, with an  integrated fingerprint scanner, now updated to a touch type version, and the inclusion of a heart rate monitor found next to the camera module.

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Apple continues its signature style with its unibody metal design as well. On the front, the single home button with integrated finger scanner, also touch type, make a return. The sides and edges have a bit more of a curve to them this time around, akin to the first iPhone, and as always, the iPhone continues to be one of the thinnest flagship smartphones around, resulting in a sleek body.

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As far as similarities between the device? While both are premium devices with similarly placed buttons, ports, headphone jacks, and speakers, and even the fact that the camera module on both devices protrude a little bit, both phones take different approaches when it comes to pushing aesthetics to the next level. For Apple, metallic unibody is the name of the game, while Samsung keeps its traditional design language, while giving it a healthy dose of premium materials.

All said and done, Apple has always been known for its designs, and now, Samsung has finally created a flagship with a design language and material choice that stands true to its high-end nature.

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The big news with the latest iPhones was the move to larger displays. The iPhone 6 comes with a 4.7-inch IPS LCD display, with a resolution of 1334 x 750, resulting in a pixel density of 326 ppi. For those wanting an even bigger display, Apple offers the iPhone 6 Plus with its 5.5-inch Full HD screen.

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Samsung’s offering is in between the two iPhone 6 models. At 5.1-inches, the Galaxy S6 has the same display size as the Galaxy S5. However, Samsung has moved on from Full HD and has used a Quad HD display, with a 2560 x 1440 resolution, resulting in a massive pixel density of 575 ppi.

Super AMOLED continues to offer what we love about it, with deep blacks, and vibrant colors that look even more vivid on this high resolution display. Both displays are impressive performers, and while the need for such high resolutions and pixel counts are still being debated, the difference is certainly noticeable when close up.

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As always, a by the numbers look isn’t fair when comparing devices from these two different ecosystems. That said, the iPhone 6 features an A8 chip, which comprises of a dual-core processor clocked at 1.4 GHz, and is backed by 1 GB of RAM. On the other hand, the Galaxy S6 packs one of the best processor packages available on any smartphone, the octa-core Exynos 7420, which is paired with 3GB RAM. This SoC and RAM combination should offer the fantastic performance we all expect, and a more streamlined version Touchwiz will help improve the speed even more.

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Despite the significant difference on paper, both processing packages do a great job in handling their respective experiences, and fans of either should have little to complain about. The iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S6 are both available in 32, 64, and 128 GB flavors. In a big change of stance for the Galaxy S family, the Galaxy S6 has no microSD slot, just like Apple’s iPhone 6, and something that will leave more than a few fans disappointed.

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In other hardware, the both the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S6 feature touch type fingerprint scanners that are integrated into their respective home buttons. While this was the standard with the iPhone since its introduction in the previous generation, in the case of the Galaxy S6, the move to this type of scanner is certainly a step up from the sometimes difficult to use swipe scanner found with the Galaxy S5. Making its way over from the Galaxy S5 is the heart rate monitor, but a feature that will surely be missed is the IP67 rating for protection against dust and water that the predecessor of the Galaxy S6 boasted.

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Apple stays away from the MP race that dominates the Android world. The iPhone 6 features an 8 MP rear shooter, the same as its predecessor, but with some improvements across the board, a better sensor, an auto focus system called Focus Pixels, and a software-based image stabilization system. Video gets a boost too, with the capability of capturing 240 fps slow motion video at 720p. The front-facing camera has a F/2.2 lens, and offers a burst mode and HDR video.

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The Galaxy S6 on the other hand packs a 16MP camera with OIS, similar to what is found with the Galaxy Note 4, though with a few extra software features thrown in. These changes include a new auto HDR mode, tracking autofocus that tracks moving objects like kids in a shot, and a double tap on the home button feature that launches up the camera in 0.7 seconds. Turning to the front, you’ll find a 5MP f 1.9 90 degree wide angle camera, great for all you selfie lovers out there.

Apple’s prowess in the smartphone camera department is well known, but Samsung is no slouch either, and while more in-depth testing is required, the Galaxy S6 will certainly offer a camera experience similar to or better than the Note 4.

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iOS 8 remains aesthetically similar to iOS 7, but introduces quite a few new features, like Apple Pay – to take advantage of the NFC chip, improvements to iCloud, a new Health app, improved notifications, and the ability to use third-party keyboards. You also get a one-handed mode, which is probably more useful on the larger sibling.

The need for the hour with Samsung devices wasn’t just to do with design and build quality, but also to do with the Touchwiz software experience. The good news is that Samsung has finally streamlined that experience as well. While still bright and colorful, the OS isn’t as bloated as previous generations with fewer Samsung apps installed by default. While Touchwiz largely looks the same as before, aside from a little debloating, Lollipop does bring a few aesthetic changes with regards to the recent apps/overview screen, the notification dropdown, and settings menus.

 iPhone 6Samsung Galaxy S6
Display4.7-inch IPS LCD
1334 x 750 resolution, 326 ppi
5.1-inch Super AMOLED
2560 x 1440 resolution, 577 ppi
Processor1.4 GHz dual-core Apple A8Exynos 7420
RAM1 GB3 GB
Storage32/64/128 GB32/64/128 GB
Camera8 MP rear camera
1.2 MP front-facing camera
16 MP rear camera with OIS
5 MP front-facing camera with 90 degree wide angle lens
ConnectivityWiFi a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.0, NFC (Apple Pay only), GPS+GLONASS
WiFi a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, GPS+GLONASS
Networks3G/4G LTELTE cat 6 300/50
Battery1,810 mAh2,550 mAh
Fast charging
WPC and PMA-compatible wireless charging
SoftwareiOS 8Android 5.0 Lollipop
Dimensions138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm
129 grams
143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm
138 grams
ColorsSpace gray, silver, goldBlack, white, gold, blue

One good thing about competition (i.e. rivalry) is that it forces all involved to up their game. The iPhone has consistently set a standard for others not just to attain, but to surpass, and it looks like the Samsung Galaxy S6 might have done just that. While both companies will always have their fans, one thing is for sure, this is the best Galaxy S phone that Samsung has ever released.

Joshua Vergara
Writer, blogger, and videographer - Josh is a former support technician that learned much about technology by fixing everyone else's. On the side, he wrote and performed spoken word, maintained his own personal blogs, and began his own video podcast. Now, he's here at Android Authority looking to put it all together!
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