As expected, Apple will soon start selling the iPhone 6 is two sizes. There’s the regular 4.7-inch 6 to compete with the equally-sized Samsung Galaxy Alpha - and there’s the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus to do battle with the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 4.
Here we’ll look at the 6 Plus and its Samsung rival, which is due to go on sale in October.
iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Size and Screen
Having told us not so long ago that four inches was the perfect size for a phone screen, Apple has backtracked in spectacular fashion with the iPhone 6 Plus and its massive 5.5-inch screen. It may be late to the phablet party, but now Apple’s there it’s going to get the most attention.
Samsung may already be in attendance with its Note range, but the latest installation - the Note 4 and innovative Note 4 Edge - won’t arrive until October, a couple of weeks after the iPhone. The regular Note 4 (we’ll ignore the Edge for now) has a slightly larger 5.7-inch display and at 1440 x 2560 a much higher resolution than the 1080 x 1980 iPhone 6 Plus.
Also Read: iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Alpha
The Note’s QHD resolution (same as the LG G3) means a pixel density of 515 per inch, compared to the iPhone’s regular Full-HD and 401 pixels per inch. This may look like a big difference on paper, but don’t let the iPhone’s smaller numbers put you off. At both resolutions it’s impossible to see individual pixels, and while we were blown away by the sharpness of both the LG and Samsung, both Sony and Apple have held back and, in pursuit of battery life, we reckon that’s wise. That said, we can’t wait to see both side-by-side to bring you the answer.
As for dimensions, the Note 4 has a footprint of 153.5 x 78.6mm, is 8.5mm thick and weighs 176g. The iPhone 6 Plus measures 158.1 x 77.8mm, is 7.1mm thick and tips the scales at 172g. Interestingly, while the Samsung has the larger screen, the iPhone is nearly half a centimeter taller and just 4g lighter.
iPhone 6 Plus vs Galaxy Note 4: Camera
Here is where the Samsung, on paper at least, powers ahead. The Note 4 has a 16-megapixel rear camera and a 3.7mp front-facer. To compete the iPhone 6 Plus has a rear camera with just eight megapixels and a front-facer with a poultry 1.2.
Apple will of course point to the iPhone 6 Plus’ optical image stabilisation (a feature also found on the Note 4) and faster autofocus than the year-old iPhone 5s as reasons to look beyond the megapixel count - but consumers love playing Top Trumps with their phones, and we’re already hearing complaints due to Apple offering “only” 8mp.
We’ll have to wait until later in the month to see if Apple’s gamble has paid off.
iPhone 6 Plus vs Galaxy Note 4: Storage options and price
The Note 4 has 32GB of storage, plus a microSD card slot to increase this by up to 128GB. By comparison, the iPhone 6 Plus comes in three versions with 16, 64 and 128GB; there is no micro SD card slot to expand on this.
Samsung is yet to announce a price for the Note 4 - despite the phone being announced six days before the iPhone - but we suspect it will cost somewhere between £550 and £600 SIM-free. Any less and it would interfere the much smaller £549 Galaxy Alpha.
The iPhone 6 Plus costs £619, £699 and £789 for the 16GB, 64GB and 128GB versions respectively; although we don’t know for sure how the Note 4 will be priced, we expect the Apple to be generally more expensive.
One More Thing…
Safe to say, the iPhone 6 Plus isn’t going to win a specification sheet battle with the Note 4; it loses in terms of screen size, resolution, camera sensor size, storage and maybe price too. But there are a couple of more features - one shared equally, which is a fingerprint scanner in the home screen to lock the handset - and the other being Apple Pay.
Announced alongside the iPhone 6, Apple Pay has been created in partnership with MasterCard, Visa and American Express to let iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners pay for goods by tapping their phone (which has NFC) at the point of sale. The service will arrive in the US soon, but won’t arrive in the UK until next year at the earliest.
But having said all that, the Note 4’s unique selling point is its excellent S Pen stylus, which is twice as sensitive as last year’s model.
iPhone 6 Plus vs Galaxy Note 4: Verdict
The Galaxy Note 4 has the bigger screen, the higher resolution, the more detailed camera, the more (and expandable) storage, and could well be cheaper when it’s released next month. It even has some metal in its body and sports a design and build quality far superior to the previous three generations of Note.
And yet...we can’t simply cast the iPhone 6 Plus aside on these grounds alone. It looks better (to our eyes), uses more aluminium, and has a wider selection of apps thanks to the App Store. Apple Pay is intriguing, as is the Apple Watch, but with its Gear range Samsung is already in the wearables game.
This looks like it’ll be a close one, but fear not, we’ll be getting our hands on both phones very soon.