Tuesday, December 30, 2014

iPhone 6 Plus Vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review: 2014's Biggest Phone Fight

Welcome to the biggest heavyweight clash in mobile phone history. For the first time Apple AAPL -0.17% is moving in on the phablet sector Samsung has dominated (and arguably created) for the last four years. Two mega-corporates, two opposing ideologies and two massive handsets competing for our affections, both going about it in completely different ways.

Phone clashes have never been bigger. Literally. So strap in, this is going to be good.

Design – Practical Vs Beautiful

The perfect place to start contrasting the pros and cons of the Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus is their physical design. Apple has long been famed for its minimalist craftsmanship while Samsung has been widely derided for ugly designs for years.

iPhone 6 Plus Vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4
iPhone 6 Plus: 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm (6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 in) and 172 g (6.07 oz)
Galaxy Note 4: 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm (6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 in) and 176 g (6.21 oz)
But not so fast. As I pointed out in my iPhone 6 Plus Long Term Review, Apple’s first phablet is wonderfully well crafted with top notch build materials and wonderfully chamfered edges but it is perhaps the company’s most gratuitous example of style over substance.

The lack of any tangible curvature make it awkward in the hand while the super slick finish to the aluminium unibody means it is like holding a bar of soap. A case is mandatory. Meanwhile the protruding camera looks ugly, is the point of impact every time the iPhone 6 Plus is put down and means it doesn’t sit flat on surfaces making that flat back even more pointless.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4,iPhone 6 Plus
By contrast no-one could say the Note 4 is an oil painting. Samsung has upgraded its fourth generation phablet with a rigid metal bezel (no bending here) and toned down the faux-leather stitching on the back, but it won’t be winning any beauty contests.

Samsung’s perseverance with a physical home button and capacitive keys will alienate many as well and it never seems to get its angles quite right like Motorola, HTC or LG. This time the Note 4 looks boxy and cheap, rather than curved and cheap like the Note 3. Samsung just can’t nail attractive design, despite clearly putting in a great deal of effort (almost every edge is chamfered).

iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note 4
Yet where the Note 4 comprehensively trumps the iPhone 6 Plus is practicality. Its increased rear curvature and textured finish make it feel good in hand (despite being wider) and give it a grip which makes one-handed use possible (more later). Furthermore bezels are far slimmer and it has a removable battery and expandable microSD storage.

The designed of Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus
The Note 4 may have an even bigger protruding camera than the iPhone 6 Plus, but that spreads impact over a wider area. Make no mistake, it will still pick up of bumps and scratches, but in general this is a harder wearing device which is nicer to hold and comes with more flexibility.

Your iOS or Android loyalties will no doubt determine your preference here, but for neutrals not bothered by the aesthetic disadvantage the Note 4 is the better design to live with by far. I just wish Samsung had given it the same water resistance as the Galaxy S5 and this omission is baffling.

Compare Samsung Galaxy S6 and Apple iPhone 6 Review: 2015's Biggest Phone Fight

Both these displays break new ground for their respective companies. Apple has never made such a big, high resolution phone display and while Samsung put a 5.7-inch panel in the Note 3 it has stepped up to a 2k resolution with the Note 4. The pair are stunning and owners of either device will find themselves smiling every time they fire up the lock screen.

But this is a comparison and side-by-side the Galaxy S6 comes out on top. AMOLED displays are brighter and more vivid than their IPS counterparts and this makes them more crowd pleasing. IPS displays fight back with more natural colours, but, while greens run a little wild, Samsung has done a good job of reining in the Super AMOLED’s excesses in the Note 4

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For iPhone 6 Plus: How to recover lost data from iPhone 6 Plus

For Samsung Galaxy Note 4: How to recover lost data from Samsung Galaxy Note 4

For Galaxy S6: How to recover lost data from Samsung Galaxy S6