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Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 – which is best?

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6

The Samsung Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6 are two of this year's best handsets, but which one should you buy? We put both head to head to find out

We’ve seen plenty of great smartphones this year, but the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 continue to stand head and shoulders above the competition. The Galaxy S6 is by far the most powerful Android phone we’ve ever seen, while the iPhone 6 is Apple’s best iOS device yet, offering top class performance at a much more practical size than the giant iPhone 6 Plus.

The big questions is, though, how does Samsung’s metallic beauty compare to Apple’s venerable iPhone, and which one can be crowned king of all smartphones for 2015? To find out, we’ve put both handsets head to head, comparing their design, display, performance, storage capabilities, camera, features and price in the ultimate smartphone face-off to help you decide which one you should buy. 


Dimensions: Despite having a much larger screen than the iPhone 6, the Galaxy S6 isn’t actually that much taller. Measuring 143x71x6.8mm and weighing 138g, the Galaxy S6’s overall surface area is just a fraction bigger than its iOS rival, which measures 138x67x6.9mm and weighs 129g.

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 size comparison

That makes the Galaxy S6 a touch slimmer than the iPhone 6, but you can’t really tell the difference when you’ve got them both in your hand. More obvious is the difference in weight, but in our eyes, we’ve always found heavier phones to be slightly more reassuring, as they feel that bit sturdier and more likely to survive a drop.

Materials: Both phones have undergone radical redesigns compared to their preceding models, with Apple choosing a curvier, more rounded metal body instead of the hard, angular frame of the iPhone 5s, and Samsung ditching the S5’s tacky plastic and faux leather combo for metal and glass.

Conclusion: As a result, both phones look about as premium as you can get, but that’s not to say they’re perfect. For instance, we find both phones can be quite slippery to hold, as the iPhone 6’s rounded corners and Galaxy S6’s glass rear don’t provide a huge amount of grip. 

Likewise, Apple has yet to shake off its ‘bendgate’ saga, and we’ve also seen our fair share of shattered screens despite its ion-strengthened glass. We’ve even spotted a few cracked S6s, albeit primarily on the rear glass rather than the front, so both have their fair share of problems when it comes to overall build quality.

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 charging ports


Screen size: As mentioned above, the Galaxy S6 is the larger of the two phones and has a 5.1in display. The iPhone 6, on the other hand, only has a 4.7in display – despite sharing almost exactly the same dimensions as Samsung’s handset. This means you have less space to swipe and type compared to the Galaxy S6, but we’ve never found this to be a particular problem during day-to-day use. 

Resolution: As much as we like the iPhone 6’s display, its 1,334×750 resolution feels rather small compared to the Galaxy S6’s huge 2,560×1,440. This gives the Galaxy S6 a much higher pixel density of 576ppi compared to the iPhone 6 (which only has a pixel density of 326ppi), and everything looks sharper for it.

Apple claims the iPhone 6’s resolution still counts as ‘Retina’ – the point at which you can no longer see individual pixels – but there’s no denying that text looks visibly crisper on the Galaxy S6 when comparing them side by side. 

Screen technology and quality: Apple has stuck with an LED-backlit IPS panel for the iPhone 6, while the Galaxy S6 has one of Samsung’s Super AMOLED displays. Both are exceptional screens, but Samsung has the edge here, as our colour calibrator showed it was displaying the full 100% of the sRGB colour gamut. The iPhone 6, meanwhile, only covers 95.1% of the sRGB colour gamut, falling slightly short on its red and magenta coverage.Apple iPhone 6 sRGB colour gamut

^ The iPhone 6 has a great display, but its overall colour accuracy isn’t quite as good as the Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6 sRGB colour gamut

^ The Galaxy S6, on the other hand, positively exceeds the sRGB colour gamut boundary, resulting in richer, more vivid colours

Samsung’s Super AMOLED panel also looks far richer than the iPhone 6 display, but colours can look a little oversaturated at times, particularly when it comes to warmer images. Still, we quite like the extra punch and the S6’s pure 0.00cd/m2 black levels mean darker areas are truly deep and inky. The iPhone 6, on the other hand, has a fairly average black level reading of 0.37cd/m2, which means they can appear ever so slightly grey by comparison.

The iPhone wins on screen brightness, though, as its peak white level of 542.88cd/m2 is much higher than the Galaxy S6’s 346.49cd/m2. This isn’t surprising given that AMOLED panels are traditionally dimmer than their LCD counterparts, but Samsung does have a small trick up its sleeve here. When you step outside with the Galaxy S6, the screen can shoot up to 577cd/m2 when it’s set to automatic brightness.

This is the first time we’ve seen this kind of brightness level on an AMOLED phone, and it really helps boost the clarity of the screen and maintain colour vibrancy when you’re out and about. This will be good news for anyone who travels a lot or primarily uses their phone outside, as it effectively combines the best features of both AMOLED and LCD screen technology. We like that it’s only available on Auto mode as well, as this should help keep the screen’s power drain in check so you don’t end up running out of battery so often.

Conclusion: For us, the Galaxy S6 wins hands down in this category. Samsung’s not only managed to rectify AMOLED’s common brightness issues, but it’s also produced a display that’s both sharper and more vibrant than the iPhone 6.

Samsung Galaxy S6 hero shot


Processor and Graphics: Unlike the rest of this year’s flagship smartphones, Samsung chose one of its own octa-core 2.1GHz Exynos 7420 chips for the Galaxy S6 rather than a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810. It also has 3GB of RAM.

The iPhone 6, meanwhile, has one of Apple’s dual-core 1.4GHz A8 chips and just 1GB of RAM. This might sound a little slow compared to the Galaxy S6, but our benchmark results below show this isn’t necessarily the case. 

Benchmarks: In terms of raw performance, the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6 are more or less neck-and-neck. For instance, the iPhone 6 scored much higher in the single core test of Geekbench 3, scoring 1,601 compared to the Galaxy S6’s 1,427, but the Galaxy S6 shot past the iPhone 6 in the multicore test. Here, it scored a massive 4,501 (which is almost 2,000 points ahead of any other Android smartphone we’ve tested so far) whereas the iPhone 6 only managed 2,877.

This is hardly to be scoffed at, though, as this is still one of the best multicore scores we’ve seen from a smartphone. As a result, both phones are exceptionally quick, but the Galaxy S6 will likely have the advantage when it comes to running lots of demanding apps simultaneously. 

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 Geekbench 3 benchmark graph

The iPhone 6 is better suited to gaming at its native resolution, though, as proven by its score of 1,800 frames in the onscreen Manhatten test in GFX Bench GL 3.1. The Galaxy S6, on the other hand, only produced 923 frames due to its higher native resolution.

The Galaxy S6 is still arguably the more powerful gaming device, though, as it was able to run much faster on the offscreen Manhattan test, which runs at 1,080p regardless of screen resolution. Whereas the iPhone 6 only managed 1,156 frames in this test, the Galaxy S6 produced a much smoother 1,429 frames.

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 GFX BenchGL benchmark graph

When it comes to running actual games, though, both phones are so powerful that any minute difference in benchmark results becomes inconsequential. The Galaxy S6 is more than capable of playing any game on the Google Play Store, and the same goes for the iPhone 6 and the App Store. 

Battery: To test a phone’s battery, we run a continuous video with the screen brightness set to 170cd/m2. Both phones performed admirably here, but the Galaxy S6 edges in front with 13h 37m compared to the iPhone 6’s 12h 58m. With less than 40 minutes between them, though, it’s fair to say that both will almost certainly last you through the day, if not well into the next if you’re not constantly watching videos or streaming films and TV shows on the commute home. 

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 battery life graph

Conclusion: The iPhone 6 may not have a particularly powerful specification, but the fact its benchmark scores are even in the same ballpark as the Galaxy S6 shows just how efficient the CPU is compared to Samsung’s chipset. Still, there’s no denying the Galaxy S6 benefits from its extra RAM when it comes to running multiple apps simultaneously, but you’re unlikely to notice any difference when it comes to gaming. As a result, it’s only by virtue of its longer battery life that the S6 sneaks ahead in this case.   

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