iPhone 6 vs. Samsung Galaxy S4: What We Know So Far
The Samsung Galaxy S5 launch won’t render the Galaxy S4 irrelevant. No, the device will still be sold in stores and it will still be in the hands of millions of users, which means that it will still be a topic of conversation even as company’s like Apple and Samsung put forth their iPhone 6 and Galaxy S5.
Last year, the Galaxy S4 was one of the most talked about smartphones. The anticipation in the buildup to the Galaxy S4 launch was remarkable in that it not only included hardware smartphone enthusiasts but it roped in average smartphone users as well. The Galaxy S4, simply put, was one of the biggest smartphone launches of the year.
Almost a year has gone by since Samsung took the stage in New York City and unsurprisingly, the company is gearing up to release another brand new Galaxy S smartphone in the Galaxy S5. The device is likely to launch on February 24th, at which point, the Galaxy S4 will no longer be considered the company’s flagship smartphone model. That title will belong to whatever is next.
That doesn’t mean that the Galaxy S4 will fall off the face of the earth though. In fact, Samsung does a fantastic job of keeping its older devices relevant thanks to software updates and hardware that is able to withstand the tests of time. This is a device that launched a year ago but remains one of the best smartphones on the market.
It’s also a device that is in the hands of millions of people. And while many are likely planning to keep their Galaxy S4 for the foreseeable future, there are likely those that are thinking about this year’s devices and how they might compare.
In fact, we’ve been hearing from Galaxy S4 owners who are curious about the future and specifically, about the iPhone 6, Apple’s rumored iPhone for 2014.
They’ve heard that this year’s iPhone 6 might have a larger screen, something that has been a staple of Android devices like the Galaxy S4. And this has them intrigued.
We can’t profess to know everything about the iPhone 6 and how it compares to the Samsung Galaxy S4 but we certainly have a start thanks to credible rumors that have emerged in recent weeks. And while this may not answer all of the questions that current or prospective Galaxy S4 owners might have about Apple’s new iPhone, it will certainly paint a more detailed picture.
Here is how the iPhone 6 currently stacks up with the Galaxy S4.
As we’ve mentioned numerous times in these early comparisons, one of the most sought after aspects of rumored smartphones is their release date. Current Galaxy S4 and potential Galaxy S4 buyers want to know when they might be able to compare the device to the big name devices of 2014, the iPhone 6 included. The decision about whether to wait for a new smartphone is a big one especially when it could suck up several months.
Those Galaxy S4 owners who are thinking about making the switch to a new big-screened iPhone will likely have to wait several months before they are able to compare official specifications rather than rumored ones. That’s because iPhone 6 rumors center around two specific launch windows, windows that Apple has used in the past.
iPhone 6 release date rumors haven’t agreed on a specific date just yet but they do point to two very well known windows for launch and release. Apple historically has launched its iPhones in the summer or the fall with a release taking place just a few weeks after the announcement.
Release date rumors have almost unanimously pointed to an iPhone 6 release this summer or this fall with a majority of rumors hinting at an arrival in the fall. The iPhone 4s, iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s all were launched and released in the fall just ahead of the holiday shopping season and there is a very good chance that the iPhone 6 could emerge there as well.
We saw two potential release windows emerge for last year’s iPhone 5s before rumors settled on the fall. While nothing is certain, we think we know what we’re seeing two release windows.
The Wall Street Journal claims Apple is preparing two iPhone 6 models with larger screens and that the smaller one is, “further along in development, and is being prepared for mass production,” while the larger iPhone 6 is in, “preliminary development.” This could explain the two possible iPhone 6 release dates.
As we’ve pointed out, most of these rumors come from sources on the supply chain. Companies in the iPhone supply chain are likely on a need-to-know basis. That means that they likely have been given target dates for their own products but not the iPhone 6 itself. So while there may be two rumored iPhone 6 release windows, there is a good chance that we’ll see only one emerge.
That said, Galaxy S4 owners and buyers will more than likely have to wait at least a few months before Apple takes the curtain down from around its next iPhone. An early launch and release appears unlikely at this point.
A Samsung executive recently told Bloomberg that one of the reasons it thinks the Galaxy S4 didn’t resonate as much with consumers is because the company didn’t offer much of a design change from the Galaxy S3. In some ways, the company is right, the Galaxy S4 is very much like the Galaxy S3.
It’s essentially a large piece of plastic, though we will say that the Galaxy S4′s plastic is much nicer than the plastic designs found on other smartphones. In our review, we found that the device lacked the premium feel of a flagship but that its thin and lightweight form factor was still solid.
Exactly how the iPhone 6 will compare is unclear, iPhone designs typically don’t emerge until much closer to the actual launch date, but rumors have at least started to put some paint on the canvas.
When it comes to its iPhone design, Apple has stuck to a pattern: It has kept a design around for two years before ditching it for something new. The iPhone 5s utilized the same design as the iPhone 5 which means that some type of change is likely in order with the iPhone 6 and rumors have pointing to some possible tweaks. Here’s what we know so far.
The Wall Street Journal claims that the iPhone 6 will use the same anodized aluminum material found on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5. However, there will reportedly be some differences. This makes sense given Apple’s penchant for premium designs. The plastic iPhone 5c was treated as a budget smartphone and reports suggest that there will not be a sequel.
As for the front of the iPhone 6, a 9to5Mac report recently revealed that Apple is fast tracking the output from a Sapphire factory that it invested in during its 2013 campaign. This, and other rumors, point to the possible use of Sapphire with this year’s iPhone. Sapphire is a strong material that could be used with the iPhone 6′s display, making it nearly impossible to break. It’s something the Galaxy S4 does not have.
There are also numerous reports out that point to a larger display. This would obviously increase the size of the iPhone though by how much is unclear. What we could see is a new design with thinner bezels, similar to what Apple did with the iPad Air.
By doing this, Apple could keep the overall size of the iPhone down, even with the larger display. A recent iPhone 6 concept shows what a larger iPhone could look like next to the iPhone 5s.
A new report from LEDInside of TrendForce claims that the iPhone 6 will be thinner than the 7.6mm thin iPhone 5s, thanks to a shift from 0.6 mm thick LED backlights to backlights that are just 0.4 mm thick. The precise difference isn’t clear but if true, it could mean a frame that is thinner than the Galaxy S4 which measures 7.9mm thin.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 utilizes one of the best smartphone displays in the business. Its 5-inch 1080p screen offers gorgeous looking content that is on par with how content looks on the Retina display found on Apple’s current iPhone line. And while Apple’s Retina display currently sits a 4-inches, rumors point to a big change with the quality and size in the iPhone 6.
For years, consumers have pleaded for Apple to release an iPhone with a larger display and right now, the loudest iPhone 6 rumors point to exactly that.
The Wall Street Journal believes the company will deliver two iPhones, one 4.5-inch model and a 5+-inch iPhone 6. NPD DisplaySearch believes that two iPhone 6 models with higher resolution displays will be coming in 2014.
A KDB Daewoo Securities report uncovered by OLED-Display includes two iPhone 6 display sizes. And Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who accurately predicted many of the iPhone 5s features ahead of time, thinks Apple is planning an iPhone 6 with a screen between 4.5-inches and 5-inches. Here is how it breaks down at the moment:
- 4.5-inch display – WSJ
- 4.7-inch display – 1600 x 900 resolution – NPD
- 4.7-inch to 4.8-inch display - 1920 x 1080 resolution – KDB
- 4.5-inch to 5-inch display – Kuo
- 5+ inch display – WSJ
- 5.5-inch display – 1920 x 1080 resolution – NPD
- 5.5-inch display – 2272 x 1280 resolution – KDB
A sketchy report from Economic Daily News claims that the iPhone 6 will come in two sizes, 4.7-inches and 5.6-inches. The report goes even further than that and says that the 4.7-inch iPhone will come with Corning glass instead of Sapphire. The Galaxy S4 uses Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 which protects it.
The video below shows what iOS 7 looks like on larger screens from 4.5-inches all the way up to 5.7-inches and will give Galaxy S4 users an idea about how a larger iPhone might look.
The iPhone 6 will come with more than just a design and display. There will be other specifications on board including cameras, processors, memory, and more.
That recent research note from KDB Daewoo Securities claims a great number of possible iPhone 6 specifications. Drawing from that note and from other reports, we have drawn up a list of features currently rumored to be aboard the new iPhone.
- Apple A8 64-bit processor
- iOS 7.2 or iOS 8
- 4.5-4.8-inch and 5 -5.5-inch displays
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB / 32GB/ 64GB / 128GB storage options
- 3.2MP front-facing camera
- 8-10MP rear-facing camera
- 1,800 mAh battery
- 802.11ac WiFi
- Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor
And here is how the Galaxy S4 would match up:
- Snapdragon 600 Processor
- Android 4.4 KitKat
- 5-inch display
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB / 32GB storage options
- 2MP front-facing camera
- 13MP rear-facing camera
- 2,600 mAh battery
- 802.11 a, b, g, n WiFi
- Regular Home Button
We’ll key on a few of these specifications.
The iPhone 5s’ 8MP camera is on par with the Galaxy S4. Some would argue that’s better. And if Apple improves on the camera like iPhone 6 rumors suggest, we could see the iPhone separate the gap. This year’s iPhone 6 camera will supposedly be an improved 8MP camera or a 10MP camera.
The company will almost certainly attach a 64-bit processor to the iPhone 6, the iPhone 5s utilizes one after all, and that and a possible boost in RAM would provide increased performance in areas like multitasking and gaming. The Galaxy S4′s Snapdragon 600 is not 64-bit but it’s powerful in its own right. We would expect a new chip from 2014 to outclass a chip from 2013 but at the moment, it’s not clear how a new A8 might compare to the processor in the Galaxy S4.
Finally, we could see the iPhone 6 arrive with 802.11ac Wi-Fi support. Timothy Arcuri of Cowen and Company claims that the iPhone 6 specs are “locked in” and that 802.11ac will be on board. This is a feature, found on Apple’s new MacBook line, enables faster Wi-Fi speeds that blow the current ones away. The Galaxy S4 does not use this standard.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update is live which means that Galaxy S4 models across the globe will get updated to the latest version of Android. Unlike past major updates though, Android 4.4 KitKat does not bring major changes to Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. There are some UI tweaks but not much else.
With the Galaxy S5 on the way and rumors pointing to new features and a new look, it could be that we see some major changes later in the year around the time the iPhone 6 arrives. But until then, the Galaxy S4 remains on a familiar piece of software.
Not that that is a bad thing. The Galaxy S4 offers a number of powerful software features, some of which are unique to the Galaxy S series, and a few of which can be seen in the video below.
We should point out that the Galaxy S4 is closing in on its one year birthday and Samsung typically outfits its devices for two years. That means that the Galaxy S4 still has some life left ahead of it, making a safe purchase in 2014.
The iPhone 6′s software won’t be Android and will instead be a version of Apple’s iOS software, likely iOS 8. This means that it will offer a different look and likely, a vastly different feature set than the software on the Galaxy S4.
At the moment, rumors point to the arrival of iOS 8. According to 9to5Mac, the iOS 8 update will not bring a lot of visual changes. Instead, it will pave the way for health and fitness tracking.
Apple is also reportedly working on an app that is code named Healthbook which may connect with sensors in an iPhone 6 or iWatch to help users track and manage a number of things including steps taken and calories burned.
Like the Galaxy S4, the iPhone 6 has a long life ahead of it. Apple tends to offer its users three years of support, rather than two, which means that the iPhone 6 should last all the way up until iOS 11.
The Galaxy S4 is on its way to the bargain bin but the iPhone 6 likely won’t join it there. In fact, one analyst believes that the device will see a jump in price.
Chris Caso of Susquehanna Financial Group thinks the price of the iPhone 6 could jump up as much as $100 from the price of the iPhone 5s. Caso sees “the potential for the iPhone 6 price point to move higher,” adding, “we think Apple could get away with a $50 to $100 premium for a larger screen size iPhone 6.”
If true, the price would be in the realm of the Galaxy Note 3 and not the Galaxy S4 and perhaps, not even the Galaxy S5 which is rumored to be cheaper than usual.