iPhone 6s Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 5: Which is the best phablet?

iPhone 6s Plus vs Galaxy Note 5

If you’re in the market for a phablet, then two smartphones you can’t ignore is the iPhone 6s Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (or Note5).

So we take a look at how the new iPhone 6s Plus stacks up against Samsung’s popular phablet.

Design

Samsung Note 5 looks similar to the Galaxy S6. The front still has a familiar look and feel to it, but the metal frame with the shiny bezel, and glass back panel instead of cheap plastic that it has always been criticized for, makes it the most visually stunning device Samsung has ever made. Samsung has tweaked the designed slightly. Unlike the Galaxy S6, the back of the device is curved on both sides which make it easier to grip the device.

iPhone 6s Plus looks exactly the same as the iPhone 6 Plus with unibody aluminum chassis and glass front panel that is curved around the edges of the display. Apple has used 7000 series aluminium for iPhone 6s Plus’ chassis, which makes it stronger and less slippery than its predecessor. The highlight of the iPhone 6s, however, has to be its new Rose Gold color, which has been very popular. 

Display

iPhone 6s Plus comes with a much sharper 5.5-inch Retina HD display with a 1920×1080 resolution serving up to 401 PPI, compared to iPhone 6s display which serves up to 326 ppi. It also comes with 3D Touch, one of the major new features of the device. 3D Touch introduces a completely new way with how you interact with your iPhone. Instead of just tap and gestures, the iPhone 6s Plus is also capable of detecting how much pressure has been applied on the screen. You can check out our article on how 3D Touch in iPhone 6s Plus works to know more about it. The glass screen of the new iPhone is manufactured from a new dual ion-exchange process, which involves replacing sodium ions in glass with potassium ions, which Apple says makes it the strongest glass ever used on a smartphone.

Galaxy Note5 comes with a larger 5.5-inch Quad HD display with a 2560×1440 resolution serving up to 577 PPI.  According to display experts, DisplayMate, Galaxy Note 5 has the best performing smartphone display that they’ve tested. However, they’re yet to review iPhone 6s Plus’ display. We’ll update the post with it is available, but since iPhone 6s Plus doesn’t come with any major improvements, we expect Galaxy Note 5 to retain its crown.

Note5 also comes with a S Pen stylus, which is one of the hallmark features of the Galaxy Note line. The new S Pen stylus has a few more tricks up its sleeve, such as the ability to write notes on the screen without even turning it on.

Processor and RAM

iPhone 6s is powered by Apple’s new 1.85 GHz A9 chip, which comes with an embedded coprocessor and 2GB RAM.

Galaxy Note 4 is powered by the same Samsung’s Exynos 7 Octa 7420 chip comprising a quad-core 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 and a quad-core 2.1GHz Cortex-A57 that powers Galaxy S6. One of the biggest complaints that most Galaxy S6 and S6 edge users have with the device, is the broken multi-tasking. Despite coming with 3GB RAM, apps are frequently unloaded from memory on both handsets, which almost makes multi-tasking impossible on them. Samsung has fixed this issue by throwing more RAM to the problem with the Note5. The device comes with 4GB of super fast and low power LPDDR4 RAM, which helps in alleviating the poor RAM management issue found on the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge.

Despite having just a dual-core 1.85GHz processor, iPhone 6s Plus outperforms the Galaxy S6 in single-core performance in benchmark tests with a score of 2488 compared to Galaxy Note 5’s score of 1238 (marginally faster than iPhone 6). iPhone 6s Plus offers similar multi-core performance as the Samsung flagship.

Single-core performance is arguably the most important performance metric for smartphones. Every app benefits from improved single-core performance while only specialized applications will benefit from improved multi-core performance.

Source:

Camera

iPhone 6s Plus and Galaxy Note5 both ship with terrific smartphone cameras. Note 5 comes with a 16-megapixel camera with 4K video recording capabilities, whereas iPhone 6s Plus comes with a 12-megapixel camera.

Note5’s camera sensor comes with a bigger aperture so it has an edge over the iPhone 6s when it comes to taking photos in low-light. Both the smartphones feature Optical Image Stabalization (OIS).

Apple has been renowned for the quality of its smartphone camera for years. The camera alone was a reason to recommend the iPhone over Android smartphones. However, things have changed in the last couple of years as Android OEMs have managed to catch up, and in some scenarios even outshine the iPhone.

One of the new features in the iPhone 6s pLus is Live Photos, a way to bring photos to life, which is quite cool. It may seem gimmicky to some people, but people with children will immediately realize the value of the feature. I won’t be surprised if Samsung launches a similar feature sometime soon.

Battery

One of the things that probably matters most when it comes to the smartphone is battery life. Galaxy Note5 comes with a 3000 mAh battery, which is slightly bigger than iPhone 6s Plus’ 2,750 mAH battery. Both devices offer similar battery life, and should get you through the day on a single charge without any issue.

Pricing and Availability

Galaxy Note is priced at $740 for the 32GB model. iPhone 6s is a little pricier and starts at $749 for the 16GB model.

So now you can not only get the Galaxy Note5 for a lower price, you also get twice the storage space for that amount. However, for some strange reason, Note5 is not available with 128GB. So if you’re looking for a device with large storage capacity, iPhone 6s Plus is your best bet.

At the time of writing this post, Galaxy Note5 is not available in Europe.

Tech Specs

Here’s a more detailed comparison of the two flagship phablets.

iPhone 6s Plus vs Galaxy Note 5 comparison table

Conclusion

Interestingly, Samsung has followed Apple’s footsteps, by finally letting go of features such as removable battery, microSD card slot and waterproofing. It hasn’t gone down too well with their ardent followers, as those were the primary reasons to buy their smartphones over the iPhone.

Here’s a look at the reasons why you should considering buying the phablet over the other.

iPhone 6s Plus Pros

  • Performance
  • 3D Touch
  • Tight software and hardware integration
  • 128GB storage option
  • Support

Samsung Galaxy Note5 Pros

  • Low-light photos
  • S Pen
  • Wireless Fast Charging
  • Fast Charging

Some of the key advantages of the iPhone 6s Plus over the Note 5 is performance, 3D Touch that I believe is a game changer, ease of use due to the tight integration of hardware, software and services, and support, which is probably one of the most underrated aspects that people consider while buying a device. On the flip side, Android is a lot more tweakable, which makes it a compelling option for power users.

In case of the Note 5, it comes with a slightly better camera when it comes to taking photos in low-light, and comes with innovative features to charge the device. Fast Charging allows you to charge your device without needing a chord, and allows the Galaxy S6 to be charged from 0-50% in just over 30 minutes, and to 100% in just over 100 minutes (iPhone 6s takes 3 hours or 180 minutes to charge).

With the Note 5, Samsung has gone a step further and included fast wireless charging. Using a compatible fast wireless charger, the Galaxy Note 5 can be charged from 0-100% in less than 2 hours. This is faster than the time taken by certain devices to go from 0-100% when charged through a USB cable. I have to admit that as an iPhone 6s Plus user, I do envy the wireless charging features available on the Note 5, especially after using the wireless charging dock for the Apple Watch. I think the ability to place the device on a flat charging base without fidgeting with the cable is quite convenient. You also don’t have to worry about frayed Lightning cables.

As for the S Pen, I really can’t think of a use case in my daily use where it will come in handy. I think a stylus makes a lot more sense on bigger devices like the tablets for content creation. But it is very subjective, as there are people who seem to love it.

Like the iPhone 6s and Galaxy S6 comparison, I hope I have been fair in my comparison and haven’t sounded biased towards the iPhone 6s Plus, which is my preferred choice.

Feel free to rip it apart in the comments below, and I will be happy to update the post with your inputs if you have a valid argument.

Update (October 19, 2015, 10:50 pm PT):

The display section of this article has been updated.

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