The iPhone 6 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S5 feature amazing displays, a great user experience and are two of the best smartphones you can buy in late 2014. Here’s a look at how the iPhone 6 Plus vs Galaxy S5 comparison stacks up in the areas buyers need to know about before they walk in to the store to buy a new smartphone.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is older, the phone arrived in early 2014, but it remains a great choice for many users thanks to a great display and a water-resistant design that allows users to take it almost anywhere without a special case.
Apple just announced the iPhone 6 Plus at the start of September, and it is finally available with a new 5.5-inch 1080P display, new design and an updated camera. The iPhone 6 Plus release date arrived last week, but it is still tough to find the iPhone 6 Plus in stores.
Although many shoppers are comparing the iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note 3 or the iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note 4, it makes sense to compare the iPhone 6 Plus vs Galaxy S5. The Galaxy S5 is smaller than these devices, practically the same size as the iPhone 6, but it includes a 5.1-inch 1080P display that is close to the iPhone 6 Plus’ 5.5-inch 1080P display.
Read: Galaxy S5 Review
The iPhone 6 Plus and the Galaxy S5 are both available on all the major U.S. carriers so you can pick the one that offers the best service, value and experience for your location.
Here’s what you need to know make sure you buy the best smartphone for your needs this fall.
iPhone 6 Plus vs Galaxy S5 Size
The iPhone 6 Plus is larger than the Galaxy S5 by a considerable amount, but it is thinner than the Galaxy S5, which adds a removable back and water-resistant design to the mix.
After using both of these devices, the Galaxy S5 remains clearly a winner in the one-handed use size. The iPhone 6 Plus is usable with one hand for some tasks, thanks to Reachability, but it is best suited for using two hands. If you can’t commit to using the iPhone 6 plus with two hands most of the time and relying on Reachability, this could be a deal breaker.
- iPhone 6 Plus – 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1mm – 172 grams
- Galaxy S5 – 142 x 72.5 x 8.1mm – 145 grams
Both of these phones are easy enough to carry in a pocket, in a pair of men’s pants, but the iPhone 6 Plus may be too big for pockets on some womens clothing.
Samsung relies on plastic for the Galaxy S5 design and delivers a water-resistant seal that you won’t find on the iPhone 6 Plus. You can also take the back off of it to reach the battery and storage. Apple does not use plastic. The iPhone 6 is made of aluminum and glass. The Galaxy S5 is fine without a case, while the iPhone 6 Plus is a little slippery.
If you are in doubt go to a local store and check out the size of both smartphones for yourself. You can find demo units at Apple Stores and many carrier locations.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 6 Plus both offer stunning smartphone displays. They may not offer the crazy high-resolutions found on the Galaxy Note 4 and LG G3, but both look very nice.
The biggest difference that you’ll actually notice about these displays is that the iPhone 6 Plus is almost half an inch larger than the Galaxy S5. This is a significant difference in terms of usable space and in what it adds to the overall size of the device. For users who feel the iPhone 6 display is still too small, but aren’t ready to jump up to a 5.5 or 5.7-inch display, the Galaxy S5 is a good choice.
- iPhone 6 Plus – 5.5-inch 1,920 x 1,080 – 401 pixels per inch
- Galaxy S5 – 5.1-inch 1,920 x 1,080 – 432 pixels per inch
There’s no magical best phone here. Yes, the iPhone 6 plus is bigger, but the real difference is what you can do with these two beautiful displays.
One thing you can’t do on the iPhone 6 Plus is run two apps at once. The Galaxy S5 Android software lets you put two apps on-screen at the same time, for more productivity or to mix work and play. This is something that you can’t do yet on the iPhone 6 Plus.
Features & Software
The Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 6 plus both offer a handful of exciting features that you can’t find on the other device. There are some very similar features that aren’t exactly the same, but are close enough for many users.
One Hand Mode – Apple and Samsung both include a one-hand use feature. Apple drops the top of the screen down with Reachability and Samsung opts to shrink the full display, but both work.
Mobile Payments – Apple Pay will allow the iPhone 6 plus to make mobile payments starting in October. Google Wallet and Soft Card offer the same feature on the Galaxy S5.
Sensors – The iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy S5 are packed with a variety of sensors to monitor fitness and health. There are some differences here, like a heart rate sensor on the Galaxy S5 and a motion sensor for gestures. iPhone 6 Plus users can use the flash and camera as a makeshift heart rate sensor.
Security – Apple offers Touch ID on the iPhone 6 Plus and Samsung includes a finger sensor in the home button. Touch ID works better than Samsung’s option, but it is something Samsung includes.
WiFi – Both devices feature faster 802.11 ac WiFi, allowing speedy downloads if you own a recent, supporting router at home.
Galaxy S5 Features
If you buy the Galaxy S5 you do gain some features not found on the iPhone 6 Plus. There is an IR port to control your HDTV and remote control software built in. Owners can remove the back of the Galaxy S5 to replace the battery, swap in wireless charging and add storage with a Micro SD card slot. The Galaxy S5 is also water-resistant up to 3 feet for 30 minutes. You can lock select photos with the fingerprint sensor.
iPhone 6 Plus Features
The iPhone 6 Plus battery life is good enough to last nearly two full days with little conservation, and it’s a challenge to get anywhere close to draining the battery in an average day so far. Apple packs in support for Metal, a new optimized way for games to access the Apple A8 processor to deliver stunning visuals on the iPhone 6 Plus. Touch ID performs better than the Galaxy S5 fingerprint reader and Reachability is a more elegant one-handed use option. Touch ID now works on third-party apps.
Android vs iOS 8
In addition to picking the hardware, you need to choose between Android and iOS. If you are upgrading from a smartphone you may already know what you want, but enough changed in the last year to give both a look. Android is better looking than it two years ago and more reliable. App selection is also better and Android apps look nicer and arrive around the same time as most iPhone apps.
Apple opens up a lot of options in iOS 8 on the iPhone 6 Plus, including third-party keyboards, Touch ID for other apps, better group messaging and much more. iOS 8 is still locked down in many areas, but it is more open than in earlier versions.
It’s easy to think the Galaxy S5 camera is twice as good as the iPhone 6 plus because it uses twice as many megapixels, but that’s not the case. The Galaxy S5 offers a nice 16MP camera with many different modes. The iPhone 6 Plus offers an 8MP camera with larger pixels than last year and Optical Image Stabilization.
Both of the phones focus fast. The Galaxy S5 uses a new type of auto focus and the iPhone 6 Plus uses focus pixels. Whatever you call it, they can both get the subject in focus quickly. The iPhone 6 plus focuses a little faster in tests in a room with decent lighting, but the difference is not massive. One thing the Galaxy S5 offers that Apple doesn’t is a way to change the focus on a photo after you take it.
The video above shows the many options on the Galaxy S5 camera. Samsung includes a variety of options and modes that Apple does not include on iOS 8. One thing we really like is Live HDR, which lets you see what an HDR photo will look like before you press the shutter.
Apple takes a more constricted approach to the iOS 8 and iPhone 6 Camera app. The video below walks through the new options, including Time Lapse, available on the iPhone 6 Plus. One of the coolest features is the 240FPS slow motion, which delivers incredible looking slow motion videos that the Galaxy S5 can’t match.
The Optical Image Stabilization on the iPhone Plus won’t stop a moving subject from coming out blurry, but it can help you take better looking photos of still subjects and landscapes in low light.
You can see some sample comparison photos below between the Galaxy S5 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Here’s a quick look at how the iPhone 6 Plus vs GalaxY S5 specs compare. Specs aren’t everything, but for some buyers this is an important area to compare.
iPhone 6 Plus Specs
- Apple A8 64-bit Processor
- iOS 8
- 5.5-inch display – 1920 x 1080 – 401 pixels per inch
- 16GB / 64GB / 128GB storage options
- 1.2MP front-facing camera
- 8MP rear-facing camera with Optical Image Stabilization
- 2915 mAh battery
- 4G LTE
- 802.11ac WiFi
- Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor
Galaxy S5 Specs
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
- Android 4.4 KitKat
- 5.1-inch display
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB Storage Option
- 2.1MP front-facing camera
- 16MP rear-facing camera
- 2,800 mAh battery
- 802.11ac WiFi
- Fingerprint Reader
The iPhone 6 Plus is $299 to $499 on a two-year contract. The price depends on how much storage you buy, with a 16GB low-end model at $299.
Samsung Galaxy S5 prices start at $199 on a two-year contract, but you can also find Galaxy S5 deals as low as $99 on contract and occasionally free. The base Galaxy S5 includes 16GB of storage.