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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus – Specs comparison

Again with the new iPhone(s)? Isn’t The Droid Guy supposed to be an Android-centric website? Leave droid fans alone. Be honest, you were thinking or wondering one of these things before you even finished reading our headline.

iphone-6-plus-vs-galaxy-note-4

And we completely understand your frustration. For the past two weeks or so, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus rumor roundups, previews, hands-on explorations and finally reviews have inundated the tech-focused part of the interwebs.

Just one more reason to keep your online activity fixated on funny cat pics and (human) porn, huh? Not so fast. Because like it or not, iPhones make the Android scene better. And vice versa. Who do you think got Tim Cook to infuriate Steve Jobs from beyond the grave by embracing “phablets”?

iPhone 6 Plus

Anyhoo, the bottom line is it’s wholly necessary to give credit where credit is due, and dissect the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus along with everybody else until reaching the conclusion we can do better. Not to mention cheaper.

But above all, better. Enter Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4, the definitive top-of-the-line 2014 jumbo-sized smartphone. A phablet worth waiting for. And here’s why:

Note 4 vs. iPhone 6 Plus – design and build quality comparison

Call me rash, reckless, whatever, I’m calling it – it’s the last year Apple ever wins an aesthetics battle against a Samsung flagship. Come spring of 2015, it’s bye, bye, metallic iPhone domination. That’s because the Note 4 is clearly meant to transition users from the old, ill-advised plastic-reliant design direction to a new approach, revolving around aluminum and possibly, other premium materials.

Galaxy Note 4 vs iPhone 6 Plus

So yeah, the 6 Plus still looks a little more elegant and feels a little stronger than the GNote 4. Emphasis on little, as the half-metal/half-plastic Samsung spearhead is significantly shorter, at 153 mm (vs. 158). Outstanding engineering feat, given it also offers the larger usable screen real estate (5.7 vs. 5.5 inches).

And yes, the rear on the iPhone 6 Plus is decidedly sexy, but the bulging camera is a vexing blemish on an otherwise spotless chassis. Good for us.

Galaxy Note 4 vs. iPhone 6 Plus – display duel

Sure, iFans, the Quad HD screen resolution on the Note 4 is a gimmick. Unlike your “Retina” iPad panels, which are all about real-life, naked-eye-noticeable image and video reproduction quality. Keep telling yourselves that. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to constantly remind yourselves 1 gig of RAM is plenty for a 2014 high-end smartphone.

GalaxyNote4

At the end of the day, the fact of the matter is Note 4’s display boasts 515 ppi pixel density, and the iPhone 6 Plus 401. So much win!

Processing speed and RAM smackdown

Early benchmarks show the new iPhones heavily outperforming their main Android-running rivals. Apple-friendly benchmarks, that is, like SunSpider or Kraken. Meanwhile, 3DMark, for instance, puts both the 6 and 6 Plus behind the Galaxy S5 and Note 3 in overall performance.

No Quadrant scores, no Vellamo and, of course, no way to compare any of the existing results to what the Note 4 can pull off.

snapdragon-805

Either way, we know benchmarks aren’t worth very much, and in real life, the 6 Plus and Note 4 are both beastly slabs. Perhaps the zippiest in the world, alongside maybe the LG G3. As always, we expect Apple to have invested thousands of man hours and nearly limitless resources in carefully optimizing every little line of software code, whereas Samsung has Qualcomm’s fastest SoC and a whopping 3 gigs of RAM to take care of business.

Granted, the 64-bit architecture of Apple’s A8 chip is impossible to ignore, and bound to offer up the 6 Plus an important advantage. Then again, the scanty 1 GB RAM is even impossibler (not a real word, I know) to ignore, giving back the overall edge to the Note 4.

iPhone 6 Plus teardown

Final verdict: Samsung wins.

Software, battery life and storage

Our love for all things Android is no big secret, and neither is our bias in favor of Google’s mobile OS. But even the most rabid droid fan has to admit iOS 8 looks pretty good. Clean as a whistle, very minimalistic and a wee bit more customizable than before.

iOS 8 vs KitKat

That said, pretty much everything iOS 8 can do, Android 4.4 KitKat does better. And the next version, L, likely on its way to the Note 4 by the end of the year, should further increase the smoothness gap. Multitasking, personality, versatility, even ease of use, L has it all, at least on paper.

Which brings us to the autonomy bout. Impossible to call at the moment, it’ll probably be a very evenly matched contest. Yes, the Note 4 does pack the larger cell (3,220 vs. 2,915 mAh), but it also comes with the bigger, higher-res, more power-demanding screen in tow. And possibly, the less frugal processor too.

Galaxy Note 4 back

Moving on, the storage battle would be close too… were it not for Cupertino’s aversion for external microSD card slots. Which once again makes Android look good. Really good.

Cameras, sensors and others

Don’t you even start. We don’t want to hear it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Apple is the very best in the biz at optimizing software for better battery life, smoother performance and superior camera capabilities. But there’s only so much that can do for a mediocre 8 MP sensor-toting rear snapper.

For crying out loud, the main cam on the Note 4 sports twice the megapixel count, plus every single add-on the iPhone 6 Plus brings to the table: optical image stabilization, autofocus, LED flash. And let’s not forget 2K video recording, which the iPhone can’t do.

samsung-galaxy-note-4-camera

As for selfie nuts, they’d better not give the 6 Plus a second thought, what with its sub-par 1.2 MP front shooter. The Note 4? It’s all about self-portraits, rocking a generous 3.7 MP sensor on the front and 1,080p video shooting support.

And now, for the grand finale. Both contenders tick the fingerprint scanner box, but only one the heart rate monitor category. And guess which one comes with a bundled S Pen and stylus support? How about a UV sensor?

Galaxy Note 4 UV sensor

Meanwhile, Apple is going on and on and on about NFC inclusion, a feature that’s been around in the Android universe for years. Including on mid-rangers.

Pricing and availability

If there’s one battle Apple wins without great resistance, it’s the availability fight. Good thing that’s something to build a successful war campaign on, not an atomic bomb. And clearly, the iPhone 6 Plus doesn’t have enough weapons to survive the war, let alone win it.

iPhone 6 line

Go ahead, buy your fancy, uber-hyped, underwhelming iPhones today, iSheep iFans, because we’ll have the last laugh come mid-October, when Note 4s start shipping. Prices? $300 with AT&T and Verizon contracts, available now on pre-order through Amazon, ditto on Sprint, and $700 or so outright.

Remember, the iPhone 6 Plus also goes for $300 and up, only their $300 variant sports half of Samsung’s $300 Note 3’s internal storage – 16 GB. Oh, look, the 6 Plus is down for the count. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, you’re done!

Best iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus alternatives available for a fraction of the price

It takes a good bit of courage, as well as a slight dose of desperation, to knowingly turn a blind eye to the specific guidelines set by your idol, mentor and forerunner, to whom you basically owe everything. “No one is going to buy a phone you can’t get your hand around” said Steve Jobs in 2010.

Android vs Apple

“Bigger than bigger” said Tim Cook upon unveiling the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, at last acknowledging the superiority of the phablet. Sorry, the “iPhablet”.

Bold move, when Cupertino knew full well it was exposing itself to an unprecedentedly facile wave of public ridicule. I mean, it took a copywriting virtuoso to come up with the classic “dude, you’re a barista” line, but a trained monkey could have probably penned the latest “It doesn’t take a genius” and “Then and Now” commercials.

iPhone 6 mocking

Still, iSheep iFans are flocking to stores to commit to a pair of handhelds that’s a couple of years late to the jumbo-sized party. Not to mention horribly overpriced. Why? Because they don’t know any better. Or so we hope, as the other scenario, according to which they’re aware of the Android competition yet go for the iPhones nevertheless, is much bleaker.

Either way, we feel it’s our civic duty as advocates of quality over marketing to round up a few sturdy, good-looking, affordable iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus alternatives. And if we can convince a single mobile tech consumer to leave Apple’s ship, it’s mission accomplished. Here we go, in no particular order, the iPhone 6-crushing magnificent seven:

For the first time in history, Cupertino can’t settle on one form factor. So, as Caesar used to say, “divide et impera”. Divide and rule. In other words, we shall split the standard iPhone 6 and the Plus, and crush them one by one.

Moto-X

The Moto X is, in our humble opinion, the perfect iPhone 6 slayer, as it offers the same 4.7 inches of screen real estate into a much more compact body. Yes, believe it or not, the X is a whopping 9 mm shorter and 2 mm narrower.

The pixel density is mostly in the same ballpark (312, 326 ppi, potayto, potahto), and then you have twice the iPhone’s RAM, plus all sorts of customization options via Moto Maker. And don’t get me started on the huge pricing gap. We’re talking $250 or so outright, and $200 with carrier agreements.

Still think the 4-inch frame of the iPhone 5s hits the sweet spot? Then why compromise on outdated technology when you can get a powerhouse like the Z1 Compact? True, Sony’s mini-flagship is a little larger. But for 3 extra mm in height and 6 in width, you receive 0.3 inches more of 720p IPS panel.

Xperia Z1 Compact

Needless to point out to the massive retail cost gap… again, while the difference in performance and quality is perhaps most striking when looking at Z1 Compact’s camera pitted against its iPhone 6 counterpart. 20.7 vs. 8 megapixels. It’s like David and Goliath all over again, only this time Goliath destroys its underdog opponent.

Beyond advertising bloopers, distribution gaffes and build quality woes, the OnePlus One is a spectacular, breathtaking 5.5-inch smartphone that the iPhone 6 Plus has nothing on in a head-to-head battle.

OnePlus One

Beauty? Check. Compact form factor? Check. Vibrant Full HD display? You got it. Plus Snapdragon 801 punch, 3 GB RAM, 13 MP rear camera greatness, 5 MP selfie-friendly potency, etc., etc. And the icing on the cake is the low, low price point.

Speaking of low prices, the Vibe Z is apparently worth 40 percent of the iPhone 6 Plus. Otherwise put, you can buy two Vibe Zs and a half for the costs of one single iPhone 6 Plus. All while the Z measures 9 mm less than its high-priced adversary in height, and sports an identical (on paper) 5.5-inch Full HD screen.

Lenovo Vibe Z

Also, our low-cost Android soldier packs a quad-core Snapdragon 800 SoC, which we have every reason to believe is a near match for the Apple A8, as well as two gigs of RAM, one more than the 6 Plus.

See, this is the beauty of the Android “ecosystem”. No one forces a certain form factor, a certain size or design on you. Want to be able to comfortably hold your phone in one hand? The Z1 Compact has your back.

sony-xperia-z-ultra

Fully agree that “bigger is better” and not afraid to push the boundaries of phablets? Then why settle for 5.5 inches when you can score 6.4 inches of Full HD awesomeness? No, the Z Ultra is not everyone’s cup of tea.

But as far as giants are concerned, it’s the best. Crazy affordable, crazy thin (yes, thinner than the thinnest ever iPhones), crazy zippy and crazy water-resistant. It’s crazy good, too.

I know, I know, I promised to list the iPhone 6 killer candidates in no particular order. But of course I saved the best for last. The LG G3 and Galaxy Note 3. Now, the two aren’t exactly dirt-cheap. And they can’t really be had for “a fraction of the iPhone 6 Plus price”.

lg-g3

But they’re still cheaper and better. The G3, for instance, will knock your socks off with a fantastic design, rear physical buttons included, and a mind-blowing Quad HD display. Though a 5.5 incher, just like the iPhone 6 Plus, the G3 is merely 146.3 mm tall and 74.6 mm wide (vs. 158.1 and 77.8). And it’s 8.9 mm thick, yet it manages to accommodate a 3,000 mAh juicer.

The rest? Snapdragon 801, 3 GB RAM, 32, yes, 32 GB standard internal storage, microSD support, the whole shebang. Even with the Note 4 looming, this may remain the all-around best smartphone in the world.

Ah, the Galaxy Note 3. The Rolls Royce of phablets, at least until the LG G3 dropped, with an unrivaled creative side, thanks to the S Pen support, Snapdragon 800 heat, 3 GB RAM, a 3,200 mAh battery and in many ways perfect 5.7-inch 1,080p Super AMOLED panel.

Samsung-Galaxy-Note-3

Sequel around or no sequel around, this is a classic, and as its list price drops, its popularity shall endure. Eat your heart out, Apple.

Apple iPhone 6: An Android User’s Wishlist

iPhone 5

As a Note II user, I often look at the iPhone wondering what it is actually worth anymore. iOS hasn’t changed a whole lot since the release of the iPhone 4. After using Android and watching it constantly evolve, iOS seems like its not worth the switch. Granted, the iPhone was not designed to be appealing to everyone. As an avid Android user though, this is what would get me interested in iOS:

Larger Screen Size

I know, I know. You are probably thinking, “oh, not this argument again!” Bear with me though. Apple does not necessarily need to increase the display size of the iPhone, but it would be great to see the company create another variant of the iPhone with a larger display. Just like the Samsung Galaxy Note II is a larger version of the Samsung Galaxy S III, I really would like to see an Note-like iPhone device. I — and many others — are getting used to larger displays on our smartphones if not preferring it and downgrading to a smaller screen almost feels like a chore. Granted, I don’t want Apple copying Samsung or LG, but it would be phenomenal to see Apple bring a larger display into the mix.

Oh and no, I’m not talking about increasing the height of the iPhone anymore, but width too!

A Redesigned UI

The UI on the iPhone feels dull and boring. Granted, Android’s UI also gets boring, but redesigns every so often and the ability to add widgets keeps it refreshing, especially when you are given the power of full customization over widgets (e.g. HD Widgets and Beautiful Widgets). There is no such thing as a perfect UI, but I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing something more refreshed.

Openness

I’m going out on a leg here, but I would almost say that it would be good if Apple made the iPhone more open to the development community. Yes, their operating system has been closed off for years, which is what makes it different from Android. At the same time though, they could appeal to a lot of customers by letting the development community at the smartphone. Granted, with how bad Apple’s reputation is with Android users, I could see this eventually backfiring on them. If that were not an issue though, I would love to see more openness in the iPhone. Imagine a CyanogenMod version of iOS! I think that would be really sweet to see (I can almost imagine avid iPhone users cringing at the thought)!

And who knows, Apple could even find themselves hiring a really smart guy out of the development community.

Better Google Support

I honestly want to see more of Google on the iPhone (and more Apple on Android as well). Google — for just about everybody — is essentially integrated into our lives. Think about it for a second. A large majority of people are constantly relying on Google Maps to get them around or are relying on Gmail to read their emails. Some are even relying on YouTube to be their main source of entertainment. Google has some very successful products and for Apple to not allow certain apps on their is ridiculous. If Google does not want to put their apps on iOS, that seems a bit ridiculous as well. Sure Android is widely successful, but would Google not want more and more people to use their own apps like YouTube?

Now, a lot of Google’s apps are already on iOS, but I would like to see better support. Currently, Google Docs on iOS feels half-baked. And yes, while Apple hasn’t kicked Google off of their platform, I never want to see them do that as earlier rumors have suggested in the past (this was before Apple launched iOS 6).

That’s my wishlist for the iPhone 6. I’m an avid Android user, and iOS in its current state does not interest me. As an avid Android user, the above is what would get me interested in iOS. Like I said in the beginning though, iOS was not made to appeal to everyone and neither was Android.

Apple iPhone 6: Top 3 Feature Speculations

iphone 6 rumors

iphone 6 rumors

With the release of the iPhone 5, no doubt the next generation is in the works and could be released as early as March 2013.  Lets take a look back on the iPhone 5 launch and what to expect going forward for Apple.

Apple Revenue Push

From a business standpoint, it is unlikely that Apple will keep the same iPhone design and features.  In order to stay competitive in the market, Apple will need to not only make an early release for the iPhone 6 but add unique features that other phones will not have.  Upgrades such as the impractical Siri voice assistant simply will not cut it.

The pressure is on Apple CEO Tim Cook to deliver a homerun on the next iPhone release.  Investors have not shown the same confidence in the new head huncho Cook as they have shown in his former boss Steve Jobs.   The stock price has plummeted over the past 3 months since the release of the iPhone 5.  From a high of $705.07 in September, the stock has dipped to a closing price of $520.17 on Christmas Eve.  The Street is expecting iPhone 5 sales will miss expectations.  The concensus estimate had been around 47M units, but 2013 Q1 numbers have been revised down to the 35M range.

One could argue that Apple’s mission has never been about working for the shareholders.   What kept Jobs excited was always innovation and long term success.  Here are three features that Apple could add to the iPhone 6 to keep the iPhone ahead of the pack.

Near-Field Communication (NFC)

As for revamping the iPhone, the low hanging fruit for Apple arguably could be the NFC technology.  NFC  is one of the biggest marketing points for its rival Samsung Galaxy S3, and is also a glaring feature absent in the iPhone.  Up to this point, Apple has not shown much interest in NFC, but Apple cannot continue to ignore this technology.

Back in July, Apple dropped $356 million to acquire a company called AuthenTec, which is an industry leader in mobile security.  AuthenTec’s AES2750, a fingerprint sensor, is designed to provide protection to NFC.  The device is small enough that it could be placed on the edge of the iPhone or iPad.

All signs points to Apple adding NFC to its future products, it would enhance sharing capabilities between phones and introduce the concept of contactless payments to the iPhone line. While NFC is not new technology, its addition would enhance the iPhone 6 to a very competitive level.
iphone rumor

Super HD Retina+ IGZO Screen And Larger Screen

One of the iPhone 5’s upgrades included better screen quality. While the difference between the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 5’s display may seem subtle, there are significant upgrades to the colors, brightness levels, and screen reflections. The screen was also upgraded to be less draining on the battery while increasing readability. Because these types of upgrades are typical with Apple releases, it is likely that the iPhone 6 will have an improved screen quality when compared to previous releases.

Rumors of Sharp’s IGZO screen on Apple products is not new.  Apple passed on the technology on the previous generation iPad due to concerns that Sharp was not fully ready to unleash the product.  But no doubt Apple is interested in the technology.  There has even been rumors about an Apple buyout of the failing Sharp company as a whole.

The advantage of the IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) display is the thin assembly, bright colors, and high resolution that require less LEDs, which would mean more energy efficient.

The screen size of the iPhone 5 is about 18% larger than the iPhone 4’s screen.  With the consumer’s appetite for larger screens, there has been whispers about an 4.8″ screen to match the specs of the Galaxy S3.  At the very least, it is conceivable Apple plans to unveil the next generation iPhone between 4″ and 4.8″, which would be larger than the current model, and up to the size of the S3.

iphone 6 processor

A7 Quad-Core Processor

The new generation iPhone models typically mean “bigger, badder & faster” processors.  iPhone 5 was fitted with the A6 processor, which clocked at twice the CPU and GPU of its predecessor.  Geekbench results from users have the A5 processor clocking with score in the 600s, while the A6 scored consistently in mid 1000s, ranging from 1400 to 1600.  For a successful iPhone 6 launch, users will expect to see that Geekbench score rise significantly, if not double.

The A7 processor is generally expected to be ready in 2014 with a two year turnaround time.  It would not make good business sense for the iPhone 5 to stay stale on the market for two years.  So what Apple could do is release the Apple 6 with A7 processor in early 2014, and keep the users on their toes with a launch of iPhone 5s in 2013, running on a slightly modified A6 processor.

The current A6 processor are designed by Apple but manufactured by their rival Samsung, there has been speculations that Apple would like to end their reliance on Samsung and potentially have the next A series processor manufactured by the Taiwanese semiconductor giant TSMC. The A7 would be running on 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set.

Other Possible iPhone 6 Features

Each of Apple’s iPhone releases were built to be thinner than previous models. Because of this, it is highly likely that Apple will work to build a thinner phone. The thinner the design gets, the more Apple will need to focus on materials to keep the phone from breaking due to every day wear and tear. Apple has already had success with their paper-thin Macbook styles so developing the technology for mobile phone use seems like a natural move.

The iPhone 5 came loaded with iOS 6 and Apple tends to unveil a new iOS with each iPhone release. The iOS 7 will most likely be released alongside the iPhone 6. The iOS 6 gave the iPhone 5 several new features but was plagued with errors upon its initial release. While the bugs are being fixed, it is likely that the iOS 7 and the iPhone 6 will be beta tested to better avoid another initial flop.

Although the upgraded iPhone 5 seems like a small change, each of Apple’s releases have featured significant improvements. Because of this, it is highly likely that the iPhone 6 will improve greatly on the technology introduced in the iPhone 5, increasing screen quality, the number of useful phone features, and overall style of the phone.