iPhone 6 vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 4

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Gizmag compares the features and specs of the Apple iPhone 6 (the smaller 4.7-in version) and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4

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With this year's batch of iPhones, Apple finally has a Galaxy Note competitor in the iPhone 6 Plus. But how does the smaller iPhone 6 compare to the Note 4? Let's compare their features and specs.

Size

No surprises here, as we're comparing a standard-sized phone (at least by today's standards) with a phablet. The Galaxy Note 4 is 12 percent taller and 18 percent wider than the iPhone 6.

The iPhone, though, is one of the thinnest phones you can buy. At a mere 6.9 mm (0.27-in), it's 19 percent thinner than the Note.

Weight

The smaller iPhone is also much lighter – by 27 percent.

Build

Like most Apple devices, the iPhone 6 has an aluminum unibody build. Pictures don't quite do it justice: you have to see it and hold it to fully appreciate Apple's design work.

The Note 4 has a soft-touch pleather back, very similar to what we saw in the Note 3 (minus the fake stitching). This time around, though, the band running around the phablet's edge is made of metal.

Colors

We're looking at three color options on the iPhone (variants of the same three colors we saw in the iPhone 5s), and four choices for the Note.

Display (size)

This is the biggest advantage of going with a phablet like the Note 4. It gives you 47 percent more screen than this smaller iPhone 6 gives you (though, again, Apple's iPhone 6 Plus creeps a lot closer).

Display (resolution)

The iPhone's screen outshines what you'd expect from these numbers. The iPhones 6 and 6 Plus have two of the best mobile displays I've seen, with terrific contrast and viewing angles, as well as color range and accuracy.

It's quite possible that the Note 4's screen will be one of the best as well, but it was hard to tell during my brief hands-on time at Samsung's launch event. Stay tuned.

Display (type)

We're looking at an IPS panel in the iPhone, next to a Super AMOLED in the Note. AMOLED screens typically have greater contrast and rich saturation, but, again, the iPhone is also doing great in those departments.

Fingerprint sensor

You can tick this box in Apple's column, as its Touch ID sensor is quicker and easier to use than Samsung's fingerprint scanner. The iPhone's lets you simply rest your finger on its home button for a brief moment. The Note's requires a swipe: still nice to have, but a bit clunkier.

With iOS 8, you can also use Touch ID with third-party apps (password manager apps are especially nice to protect with a fingerprint). There are also third-party Android apps (like PayPal and LastPass) that play nicely with Samsung's sensor.

Stylus

Samsung's S Pen stylus is a fundamental piece of the Galaxy Note puzzle. Not only does it give you a sense of precision and control that your stubby finger can't possibly give you, but Samsung also threw in some convenient note-taking features that are never farther than a pen-click away.

There are styluses that you can use with iPhones, but they're capacitive pens, which simulate finger touches. They're pretty crude compared to the Note's active digitizer stylus.

NFC payments

Starting this October, Apple Pay (sometimes branded as Pay) will let you use the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus to tap-and-pay for goods at participating retailers. Just hold your finger on the Touch ID sensor while hovering your phone near the terminal, then grab your purchase and go. It's Apple's big play to replace your wallet.

Apple is hardly first to this technology, as Google Wallet and Softcard (formerly Isis) have been trying to put NFC payments on the map for several years. To say they haven't set the world on fire, though, would be a colossal understatement.

Heart rate sensor

If you want to measure your heart rate on the go, the Note 4 has a heart rate sensor on its backside.

The iPhone can approximate this feature, though, with third-party apps that use its camera and flash to check your pulse.

Battery

We've been impressed with the iPhone 6's battery life. Stay tuned for our impressions of the Note 4's uptimes.

Ultra Power Saving Mode

If you do get low on juice, Samsung has a cool feature that can keep you on the grid. Ultra Power Saving Mode might (temporarily) turn your device into a glorified feature phone, but it can also stretch 10 percent juice into around 24 hours of extra uptime.

Fast charging

Samsung also says that the Note 4 will charge from 0 to 50 percent in about half an hour – provided you're sticking with its default charger.

Storage

The iPhone starts on a smaller storage tier, but maxes out at a higher 128 GB.

MicroSD card

You can augment the Note's internal storage, though, by popping in a microSD card.

Cameras

It's too early to jump to conclusions about the Note 4's camera, but the iPhone's is excellent. Continuing a common theme here, its quality far outshines what you'd expect from these numbers (after all, megapixels only go so far).

OIS

The iPhone 6 Plus may have Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), but this smaller iPhone 6 doesn't. This is the first time we've seen OIS in a flagship Samsung device.

Processor

Similar to the iPhone's display and camera, its processor fights way above this weight class you see on paper. Any other dual-core processor, clocked at 1.4 GHz, would be decidedly mid-ranged. But Apple's, combined with iOS, delivers some of the silkiest-smooth performance I've seen on any mobile device.

Keep in mind, though, that this image only includes the LTE version of the Note 4. The 3G/HSPA version has an octa-core Samsung Exynos processor in its place.

RAM

The same goes for RAM, though I do notice backgrounded apps and browser tabs refreshing more often on the iPhone than I do on some rival Android devices.

Split-screen multitasking

If you want a desktop-like split-screen multitasking mode, then Samsung's Multi Window delivers. The only downside is that it still only works with a handful of select apps.

One-handed mode

It comes in a bit handier on the larger iPhone 6 Plus, but Apple's "Reachability" is the company's solution to using a big phone with one hand. Lightly double-tap the Touch ID sensor to slide the top of its screen down to the bottom.

Samsung has a different take on one-handed mode, as a swiping gesture shrinks the entire screen (keyboard included) down to a more manageable size.

Infrared

Want to change channels on your TV with your device? The Note lets you, the iPhone doesn't.

Smartwatch compatibility

If you're ready to jump into the wrist-computer craze (or the craze that's supposedly coming any time now), then these are your primary options with each device.

There are many other watches you can use with both phones, but the upcoming Apple Watch is the big one to look out for on the Apple side, while the Samsung Gear and Android Wear watches are your best bets on the Note's side of the fence.

Virtual reality

The Galaxy Note 4 is the only device that's compatible with Samsung's upcoming Oculus-powered Gear VR headset. You slide the phablet inside, and let it provide the screen and processing power for your futuristic gaming (and entertainment) system.

Software

The iPhone 6 fits the silky-smooth iOS 8 like hand in glove. Apple's latest mobile OS brings third-party keyboards, Touch ID integration in third-party apps and app extensions to iOS.

The Note 4 runs Android 4.4 KitKat at its core, with Samsung's TouchWiz UI on top, which opens the door to the stylus integration (among many other features).

Release date

The new iPhones are already in customers' hands, while the Note 4 launches in the US on October 17. It's already rolling out, though, in Samsung's native Korea.

Starting price (full retail)

It varies a bit from carrier to carrier, but, at least in some cases, the Note 4 can be had for just US$50 more than the iPhone 6 at full retail.

Starting price (on-contract)

If you're buying with a new two-year contract, then you're looking at an extra $100 for the Note. Its $300 starting price is the same that you'll see for the iPhone 6's big brother, the 6 Plus.

For more on these two, you can hit up our full reviews of the iPhone 6 and our Galaxy Note 4.

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