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New Apple iPhone 6s or new Samsung Note 5?


The new iPhone 6s has been released today, in standard and Plus versions. I currently have the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, and since I’m going to be upgrading it in November, I was curious about how the new iPhones compare to the already-released Galaxy Note 5. I remember last year I did quite a bit of research into how they compared, and ended up with the Note 4 because its camera was notably better than the iPhone 6 camera.

Since a major use my smartphone is for it to be a suitable DSLR replacement, it means my priority in finding a suitable upgrade is for it to have the best camera on the smartphone market, but also aligned with a number of other important factors like a large, quality screen size to allow me to read without glasses, and excellent performance capability.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 was released last month, and the Apple iPhone 6s Plus was released today. According to a cursory analysis so far, it looks like the iPhone is still lagging behind the Note 5. Here’s how….


The Note 5 screen size of 5.7″ is still slightly larger than the 5.5″ on the iPhone 6s Plus. Not much, I know. But the Note 5 also has a resolution of 2560 x 1440 and 518ppi pixel density compared with the iPhone’s 1080p resolution with a 401ppi pixel density. It means the screen on the Note 5 is markedly better than the iPhone’s. What’s also interesting is that even though the Note 5’s screen is 5.7″ compared to the iPhone’s 5.5″, the dimensions of the Note 5 is 153.2 x 76.1mm compared to the iPhone with 158.1 x 77.8mm. So the Note 5 has a larger screen in a smaller body.

Winner: Note 5


Of course, the Note series has a stylus that allows the user to write notes or do drawings. While it was quite handy back when I had the Note 1, 2 and 3, with the 4 I don’t seem to have used it all that much. It could be because I also now have the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 tablet, and any time I want to write notes for any reason, I usually just use the tablet. So having a stylus with the phone is no longer a major requirement. If it was, I wouldn’t be considering the iPhone at all, but the fact it doesn’t use a stylus is no longer relevant.

Winner: draw

Battery and SD card

A lot of people have been complaining that the Note 5 no longer has a removable battery or SD card, but they were never important to me anyway. All my files and photos are backed up daily and stored on the cloud, and I never needed to remove my battery with any of my phones. So I don’t care.

Winner: draw

Operating System: iOS 9 vs Android

I used to have iPhones from the 2nd generation iPhone 3G in 2008 through to the iPhone 3Gs, and then the iPhone 4 before I moved over to Android with the Note 1 in 2012, and I’ve been with Android and the Note phones ever since. The last iOS version I used was iOS 5, and here we are today with iOS 9. Unfortunately, many of the features that are promoted with iOS are already available with Android, so there’s no compelling reason to switch. When I look at the features of iOS 9, I’m left yawning.

Built in apps! Really? Almost like any other phone doesn’t have built in apps? News, notes, integration with other apps, turn lists into checklists…. Wow. Android’s been doing that for years. And “Sketch your thoughts! Use the tip of your finger to draw right there in your note…” Well, the Galaxy Note 1 did that back in 2011….

I won’t go into the other things that the iOS 9 page is exclaiming about, as most of them have already been out on older versions of Android for a while.

Winner: Android



So the iPhone improved their camera from 8MP to 12MP and 4K video. That’s great! Well… except last year’s Note 4 already had that. This year, the Note 5 has improved its camera to 16MP compared to the iPhone’s 12MP, but both the iPhone and the Note 5 have a 5MP front-facing camera.

I know that the number of megapixels in a camera doesn’t determine the final quality of a photo, but with the Note 5 using the camera technology in the Galaxy S6 – which is renowned to be the best smartphone camera in the world – and enhancing it by another 4MP, I suspect the quality of photos compared to the iPhone is going to be considerably better.

However, it’s entirely possible that Apple have performed a miracle and upgraded their camera sensor to beat Samsung’s. I’m not so sure they’d be able to do that, however, and I’ll be looking very closely at the photo comparisons coming out over the next few weeks before I make up my mind on that.

Winner: to be determined

So let’s tally up the score:

  • Display: Android
  • Stylus: Meh
  • Battery: Meh
  • SD Card: Meh
  • OS: Android
  • Camera: ?

I’m not going to draw any tight conclusions just yet. If the photos turn out much better on the iPhone, then that carries a significant amount of ‘weight’ in terms of preference, in which case I might just end up with the iPhone because of it. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Do you have any thoughts on the matter? Do you agree or disagree with the comments I’ve made above? Do you have anything else you think I should consider? Please add your comments below.



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