Do we have a good one for you today – the new Samsung Galaxy S6 goes up against the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Their new flagship goes up against their newest phablet and we wonder if Samsung made enough improvements in the Galaxy S6 to take away the crown from its latest Galaxy Note 4 that came out a few short months ago. The Galaxy Note 4 made huge improvements over last year's Galaxy S5 and was Samsung's first step back on the road to possible recovery.
Although they're both Samsung devices, they have very little in common – they both use Samsung's Super AMOLED Quad HD (QHD) displays, but different sizes. Gone is the removable battery and expandable microSD card slot from the Galaxy S6 which can be found in the Galaxy Note 4. They use different processors, although they do both pack 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage models. The camera, although very similar, was improved in the new Galaxy S6, as is the fingerprint scanner. They both have the usual dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, NFC, IR Blaster, active noise cancellation, heart rate sensor and microUSB port v2.0 for charging and data transfer.
Please take a look at the detailed specifications comparison found below – expand it by clicking on the "View Full Comparison" at the bottom and you will get a real sense of how these two devices match up against one another. After that, we will look at each individual device, talk about it, and weigh out some of the pros and cons in an effort to pick a winner for this comparison.
Samsung Galaxy S6
The new Samsung Galaxy S6 is a strange hybrid of yesteryear and new age. While it is a complete rebuild – solid metal unibody construction with Gorilla Glass 4 adorning the display and the back of the device – it does look similar to the Galaxy S5 in some ways. It is solid, well-built and premium looking from any angle, and the rounded edges make it comfortable to hold in your hand. Samsung was backed into a corner from its inception, but from all early indicators, they succeeded with their redesign of last year's Galaxy S5.
It sports a 5.1-inch Quad HD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 577 pixels-per-inch (PPI) compared to FHD display with 515 PPI on the Galaxy Note 4. Samsung is no longer using a Qualcomm processor this time around for even the US model and chose to go a different route with their own 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor. It has four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four cores clocked at 2.1GHz. It is packing 3GB of DDR4 RAM, much faster than the 3GB of DDR3 RAM used in the Note 4, and it comes with Samsung's new, faster, flash memory offering 32GB/64GB/128GB models with no room for expansion – a first for Samsung's Galaxy S series – like the Note 4 allows.
The camera is partially carried over from the Galaxy Note 4 and part improvements. The 16MP Sony sensor, autofocus, LED Flash, ISOCELL technology, real-time HDR and OIS are all found on the Note 4, but now the aperture is a larger F1.9 for better low-light pictures. The speed was also dramatically increased – taking less than a second to open and be ready to shoot. The front-facing camera (FFC) increased from the 3.7MP in the Note 4 to 5MP with and added the F1.9 aperture and live HDR for excellent low-light selfies, which are taken quite often in darker, indoor settings. The 2550mAh battery is much smaller than the 3220mAh in the Note 4, but it should easily get you through the entire day and the new Samsung non-removable battery can charge up to 4 hours of usage in only 10 minutes, not to mention the added built-in wireless charging for the first time.
The Galaxy S6 has a larger and louder sounding speaker on the bottom of the device, an improved fingerprint scanner, is ready for Samsung Pay, wireless charging built-in and comes in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum and Blue Topaz. It will be running Android 5.0 Lollipop, and should be released worldwide on April 10. Pricing on two-year contracts is not yet known, but T-Mobile is listing it as $699 full-price for the base 32GB model.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
There is a loyal following for the Note series, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is its best rendition yet. It improved in every department – from the display, the build, to the processor, the camera and even the S-Pen. Most people, even its past critics, liked the improved metal frame, trim and faux leather back panel, making it even a more premium looking device with a build quality that feels great in your hand.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 sports, what was described by DisplayMate, as the best display they have ever tested. It is a 5.7-inch beauty with a QHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and a whopping 515 PPI – however, it looks like that torch may be past once again to the 577 PPI display on the new Galaxy S6. The Note 4 is running the excellent 32-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor clocked at 2.7GHz (US market) – the same one used in the Droid Turbo and the Nexus 6. This time around Samsung made the bold move to use their own 64-bit Exynos octa-core processor and it seems to have paid off so far. It packs 3GB of DDR3 RAM and 32GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot for expansion. The new Galaxy S6 uses a much faster 3GB of DDR4 RAM and a faster flash memory that they developed but offers no room for expansion beyond the 32GB/64GB/128GB models.
Its camera really been improved over the Galaxy Note 3 with a larger 16MP sensor, Autofocus, LED Flash, ISOCELL technology, and added in OIS+ and Live HDR shooting – the Galaxy S6 builds on that and increases the aperture to F1.9 for even better low light shots. The FFC increased to a wide-angle 3.7MP sensor and lens for excellent group selfies and conference style video chats – Galaxy S6 ups the size to 5MP and adds an F1.9 aperture and Live HDR for better low-light selfies. The 3220mAh battery will certainly last you all day and should you need to extend that time you can use Samsung's UPSM and its Quick Charge feature.
As far as additional features that the Galaxy Note 4 possesses over the Galaxy S6 – the improved S-Pen with twice the sensitivity and its software and the functionality that it brings to the Note series. It is currently running Android 4.4.4 KitKat, however, updates to 5.0 Lollipop are rolling out now. It is available on all major US networks and will cost you about $300 on a two-year contract or about $700 – $800 off-contract, depending where you purchase the device.
…And The Winner Is…
I have to give the win to the new Samsung Galaxy S6 over the excellent Galaxy Note 4, and I do this for several reasons. First, you have to give Samsung credit for the design of the new Galaxy S6 – it takes the metal frame of the Galaxy Note 4 another step further with a new design…gone is the faux leather (not that it was bad looking) and in comes the glass. The Galaxy S6 has a much faster processor, faster DDR4 RAM, faster Flash memory, a kinder, gentler TouchWiz, less bloatware, much improved fingerprint scanner, improved camera lenses, speed and software, smaller bezels, wireless charging built-in, faster charging, better placement and louder speaker and it offers Samsung Pay.
Yes, gone are the removable battery and microSD card expansion, which I thought would really bother me, but the more I think about it, the less it bothers me. Ask yourself, how often do you remove your battery and put in a fresh one – have you ever even bought a second battery…me neither. You can hold quite a bit of information with 32GB or 64GB of storage space, and with cloud storage being forced on us from every angle, is a microSD card slot really necessary? If I had my druthers, I would like them, but more than that, I would rather see waterproofing, especially in a unibody construction.
The last thing we have to take into consideration is the target audience – the Galaxy Note series is an exceptional device, but not everybody wants the S-Pen or that big of display for a daily driver. In that respect, I think the Galaxy S6 is also the right choice for more people.
Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know your thoughts on these two devices…as always, we would love to hear from you.