Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Apple iPhone 6: Full specs comparison

Samsung officially launched the Galaxy S6 yesterday, meaning we finally have flagships from both of the top mobile makers to compare, even if the iPhone 6 came out a little earlier.

In 2014, Samsung lost a huge amount of sales to Apple. Reports said that the Galaxy S5 sold 15 million units in total, while the iPhone 6 (and 6 Plus) sold over 75 million in one quarter.

This means a lot is riding on the success of the Galaxy S6, considering if it fails Samsung might be out of the premium market, with Motorola, Xiaomi and Huawei all rising up.

Design

In terms of design, Samsung has opted for a dual-glass with a metal frame, while Apple uses a unibody aluminium design with glass on the front. On the front of both devices is the home button, where the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6 both feature a fingerprint sensor.

On the back there are a few differences, Samsung has placed a larger camera in the middle with a large dual-LED flash, while Apple moves the camera to the top right of the device. The iPhone 6 features noticeable strips of white plastic allowing radio-waves to move through the device, while Samsung regulates them to the bottom of the device.

Design is personal preference more than anything else, and since both are built with a metal frame they will feel firm in the hand. Both weigh about the same, but the Galaxy S6 is a bit taller with a 5.1-inch display, compared to the 4.7-inch iPhone 6.

Display

Speaking of the display, now we can get into the specifications for each. On the Galaxy S6, Samsung has added a Quad HD display, 2560 x 1440 resolution, while the iPhone 6 features a much lower "retina" display with a 1334 x 750 resolution.

Considering the iPhone 6 cannot even hit full HD, it is quite apparent who the winner is in this round. Apple clearly wants to milk the "retina" brand for all its worth, but comparing it to any good QHD panel shows Apple's shortcomings.

Internals

Samsung has gone with its own Exynos octa-core processor for the Galaxy S6, moving away from Qualcomm in 2015. The processor features Samsung's new 14-nanometer design, making it smaller and more energy efficient than previous models.

This comes alongside 3GB of DDR4 RAM, the new standard for mobile devices. Samsung uses a Mali GPU from ARM, since they could not utilise the Adreno GPU made by Qualcomm.

The iPhone 6 is powered by the A8 chipset, a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and quad-core graphics chip all rolled into one. Apple has always claimed its performance is better than competitors due to software optimisation and working closely with partners.

It is a war of milliseconds, but the Galaxy S6 is bound to win in most cases due to the raw power available on the device. It has three times the memory, higher clock speed and an octa-core processor. The only place Apple can stake a claim is in graphical performance, since Apple has its own graphical platform called Metal, designed purely for iOS.

Camera

Samsung showed off a few photo comparisons between the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6, making the claim the Galaxy S6 can shoot much better photos and videos than Apple's own camera.

For years, Android manufacturers have been trying to replicate the performance of Apple's camera, slotting a few more megapixels and even hiring professional photographers for Q&A on the products.

The Galaxy S6 does provide excellent photo quality with its 16MP camera, featuring optical image stabilisation and f/1.9 aperture lens, however it still lacks the reliability of the iPhone 6 camera, especially when it comes to video.

Apple has been able to manufacture an incredible mobile camera by sticking to the original numbers and rapidly improving the efficiency and optimisation of the iSight camera, rather than bending to the will of "more megapixels" like other manufacturers.

Having said that, the front-facing secondary camera is vastly superior on the S6, coming in at 5-megapixels compared to Apple's lowly 1.2-megapixel effort.

Software

This could be a debate in itself, considering iOS vs Android is such a hot topic. Samsung has improved on its TouchWiz UI tremendously in 2015, removing a lot of the bloatware and crashes, offering a cleaner UX for all users.

Apple - on the other hand - has not done a lot to change the experience. iOS 7 was a breath of fresh air, but apart from the design changes iOS functions in much the same way as it did in 2010.

The core argument will come down to this: do you want the flexibility to change most of the device, or have a familiar interface that will always appear the same? If the latter suits you, iOS is your bet, if the former does then Android is better.

There are other adjacent arguments like apps store, performance and design, but the first two are so inconsequential nowadays it is not worth arguing and design is - as we said before - completely subjective to customer preferences.

Verdict

Making a choice on a smartphone is difficult, especially when one has been out for a few months and the other a few hours, but the Galaxy S6 appears to be riding a new wave of belief that Samsung can compete in the premium market, and I agree.

The iPhone 6 is a marvellous device; gorgeous, thin, light and an excellent experience, but the Galaxy S6 feels like a toned down and refined version of the Galaxy S5, with a lot more premium quality and performance to boot.

See the full specs table below.

iPhone 6

Galaxy S6

Display

Screen Size 4.7-inch 5.1-inch
Resolution 1,344 x 750 pixels 2,560 x 1,440 pixels
Pixel Density 326ppi 577ppi
Type IPS LCD Super AMOLED

Processor and Battery

Family Apple A8 Exynos 7420
CPU Cyclone Cortex-A53 / Cortex-A57
Cores Dual-core Octa-core
Clock Speed 1.4GHz 1.5 GHz / 2.1GHz
GPU Mali-T760
Battery 1,810mAh 2,550mAh
Claimed 3G Talk Time Up to 14h Unconfirmed

Storage and Memory

RAM 1GB 3GB
Internal Storage 16 / 64 / 128GB 32 / 64 / 128GB
MicroSD No No

Camera

Rear 8-megapixel 16-megapixel
Video 1,080p (Full HD) 2,160p@30fps, 1,080p@60fps
Front 1.2-megapixel 5-megapixel

Wireless

Standard 4G LTE 4G LTE
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac
NFC Yes Yes
Bluetooth v4.0 v4.1
Integrated Wireless Charging No Yes

Dimensions

Size 138.1 x 67 x 6.9mm 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm
Weight 129g 138g
Operating System iOS 8 Android 5.0 Lollipop
Price (Sim free) £539 / £619 / £699 Unconfirmed
Availability September 2014 April 2015