Apple has finally given in to current trends, with the latest iPhone releases featuring display sizes that are comparable to Android flagships. That definitely makes the fight between Apple’s newest and Android’s finest most interesting this year.
Android Authority is in Hong Kong to compare the new iPhones with a slew of Android powerhouses. We’ve started off by pitting two of the biggest rivals in the smartphone world against each other.
Here’s our quick look at the iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5!
Right of the bat, we’ve got two very different design philosophies at work here. At least until the Galaxy S6 comes around, Samsung is banking on plastic for its flagship device, switching out glossy plastic for a soft touch material with a dimpled design. It’s a controversial choice, but many people like it, especially because the dimpled texture gives the back of the S5 a soft reassuring grip.
In the opposite corner, Apple delivers again in terms of build quality. The full metal unibody construction of the iPhone 6 features softly curved sides all around, instead of the more rigid design of its predecessor.
With the iPhone 6 display getting bigger, the overall size of the two smartphones is actually comparable this time around. The Galaxy S5 is a tad taller and wider, which is fine considering its comparatively larger display, but the iPhone 6 remains one of the thinnest devices available at this size. It also manages to be lighter, despite its metal construction, which is definitely an appreciable feat.
The front face of both smartphones can be described the same way: the signature home button returns, and on both phones the button integrates a fingerprint scanner. The Galaxy S5 home button is flanked by two capacitive keys though. One distinctive feature of the iPhone 6 is the glass with curved edges, which gives out an attractive sheen when looked at the right angles.
Gone are the days when the iPhone could be written off because it had a much smaller display compared to the latest and greatest in the Android world. That said, even if Apple has given into the bigger screen trend, it sticks resolutely to its idea that pixel densities over 300 ppi aren’t worth the trouble. The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 sticks to the 326 ppi density of the iPhone 5S, thanks to a resolution of 1334 x 750. The LCD display delivers as well as you’d expect, with some enhancements added that allow for brighter colours and fantastic viewing angles.
On the other hand, the 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display of the Galaxy S5, with its 1920 x 1080 resolution, and 432 ppi, has been heralded as one of the best smartphone displays ever. Everything we love about AMOLED screens is found here, with deep blacks, incredible brightness, and vibrant colours that really pop. The difference in the pixel density is noticeable, but you should have a great experience no matter which device you’re using.
Performance and hardware
The iPhone 6 features the new in-house A8 1.4 GHz dual-core processor, along with 1 GB of RAM, while the Samsung Galaxy S5 packs a 2.5 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801, backed by 2 GB of RAM. Despite the difference on paper, performance is as smooth as you’d expect on either device, with both handling with ease day to day tasks and multi-tasking.
The Galaxy S5 does offer expandable storage, on top of the 16 or 32 GB of built-in memory. The iPhone 6 comes in 16, 64, or 128 GB flavours, but there’s no microSD expansion, so if storage is a concern, one of the larger, but more expensive, storage options is the way to go. Apple finally introduced NFC, to be used with Apple Pay, while that is something that Samsung devices have had for a while. However, the NFC chip in the iPhone isn’t useful for anything else besides Apple Pay, as it’s locked down. Both devices have fingerprint scanners, with the difference being that the Galaxy S5 comes with a swipe scanner, while the iPhone 6 requires a touch.
One clear advantage the Galaxy S5 has is in the fact that it can brave the elements, courtesy of its IP 67 certification for protection against dust and water, a feature that is missing from the iPhone 6.
The Galaxy S5 should trump the iPhone 6 when it comes to battery life – while we couldn’t test it out, early reviews suggest the 1,800 mAh iPhone 6’s battery life is the same or even less than on the iPhone 5s. Meanwhile, the 2,800 mAh Galaxy S5 is known for its longevity.
The iPhone 6 retains an 8 MP rear shooter, but with a new sensor, with a f /2.2 aperture lens, faster autofocus, with Focus Pixels, and software-based image stabilization. Video got a boost too, with the capability to capture 240 fps slow motion video at 720p. The front-facing camera features a f 2.2 lens, with burst mode and HDR video.
The 16 MP ISOCELL rear shooter of the Galaxy S5 is definitely no slouch, with some great detail, fantastic colour reproduction, and clear and crisp images. Samsung also packs its camera software with a ton of features so you get a bunch of modes and features to help you get the most out of this smartphone camera. The iPhone camera software continues to be more than functional, but not nearly as feature packed, which can be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on your point of view.
When it comes to software, iOS 8 isn’t an aesthetic overhaul the way iOS 7 was over its predecessor, but does add many new features, such as widgets in the notification down, a new Health app, and the ability to use third party keyboards. What the Health app does is consolidate all the information from the various health-related applications you may have, into one single app. I also liked is the ability to add your vital information and emergency contact info.
The Galaxy S5 runs Android 4.4 Kitkat, with the latest version of TouchWiz on top. The latest iteration is the smoothest and sleekest yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s really toned down at all. Features such as multi-window, the new S Health app with heart rate monitoring, and MyMagazine are all available, along with a bunch of gesture controls. There are no really major UI changes, so as is always the case with TouchWiz, you’ll either love it or hate it.
Conclusion at a glance
So there you have it – a quick look at the iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5! Apple is finally packing a bigger punch in terms of display size, and that does make the competition a lot more interesting. These smartphones cater to different ecosystems, and each have their own advantages and disadvantages, so the ultimate choice depends on your personal taste and requirements.