The Samsung Galaxy S6 is fast approaching and thanks to rumors of a major screen upgrade, shoppers will certainly want to compare the Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 Plus before buying a new smartphone in Spring 2015.
With rumors flowing freely we take an early look at how a 5.5-inch Galaxy S6 may compare to the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus.
We still don’t know everything about the Galaxy S6, so this comparison to Apple’s largest iPhone ever will change by the time Samsung makes an announcement, but you can still gain an early idea about how these two phones stack up.
Apple announced the iPhone 6 Plus in September 2014 after years of buyers waiting for a bigger screen, and although there is not as much pent up demand for a bigger screen on the Galaxy S6, that is what it looks like users can expect.
Read: iPhone 6 Plus Review
Although the iPhone 6 is arguably the more popular iPhone model, the iPhone 6 Plus offers a new experience that resonated well with millions of users and it is finally easy to find in stores months after the iPhone 6 Plus release in late September.
With the chance for competing 5.5-inch smartphones from the two biggest names in mobile tech, shoppers are already debating the merits of the iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S6 and trying to figure out which one they should buy.
At the start of 2015, Galaxy S6 rumors picked up dramatically, teasing potential buyers and fanning the flames of excitement that comes with a new smartphone launch. Friends and readers are already asking Gotta Be Mobile what they can expect from the new Galaxy S6 smartphone and how it compares to the best smartphones on sale today.
There is no way to know everything about the Galaxy S6, but thanks to leaks and rumors that we can piece together, plus extensive time using the Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 6 Plus we can offer an early comparison of these devices. Here’s what you need to know right now.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Release Date
The iPhone 6 Plus release arrived five months ago and it is easily available in most places that smartphones are sold. We expect the Galaxy S6 release date to arrive in the first half of the 2015 with rumors and history offering potential timing well ahead of the Galaxy S6 launch.
For the last two years, Samsung delivered a new phone in April for U.S. buyers with the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S5. The trend is for Samsung to follow the announcement in weeks and release on major U.S. carriers within days of the first U.S. availability. Thanks to rumors and Samsung’s traditional timing, we have a good idea when the Galaxy S6 release date will arrive.
Business Insider reports that Samsung will announce the Galaxy S6 at MWC in early March. If this holds true we expect to see a Galaxy S6 release date in April. This timing would also allow Galaxy S4 owners who bought the phone when it launched to upgrade at the two year mark as contracts end.
There is a chance that the Galaxy S6 will arrive earlier in March or later in May, but right now April looks like the best bet. Galaxy S6 buyers can use this time to explore options and carriers.
Normally any comparison between Apple and Samsung smartphones boils down to plastic vs metal, but all signs point to a more premium design on the Galaxy S6. Apple changed the iPhone design in the fall adding a larger size, more curves and a new metal back without any glass like the previous models.
The iPhone 6 Plus is a big phone, but it is also relatively thin. The new design is sleek, but one complaint is that the phone is slippery and almost requires a case of some kind to keep it from sliding out of your hand. For some users, carrying the iPhone 6 Plus is too much of a commitment.
It is very likely that the Galaxy S6 design will lead to a smaller device than the iPhone 6 Plus because of slimmer bezels, similar to what we saw on the LG G3 which also features a 5.5-inch display.
Count on a completely new Galaxy S6 design that uses metal. If rumors about Project Zero, the code name for the S6, are true we should see a metal frame. The Galaxy Note 4 arrived with a metal frame in late 2014 and is easier to grip than the iPhone 6 Plus. Even with a metal design the back is still removable to add on accessories, insert a Micro SD card and replace the battery. You cannot swap batteries or add storage to the iPhone 6 Plus with a Micro SD card.
Business Insider also reports that we could see a Galaxy S6 Edge that borrows from the Note Edge design with a curved display.
Samsung is skilled at keeping the design of new smartphones secret, so don’t expect a good look at the new design for a full comparison to the iPhone 6 Plus until after Samsung takes the stage.
This is shaping up as a battle of the big screen smartphones with two 5.5-inch options offering buyers different experiences and resolutions.
Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus features a 5.5-inch display with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution that is the same as most HDTVs. This is the biggest and highest resolution screen that Apple ever put into a smartphone. This Retina HD display is a great option for users, but Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 display offers a higher resolution and according to DisplayMate it is an impressive display.
We expect to see a big upgrade from the Galaxy S5 with a bigger 5.5-inch display and a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution like the Galaxy Note 4. This packs more pixels into the same screen size, allowing the phone to show more detail. All signs point to a larger 2K display on the Galaxy S6 including a user agent on Samsung’s website, benchmarks and credible rumors.
While comparing 1080P and 2K displays on leading smartphones we can see more detail in high resolution photos. These new 2K screens are power efficient and don’t translate directly into bad battery life like some people believe.
At the end of the day it looks like the iPhone 6 Plus and the Galaxy S6 will both offer users a 5.5-inch screen to immerse themselves in movies, apps, games and the web — but there will be more pixels in the Galaxy S6 screen.
We may also see the curved Galaxy S6 Edge arrive to offer something the iPhone 6 does not. Like the Galaxy Note Edge we may see a curved screen on at least one edge that shows additional information. You can check out our Galaxy Note Edge impressions to get an idea about what this might mean.
It’s important not to get too caught up in a spec-by-spec comparison, but it is an easy way to compare the Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 Plus so that you can start to see what feature one of the phones might not offer buyers. Right now the Galaxy S6 specs are still all rumors and will likely change by the release, specifically in terms of the sensors inside and the storage options that make it to the U.S.
Apple crammed a new A8 64-bit processor, an incredible 8MP rear-facing camera that out-shoots most smartphones, up to 128GB of storage, a huge battery and Touch ID plus NFC for Apple Pay. In short, it offers a lot to buyers in terms of specs and features. Here is a list of the iPhone 6 Plus specs.
- Apple A8 64-bit Processor
- iOS 8
- 5.5-inch Retina HD display
- 16GB / 64GB / 128GB storage options
- 1.2MP front-facing camera
- 8MP rear-facing camera with Optical Image Stabilization
- 2,915 mAh battery
- 4G LTE
- 802.11ac WiFi
- Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor
The current Galaxy S6 rumors suggest that we will see the Snapdragon 810 processor in the U.S. Galaxy S6 model. This new processor should deliver better graphics, more efficient power usage for bette battery life and other upgrades. It is still too early to tell how the Snapdragon 810 and Apple A8 processor compare directly, but expect a speedy Galaxy S6 to take on the fast iPhone 6 Plus.
It appears Samsung is still deciding between a 16MP and a 20MP sensor for the Galaxy S6 camera. This sounds like a clear upgrade to the 8MP iPhone 6 Plus sensor, but there is more to a great camera than megapixels so don’t think that this means an automatic win for Samsung. The iPhone 6 Plus features Optical Image Stabilization and the Galaxy S6 may pick this feature up as well.
Apple sells the iPhone 6 Plus with 16GB, 64GB and 128GB storage options and it sounds like Samsung will offer 32GB, 64GB and 128GB Galaxy S6 models, but we may only see the 32GB model arrive on U.S. carriers who count on users to buy a Micro SD card for more storage.
- Snapdragon 810 processor (U.S.)
- Android 5.0 Lollipop with TouchWiz
- 5.5-inch Quad HD display – 2560 x 1440 – 534 pixels per inch
- 32GB storage in U.S. with support for 128GB micro SD cards
- 5MP front-facing camera
- 16MP or 20MP camera with Optical Image Stabilization
- 4G LTE
- 802.11ac WiFi
- Touch fingerprint sensor
You can see the listing of potential Galaxy S6 specs above, which outlines some of the upgrades we hear Samsung will add to help take on the iPhone 6 Plus. In addition to these changes, Samsung may also upgrade to a fingerprint sensor that works like Touch ID, allowing users to touch the sensor instead of swiping. We also expect a variety of sensors in the Galaxy S6 to measure heart rate and more that the iPhone 6 Plus does not include.
The iPhone 6 Plus runs iOS 8 and various upgraded version including iOS 8.1.2 while the Galaxy S6 will run Android 5.0 Lollipop with TouchWiz on top. It is likely that this will be an incremental version like Android 5.0.1 or Android 5.0.2 by the time the Galaxy S6 arrives.
It looks like Samsung may continue to optimize TouchWiz with a slimmer version that is less resource intensive and does not change the look of Android as much as previous version. This would continue a trend from the last year.
The iPhone 6 Plus can Galaxy S6 don’t run the same software, but they will still do many of the same things including offering versions of one-handed mode and other standard features. When you compare Android 5.0 and iOS 8 there are differences in the look and feel as well as the way you do certain tasks. You should go hands on with both versions of the software to get a better idea what to expect.
Apple traditionally delivers three years of software updates and delivers faster updates without the need to wait for carrier approvals and testing like Android updates. Samsung delivers roughly a year less of software updates, which could mean the iPhone 6 Plus gets one more big update that the Galaxy S6 does not.
You can buy the iPhone 6 Plus on all five of the biggest U.S. carriers and a variety of smaller carriers and pre-paid carriers. Right now the Galaxy S6 carriers are rumored as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and U.S. Cellular with no word on smaller carriers or pre-paid carriers.
There is a trend towards offering the Galaxy S smartphones on regional carriers and on big name pre-paid carriers like Straight Talk, so we could see similar options in the months following the initial Galaxy S6 release but it will take some time.
There is no concrete Galaxy S6 price information, but there is a clear trend for the new Galaxy S smartphone to sell for $199 on contract and $650 to $680 off contract in the U.S. We typically see some carrier try to bump the price up, but it is a tough sell.
This year with a 5.5-inch display going up agains the iPhone 6 Plus there will be an interesting comparison because the iPhone 6 Plus price starts at $299 on contract and $749 off contract with only 16GB of storage while the Galaxy S6 price may come in at $199 with 32GB of storage. If the Galaxy S6 Edge does arrive, expect a $100 premium over the regular Galaxy S6.