In just a few days, Apple will show the world what it's done next to the almighty iPhone. What shiny new hardware and features have Cook and crew brought to the endless smartphone wars? But, when you think about it, whatever Apple shows up with only has to outdo its biggest threat: Samsung.
Like sizing up the combatants of a heavyweight bout, phone heads want to know: who's a better bet?
Naturally, the rumor mill has been churning since the day after the iPhone 6 released. And the leaks have only grown juicier as the months and days have drawn closer to September 9. So, let's pit what we're inclined to expect the iPhone 6S will come packing against the still-young Samsung Galaxy S6.
And, while we're at it, we'll see how the fresh Samsung Galaxy Note 5 stacks up against what the iPhone 6S Plus is anticipated to contain. To keep things simple, we'll keep it to the key points: display, cameras and battery life.
Which will have the more plentiful pixels?
Save for everyone raving on about Force Touch, we've actually heard very little about the displays that will be placed inside the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. A single report out of Chinese news site Feng, speaking to supply chain sources, pegs the iPhone 6S for a 1080p upgrade. Meanwhile, the same report sees the iPhone 6S Plus scoring a 2k resolution display.
If you ask me, neither upgrade is all too likely – Apple usually reserves resolution bumps for the solely-numbered models. Currently, the two phones are at a 4.7-inch, 1,334 x 750-pixel display and a 5.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080-pixel screen, respectively. Both are LED panels with IPS technology for wide viewing angles.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 houses a 5.1-inch, 1,440 x 2,560-pixel Super AMOLED display, which has even the most optimistic iPhone 6S beat regardless – at least on paper. You'll find an essentially identical screen within the Galaxy Note 5, only larger at 5.7 inches. If the iPhone 6S Plus manages to come out with that 2K display, it will be the first time in recent memory a Samsung and Apple flagship phone were equally matched in pixel count.
What about that Instagram game?
The upgrade that every iPhone fan has been waiting for is anticipated to arrive within the 6S series of Apple handsets: sensor upgrades and other feature boosts to the cameras. Both the iPhone 6S and the 6S Plus are expected to come touting 12MP sensors in their iSight cameras that are ready to record 4K video and slow-mo footage at 240 frames per second (fps).
The FaceTime shooters, on the other hand, are expected to get bumped up to 5MP sensors. But that's not all: 1080p video recording, slow motion video and a panorama mode might be in store for the front-facing snappers as well.
On the other hand, both the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5 come packing 16MP shooters on the back and 5MP snappers up front. Both phones feature 4K video recording and slow-mo capture at 240fps. So, if this epic camera upgrade is due for the iPhones, they very well could be evenly matched yet again. (Because we all know that megapixels aren't everything.)
Now, who can stay awake the longest?
Almost nothing substantial about the batteries within the upcoming iPhones has been leaked or reported on citing sources, and I'm not holding my breath for any direct upgrades. That means that the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are likely to stick with 1,810mAh and 2,915mAh juice packs, respectively. However, some battery-conscious upgrades are coming to the iPhone software through iOS 9, and the reportedly updated 4G LTE chip is said to draw less power, too.
In our battery tests, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus respectively lasted around 13 and 17 hours throughout various tasks. Apple pegs them to last 11 and 14 hours over HD video playback, respectively.
The Samsung Galaxy S6, packing a 2,550mAh battery pack, lasted for an average of 17 hours of normal use in our testing. Samsung says the phone will last for 13 hours of HD video playback. The Galaxy Note 5's 3,020mAh power pack lasted a full day of normal use based on our testing, while Samsung hasn't released its own figures for this phone's lasting power.
Given the likely difference in pixel count and battery size between these rival phones, it's likely that they'll meet in a stalemate once more in this round of the bout – with Samsung probably eking out on to, but not by much. That is, unless Apple somehow managed to apply its newfangled battery folding tech found in its New MacBook to the iPhone.
Which will be best at all the rest?
Not that it matters a huge deal, with Apple and Samsung finely tuning their processors and other parts to their specific devices, let's look see which device will pack more powerful innards. First of all, nothing specific has been leaked or reported regarding Apple's awaited A9 chip, so there's not much to speculate here in respect to Samsung's chips.
However, benchmark scores for the mysterious silicon did leak, putting the A9 ahead of the Samsung Exynos chip inside the Galaxy S6. (Though, the A9 chip did lose out to Samsung's when all cores were fired.)
Apple's phones have always lagged behind in RAM, both still at 1GB as of September 2014, far behind the Galaxy S6's 3GB and the Galaxy Note 5's whopping 4GB. With both Apple phones reported to be scoring a boost to 2GB of RAM, that should level the playing field a bit where multitasking is concerned.
Due simply to when these rival's phones land on the calendar year, one is always going to be catching up to the other in some regard. (Though, that's mostly Apple choosing when it adopts certain tech that Samsung and its Android-loving rivals pick up first.)
That said, it's clear that Samsung will remain ahead of Apple in some regards, at least on paper, namely screen and camera resolution – unless Apple uncharacteristically pumps up the pixels this year. But everyone knows that it's the finer details regarding each phone that will decide this round in the endless boxing match these two juggernauts.
How the iPhone 6S camera stacks up to the Samsung's seriously souped up shooters will be particularly interesting this year. Better grab the popcorn – this fight ought to be a treat.
- Now what about that Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+?