Smartphone showdown: iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Apple has released its flagship iPhone 6 at a packed-out event in the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, amid a frenzy of excited rumor and speculation.
This time last year, it released the iPhone 5S and 5C, two phones that went relatively unchallenged as the king and queen of the smartphone market. This year, things could hardly be more different. With high-end contenders like the LG G3, HTC One (M8) and Samsung's latest offering, the Samsung S5, the iPhone 6 is definitely swimming with sharks.
So how does the iPhone 6 compare to the Samsung Galaxy S5, and which smartphone should you buy? Let's compare all the specs and take a look.
Both Apple and Samsung have played it cautious with their displays. While competitors like LG have gone for super-high definition screens on their latest flagships, both the iPhone 6 and the Samsung S5 have relatively conservative displays.
Samsung opted for the same 1080p (Full HD) screen that it packed into its Galaxy S4, helping to conserve battery life. Apple, meanwhile, has gone for a slightly lower resolution on its screen, opting for 1,704 x 960 pixels instead of 1,920 x 1,080, for a total 416ppi compared to Samsung's 423.64ppi.
While the Galaxy S5 has a 5.1in screen, the iPhone 6 comes in two sizes, with one being slightly larger than the S5 and the other quite a bit smaller -- slightly larger than the current 5S. Apple seems to have decided on its favorite size in the 4.7in iPhone, but it's now also offering a 5.5in phablet-style phone that should attract fans of larger screens. For my mind, 4.7in is too small for a phone, and 5.5in is too large -- but that's just my preference.
For me, the Samsung S5 has it on this front, in both screen quality and size.
Of course, if you want to trump for the iPhone 6 Plus, you get the full 1,920 x 1080 pixels (Full HD) screen -- which changes matters completely.
The S5 range of phones has always packed impressive camera specs, bringing the full power of Samsung's camera division to bear in a smartphone. The Galaxy S5 packs an impressive 16-megapixel camera, which actually doubles the 8-megapixel camera on the iPhone 6. The S5 is also capable of shooting video at 2,160p (4K) quality, which similarly makes the iPhone 6's 1,080p (Full HD) video shooting capabilities look like something from last year.
As for the front-facing selfie-cams, there's not much in it, with 2-megapixels on the S5 and 1.2-megapixels on the iPhone 6.
Users should note that the battery drain from shooting 4K video on the S5 is significant, and that there have been some overheating issues when used for videos of length over about a minute or so. However, these camera specs speak for themselves: the Samsung Galaxy S5 is just slightly better than the iPhone 6 on camera capability, too.
Size & weight
The iPhone 6 comes in its two varieties: the 4.7in and the 5.5in. As such, it comes in two different chassis sizes, too. The smaller version comes in at 137.5 x 67 x 6.9mm, a fair bit bigger than its predecessor, the iPhone 5S, at 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm. However, it does come in a good deal smaller than the S5, which hulks around at 142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm.
However, the iPhone 6 is incredibly light, coming in at an astonishing 113g, compared to the S5's 145g. That's pretty amazing, considering the Galaxy S5 isn't one of the heaviest phones on the market today. The specs also show that the iPhone 6 is one of the thinnest phones on the market, quite a bit thinner than the Galaxy S5. If you go for the clunkier 6 Plus, though, you'll be getting a phone that's 7.1mm thick.
That being said, Apple hasn't included the slightly protruding camera lens in their thickness measurement, something that Samsung took a lot of flak for in the past.
Design is really where Apple pulls ahead of Samsung. While the Galaxy S5 is built from a plastic chassis, which can have a shiny, cheap feel to it, the iPhone 6's beautiful curved matte design really looks great. If you care about what your phone looks like above all else, the iPhone 6 is the way to go.
Under the hood
When the iPhone 5S was released, Apple was able to release the world's first 64-bit ARM CPU in a consumer smartphone, promising twice the speed and graphics power of its predecessor, the A6. Apple has continued its innovation with the A8, although many commentators have questioned whether the 64-bit chip actually has much of an appreciable difference on the power of the phone, or the speed of everyday use.
When you compare the specs under the hood, however, you can see that the Galaxy S5 pulls ahead of the iPhone 6: with its 2.5 GHz compared to the iPhone 6's 2 GHz, and with its doubling of the iPhone 6's RAM.
On this front, if you want a high-powered smartphone, the Galaxy S5 is the way to go.
Despite rumors that Apple would cut out ahead of the pack in terms of smartphone screen innovation, using layers of sapphire interspersed with glass in order to make the screen harder and more scratch-resistant, that didn't seem to happen, and neither did the speculated waterproofing and dustproofing. So maybe we haven't seen then end of the famously shatter-prone iPhone screens with the iPhone 6. Galaxy S5 is fully waterproof, on the other hand.
Apple has also included a mobile wallet payments system, and the latest version of the TouchID fingerprint scanner it debuted on the iPhone 5S, which allows for greater security. However, Samsung also has its own version of a fingerprint scanner.
Apple, as always, have released a formidable phone with the iPhone 6. But this isn't 2013, and the competition have raced after the Cupertino-based company with the tenacity of ravaging wolves. With so many big fish in this pool, Apple really needed to pull something spectacular out of the bag -- and it has, on many fronts.
But when you run down the specs, it looks like the iPhone 6 isn't quite spectacular enough. Samsung has already caught up with, and in some places outpaced Apple on so many details: the camera; the display; the computing power -- and it's only Apple's famed design acumen that makes the iPhone 6 something to consider when weighing up these two phones.
Nice try, Apple -- but better luck next time.
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