Apple and Samsung are back this fall with their flagship phablets, designed to attract those with a desire for bigger screens on their smartphones. Apple’s latest phablet, the iPhone 6S Plus, is offering up a 5.5-inch display just like last year’s introductory iPhone 6 Plus. However, the iPhone 6S Plus is bringing a ton of new features, such as a faster processor, faster Touch ID, and new 3D Touch display technology.
Samsung’s newest phablet is the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, which aside from having a really long name, also has a big 5.7-inch curved display, 8-core processor, and more RAM than ever. Here’s a quick look at how the two gadgets compare head to head:
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
|Size||6.1 x 2.98 x 0.27 (in)||6.23 x 3.06 x 0.29 (in)|
|Weight||0.34 lbs||0.42 lbs|
|Display||5.7-inch Quad-HD Super AMOLED curved display||5.5-inch Retina display|
|Resolution||2560 x 1440||1242 x 2208 (rumored)|
|Operating System||Android 5.1 Lollipop||iOS 9|
|Storage||32 or 64GB||16, 64, or 128GB|
|Processor||Qualcomm Exynos 7420 8-core processor||Apple’s A9 chip and M9 motion coprocessor|
|Camera||Front 5MP, Rear 16MP||Front 5MP, Rear 12MP|
|Video||4K rear recording||4K rear recording|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, HSPA+, Bluetooh 4.0||Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, HSPA+, Bluetooh 4.0|
|Sensors||Three-axis gyro, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, and fingerprint reader||Three-axis gyro, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, 3D Touch, and Touch ID|
|Battery||Up to 12 hours web surfing or watching videos||Up to 10 hours of web surfing or watching videos|
|Marketplace||Android Play Store||iOS App Store|
|Price||Starting at $780 for 32GB||Starting at $750 for 16GB (2 year contract)|
As usual, both Samsung and Apple are upping the ante with this year’s processors. Apple claimed at the iPhone 6S Plus event that the new A9 and M9 co-processors packed inside this phablet are much faster than ever before. The A9 is supposedly a massive 70 percent faster than the A8 in CPU speeds and 90 percent faster in GPU speeds. However, the device still has just 1GB of RAM, which is a bit mediocre compared to even low-end Android devices. Of course, iOS is also designed to run a lot more lean than Android, so things should run just fine.
The phablet will also feature 3D Touch, offering new gesture and touch controls. Essentially, the iPhone will react differently depending on how forceful a push someone makes on the device. Pressure amounts range from a light tap to a forceful push.
Samsung also bumped up the power for its Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, which now features the latest Exynos 8-core processor for tons of power, alongside a massive 4GB of RAM to maximize multitasking potential. The 8-core processor also features ARM’s big.LITTLE technology to help improve energy efficiency, while using all those cores. Needless to say, both phablets can offer up a ton of power for even the most demanding mobile tasks, though the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus has a lot of extra RAM to help with multitasking.
Winner: Galaxy S6 Edge Plus
Depending on what you look for, both devices offer very distinct experiences crafted around particular forms and functions. The Apple iPhone 6S Plus is merely a larger version of the iPhone, and needs no introduction when it comes to explaining style and design for the device. Apple has kept to its usual, all-metal look with a high-strength 7000 alloy aluminum, but it focused on providing even thicker glass on the screen to help bar from cracking and other damage for those who are a bit more clumsy at heart.
Despite having the larger display and bigger battery, the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is not just a tad shorter than the iPhone 6S Plus, but a tad lighter, too. This probably comes from all that extra metal and glass in the Apple phone compared to the S6 Edge Plus’s glass back. Ultimately, you probably won’t notice the extra ounce or so in the iPhone 6S Plus’s weight.
The Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, of course, has its unique curved display unlike any other phablet out there. The edges offer new functionality that’s more gimmicky than truly useful, but they sure do look pretty. However, there is a greater risk of damaging it from an accidental drop, and that screen is expensive to replace. The edges can be uncomfortable to hold, though, whereas the iPhone is smooth and easy on the palms. The glass back is also a horrible fingerprint magnet, which will infuriate some people.
Winner: iPhone 6S Plus
These days, no device is complete without a look at its camera features. The latest phablet from Apple now supports 4K recording from its rear, 12-megapixel iSight camera, not to mention an upgrade to the front camera, which is up to a 5-megapixel design. There’s a bunch of other camera updates, too, including new high-resolution panoramas, as well as a way to record GIFs with the new 3D Touch technology. Apple’s calling these Harry Potter-esque shots “Live Photos.”
Samsung also bumped up the camera for the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, just like with its sisters the Galaxy S6 and Note 5. The S6 Edge Plus is up to a 16-megapixel sensor with OIS and 4K video, not to mention live YouTube broadcasting at 1080p from anywhere with just a tap. The OIS is especially helpful if you’re prone to taking shaky-photos, while trying to grasp the somewhat-large device with one hand.
Although Samsung’s camera is great, we’ll have to test the iPhone 6S Plus’ new camera before we make a final judgement.
Winner: TBD when we review the iPhone 6S Plus
No matter what, it’s going to cost you a pretty penny to own either of these devices. The Apple iPhone 6S Plus will cost $750 off-contract with just 16GB of storage onboard, and prices will be $300 and up for a device on a 2-year contract. Apple is now also offering a $32 monthly Apple Care insurance-upgrade deal. Now, you can get a free upgrade every year to the next iPhone, bypassing the usual carrier insurance programs, if you buy in with your new device. Here’s a breakdown of how that plan works.
Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, curved display and all, starts around $780 retail for 32GB of storage, depending on which carrier you buy it from. Either way, both devices are a small fortune because of all the premium features and functionality they offer, not to mention the large, high-resolution displays and powerful processors. Still, the iPhone is slightly cheaper, albeit with less storage.
In the Android world, there are tons of phablets to choose from in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and features. Samsung sells two of the best out there, including the S6 Edge Plus. With the world of iOS, there’s only one benchmark for phablets, and that’s the iPhone 6S Plus. Ultimately both devices offer a lot of bang for the buck, and if you’re in love with the iOS ecosystem, then of course you’re going to love the iPhone 6S Plus. If you’re really into curved displays, the S6 Edge Plus is worth every penny. Either way, neither device is a bad choice if it’s a serious upgrade in functionality compared to your last smartphone.
iPhone 6s Plus available at:
Galaxy S6 Edge+ available at: