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Samsung Galaxy S6 edge vs Apple iPhone 6: The big shootout

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge vs Apple iPhone 6: The big shootout
Samsung’s latest flagship Galaxy S6 edge is now available in the Indian market for purchase. After a lull, the South Korean giant has been able to grab everyone’s attention with its new smartphone that boasts of powerful hardware, better features and a stunning design (the company is not really known for it). 

If you’re in the market for a high-end smartphone, this makes the task even tougher, especially if you’ve also been eyeing Apple’s iPhone 6. We try to pit Apple’s flagship against that of Samsung to find out which one is a better buy…

1. Display

April 28,2015
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge features a 5.1-inch SuperAMOLED panel while the Apple iPhone 6 rocks a 4.7-inch IPS display. In terms of display resolution, the S6 edge leaves the iPhone far behind with its 2K (2560x1440p) panel (iPhone has a 1334x750p panel). Both the displays offer wide viewing angles, are super bright and offer vivid colours but the Galaxy S6 edge’s panel is sharper. 

Samsung has also managed to balance out the oversaturated colours to a large extent. The curved display helps not just in expanding the canvas but also adds nice touches to the software. For instance, using the slide-out (hamburger) menus is super fun along the edges.

Our take: Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is a winner with its higher resolution panel and curved display.

2. Software

April 28,2015
iPhone 6 comes with iOS 8, the latest iteration of the OS. We received the iOS 8.3 update last week, that offers some more features and fixes, in addition to stability and battery life improvements. iOS 8 is the most open iteration of iOS with the extensibility feature allowing apps to deeply integrate with the OS. 

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge runs Android Lollipop with its TouchWiz UI layer. Samsung has reduced bloatware and the apps that come preloaded now sport a minimalist look. If you’re expecting a major overhaul in terms of the changes to the TouchWiz UI, you’ll be disappointed. 

The lock screen, notifications and menu show some Material Design influence in line with Google’s Android 5.0 update, but it’s not very in-your-face.

Our take: It’s strictly a matter of taste and if you prefer Android’s flexibility, customisability and control over iOS’ ease of use and relative refinement, then you’ll find the Galaxy S6 edge’s UI better.

3. Special features

April 28,2015
Special features
While Samsung has stopped focusing on gimmicky features such as motion and gesture control, the S6 edge retains the heart rate sensor, health tracking features and an infrared port that can act as a universal remote control. 

The edge screen has been stripped of some features that were present in the Galaxy Note edge and only one side can display alerts and notifications when you rub it but it makes navigation more fluid with the slide out menus (hamburger menus) swiping out smoothly. 

The iPhone 6 on the other hand focuses more on ease of use and doesn’t boast of special features. Having said that the new rounded front display panel also offers a smoother UI navigation combined with the iOS back gesture. The motion tracking features have now got a barometer to measure depth and can count the flight of stairs taken in a day. 

Both phones feature a fingerprint sensor integrated with two different mobile payment ecosystems for contactless payments. Unfortunately, both these systems are not supported in India.

Our take: When it comes to additional bells and whistles, the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge scores much better than the iPhone 6.

4. Performance

April 28,2015
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is easily among the best performers we have seen till date. In fact, the smartphone is noticeably faster than the Snapdragon 805-powered flagship smartphones of last year. Switching between tasks is butter-smooth, and all apps are easy to use on this smartphone.

The battery life offered by the smartphone is around 14-15 hours at full charge, meaning that the Galaxy S6 edge will run a full day without demanding a charge. It takes about 30 minutes for the fast charger to take the Galaxy S6 edge’s battery from zero to 50%.

On the other hand, since Apple controls the hardware as well as the software sides of the platform, it is able to optimise performance in a much bigger way than other smartphone makers. So specifications don’t really matter here.

The OS runs very smoothly and we did not encounter any lag or stutter while opening and closing apps and switching between them. Web browsing, video playback, high-end games and camera recording were also super smooth and there was no delay.

After full charge, the battery lasted around 11-12 hours with moderate to heavy use. Setting the brightness on ‘auto’ and killing some background tasks can improve the battery backup by 5-6 hours.

Our take: No doubt the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is the fastest Android smartphone around, at this time. However, the iPhone 6 is also a super smooth performer.

5. Camera

April 28,2015
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge has a 16MP rear camera with a f/1.9 aperture and comes with optical image stabilization and a 5MP front-facing camera. 

On the other hand, Apple has never believed in running the megapixel count race and has instead focused on delivering a usable camera that takes quality pictures, consistently. The 8MP camera on the iPhone 6 offers large 1.5-micron pixels and an f/2.2 aperture to allow more light to come in.

Read our detailed camera comparison here.

Our take: In our tests, we found that Samsung Galaxy S6 edge offers a better imaging experience thanks to the inclusion of optical image stabilization.

6. Looks and build quality

April 28,2015
Looks and build quality
There are no two ways about it that Apple’s iPhone 6 and Samsung’s Galaxy S6 edge are two of the most good looking phones you can buy right now. Interestingly, Samsung has taken a page out of Apple’s design notebook, liberally using glass and metal in the Galaxy S6’s construction. 

Read our detailed comparison here

Our take: Both iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6 Edge are stunners when it comes to looks. However, the latter has an ‘edge’ (excuse the pun) due to the novelty of the curved display. We also don’t really like the iPhone 6’s ugly plastic bands (only tolerable on the space grey version, in our opinion).

7. Final Verdict

April 28,2015
Final Verdict
It ultimately boils down to what you’re exactly looking for from your smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge packs in every feature expected from a high-end flagship with its edge display shouting for attention when you flaunt it. 

Even though the curved screen doesn’t offer much additional functionality, the base (32GB) version of the phone offers more value for your money compared to the iPhone 6. 

The Galaxy S6 edge packs in a heart rate sensor, optical image stabilisation for better image captures, a sharper screen, wireless charging and better protection against falls and scratches with Corning Gorilla Glass 4.

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