Looking to buy a new phablet and wondering if you should buy the iPhone 6s Plus released last year or Samsung’s recently unveiled Galaxy Note7? There are hardly any other phablets that you can consider, with the iPhone 6s Plus and the Galaxy Note 7 packing the absolute best in terms of technology and features.
But which one is the better device between the two? Let’s find out in our comparison.
The iPhone 6s Plus looks similar to the iPhone 6 Plus, with just a few minor tweaks here and there. Most notably, the device is significantly heavier due to the addition of 3D Touch. Apple also offers the iPhone 6s Plus in a Rose Gold color to separate it from the iPhone 6 Plus. However, this is still more than a 1.5-year-old design that is now looking dated.
On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 7’s design is based on the Galaxy S7 edge that was launched earlier this year. The handset has the same design language that Samsung first debuted with the Galaxy S6 last year, but the company has made some minor changes to make it more ergonomic friendly on the Note 7. And the inclusion of a curved AMOLED display really adds to the overall design of the handset. The curved edges are also less pronounced here which makes them less of an ergonomic disaster.
When compared side-by-side, the Galaxy Note 7 looks more attractive than the iPhone 6s Plus. This is largely due to its attractive color schemes, especially Coral Blue, and the curved AMOLED display. The Galaxy Note 7 also features an IP68 rating that makes it dust and water-resistant, something which the iPhone 6s Plus lacks.
The iPhone 6s Plus features a 5.5-inch Full HD Retina HD display with a 401ppi. The Galaxy Note 7 comes with a larger 5.7-inch Super AMOLED screen with a significantly higher Quad HD resolution that gives it a pixel density of 577ppi. While Apple still uses the best IPS panels on its iPhones, the Super AMOLED display on the Galaxy Note 7 is the absolute best smartphone display you can find in the market. The panel is akin to the one used on the Galaxy S7 edge, which swept DisplayMate’s benchmarks and was crowned as the most accurate and best OLED panel ever to grace their labs.
Both displays also have additional features up its sleeve. The Retina HD display on the iPhone 6s Plus features 3D Touch, a pressure sensing technology that allows for a completely new way to interact with the OS. 3D Touch was the major key selling point of the new iPhones when they were unveiled last year, but it has not exactly turned out to be a game changer. As for the 5.7-inch AMOLED panel on the Galaxy Note 7, it is curved on both its edges. This is not the first time that Samsung has used a curved AMOLED panel on its flagship devices, but it still is a novel feature to have. The curved panel adds little in terms of functionality and is all about improving the looks of the device.
The Note 7 also comes with a new S Pen that is water-resistant and works on wet displays. It has 4096 pressure points and a latency of 50ms that makes it more accurate than before. While Apple does sell an Apple Pencil, it is not compatible with the iPhone 6s Plus.
Processor, RAM, and Storage
The iPhone 6s Plus is powered by Apple’s dual-core A9 chip clocked at 1.85GHz. In comparison, the Galaxy Note 7 comes with an Exynos 8890 chipset (outside the United States) that is an octa-core chip featuring the company’s own custom M1 cores. While the benchmarks are not yet out, this is the same chip that Samsung has used inside the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. The A9 chip inside the iPhone 6s is faster in single-core benchmarks, while the Note 7’s Exynos 8890 is faster than it in multi-core benchmarks.
The Galaxy Note 7 comes with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, while the iPhone 6s Plus comes with 2GB LPDDR4 RAM. While the Note 7 sports twice the amount of RAM as the iPhone 6s, it also has a higher resolution display. Plus, Android is not as resource efficient as iOS. So, the additional RAM on the Note 7 does not automatically make it a better multitasker than the iPhone 6s Plus. However, unlike the Galaxy Note 5, the Note 7 will not suffer from any multitasking issues, if the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are anything to go by.
If there is one area where the Galaxy Note 7 completely crushes the iPhone 6s Plus, it is in storage. The former is only available in a single SKU with 64GB of storage space, while Apple sells the iPhone 6s Plus in 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB storage variants. In addition to 64GB of storage space, the Note 7 also features a microSD card slot that can accept microSD cards of up to 256GB. Theoretically, the Note 7 can be specced out to have a staggering 320GB of storage space, more than twice of what the iPhone 6s Plus offers. And as a bonus, the total cost will still be less than buying the 128GB variant of the iPhone 6s Plus directly from Apple.
Both phones come with a 12MP shooter at their rear, but they are very different from each other. The 12MP shooter on the iPhone 6s Plus features a f/2.2 aperture, OIS, and 1.22u pixels. The 12MP shooter on the Note 7, however, comes with a wider f/1.7 aperture, OIS, and larger 1.4u pixels. This is the same camera setup that Samsung has used on the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, and both those phones perform significantly better than the iPhone 6s Plus in low-light conditions.
The Note 7’s camera also features Dual Pixel technology, which has only been used in DSLRs until now, that allows it to focus on subjects in almost real time. Both phones are also capable of recording videos in 4K resolution, take Live Photos/Motion Photos, slow-mo, and more.
While Apple has had the crown of fitting its phones with the best smartphone cameras, that is no longer the case. The Galaxy Note 7 easily offers a better camera experience and quality than the iPhone 6s Plus.
Iris scanner and Sensors
The Galaxy Note 7 is the second smartphone after the Lumia 950 to feature an iris scanner. The scanner can be used for unlocking the device, verifying Samsung Pay transactions, and even logging into your banking apps. While it is too early to comment on the reliability of the scanner, it sure is a unique feature to have in a smartphone. However, if our hands on with the Galaxy Note 7 was anything to go by, the fingerprint scanner will still remain the fastest way to unlock the device and verify transactions.
The iPhone 6s Plus does not feature an iris scanner, but it does come with a second generation Touch ID sensor that is significantly faster than what was found on previous iPhones. The Galaxy Note 7 also comes with a heart rate monitor at its rear, but it is of limited use.
The iPhone 6s Plus comes with a 2750mAh battery, while the Galaxy Note 7 features a significantly larger 3500mAh battery. However, due to the differences in their OS and processors, it is likely that both devices will offer largely the same battery life in real world use.
The Galaxy Note 7 does feature fast charging, so it needs to spend less time than the iPhone 6s Plus on the charger, which can really count in some situations. The handset also features wireless fast charging, which might not be truly wireless but is more convenient than plugging the phone into a charger all the time.
Pricing and Availability
The iPhone 6s Plus is available across all major carriers and retailers in the United States. The base variant of the phone with 16GB storage is priced at $649, with the 64GB and 128GB variant coming in at $749 and $849, respectively.
The Galaxy Note 7 is available for pre-orders on all major carriers in the United States, with retail availability starting from August 19th. The unlocked variant of the handset is priced at $849.99. While the Note 7 is priced higher, carriers and retailers are also offering attractive goodies with it. Most carriers are giving customers an option to choose between a 256GB microSD card or a GearFit 2, both of which will cost you almost $150 or higher when purchased separately.
Things are a bit different in Europe, with the Galaxy Note 7 going up for pre-order in most European countries by late August, with retail availability starting from sometime in September.
While the Galaxy Note 7 is definitely the costlier of the two handsets here, it also features a larger screen, has IP68 certification, features fast charging, and other features which the 10-month old iPhone 6s Plus lacks. Without going into the Android vs iOS debate, the Note 7 also offers multi-window multitasking, which is not present on the iPhone 6s Plus. And if you are an artist, the inclusion of an S Pen on the Note 7 is an added bonus.
Ideally, if you are deciding between the two handsets, you should wait for the iPhone 7 Plus to make the decision. The iPhone 6s Plus is nearing its first anniversary and has simply not aged well, unlike previous iPhones. If you cannot wait though, the Galaxy Note7 is a clear choice.