Apple iPhone 6 Vs. Samsung Galaxy S5: Which One to Choose?
With the iPhone 6 release, the smartphone market is abuzz. Can the new iPhone topple the reigning king of smartphones―the Samsung Galaxy S5? This Buzzle article tries to find out by comparing these two fierce rivals.
Did You know?
According to market researchers, Samsung and Apple together manufacture more than 50% of the smartphones that are sold worldwide.It happened once again! September came, and in all the major cities across the world, including London, New York, Sydney, Tokyo etc., people were seen lining up outside a few select stores. They brought their supplies and put up tents, for they knew that the weather gods were unlikely to smile upon their endeavor. Some were genuine fans who wished to be the first to bathe in the glory. Others were only eager to sell out their spots in the line for a few thousand dollars. There were even those who just wanted to beat the previous record for the longest time spent queuing outside the stores! But what was the ruckus all about?
The long wait finally came to an end, and Apple’s latest installment to its smartphone lineup finally made its debut on the 19th of September 2014. As was expected, the smartphone market is in an uproar. But this time around, the Apple newbie faces some stiff competition from its Android competitors. Most notably, the Samsung Galaxy S5, which has been creating waves since April this year. Also, the HTC One M8 and LG G3, both pack enough firepower to blow away the competition. So how does the best of Apple fare against the best of Android? Let’s find out―it’s the iPhone 6 vs. Galaxy S5.
Apple iPhone 6 Samsung Galaxy S5 Samsung Galaxy S5 Samsung Galaxy S5
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Apple iPhone 6
With Apple, it’s all in the name! From a little seedling, first sown back in 1976 in founder Steve Job’s parents’ garage, Apple Inc. has ripened into one of the most well-known and respected multinational companies of our times. With a focus on consumer satisfaction and an ‘i ‘ for innovation, their lineup of iPhones, iPads, iPods, etc., are truly the technological marvels of today.
Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung is now a household name. This multinational Korean giant has established itself as the leader in consumer electronics, especially in the smartphones sector. Many consider them to be the pioneers of big screen mobile phones. Over the years, the company has earned the public’s trust by making cost-effective, yet reliable smartphones, and thanks to the overwhelming and well-deserved success of its previous flagship models, it is now one of the most sought after brands of our times.
Buzzle Bee’s Verdict: Though Samsung is now a reputed brand, there is just something about the brand name Apple that shouts class. Hence this one goes to Apple.
Gadget Size and Build Quality
Now, the previous Apple ducklings were far from what one would call ugly, but the iPhone 6 is certainly the swan of the lot! It’s bigger and curvier, making it feel much more attractive to look at, and the metallic Apple logo on the back plate gives it that premium appeal. It’s got the same metal body of the iPhone 5S, but has shed the angular edges. Holding it in one’s hands is certainly a treat. Not only is the iPhone 6 taller than the previous models, it’s also slimmer, measuring in at only 6.8 mm. They have gone for a streamlined design with a full glass front face merging seamlessly with the anodized aluminum rear body. On the whole, it looks and feels pretty solid, and thanks to the ‘ion strengthened glass’, it seems less susceptible to scratches and cracks from accidental drops.
Albeit the Galaxy S5 is larger, the iPhone 6 is slimmer. They have even released a ‘plus’ model which is bigger than the Galaxy, but is also pricier at the same time. Truth be told, iPhone 6 plus is more a phablet than a phone, so its real competitor is the Note. Samsung however are the inventors of phablets, so a match-up between the two would certainly be quite interesting.
Dimensions: 138.1 mm × 67 mm × 6.9 mm (5.44 in × 2.64 in × 0.27 in)
They say you cannot improve on perfection. Well, the designers at Samsung certainly seem to think so. They perfected the design of the first Galaxy smartphone back in 2010, and since then, have continued to retain it in almost all of their models that have followed. Owing to that, they have had to face a lot of criticism, and with the Galaxy S5, they seem to have finally decided to do something about it.
Though the phone still retains the basic frame, it looks significantly different than its predecessor. The body is plastic, but it has a more premium feel to it. Unlike the capacitive one seen in the recent smartphones, the front side of the S5 still sports the physical Home button. The rear however, looks completely different, with Samsung going for a new perforated/dotted kind of a look. This, apart from making it more visually appealing, also adds to the ergonomics of the phone. It feels more grippy and sturdier in the hands.
The Galaxy S5 is also IP67 certified, making it resistant to sweat, rain, liquids, dust, and sand. Though it’s thicker and heavier than the iPhone, a lot of small, yet significant changes have been incorporated in the design. Like for instance, the addition of a flap to cover the Micro USB 3.0 slot, all in an effort to give their customers a more ‘well-rounded’ product.
Dimensions: 142 mm × 72.5 mm × 8.1 mm (5.59 in × 2.85 in × 0.32 in)
Buzzle Bee’s Verdict: The plastic body of the S5 is a let down. Samsung needs to work more on changing the look and feel of its phones. Apple is clearly the winner here, with its slim, metallic, unibody design.
When it comes to perfect ergonomics, Apple seems to have all the right ‘moves’. They decided to go big with the iPhone 6, but made sure accessibility wasn’t hampered. With just a double tap on the home button, the entire display moves downwards closer to the thumb! The rest of the hardware has been kept pretty minimalistic. However, everything is within reach and right where it’s supposed to be. The volume rocker is just below the power on/off, which has been moved to the left of the phone to accommodate the bigger design. The home button is also where the fingerprint sensor is. The software too is well optimized. All in all, it’s a very simple and sensible design that they have adopted.
Technology wise, though the Galaxy S5 might be as advanced as the U.S. military’s F-35 lightening fighter jet (figuratively), Samsung has ensured that using it certainly won’t be as difficult (literally!). Those familiar with the previous Galaxy models will find all the major controls of the S5 in their usual places. The power on/off button to the right side, the volume rocker button to the left, and the earpiece and status LED above the screen, are among the familiar design cues that have been retained from previous designs. The new fingerprint scanner is located on the home screen. Even at the software end, user experience has been prioritized. The apps drawer and the pull-down menus for various notifications and settings are all easy to use. Mindful of the fact that the large size of their phone might inconvenience some of their users, Samsung has introduced a lot of supporting features on the software side. For single-handed use especially, the personalization settings such as Easy Mode and Accessibility help a lot.
Buzzle Bee’s Verdict: Both the phones are well designed and easy to use, making this round a draw.
We really don’t know how Apple does it! For sure, being the smallest in the competition must have helped. But having a metallic body and still being the lightest of the lot is nothing short of miraculous. The iPhone 6 weighs in at a mere 129 gm, ensuring that you’ll have a lighter pocket (and wallet too!)
The S5 might be the heavyweight amongst the Androids, but it certainly won’t weigh your pockets down (nor will your wallet after you buy one!). At 145 gm, it is significantly lighter than its competitors, including the Sony Xperia Z3 (162 gm), HTC One m8 (160 gm), and even the LG G3 (149 gm). Looks like having a plastic body has some benefits after all!
Buzzle Bee’s Verdict: Being the lighter one, Apple is the clear winner of this bout.
Apple has adopted the unibody concept, which has become popular lately. As such, you cannot remove or replace any part of the iPhone 6. It is available in 3 colors: gray, gold, and silver, of which, we believe the gray looks the best.
The Galaxy S5 is available in four colors: gold, blue, white, and black, all of which look fantastic, especially the blue one. For the more picky ones, there’s the option of changing the back-cover, which is removable (a rarity these days). A quick search on the Internet reveals a myriad of back-cover options, both in terms of colors and patterns.
Buzzle Bee’s Verdict: With a large number of back-cover color options available in the market, Samsung wins this one on sheer variety.
Display Size and Quality
Following the ‘bigger is better’ trend of late, Apple has gone for a 4.7-inch screen. But it isn’t just the size that’s bigger; the resolution is bigger as well. Apple continues to use the IPS LCD with retina display technology on the iPhone 6. They claim to have used a number of supporting technologies, such as dual-domain pixels for better viewing angles, full sRGB color standard for better color representation, U-V light-based crystal alignment for higher contrast, polarizer, and even some other technologies to enhance the brightness. On the whole, the display is amazingly good for its size, with accurate color representation and display clarity. The display has a color depth of 16 million colors, and appears to be very good for its size. The display size is 750pi × 1334pi, with a pixel density of approximately 326 pixels per inch.
The 5.1-inch super AMOLED screen on the S5 is one of the best displays in the smartphone market today. AMOLED screens are often accused of not being able to represent colors naturally the way LCDs do. But the screen on the S5 turns that argument right on its head. The colors seem very natural and true, and that coupled with the amazing contrast and sharpness of the AMOLED technology, makes the S5’s display simply brilliant to look at. The display has a color depth of 16 million colors. The display is full HD with a resolution of 1080pi × 1334pi, with a pixel density of approximately 432 pixels per inch.
Buzzle Bee’s Verdict: Though the iPhones 6’s retina display is amazing, the AMOLED display on the S5 is simply phenomenal. It takes color representation, contrast, brightness, clarity to a whole new level, and it’s bigger as well. The S5 definitely wins this round.
Apple iPhone 6
Apple is the King of Fruits, and Apple Inc. is the King of Apps (the paid ones that is)! Even amidst the sea of Android freebies, they have been able to successfully achieve and maintain monetization with a greater number of iPhone users willing to pay for apps, as compared to Android users. Thus, quality application developers are invariably lured to the iOS platform, and as a result, the Apple Application Store features more quality apps even if the quantity is nearly the same as that of the Google PlayStore (1,300,000 as of September 2014).
With the Galaxy S5, Google is your PLAYground. Being powered by the latest of Android, the S5 allows you access to the large (and still growing) Android Apps (application) Store run by Google, called the Google PlayStore. As of July 2014, the store has around 1,300,000 applications available for download. Of these, a large percentage is that of free applications. This number is expected to continue growing each year. Thus, on the S5, you certainly won’t be left wanting for quantity. However, with the best application developers traditionally opt for the iOS, owing to its greater monitory benefits.
Buzzle Bee’s Verdict: Though there’s a tie in terms of quantity, in terms of quality, Apple still reigns supreme.
Processor, Memory, and Storage
Apple could never boast of good numbers here, and the iPhone 6 is no exception. It runs on a dual-core Cyclone processor, which is derived from the ARM v8 processor family. While this may not seem very impressive, it is rumored that the new A8 chip within the iPhone 6 clocks in at about 2GHz. The A8 chip has a 64 bit desktop class architecture. They have also included the M8 co-processor, which is capable of optimizing the performance of the processor, by offloading work from the main processor. All in all, 6 seems a worthy contender in today’s smartphone arena.
Memory wise, it falls short of the competition. It has only 1GB of RAM. For data storage too, you are stuck with whatever internal memory your particular model offers, as there is no expansion slot. The phone comes with 16GB/64GB/128GB of internal storage, with each model being pricier than the previous one.
At the heart of the S5 is a Quad Core 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU (MSM8974AC). It’s blazingly fast, scoring high on several benchmarking software tests, including Quadrant. In normal everyday usage, the performance is hardly noticeable, as most everyday applications don’t stress the processors much. But even if you try running two heavy applications simultaneously, the S5 isn’t likely to complain.
On the memory front, the S5 boasts of 2GB internal RAM, which is sufficient for most applications. It has an internal storage memory of 16 GB or 32 GB, which can be expanded up to 128 GB using the microSD card slot.
Buzzle Bee’s Verdict: Samsung trounces Apple here with a faster processor, more RAM, and more storage space. The iPhone 6 looks so two thousand and late, in comparison.
Operating System and Features
The phone features the iOS 8 software suite, which Apple claims is their biggest update since the introduction of their applications store. Apple seemingly has had a taste of the Android’s ‘KitKat’, because its new software update, like that of the Android, now focuses on customization. However, they seem to have gone a step further with the changes.
The notifications option now allows you to not only view the updates but to act upon them as well. This includes reading, responding, and even editing the status in several applications, such as text messages, calendar events, reminders, emails, etc. And the best part is that, all this can be done even while you are on a different application altogether, without needing to close it.
Another useful feature is the quick access to contacts. With just a double tap on the Home button, the user can access a list of all the recent and favorite contacts. This is a very handy feature, as one can easily continue with a conversation that was left previously.
Apart from these, the iOS8 update brings several other beneficial features:
1) The Health Kit which can monitor your health stats and even notify a doctor in case of discrepancies.
2) The QuickType feature which can adapt to your typing habits.
3) Spot light search which is far more intelligent and interactive.
4) Improved email and messaging.
5) Comprehensive device synchronization which allows changes made on one Apple device to be reflected within mere seconds on another one.
6) A more beautiful and attractive Siri, who is now completely at your beck and call. Just say ‘Hey Siri’, and she wakes up to you. She also has a new friend now, called ‘Shazam’. But no need to be jealous, for Siri is yours alone. She only uses Shazam to identify and bring you the mystery tune that’s been playing in your head.
7) Better iCloud drive to give Google Drive a run for its money.
8) Fingerprint ID to secure your phone and your online transactions.
The Galaxy S5 comes loaded with the Android Kit Kat 4.4.2., which comes wrapped within Samsung’s own TouchWiz Nature UX3.0 interface. The UI is very streamlined and flat. It also is pretty user-centered, displaying larger icons and a cleaner, clutter-free interface. With the newly introduced fingerprint scanner, it is quite secure as well.
The home screen features ‘My Magazine’, which has been borrowed from the Note. It is a tile-like interface which displays top articles and social media updates. Several categories are displayed as tiles, such as sports, science, news, facebook, etc.
The S5 features a multi-window multitasking option, wherein two applications can be run simultaneously on two different windows. It facilitates copying text from one and pasting onto another, taking snapshots, etc.
Some other notable features include:
1) Easy Grid layout for the settings menu.
2) Kids mode, featuring colorful, children-oriented graphics, and limited functionality.
3) Car mode, which displays four large icons on the screen for easy visibility and access while driving. What makes this feature even better is that you can operate in this mode with voice commands alone.
4) Private mode, which can secure files and folders on your cellphone with your fingerprint ID.
5) Easy mode, which makes for easy operation of your phone.
6) Air view allowing you to interact with your phone without touching it.
7) S Voice for voice-based commands.
8) Google Now, which integrates and personalizes your Google searches.
Buzzle Bee’s Verdict: The iOS vs Android battle that has been going on for a long time. Both the operating systems have gone through several updates, and the S5 and iPhone 6 feature the latest and best of their respective OS platforms. The iOS8 is more optimized; however, despite its customization capabilities, it still lacks the freedom that Android offers. Android Kikkat 4.4.2 is very customizable, but still doesn’t feel as optimized as the iOS on Apple. Hence, this one is a draw.
Camera and Image Quality
When it comes to image quality, it’s not just the megapixels that count, or is it? Well, Apple surely thinks it’s not. In a market saturated with 12MP, 13MP, 20MP, and even 41MP, they are still dishing out an 8MP on their flagship smartphone. So how does it stack up against its more pixel-oriented rivals? Pretty well actually. Even though the base camera on the 6 is the same as that on the iPhone 5S, it’s the finer changes introduced that make all the difference. Most notable of which is the upgraded sensor, referred to as the next generation ‘isight’ sensor. It features phase detection autofocus technology, which is called the ‘focus pixels’. It allows faster focusing compared to contrast detection focusing. The camera also features True Tone Flash, which, without going into the technical details, captures realistic colors, especially the skin tones. The video capture capability also seems to have improved. In addition to 1080pi @ 30fps recording, the camera can now also record in full HD at 60fps, allowing for more smoother videos. Other features include an f/2.2 aperture, five element lens, Hybrid IR Filter, Sapphire crystal lens, exposure control etc. All in all, they have taken an already great shooter and with the help of some nifty technological changes, managed to make it even better.
The S5 is equipped with a 16MP camera, featuring, for the first time in a cellphone, a large ISOCELL sensor. The sensor has a 16:9 aspect ratio, allowing for full widescreen imaging. ISOCELL technology promises to reduce noise and grains in the dark, and also to increase dynamic range. The results are apparent, with the camera being capable of taking excellent snapshots, both in high and low light conditions. It is also one of the few cellphone cameras to record video in 2160pi (yeah, you read it right!) at 30fps. It can also do the, now common, 1080p at 30fps and 60fps, along with the 720p recordings. Needless to say, at 2160pi, it captures some stunning details, albeit at a high memory premium―a mere 10-sec video can cost you almost 60MB of your precious memory space. On the whole, the camera on the S5 is certainly an all-rounder, with great photo and video capturing capabilities.
Buzzle Bee’s Verdict: Both companies have incorporated a lot of technologies, in an effort to provide the best camera to their customers. On pixel count and resolution alone, the S5 would be the winner, but past experience shows that iPhone cameras can be deceptively powerful. Though Samsung has introduced 2160pi video recording on the S5, which captures stunning details, Apple’s iSight camera manages to take slightly better quality snapshots. It’s low light performance is also better than the S5’s. We will therefore have to give this one to the Iphone.
With both Samsung and Apple vying to lead the NFC-based mobile payment revolution, security has been on the top of their lists. As a result, both have introduced fingerprint scanners in their latest flagships. Though differing in their implementation methodologies, their purpose remains the same, to be able to reliably authenticate purchases and payments.
Apple relies on the tried and tested ‘press and hold’ method to get your fingerprint scanned. They call it their Touch ID technology. The fingerprint sensor (again the Home button) is capable of scanning along the entire 360 degrees of orientation. Using the fingerprint scanner, you can approve online purchases and even use Apple Pay for touch-less transactions.
The Galaxy S5 requires you to swipe your finger across its fingerprint scanner (Home button) to be able to read and register your print. Though a novel way to have your fingerprint scanned, users have been complaining of erratic and inconsistent behavior. Samsung lets you use your scanned print as an alternative to a password to unlock your cellphone, and make payment via PayPal and Google Tap and Pay.
Buzzle Bee’s Verdict: Apple’s fingerprint scanner is more responsive and reliable, making iPhone 6 the winner here.
Near Field Communication is all set to revolutionize eCommerce. As the name suggests, for the technology to work, it is necessary that the two parties bring their NFC-equipped devices within contact of one another, amounting to a virtually zero possibility of external interference. Plus, with the added security of fingerprint-based identification, this new form of eCommerce is as safe as it gets.
While Google had started nudging its Android followers to start using contact-less payment options back in 2011, Apple decided to wait a couple of years. However, Apple seems to have had it right this time. NFC-based eCommerce has only just reached maturity, and with the inclusion of NFC on the iPhone 6, the timing couldn’t have been better. With Apple Pay, an iPhone user can safely and securely make purchases in stores accepting NFC-based payments. The app stores your credit/debit card numbers on board on a dedicated chip called Secure Element. It generates a Device Account Number for each card, which is transferred via NFC along with a dynamically generated security code to process your payment. Thus, not even your credit card details need to be shared with the merchants. Finally, only your fingerprint scan can authenticate payment, making it all the more secure.
The Galaxy S5 has the NFC chip located at the back. NFC is only activated when it comes within range of a receiver/transmitter. So, it is safe to turn NFC on in your cell and leave it on without having to worry about battery consumption. You can easily share files by just tapping your phone on to another one equipped with NFC. But the most important feature is the ability to make payments with NFC. To purchase content from Samsung, you can authenticate your account using your fingerprint scans. But that’s not all. Samsung has even partnered with PayPal, which allows you to purchase from any site which accepts PayPal, using just your fingerprint. The S5 is also compatible with Google Wallet Tap and Pay. The onboard fingerprint scanner can be used to verify and authenticate payments, adding to the security.
Buzzle Bee’s Verdict: Together, Apple and Samsung are ushering in a new era of NFC-based cashless transactions. Though late for the party, Apple has a more secure system in place. However, Samsung has been constantly working on making its system just as good, if not better. Therefore, it is quite likely that the scenario will be different in a few years. But until then, Apple must be declared the winner.
What’s the point of owning a Hummer if you are only going to get around 9mpg? The same is true for smartphones. Even if you have the most powerful one, it would meaningless without a good battery backup.
The iPhone 6 incorporates a non-removable Li-Po battery. Its rated standby time is up to 250 hours, while its talktime is up to 14 hours. On continuously playing music alone, it can go to a maximum of 50 hours.
The S5 is one of the few smartphones left in the market today that actually lets you remove and inspect the battery. The phone runs on a 2800mAh Li-on battery, with rated standby time of up to 390 hours, and talktime of up to 21 hours. If all the other apps are closed and only music is played continuously, the phone loses juice after a reasonable 67 hours.
Buzzle Bee’s Verdict: With a greater talktime and longer standby time, Samsung hits a home run here.
Final Words: The Galaxy S5 already had the sea in turmoil, and now with the addition of the iPhone 6, the recipe for the perfect storm is finally complete. The Samsung S5 brings in the thunderstorm with its lightening fast processor and flashy AMOLED display. It has got one of the best cameras in the market, and can light up the sky with its variety of changeable backcover options.
The Apple iPhone 6 is a twister, in that, it has completely spun the iPhone lineup around. It has got a bigger and more contemporary display, with a lighter, metallic, unibody. It’s even got the winds of NFC to pick up speed with a secure fingerprint-based cashless transaction system.
With these two storms having finally met, the whole smartphone landscape is likely to be redefined. In our comparison, both have scored high, but on very different counts. If it’s head-turning looks, optimized software, grandiose brand name, and convenience that you are looking for, then the iPhone 6 is for you. But, if you are looking for cutting-edge technology, raw processing power, and the freedom to customize your phone, then you should opt for the Galaxy S5. Thus, it’s truly a matter of what you are looking for when choosing from amongst these titans. The Apple iPhone 6 is available in stores for $650 and the iPhone 6 plus for $750. Samsung Galaxy s5 will cost you around $600.
Author: Satyajeet Vispute