Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs iPhone 6 Comparison

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs iPhone 6 Comparison

Is it really fair to compare a brand new phone to a phone that’s going to be succeeded in two weeks? No, but we’re going to do it anyway.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This is a dark year for Android phones. The Snapdragon 810 is offering a poor experience and the Snapdragon 808 is nothing impressive. Because of this, Samsung and Apple are really the top contenders.

Samsung’s octa core Exynos 7420 processor is out of this world. It gets benchmark scores in AnTuTu that reach 70,000. At the same time, Apple offers their dual core A8 processor, which somehow manages to never overheat to a point which would cause throttling.

They both have amazing cameras, using phase detection autofocus (PDAF) to take crystal clear, perfectly focused images. They both have brilliant displays. I’ve loved my iPhone 6 for the past 11 months, but I’ve recently fallen in love with the Galaxy Note 5 over the past few days.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs iPhone 6: Specs

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 iPhone 6
CPU Octa-core Exynos 7420, 1.5 GHz Quad Core ARM Cortex-A53, 2.1 GHz ARM Cortex-A57 1.4 GHz Dual Core ARM v8 A8
GPU Mali-T760MP8 PowerVR GX6450 (quad-core graphics)
Display 5.7″, 1440p, 518 ppi, AMOLED 4.7″, 750p, 326 ppi, IPS LCD
Body 153.2×76.1×7.6 mm, 171 g 138.1x67x6.9 mm, 129 g
Camera 16 MP, 5312×2988, 5 MP Front 8 MP, 3264×2448, 1.2 MP Front
Video 4K – 30 fps, 1080p – 60 fps, Front 1440p – 30 fps 1080p – 60 fps, Front 720p – 30 fps
Aperture f/1.9 f/2.2
Sensor Size 1/2.6″ 1/3″
Focal Length 28 mm 29 mm
Storage 32/64 GB 16/64/128 GB
RAM 4 GB 1 GB
Battery 3000 mAh 1810 mAh
Price $739/$839 (AT&T) $649/$749/$849

I really hate this. I do. It’s not fair to compare the specs of two phones with different OSes. Android grants the user a lot more freedom than iOS does. More freedom requires more system resources. Add Touchwiz on top of that and you need significantly more than 1 GB of RAM.

Also, the Samsung Exynos 7420 is an extremely powerful processor, probably better than Apple’s A8, although we’ll never know for sure until we can run Android on an A8 with 4 GB of RAM, or iOS on an Exynos 7420 with 1 GB of RAM. Of course, iOS is optimized for four different processors, so it wouldn’t run well on the Exynos at all. Do you see the conundrum?

Personally, I’d rather judge a phone based on real world performance than specs. I feel like people that judge phones based on specs are people that want to pass judgement without actually spending real time with the phone, so let’s move on.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs iPhone 6: Design and Display

Normally, at this point in a comparison, I compare the rear cameras, but there’s a lot more to talk about here. Apple has always been known for their design. Samsung has not; however, Samsung has really changed their ways.

Samsung has come a very long way since the days of the ugly plastic phones and petty, childish marketing. Ever since they introduced the Galaxy S6, they are producing beautiful phones. The metallic glass panel makes the phone look absolutely stunning.

The iPhone 6 doesn’t fall short on design chops either. It’s beautiful and comfortable to hold. The iPhone 6 Plus did fall short on design, with a flat back on a large phone with a large bezel. The Galaxy Note 5 has a curved back, which makes the phone fit just right into the hand.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 has the best display on the market. Samsung has great AMOLED displays. Sure, the iPhone 6 is about as good as it gets with an LCD, which is pretty damn good, but AMOLED takes it to a whole new level.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 has the best display because of the technology that Samsung uses behind their displays and how well they’re produced. It’s not the resolution. Apple doesn’t define Retina as 326 ppi because they’re cheap. They define it as Retina because they believe that the user can’t tell the difference between 326 ppi and anything more, and they’re generally right.

Samsung doesn’t define a ppi level that they want to use for their phones. They define a resolution, which happens to be 1440p at the moment, which also means that the Galaxy S6 has a larger pixel density than the Note 5.

1440p has many disadvantages. The iPhone 6’s 750p display has about a million pixels while a 1440p display has about 3.7 million pixels. This is much harder on the GPU as well as the battery. The difference is very noticeable when playing games and such. We’ll talk about this more when we do graphics benchmarks.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs iPhone 6: Rear Camera

I have always defended Apple’s choice of an 8 MP sensor. After all, an 8 MP photo still has to be scaled down to fit a 4K display. 99% of smart phone users want to use their smart phone camera to quickly open the camera, quickly snap a photo, and quickly share it to Facebook, and the iPhone has always been excellent at that.

I’ve also said that higher resolution cameras have disadvantages. They tend to take longer to focus and take longer to take the photo. They also tend to have smaller pixel sizes, creating noisier photos.

This doesn’t seem to be a problem with the Galaxy Note 5. The iPhone 6 can take pictures as fast as the user can tap the shutter button. The Galaxy Note 5 is the first Android phone that can do the same.

Still, the only advantage to a higher resolution photo is to be able to crop and zoom in on an image without losing quality as quickly.

People have been saying that Samsung makes a better camera than Apple for a long time. It’s not necessarily true. If you take a picture of the same thing with a Samsung phone and an iPhone, it always looks better on the Samsung phone because the Samsung phone has a beautiful display that makes everything on it look better, which is why it’s important to look at both photos on the same screen.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 has a larger aperture, at f/1.9 with the iPhone 6 at f/2.2, and a larger sensor, at 1/2.6″ with the iPhone 6 at 1/3″, so we can expect better low light performance from the Galaxy Note 5. I should note that I’ve seen devices defy those odds before. Apple does a lot at the software level.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 iPhone 6

It’s tough to really say for sure which one is better. They’re both pretty great. Samsung surely saturates the images more than the iPhone does.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 5 – iPhone 6

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Interestingly, low light performance seems to be the same. That wasn’t expected.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs iPhone 6: Front Camera

Apple does a lot with the 1.2 MP front camera on the iPhone 6, but there’s only so much that you can do with 1.2 MP. 1.2 MP is just north of 1080p at a 4:3 aspect ratio. The 5 MP sensor on the Galaxy Note 5 will come damn close to filling up a 4K display.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 definitely had a larger field of view than the iPhone 6 has, which is great if you want to take group photos. Also, there’s a lot less noise in the nighttime shot.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs iPhone 6: Benchmarks

Here’s my normal disclaimer. I’m not a fan of benchmarks. They so rarely reflect real world usage; however, they are the best tool we have for measuring a device’s performance. First up, battery tests.

Geekbench 3 has two settings for battery tests, with the sim screen on or off. The results were interesting.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 iPhone 6

Note 5 iPhone 6 Battery Bright

This is with the dim screen off. Next up, with dim screen settings on.

Note 5 iPhone 6 Battery Dim

Battery benchmarks can be somewhat tricky. The Note 5 has a substantially larger battery than the iPhone 6, so it stands to reason that it will have better battery life, so why are iPhones so well known for having great battery life?

Yesterday, I used the Galaxy Note 5 and the iPhone 6 as my daily drivers. I used them both equally, which is to say, not often. I was out and about quite a bit. I didn’t charge either of them last night. I woke up this morning and the iPhone 6 was at 50% and the Galaxy Note 5 was at 20%.

One thing to remember is that iOS devices really don’t use power while they’re asleep. Android devices tend to do just the opposite; however, this all changes in a couple months when Android 6.0 Marshmallow is released. I’ve tried it on the Nexus 9. Doze makes a massive difference.

Another thing that may have made a key difference is that this is an international Note 5 that I’m using. While my iPhone had steady service, the Galaxy Note 5 was looking for service more, as it doesn’t have the same LTE bands.

We have more Geekbench 3 tests. Expect the Galaxy Note 5 to win.

Note 5 iPhone 6 Geekbench

This is not surprising. Apple wins the single core score, as they always seem to do. The really interesting thing is that Qualcomm can’t seem to keep up to companies like Samsung and Nvidia. They just keep throwing cores in their processors.

Next up, AnTuTu.

Note 5 iPhone 6 AnTuTu

As expected, Samsung’s Exynos 7420 wins again. The really interesting thing is that the iPhone 6 stays on par with all of the other Android flagships that use a Snapdragon 810, except it doesn’t overheat and throttle. It blows away anything with a hexa core Snapdragon 808.

Note 5 iPhone 6 GFX 3 1 Note 5 iPhone 6 GFX 3 2 Note 5 iPhone 6 GFX 3.1 1 Note 5 iPhone 6 GFX 3.1 2

We can see that, for the most part, the iPhone 6 wins the GFXBench tests, especially in the GFXBench 3.1 tests. This isn’t entirely surprising. 1440p is a needlessly high resolution, with almost four times as many pixels for the GPU to push as Apple’s 750p display.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs iPhone 6: Conclusion

I was telling a friend how much I’ve fallen in love with the Galaxy Note 5 since I received it only a few days ago. He asked if it’s one of those phones that I could recommend to anyone, since there’s very few that I could. In fact, there’s only four phones that I could recommend to anyone, not knowing their use case: the LG G Flex 2, the Galaxy S6, the iPhone 6, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 5.

I’ve really enjoyed my iPhone 6 over the past 11 months, and when the iPhone 6S comes out next month, we’ll do a comparison then as well. For now, the iPhone 6 is still a very solid contender.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is extremely powerful device. The one place where it has issues is gaming. It’s still miles ahead of most other Android devices, as so many Android devices are coming with 1440p displays.

Still, if you’re a fan of iOS, you’re going to go for an iPhone and if you’re a fan of Android, you’re going to be looking at Samsung.

About the author
Rich Woods

Being a computer programmer wasn't enough to fulfill his love of technology. In 2013, Rich founded For the Love of Tech and has been writing about his love of tech ever since.