Do we have a good one for you today – the Apple iPhone 6s Plus goes up against the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. The two biggest smartphone manufacturers and their top-of-the-line devices battle it out in this specification comparison. Both devices are well-built and premium looking from every angle – the iPhone 6s Plus is an all-metal body and the Galaxy Note 5 combines a solid steel frame with a glass back. Not to mention we have the old Android versus iOS battle going on in the background. Let's first look and see if these two devices have anything in common before we look at each one more closely.
The two devices have very few similarities – they both are about the same physical size, with the iPhone coming in just a little bit larger. Their displays are close with the iPhone at 5.5-inches and the Note 5 at 5.7-inches, although both use different technologies and resolutions. Neither device offers internal memory expansion and both have a 64GB option. The both have a 5MP front-facing camera (FFC) for selfies and video chatting. They both have a bottom-mounted speaker and have the usual suspects – WiFi, GPS and NFC…although the NFC is only for Apple Pay. Both have non-removable batteries.
Please take a deliberate look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the "View Full Comparison" link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each individual device in greater detail and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
Samsung changed their game this year and moved from a plastic build to glass and metal in their Galaxy Note 5 design. The Note 5 is a beautiful device and well-built with a premium look from every angle. It is available in Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Silver Titan and White Pearl depending on where you are located. It certainly can stand up to the all-metal construction of the iPhone 6s Plus…except possibly if dropped a concrete floor.
The Note 5 sports a 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 518 pixels-per-inch (PPI) compared to 5.5-inch FHD IPS LCD display and 401 PPI on the iPhone 6s Plus. The Note 5 uses the 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four cores clocked at 2.1GHz. A little more 'horsepower' than the Apple A9 dual-core clocked at 1.84GHz found in the iPhone 6s Plus. The Galaxy Note 5 is packing 4GB of RAM – the iPhone 6s Plus uses only 2GB of RAM. The Note 5 comes with models offering 32GB or 64GB of faster UFS 2.0 flash memory with no room for expansion. The iPhone 6s Plus has options of 16GB, 64GB and 128GB memory with no means to expand.
The Galaxy Note 5's award winning camera uses a 16MP sensor with autofocus, LED Flash and OIS and the FFC is 5MP wide-angle, with a f/1.9 aperture and live HDR for social media selfies and video chatting. The iPhone's have always been known for their cameras and the 12MP iPhone 6s Plus is no exception, however, it scored less than the Note 5. It uses a 5MP FFC for selfies and FaceTime chatting. The Note 5's larger 3000mAh battery goes up against the 2750mAh in the iPhone 6s Plus – both are non-removable. The Note 5 should easily get you through an entire day with moderate usage. However, if you run into trouble, the Note 5 has a quick charge option and quick wireless charging as well.
The Note 5 has a few features not found on the iPhone 6s Plus – it has a fingerprint sensor that is ready for Samsung Pay, Android Pay, PayPal payments and other mobile payments. It has a heart rate monitor and oxygen saturation sensor and built-in wireless quick charge. It comes with a much improved and more sensitive S-Pen with added features giving it even more functionality. The Note 5 has more flexibility with longer documents and you can send live broadcasts of your videos. It is running Android Lollipop 5.1.1 with Marshmallow rolling out soon. It will cost you about $700 outright for a 32GB model and $790 for a 64GB model.
Apple iPhone 6s Plus
I said it during the last iPhone 6s Plus comparison and I will say it again – the 6s Plus is nothing more than a stretched version of the iPhone 6s with a larger display and the addition of OIS to the main camera. The iPhone 6s series is much like the iPhone 6 – physically the same with an all-metal body and a few internal improvements. It is nothing as wildly new as Tim Cook peddled at its introduction. Sales of the new iPhone 6s/Plus have been disappointing overall for a new Apple device.
The iPhone 6s Plus sports a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 with 401 PPI – compared to the 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display and 518 PPI found on the Note 5. It uses a 64-bit A9 dual-core processor clocked at 1.84GHz and it is smooth and fast and goes up against the 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor in the Note 5. The 6s Plus comes with 2GB of RAM, which is enough to handle iOS quite nicely, but is not up to the multitasking powers of the 4GB of RAM found in the Note 5. The iPhone 6s Plus offers a choice of 16GB, 64GB or 128GB of storage and no expansion whereas the Note 5 offers 32GB or 64GB of internal memory with no expandability.
Apple has always pushed the camera on the iPhone as one of its strong points…and rightly so. With the iPhone 6s Plus Apple finally increased the size of the sensor from 8MP to 12MP along with some new software options. It comes with the usual autofocus, a dual-tone LED flash and for the first time they added OIS to the Plus model. The only problem facing Apple's camera dominance is that the flagship Android smartphones have long since passed the iPhone up in test scores and the 16MP on the Note 5 is no exception. The FFC on the iPhone is now a larger 5MP for social media selfies or video chatting – ONLY through Apple's FaceTime unless both users download a third-party app. The Note 5 also uses a 5MP camera as its FFC. The iPhone has never been known for great battery life and the 2750mAh non-removable battery in the 6s Plus doesn't do much to help its cause. While not much larger, the Note 5 uses a 3000mAh removable battery, but the Note 5 should outlast the iPhone and if your battery needs a charge, the Note 5 incorporates quick charge where you can charge it 50-percent in only 40 minutes.
What does the iPhone 6s Plus have the Note 5 does not? It has Apple's proprietary Apple Pay and its proprietary FaceTime video chat feature – if you can call those good features. There is no denying the iPhone is easy to use – smooth and efficient – but it can be rather boring when compared to an Android device where you can customize its display looks and add features. Apple is proud of its new 3D Touch display, where the display can 'sense' up to three pressure levels – press once to open up an app and then press again within the app to go somewhere else. The pricing has always been a sore spot with the iPhone, commanding an off contract price of $850 for the 64GB model.
…And The Winner Is…
This had to be one of the easiest winners to pick so far – the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is the winner of this comparison. Again, no, it is not the winner because it is Android versus iOS – the Note 5 clearly has the superior specifications, just as nice build, more functionality and is cheaper – those are winning combinations in any comparison.
The Galaxy Note 5 has a larger display with a higher resolution, yet is slightly smaller and lighter to hold. The fingerprint sensor is more useful than just Apple Pay, such as the more widely available Samsung Pay, Android Pay, PayPal authorization and other NFC payments in general. It has a 4GB of RAM for multitasking with more than one App on the display at the same time. The Note 5's camera edges out the iPhone in the DxOMark mobile rankings. It offers a larger battery that has rapid charge built-in and quick wireless charging for both formats and it sports a heart rate monitor and oxygen saturation sensor. Certainly not least, the Galaxy Note 5 comes with the infamous S-Pen and all of its software and functionality. It is running the much more flexible Android OS that allows you to customize its display.
When I look on the iPhone 6s Plus side of the equation, I do not see even one compelling reason to purchase it over the Galaxy Note 5. Yes, its iOS is smooth, fast and easy to use if you do not like to customize your smartphone – but I have never been a person that simply accepts something because a company wants to be inflexible and control your actions…how about you?