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Apple iPhone 6 Plus

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.