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iPhone 6S versus Samsung Galaxy S6

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iPhone 6S versus Samsung Galaxy S6

When the Samsung Galaxy S6 arrived earlier this year, it was hailed as the best handset in the world.

Some even called it “The iPhone Killer”. But Apple didn’t take that lying down and it’s come out fighting with the release of the iPhone 6S.

Which will come out victorious in a head to head?

Read on as uSwitch, the UK’s largest and most respected mobile phone comparison site, pits the handsets against each other to help you make an informed buying decision.

First Impressions

The iPhone 6S will feel really big if you’re coming to it from an iPhone 5S or earlier. But if you’re switching from an iPhone 6, you’ll barely notice any difference between them.

Apple says the ‘only thing that’s changed is everything’. However, none of these much-touted improvements are really noticeable at a glance.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s Galaxy S6 has a similar shape to the iPhone, although it’s a little bigger and a touch slimmer, and runs Android rather than Apple’s iOS.

iPhone 6S at glance

  • Doesn’t bend, no matter how hard we tried
  • iOS operating system is straightforward and doesn’t take long to get to grips with
  • Apple Pay, which lets you pay for goods by swiping your phone over a reader, is starting to pop up in more apps and it’s very easy to use
  • New features aren’t exactly revolutionary

Samsung Galaxy S6 at a glance

  • Feels nice to hold, if a bit slippery
  • Slightly larger screen than the iPhone 6S
  • If you have small hands it can feel a little bit too big
  • Android’s app selection is better than ever before
  • Wireless charging is a nice perk, but you’ll need to buy a charging pad

Design

The iPhone 6S doesn’t look hugely different to the iPhone 6. In fact, you probably couldn’t pick them out of a police line-up, with the same same 4.7-inch screen and the same design.

Only two things have changed: the type of aluminium used to make the 6S, which should put all those #bendgate woes to bed and it’s slightly thicker than its predecessor to house its nifty new Touch3D screen.

The Galaxy S6 also has a metal-and-glass body, and it’s easily Samsung’s best looking phone to date.

It’s also slimmer than Apple’s device (but only by the narrowest margin) and is so silky smooth you’ll just want to stroke it all the time.

iPhone 6 at a glance

  • The plastic antenna bands on the back divide opinion
  • Camera protrudes from the back slightly
  • Metal back feels a bit more solid and less like a magnet for fingerprints
  • Despite being a little fatter than the iPhone 6, it doesn’t feel noticeably heavier

Samsung Galaxy S6 at a glance

  • Very good looking compared to older Samsung devices, on a par with the iPhone 6S
  • The boxy camera on the back does stick out quite a lot more than the iPhone’s
  • Feels lighter than the iPhone 6S
  • Quite slippery

Screen

While Samsung still has the iPhone 6S beaten in the screen size stakes (unless you plump for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6S Plus), there isn’t much between them in terms of quality.

Although on paper the Galaxy S6’s screen has greater pixel density, which should translate to sharper images, in practice the naked eye can’t discern much of a difference. Videos, images and text all look great on both.

That said, for someone with smaller hands, the 4.7-inch screen of the iPhone 6S feels more manageable than the S6’s 5.1-inch behemoth.

There’s one more thing we have to mention here too: Touch3D.

Apple has added this pressure-sensitive new functionality into the screen on the iPhone 6S, which means it’s a little less slim than the iPhone 6 but allows you to press hard on certain apps to open shortcuts and neat menus.

iPhone 6 at a glance

  • 4.7-inch screen iteration is bigger than previous iPhones but smaller than most smartphones
  • The 1334 x 750 IPS LCD display gives it a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch - sharp, but not as sharp as the S6
  • Smaller, less powerful screen will save a little on battery life
  • Touch3D is an interesting prospect although not many apps are compatible at present

Samsung Galaxy S6 at a glance

  • Big (5.1-inches) and very bright
  • Higher pixel density of 577ppi puts it ahead of the iPhone 6S - although quality is very similar in day-to-day use

Camera

Apple has given the iPhone 6S a bit of an upgrade in the camera department, adding a 12-megapixel camera to the back and a 5-megapixel one up front.

The software hasn’t changed though, so it’s still as basic and easy to use as ever.

There is one new feature: Live Photos, which captures an extra second and a half on either side of your photo so it basically becomes a tiny video or gif.

Although potentially overwhelming you with options and features, Samsung has consistently delivered some of the best smartphone cameras out there. The Galaxy S6 is no exception.

With a 16-megapixel camera on the back, it comfortably outstrips the 6S and it has a wider lens so you can get more detail into the frame.

iPhone 6 at a glance

  • Live Photos is a nice new addition, especially when you’re photographing fast-moving things
  • Not a huge number of modes - but there are tons of great photography apps on the App Store to make up for it
  • Very easy to use

Samsung Galaxy S6 at a glance

  • Loads of different camera modes including slow-motion and custom tools that let you set white balance for more natural-looking photos and much more
  • Bit more complicated than the iPhone 6S
  • But photos are bigger and slightly sharper

Performance and battery life

Samsung’s phone has the edge on both processing power, RAM and battery size.

We could dazzle you with stats here but what you really want to know is how the phones actually perform, isn’t it?

As for battery life; neither phone is particularly great and you’ll be lucky to get a full day’s heavy use out of either.

On the plus side, both now have power-saving modes for when you’re getting low.

iPhone 6 at a glance

  • Apple’s powerful A9 processor in the iPhone 6S certainly makes operation smooth and fast - even with multiple apps open, gliding between them is a dream.
  • The 6S’s battery is actually smaller than the iPhone 6 battery. Even with the low-power mode enabled, we struggled to make it through a full day of heavy use without recharging

Samsung Galaxy S6 at a glance

  • Samsung isn’t messing about with the Galaxy S6’s mighty Exynos 7420 processor which is technically more powerful than the iPhone 6S
  • It’s also furnished the S6 with more RAM than Apple gave the iPhone. But that’s tempered by the fact that Android uses more RAM than iOS to run anyway.
  • In practice, it’s very slick to use

Value for money

Neither of these phones come cheap. You’re looking at the £500 mark as a starting point so subsidised contract deals may be your best bet.

But, as we’ve said before, Apple and Samsung’s top-end handsets hold their value very well so you’ll get a good chunk of change back when you come to trade up in a year or two.

Verdict

  • Samsung’s TouchWiz Android overlay has been cleaned up a lot but it’s still full of annoying apps and features you probably won’t use
  • That said, Apple has a bunch of annoying apps pre-loaded on the iPhone 6S that you probably won’t use either
  • iOS is still slicker, cleaner and easier to get to grips with than Android
  • The Galaxy S6 has a slightly better camera
  • They’re both excellent phones

Choosing between the iPhone 6S and the Galaxy S6 is a very tough call. They’re very similar devices and both will prove a pleasure to use. It really comes down to whether you’d prefer an Android handset or an iOS one.

But there has to be a winner. The Samsung Galaxy S6 is more powerful, has a bigger screen and a superior camera, so, while the iPhone 6S is also excellent, Samsung takes the crown this time.

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