September 9, 2014
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iphone-family

September isn’t even half-way through and it’s already been an awesome month for mobile technology. Last week saw the announcement of the Xperia Z3, Note 4 and new Moto X and now Apple has unveiled the latest members of the iPhone family. While Android and iOS are two very different animals targeted at different kinds of users, it’s still interesting to see how the latest from Cupertino compares to the greatest Android handsets on offer, especially considering the fact that Apple has finally closed the display size gap.

Obviously on-paper hardware comparisons only give us one side of the story, but it’s still a nice way to get a glance at how the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus stand when compared to the Android camp. For this comparison, we are comparing the biggest and most well-known Android offerings against Apple’s latest. Due to its sheer popularity (notoriety?) we’ve also included OnePlus’ self-described flagship killer and there’s also the Nexus 5, as it is currently the ‘face’ of stock Android.

Display

 Display (inches)ResolutionPPIDisplay Type
iPhone 6 4.71334x750326LCD
iPhone 6 Plus5.51080 x 1920401LCD
Note 45.72560x1440515AMOLED
Galaxy S55.11920x1080432AMOLED
LG G35.52560x1440538LCD
HTC One M851920x1080441LCD
New Moto X5.21080 x 1920424AMOLED
Sony Xperia Z35.21920x1080424LCD
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact5.21920x1080424LCD
OnePlus One5.51080 x 1920401LTPS LCD
LG Nexus 54.951920x1080445LCD

Despite Apple’s best efforts to convince folks its retina standards and tiny displays are good enough for their phones, we live in an age of massive displays with 1080p resolutions, or even QHD in the case of newer devices like the Note 4 and LG G3. While the iPhone 6 still doesn’t compete in the same display league as its competition, the new iPhone does close the gap a bit more this time around. The iPhone 6 packs a 4.7-inch display, a .7-inch jump from its predecessor and just a little smaller than the 5 to 5.2-inch standard we see with Android flagships these days.

landscape-iphone

Turning to the resolution, the iPhone 6 comes in dead last when compared to recent Android flagships thanks to its less-than-impressive 1334×750 resolution which brings 326 PPI (same as iPhone 5S). In comparison, most Android flagships range between 401 – 538 ppi.

As for the iPhone 6 Plus? This 5.5-inch monster is more akin to what we find in the Android camp, particularly so-called phablets like the Note 4. Resolution wise, there’s also a jump to 1080p, offering 401ppi, which more comfortably fits in the range you’d expect from an Android device — even if it’s on the lower-end of the scale.

CPU and GPU

 SoCCPU Speed (MHz)CPU CoresGPURAM (GB)
iPhone 6A8 CPU140021
iPhone 6 PlusA8140021
Samsung Galaxy Note 4Snapdragon 80527004Adreno 4203
Samsung Galaxy S5Snapdragon 80125004Adreno 3302
LG G3Snapdragon 80125004Adreno 3302 or 3
HTC One (M8)Snapdragon 80123004Adreno 3302
New Moto XSnapdragon 80125004Adreno 3302
Sony Xperia Z3Snapdragon 80125004Adreno 3303
Sony Xperia Z3 CompactSnapdragon 80125004Adreno 3303
OnePlus OneSnapdragon 80125004Adreno 3303
Nexus 5Snapdragon 80023004Adreno 3002

Comparing Apple’s processor and RAM isn’t exactly easy. On paper, it’s obvious that the quad and even octa-core giants of the Android world kick the crap out of Apple, coupled with RAM sizes in the 2 to 3GB range.

Of course, we have to remember that Apple’s processor is 64-bit, which could give it a tiny edge (arguably). Second, Apple has always been less about spec wars and more about optimizing its OS to play nicely with minimal hardware prowess. Apple fans will argue that this dual-core A8 with 1GB of RAM (rumored amount, unconfirmed at moment) will work as nicely with iOS as a quad-core with 2 or 3GB RAM would running Android. Are they right? Yes and no. Apple does optimize its OS to work (to a point) with lesser specs, but we still can’t help but think that a beefier CPU, GPU and more RAM would make a noticeable difference nonetheless.

Still, even if Apple can get by with modest specs, why not throw something a bit beefier in and really wow Apple fans? It’s 2014 after all, and dual-core/1GB-RAM setups seem more than a little dated. Turning to graphics however, the early demos showing off the A8’s prowess look pretty promising and could even upstage the performance of high-end Android devices when it comes to gaming.

Camera

 Rear Camera MPFront Camera MP4K video fps1080p video fps
iPhone 68unknownunknown30/60
iPhone 6 Plus8 with optical image stabilizationunknownunknown30/60
Samsung Note 4163.43060
LG G3132.160
HTC One (M8)45n/a30
New Moto X132unknownunknown
Nexus 582.1n/a30
Samsung Galaxy S51623060
Sony Xperia Z320.72.23060
Sony Xperia Z3 compact20.72.23060

Somewhat similarly to its CPU/CPU, Apple’s on-paper camera specs don’t always give us a full picture. Typically iPhone devices produce fairly decent images, even if their sensor sizes often aren’t quite as good as many Android flagships.

iphone-6-cam

Until we get a closer look at the iPhone 6, it’s hard to really say how the 8MP shooter compares to some of the beefiest Android cameras. The good news is that Apple is introducing a new sensor, and the Plus model even gets OIS technology. Unfortunately, the iPhone 6 will stick with digital stabilization tech. Bottom-line, we imagine the experience is similar to most Android flagships, though it’s hard to say if it’s a little better or a little worse at this stage.

The Rest: storage, special features, etc

 Max Internal StorageMicro SDFingerprint ScannerWater ResistanceDimensionsWeight (g)Battery
iPhone 616/64/128 GBnoyesno137.5 x 67 x 7.1 mm113g1810mAh
iPhone 6 Plus16/64/128 GBnoyesno7.1mm thinunknown2915mAh
Samsung Galaxy Note 432GByesyesno153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm1763220mAh
LG G316GB (32GB option?)yesnono146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm1513000mAh
HTC One (M8)32GByesnono146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4 mm1602600mAh
New Moto X16 or 32GBnonono140.8 x 72.4 x 10 mm1442300mAh
Nexus 532GBnonono137.9 x 69.2 x 8.6 mm1302300mAh
Samsung Galaxy S532GByesyesyes142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm1452800mAh
Sony Xperia Z316 or 32GByesnoyes146 x 72 x 7.3 mm1523100mAh
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact16GByesnoyes127.3 x 64.9 x 8.6 mm1292600mAh

We’ll let the chart speak for most of the extras here, but it’s worth noting that there’s one new extra not mentioned on the chart that’s pretty much a given for Android device’s but a first-time thing for Apple: NFC. That’s right, Apple has a new “Apple Pay” system that appears to integrate NFC technology into the mix.

Otherwise, it seems that things like fingerprint scanner and other special features are about the same as we saw with the iPhone 5S.

Wrap up: has Apple finally caught up?

samsung galaxy note 4 vs lg g3 quick look aa (1 of 2)

Until we get our hands on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus or start hearing more hands-on reviews and details about them, we can really only judge the new phones based on on-paper specs. As it stands, the new iPhones seems to have caught up in a few crucial ways such as screen size and the addition of NFC. Of course, there’s really nothing that new here either, at least from what we can tell.

Apple’s latest handsets seem like a step in the right direction, even though their on-paper-spec-prowess still pales next to most Android flagships. Actual real world performance, however, could be a very different story.

Personally, I think that the latest Apple devices are interesting additions to the mobile world and that Android OEMs should take notice, though I’d never choose either of the handsets over a good Android flagship. The reason has less to do with blind hatred or fanboyism, and more to do with the fact that I like customization, options, new hardware innovations faster (NFC just got added by Apple..), the Google ecosystem and I simply don’t enjoy the walled garden that is iOS. What do you think of Apple’s latest, how do they compare to 2014 Android flagships?

Note – not all Apple specs details are fully laid out in the charts above. When we get more official details we’ll be sure to update where applicable. 

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Andrew Grush
Andrew is one of the three Managing Editors of Android Authority, primarily responsible for the overseeing of US team of writers, in addition to several other projects such as VR Source and more. He loves tech, gaming, his family, and good conversations with like-minded folks.
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