Apple’s highly-anticipated iPhone 6 Plus is finally here, but so is Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4. Since the Cupertino-based company is trying to penetrate the phablet segment that is currently dominated by Samsung’s Galaxy Note smartphones, we though it’s time to put the two smartphones head-to-head in the iPhone 6 Plus vs Galaxy Note 4 specs battle.
Even though both Apple and their fans bashed the big screen of Android phones in the past, the latest iPhones arrive with 4.7 and 5.5-inch displays. As you may know, the iPhone 6 Plus is the one featuring a 5.5-inch screen, so we’re wondering how will it Apple’s first phablet will perform on a segment that so far has been controlled by Sammy’s Galaxy Note line-up.
Our loyal readers may know from our previous Versus articles that the iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 battle will be divided in ten rounds, where the performance of the two smartphones will be compared in terms of Display, Dimensions, Processor, Camera, Memory, Operating System, Connectivity, Design, Battery Life, and Price. Each round is worth one point and, at the end of the battle, the smartphone that manages to score most points is declared winner.
As I was mentioning above, this is the first time Apple ventures on the land of smartphones with 4+ inch screens. Let’s see how the iPhone 6 performs in front of Galaxy Note 4 when it comes to display.
The iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD screen with 1080 x 1920 resolution and a pixel density of 401 ppi. It also has shatter proof glass and oleophobic coating. On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 4 boasts about a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with Quad HD (1440 x 2560) resolution, 515 ppi pixel density, and Gorilla Glass 3 protection.
The Note 4 wins the display round. Not because it has a bigger screen, but because it has higher resolution and higher pixel density. Samsung’s phablet wins the first point of the battle.
Apple’s phones were famous for their one-hand-usage friendliness, but it’s not the case anymore. Because Apple increased the screen size of their iPhones, they are no longer the compact phones you were used to.
The iPhone 6 Plus measures 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm and has a weight of 172 grams. Despite having to accommodate a 0.2 inch bigger screen, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 is 153.5 mm tall, 78.6 mm wide, 8.5 mm thin, and weighs in at 176 grams.
I’m still wondering how Apple managed to make the iPhone 6 Plus bigger even though it has a smaller display. Anyway, Apple’s first phablet wins the Dimensions round because it’s considerably thinner and slightly lighter.
Apple has introduced 64-bit enabled processors on their smartphones since last year. The iPhone 6 Plus continues the tradition.
The iPhone 6 Plus is powered by Apple’s new A8 SoC. It has a dual-core 1.4 GHz Cyclone (ARM v8-based) CPU and a PowerVR GX6650 GPU.
On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 4 is underpinned by Qualcomm’s latest and greatest chipset. The Snapdragon 805 SoC is based on a quad-core 2.7 GHz Krait 450 CPU and an Adreno 420 GPU.
The first benchmarks only show marginal improvements for the iPhone 6 Plus compared to its predecessor. Well, at least in Basemark X. The iPhone 6 (which is powered by the same CPU as the iPhone 6 Plus) managed to score 21204.26, only a bit more than the iPhone 5S. In the same time, a Samsung Galaxy S5 powered by a Snapdragon 801 CPU with Adreno 330 GPU (less powerful than Note 4’s Snapdragon 805) managed to score 23501.52, so expect the Galaxy Note 4 to have an even higher score.
It looks like we have a winner here. Until more iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note 4 benchmarks are made available, we’re giving point allocated for the Processor round to Sammy’s phablet.
I’ve always believed that the best camera is the camera you’ll always carrying with you. Probably because I’m not much of a photographer myself.
The iPhone 6 Plus arrives with a slightly improved iSight main camera. It has an 8 MP sensor with optical image stabilization, phase detection autofocus, dual-LED (dual-tone) flash, 1/3” sensor size, 1.5 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, simultaneous HD video and image recording, touch focus, face/smile/blink detection, panorama, HDR panorama, HDR photo, and 1080p@60fps video recording support. It also features a 1.2 MP user-facing camera with HD video recording capabilities.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 brings a 16 MP primary shooter with optical image stabilization, phase detection autofocus, and LED flash. Note 4’s camera has 1/2.6” sensor size, 1.12 µm pixel size, Dual Shot, Simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, HDR, and support for recording 4K videos. On the front panel you’ll find a 3.7 MP camera with wide-selfie functionality.
Even though many Apple fans will say that megapixels don’t count, we all know that HTC’s UltraPixel camera failed from the same reason. The Camera round goes to the Galaxy Note 4.
There are lots of apps available for download both in Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Your music collection is probably pretty big, too. That’s why you will need a lot of storage. Not to mention about the photos and videos you will capture with your smartphone, or your favorite TV shows.
The iPhone 6 Plus is available with 16, 64, or 128 GB of native storage. It also integrates 1 GB of RAM, so don’t expect an impressive multitasking performance.
On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is only available with 32 GB storage. Fortunately, it has a microSD slot that allows you to expand the storage with up to 128 GB, for a total of 160 GB storage. Note 4 also features 3 GB of RAM for your multitasking needs.
While we can’t compare the amount of RAM because iOS and Android are two completely different operating system, the Galaxy Note 4 is the device that has higher storage capacities. The Memory point goes to the Samsung smartphone.
In terms of connectivity, the Apple iPhone 6 Plus arrives with DC-HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; EV-DO Rev. A, up to 3.1 Mbps; LTE, Cat4, 150 Mbps DL, 50 Mbps UL, along with Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, and Apple’s proprietary Lightning port. It’s a first for an iPhone to integrate an NFC chip as well.
On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 4 arrives with all the connectivity features worthy of a modern smartphone. That includes HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSUPA; LTE, Cat6, 50 Mbps UL, 300 Mbps DL, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC, IR blaster, and microUSB 2.0.
The iPhone 6 Plus doesn’t have an infrared port (which is unfortunate, because it’s pretty handy to use your smartphone as a remote), while the NFC is limited to Apple Play. The Note 4 wins the Connectivity round.
It’s always about iOS vs Android. Of course, the iPhone 6 Plus runs the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, while Galaxy Note 4 comes pre-loaded with Android 4.4.4 KitKat with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI on top of it.
The iOS 8 brings some new features, but, unfortunately, nothing to make us jump off the chair. It continues the design philosophy introduced last year by iOS 7, while adding some new features. Health is one of them, a fitness app designed to measure your fitness and sleeping habits. iOS 8 also arrives with a smarter keyboard, the ability to send voice messages in the native Messaging app, reorganized Photo library, and Widgets. The iOS 8 widgets appear in the Notifications Center and they are now available for other apps than Calendar, Stocks, or Reminders which were previously available in iOS 7.
As usual, Samsung applied it’s own skin over Android 4.4.4 KitKat. Besides some of the useful features that were previously available on the Galaxy S5 such as Ultra Power Saving Mode (the phone shuts down unnecessary functions and turns screen black and white to provide 24 hours of battery life on only 10% battery) or Download Booster (combines WiFi and LTE connections for improved download speeds), the Galaxy Note 4 arrives with a couple of neat phablet-centric features. Smart Select allows you to easily select text with the S Pen like using a mouse, improved S Pen handwriting, better multitasking (Multi-window allows you to manage multiple apps at once on a single screen), or the ability to convert handwriting in a picture to digital text. Note 4 also brings fast charging, going from 0 to 30% in around 30 minutes.
Sorry, iOS fans, but the Operating System round has to go to the Galaxy Note 4. The Samsung phablet wins another point.
Apple has changed the design of their iPhones. Both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus depart from the design philosophy introduced in 2010 by the iPhone 4 and continued until last year by its successors. Unfortunately, the new iPhones are not as stylish and elegant as their predecessors used to be. Yes, they are still made of aluminium, and yes, they are slimmer, but the latter aspect forced Apple to make the camera sensor extend outward which is horrible. Not to mention, they didn’t do something in the direction of narrowing the bezels.
The Galaxy Note 4 is a pretty big step forward in terms of built quality and materials when compared to its predecessors. It has the same form factor, sporting sharp edges and rounded corners. It even has a faux-leather back, that’s a reminiscent of Note 3’s rear cover. In the same time it uses real metal for the frame that goes around the edges of the smartphone, putting the Note 4 in the premium segment from all aspects.
Even though the Galaxy Note 4 shows improvements in terms of built quality and materials, the iPhone 6 Plus is the better-looking smartphone. Apple’s flagship smartphone wins another point.
Let’s face it, the biggest problems of modern smartphones, whether they run iOS, Android, or Windows Phone, is the battery life. Fortunately, the phablets have an above-average autonomy and many customers choose them over regular smartphones solely for this aspect.
When Apple introduced the iPhone 6 Plus they said that its battery is capable of getting it through about 380 hours of stand-by time, around 24 hours of talk time, or 80 hours of music playback. Even though we don’t know what’s the capacity of iPhone 6 Plus’ battery, it’s fairly easy to see that the above stats are comparable to the ones of a Galaxy S5. With no exceptions, the Galaxy Note smartphones brought at least 30% more battery life than the Galaxy S flagships belonging to the same generation, and the Galaxy Note 4 will be no exception. This means that the Note 4 will outperform Apple’s phablet when it comes to battery life.
Until we get our hands on both smartphones and test them in real life, the Battery Life point goes to the Galaxy Note 4. The Samsung high-end phablet wins another round.
Because most high-end smartphones are sold on contract, we will be comparing the on-contract prices of the Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus. Of course, the cheaper smartphone will win the round.
Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and other big US carriers have already signaled their intentions to bring both the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the iPhone 6 Plus in their stores. Surprisingly, or not, the two devices have similar prices. While the cheapest iPhone 6 Plus (the 16 GB model) will cost $299 on a two-year contract, the 32 GB Note 4 will have a price of $299 on-contract once it hits the market.
There’s no way to separate the two devices in terms of price. This round ends as tie.
Here we are at the end of the iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 specs battle. Let’s start counting points and see which smartphone is the winner.
We’ve had one round where the two devices were equally matched. The Price round, because both smartphones will be available at $299.
The iPhone 6 Plus has managed to score two points. The Apple phablet has won the Dimensions and Design rounds because it’s slimmer and slightly lighter than its rival and because it’s better looking.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has scored not less than six points after winning the Display, Processor, Camera, Memory, Operating System, Connectivity, and Battery Life rounds. It outmatched its rival because it has a higher-resolution display, because it has a more powerful CPU, more storage, more useful features, better connectivity options, and better battery life.
We believe that the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is hands down better than Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus. Anyway, you are entitled to your opinion, therefore we are inviting you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.