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Android has already seen its share of excellent flagship smartphones this year, offering up some cutting edge pieces of technology and plenty of general improvements over last year. Apple has now joined the fray with its new iPhone 6S and S6 Plus, so let’s see how they stack up against the very best that Android has to offer.

Despite the growth in lower cost competitors and the mid-range Android phones this year, we still turn to the renowned major brands for the very top of the line hardware. For this comparison, we’re bringing out the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Sony’s Xperia Z5 Premium, the LG G4 and the HTC One M9.

 iPhone 6SXperia Z5 PremiumGalaxy Note 5Galaxy S6 EdgeLG G4HTC One M9
Display4.7-inch LCD (720p)
iPhone 6S Plus: 5.5-inch LCD (1080)
5.5-inch LCD
4K (3840 X 2160)
5.7-inch AMOLED
QHD (2560x1440)
5.1-inch AMOLED
QHD (2560x1440)
5.5-inch LCD
QHD (2560x1440)
5.0-inch LCD
1080p
SoCApple A9Snapdragon 810Exynos 7420Exynos 7420Snapdragon 808Snapdragon 810
CPU2x 1.4GHz4x 1.9GHz Cortex-A57
4x 1.5GHz Cortex-A53
4x 2.1GHz Cortex-A57
4x 1.5GHz Cortex-A53
4x 2.1GHz Cortex-A57
4x 1.5GHz Cortex-A53
2x 1.8GHz Cortex-A57
4x 1.4GHz Cortex-A53
4x 2.0GHz Cortex-A57
4x 1.5GHz Cortex-A53
GPUPowerVRAdreno 430Mali-T760 MP8Mali-T760 MP8Adreno 418Adreno 430
RAM2GB (TBC)3GB4GB3GB3GB3GB
Storage16/64/128 GB32GB32/64/128GB32/64/128GB32GB32GB
MicroSDNoyes, up to 200GBNoNoYes, up to 128GBYes, up to 128GB
Camera12MP rear
5MP front
23MP rear
5MP front
16MP rear
5MP front
16MP rear
5MP front
16MP rear
8MP front
20MP rear
4MP front

Display technology has seen some major advances this year. Samsung has brought its curved QHD AMOLED to the mainstream with its Edge range, Sony has pushed out the first 4K smartphone with the Xperia Z5 Premium and Huawei announced its Force Touch display with its Mate S.

sony xperia z5 premium vs galaxy Note 5 aa 6

Apple remains behind the leading Android smartphones when it comes to display resolution (750 x 1334/326ppi on the iPhone 6S and 1080p on the 6S Plus), as more manufacturers push to QHD and beyond for their major flagships. Instead, Apple’s big display feature is 3D Touch, which appears to be a rebranded form of the Force Touch from the Apple Watch.

This new feature allows users to interact with the screen through deeper presses as well as just regular touches. The deep touches allow for features that are baked throughout iOS, like the ability to launch the camera into selfie mode by deep pressing its shortcut, or the ability to preview images and other elements without opening them. If it sounds familiar, it’s because many of these UI features have been used on Android in various forms, with long presses as a trigger.

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There’s a similarly divisive split between the two groups’ approaches to processing technology. While all of this year’s Android flagships have bumped the core count up to at least six, Apple is sticking with just two higher performing CPU cores in its A9 SoC. The new A9 processor is touted to be 70 percent faster at CPU tasks and 90 faster at GPU tasks compared to the A8 from last year. There’s no confirmation yet, but it’s believed that Apple has decided to bump up the amount of RAM to 2GB in its latest iPhone, which would bring it closer to the 3GB standard found in these Android flagships.

None of these flagship handsets should struggle in demanding scenarios or when it comes to multi-tasking and will handle all of the latest games. Only small benchmark differences will be able to tell us the differences between these handsets.

The iPhone 6S also features bigger numbers when we look at the phone’s camera sensors. The 8-megapixel rear camera has been bumped up to 12 megapixels, although that still falls short of the resolution of the excellent sensors found in handsets from LG, Samsung and Sony. That said, more pixels don’t always result in better pictures, and it’s likely that the iPhone 6S’ camera remains one of the best around. The iPhone 6S also vastly improves its front facing camera, offering a more competitive 5 megapixels with of resolution that catches up to most Android flagships. The LG G4 is slightly ahead with an impressive 8MP sensor on the front.

 iPhone 6SXperia Z5 PremiumGalaxy Note 5Galaxy S6 EdgeLG G4HTC One M9
Battery1810 mAh (TBC)3,430mAh3,000mAh2,600mAh3,000mAh2,840mAh
Fast Charging?NoQuick Charge 2.0YesYesQuick Charge 2.0Quick Charge 2.0
Wireless Charging?NoNoQi and PMAQi and PMAQi (optional cases)No
Fingerprint Scan?YesYesYesYesNoNo
IP ratingNoIP68NoNoNoNo
Dimensions154.4 x 75.8 x 7.8mm153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6mm142.1 x 70.1 x 7mm148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm144.6 x 69.7 x 9.6 mm
Weight180g171g132g155g157g

When it comes to additional features, there quite a bit of diversity between the big Android brands, let alone Apple’s iPhone 6S. Sony remains firmly committed to water and dust resistance, which you won’t find with any of the other major flagships. Samsung still has the only dual-mode wireless charging phone in our flagship selection. With battery life still questionable, Apple’s choice for a small 1810 mAh battery might not suit power users who are used to 3,000mAh cells found in some Android phones. Extras like Quick Charging are useful here to make up the gap, but Apple doesn’t appear to be adopted a similar technology of its own yet.

LG retains its unique camera laser autofocus features and also supports Qi wireless charging, providing that you buy an extra case. HTC seems to be the most barebones handset when it comes to extras, but its front facing BoomSound speakers are still some of the best in the business.

sony xperia z5 premium vs lg g4 aa 8

Fingerprint scanners seem almost like a must have feature these days, but you won’t find one on every Android flagship. Sony has joined the party with its Xperia Z5 range, but LG and HTC didn’t include them on their flagships this year. Extra services that use the fingerprint scanner, such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, are certainly worth considering when you’re spending big cash on a flagship smartphone.

I would say it’s the little extras that mark the major differential factors between today’s flagship smartphones, and there is still a lot of diversity in both the iOS and Android spaces. Those who love Apple’s extra services will certainly get the most of the iPhone 6S, while those looking for more interesting hardware options will probably be able to find something right for them in the broad Android ecosystem.

Where does the iPhone 6S sit with you?

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