This is the comparison we have all been waiting for – the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 versus the mighty new Apple iPhone 6 Plus. This comparison has so many implications and I will try to keep my emotions under control…but it won't be easy. First, I would like to say that the Note series defined the category of phablet in 2011, so I resent Apple, who for years have made fun of bigger phones as well as being dismissed by Steve Jobs, is now implying that Apple has made this big leap forward and it is a fresh idea??? And what is really sad is that the Apple buyers are falling for it – they act like there was no other large smartphone on the market before the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. Okay, enough of that, I will let the phones speak for themselves for the rest of comparison (he says, hopefully).
Other than the size of the displays – the Note 4 has a 5.7-inch versus the 5.5-inch of the 6 Plus – the basic size of the devices themselves, a physical Home Button and the fact that they are both on all major U.S. carriers, there is not much these two devices have in common. Android, with its open architecture and Apple with their closed iOS 8, just does not allow for much of an overlap.
For instance, Android has had NFC for years in their devices, but merchants were not jumping on it because Apple didn't offer the NFC chip in their phones. Well the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have an NFC chip, they call it Apple Pay and it is not compatible with everybody else's NFC! Just like video chatting with any Apple iPhone; you have to use FaceTime. So if you own an Android and your best friend has an Apple (although I cannot believe you could call an Apple owner a friend…J/K), then BOTH of you will have to download a third party app in order to have a video chat. It just does not make sense why a company tries to make it so difficult for its own users…it is about time that Apple realizes that not everybody wants to own an iPhone.
Please take a close look at the specification sheet below and you will see how these two devices differ, and then we will take a look at each individual device and try and determine if the new Galaxy Note 4 or the iPhone 6 Plus is the winner of this comparison.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was highly anticipated this year, especially after the lukewarm reception of the Galaxy S5, earlier this year. In the end, I think most Note users have to be happy with its evolution since its inception in 2011, and the Note 4 is no exception. Samsung added a sculptured metal frame and kept the faux leather backing, giving it a look and feel of a solid and high-end device. There were also enormous strides to the S-Pen…doubling its sensitivity…in making it feel as though the user is actually using a pen and 'note' pad when writing. Besides all of that, Samsung packing the top specs de jour in every aspect of the Note 4.
Let us start from the top – the displays may be close in size, but that is about it – the Note 4 employs the QuadHD (QHD) display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 or about 515 pixels-per-inch (PPI) along with Super AMOLED technology and 2.5D Gorilla Glass. This combination simply blows away of the Full HD display of the 6 Plus that the Note 3 used last year. Next, we will move on to the processor, RAM and storage – the Note 4 uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core 805 clocked at 2.7GHz with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage with an option to increase with up to a 128GB microSD card. The 6 Plus uses an A8 dual-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz with 1GB of RAM and you can purchase 128GB model for $499/$949, a 128GB…the A8 is a great chip, but for pure processing and graphics power, the Note 4 is simply the beast.
At one time, the iPhone camera was heads and tails above everything else, but that is no longer the case. The 16MP, auto focus, OIS and LED Flash of the Note 4, coupled with the software and options beats out the 8MP main camera of the 6 Plus…which does offer a dual-flash. Then if we move to the front-facing camera (FFC), the Note 4 wins that battle as well with a 3.7MP wide-angle lens versus the 6 Plus' 1.2MP FFC. These are used for video chatting and taking selfies and the wide angle of the Note 4 allows for more people in the chat window or selfie, not to mention the better camera lens.
The Note 4 also wins in the battery department as well – 3220mAh versus 2915mAh – not only in size, but with Quick Charge and the Ultra Power Saving Mode (UPSM) available, it is a clear winner, especially considering the iPhone's past history with battery performance.
Lastly, I wanted to mention some of the features of the Galaxy Note 4, in addition to what has already been mentioned – you get an IR Blaster so you can use your Note 4 as a remote control, a number of sensors…Heart, UV and Oxygen Saturation…a microUSB connection, Cat 6 LTE (vs Cat 4 LTE on 6 Plus), Multitasking Windows, and the S-Pen and the great software designed to take advantage of this stylus.
As far as pricing and availabilty go, the Note 4 should be available all over the world by the middle of October and pricing is better with the Note 4 as well – a 32GB Note 4 will run you $299 on a two-year contract and if you add in a microSD card, you can have yourself a 128GB device for less than the $499 of a 128GB iPhone 6 Plus on a two-year deal.
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
The Apple iPhone 6 Plus is being touted as technical marvel, and for Apple it is a huge step into the mainstream of smartphones – and please, I am not implying that Apple is not a mainstream smartphone…of course it is…I simply mean that Apple finally caught up in size to the Android phones of the world. They still have a further way to go before they have included the myriad of features that the Galaxy Note 4 has to offer, beside the larger display. The look of the new "rounded corners" give it the appearance of a Galaxy S3 or Note 2. Made out of metal with rounded sides gives the user a solidly built device with a good feel in your hand, although so smooth, it could easily slip if you are not careful.
Speaking of larger displays…the 5.5-inch Full HD display offers up 401 PPI, which is a nice leap up from their "retina" display, but still a far cry from the 515 PPI that the Note 4 offers. For an IPS LCD display, Apple does pump a lot of brightness out of it, but certainly no more than the Super AMOLED display of the Note 4 – tested by DisplayMate Technologies earlier this month a declared the "best display they have ever tested." I wonder how Apple will position its iconic retina display at 326 PPI, now that the 6 Plus surpasses that mark?
The A8 dual-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz does not dominate the testing (for what they are worth) like its predecessor – in fact, the Snapdragon 801 in the Galaxy S5 took some of the top slots, and the Snapdragon 805 in the Note 4 is even faster and more advanced. Apple is still insistent that 1GB of RAM is enough with a 64-Bit processor, but at any rate, the Note 4 has 3GB of RAM – which it needs more to run smoothly with TouchWiz and to fully utilize its multitasking capabilities. Storage is about a wash between the two devices since you can use a microSD card in the Note 4 to achieve the same internal storage on the Plus 6, at a cheaper cost.
There was a time that the iPhone camera ruled over all others, but those days are over. Apple continued to make improvements in its 8MP camera and even added OIS in the 6 Plus and opened the 1.2MP FFC lens to accept more light for better indoor selfies, but the Note 4's new 16MP main camera and 3.7MP FFC with a wide-angle lens will easily keep up to the 6 Plus.
Apple did increase the battery to 2915mAh, but so far, testing has shown it to still only give about 13+ hours on a full charge, hardly allowing you to get through an entire day like the Note 4 will do. The Qualcomm processor has battery saving engineered into it as well as Samsung's own UPSM and Quick Charge features to help out when batteries get low.
The size of the two devices is very similar, with the 6 Plus being ever so slightly longer in length, 1.4mm thinner and weighing 4 grams lighter than the Note 4. They both offer VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling capabilities as well as utilizing Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi. They are also both NFC capable; however, Apple Pay ONLY has made it incompatible with everybody else. They both offer fingerprint scanning, an array of colors and are available on all networks.
A few 'notes' of interest – early testers have noticed little glitches or hanging up, which they hope are just iOS 8 glitches to be worked out. The apps, though plentiful, are not yet optimized to work with the 6 Plus' larger display, but the developers should be working on those. The 6 Plus now offers a landscape mode for certain apps and Apple did include some options (as does the Note series) to move certain items to the side of the device's display to make it easier to work with one hand. Pricing is typically Apple and more expensive than most other devices.
…And the Winner is…
Throughout this comparison, there could only be one winner, and that has to be the Galaxy Note 4. Starting with the QHD display, the processing power, 3GB of RAM, microSD card for extra storage, better battery life, multitasking windows, the extra features that the Note 4 offers and certainly the S-Pen and all that it encompasses, as well as the pricing, make the Note 4 the clear winner. Let's not discount the flexibility of the Android OS over the closed up, tight-as-a-box, iOS.
I tried not to make this an Android OS vs iOS 8 battle, but a comparison on the devices and their features on their own. However, the option of the live wallpapers, arranging our display the way we want it, the widgets, changing out keyboards, messaging services, etc. – the self-expression through flexibility – that we enjoy, cannot be discounted.
I am glad for all of the Apple 'diehards' that they now have access to the bigger displays that Android devices have enjoyed for the past few years. They will finally get to experience the many joys of the 'big screen," and I am sure that Apple fans will enjoy their new devices. Please don't get me wrong – the iPhone 6 Plus is a great stride forward for Apple, and while the reviewers make it sound like Landscape mode and moving control of the device to one side of the display for easier use, are a great innovation on the iPhone 6 Plus, they are all options that the Note four has incorporated for the past three years…but it is great for those people that will refuse to buy anything but an iPhone.
However, Samsung has been making big phones for a while now, and the Note series is just heads above the others…iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, included. Having a large display is nice for so many reasons – easier to read, better gaming and video experiences and easier to use keyboard with more real estate – but the inclusion of the S-Pen or stylus, and multitasking windows take the Note 4 to a higher level that iPhone 6 Plus uses just cannot experience.
Please hook up with us on our Google+ Page and let use know which device you would pick as the winner and WHY…as always, we would love to hear from you.