Apple iPhone 6 Plus full review
Apple's iPhone 6 Plus is a stunning smartphone that ventures into the phablet market for the first time in Apple's history with a 5.5in screen. That makes it tough competition for similar sized smartphones from rivals, including Samsung. Here, we take a look at how the iPhone 6 Plus compares with Samsung's Galaxy Note Edge.
Read next: Want to know what to expect from the next iPhone Plus? Read our iPhone 7 Plus release date and new features rumour roundup for the latest clues.
iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note Edge: Price & availability
Let's first take a look at how these two smartphones compare when it comes to price. Both are firmly situated in the premium, high-end smartphone range, but the Galaxy Note Edge has a higher starting price than the iPhone 6 Plus, which might come as a surprise, as Apple's price tags are so lofty that not many rivals dare to go higher.
The Galaxy Note Edge will set you back £700 from Samsung, while the iPhone 6 Plus with 16GB storage costs £619. If you want 64GB storage from the iPhone 6 Plus you'll pay £699, and for 128GB you're looking at a price of £789.
Both smartphones are serious investments, so it's not a decision to be taken lightly for most people.
The iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note Edge both launched in September 2014 and are available to buy in the UK from various retailers and network providers.
You might also like: 8 rivals to Apple's iPhone 6 Plus
iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note Edge: Design & build
We think the iPhone 6 Plus is a stunning smartphone, with its anodised aluminium body available in Gold, Silver or Slate Grey, its subtly rounded design (and that even includes the edges of the display, which have been curved slightly for more comfortable experience), and even down to the circular home button which sports a matching metal ring around it that houses the Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
It's super-thin, at just 7.1mm, and weighs just 172g.
It does have its downfalls, though. It generally requires a case as it's easily scratched, and of course there's the whole Bendgate debacle. We're also not entirely convinced by the camera on the rear, which sticks out a little bit in a very un-Apple-like fashion.
Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge does also look rather swish, particularly thanks to the unusual screen, which we'll talk about in more detail later.
Read next: iPhone 6s Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 7
It has a removable faux-leather effect back with portions of glass, plastic and metal making up the rest of the body. We're not too keen on that faux-leather effect, but the ability to swap it for a flip cover or for a new one if it gets damaged is a boon.
The Note Edge is slightly thicker at 8.3mm, but is almost identical in weight at 174g.
iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note Edge: Display
Here's where things get interesting, because there is of course a particular quality about the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge that makes it stand out from the crowd, and that's its curved display that wraps around the edge of the smartphone (hence the name).
The Note Edge's main display is 5.6in diagonally, so slightly bigger than the iPhone 6 Plus's 5.5in display, and that’s not including the slim, curved 'Edge' portion of the screen.
In terms of resolution and pixel density, the Note Edge's display trumps the iPhone 6 Plus's at 2560 x 1440 and an extra 160 pixels wide for that Edge. That makes it Quad HD, with a pixel density of a whopping 524ppi.
The iPhone 6 Plus, on the other hand, has a 401ppi display, with a resolution of 1920x1080, which is still amazing for watching movies, playing games and more but of course can't quite match the Note Edge.
What the iPhone 6 Plus doesn't have, though is that little extra portion of screen, which operates completely separately to the rest of the display on the Note Edge. It can be used to show various different content, including the time, app icons, notifications, buttons and even specially designed games. What's more, it can be used even when the main display is off, just for a quick check of the time, for example.
We've spent some time using the Note Edge and found that, while it can sometimes be useful, it's more often than not a bit of a gimmick. Nonetheless it's good to see something new and different, and could potentially be more useful in the future as more applications utilise it.
There are actually some rumours that suggest that Apple pay adopt a similar idea in future iPhones. Apple has filed several patents for what it calls 'Sidewall displays', which offer similar functionality to the Samsung's Edge display, situated on the sides of the iPhone. Find out more about the iPhone 7 here and Apple's patent portfolio here.
iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note Edge: Hardware & performance
Let's take a look inside these two smartphones now, to find out what makes them tick.
The iPhone 6 Plus has a super-powerful A8 chip paired with an M8 co-processor that helps with efficiency, plus 1GB of RAM, so you'll find that you're able to run power-hungry apps and graphics-intensive games without a hitch.
The Galaxy Note Edge has a 2.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor and 3GB RAM. We're working on our benchmark tests right now and will update this article when we've got them, but they should be very similar to the Galaxy Note 4's results, which shares the same processor.
Here's how those results weigh up to give you an idea. The Galaxy Note 4 scored better in the GeekBench 3 processor test, but it couldn't beat the iPhone 6 Plus when it comes to graphics performance and browser performance (in which lower is better).
Galaxy Note 4
iPhone 6 Plus
As for storage, you'll get the option of 16GB, 64GB or 128GB for the iPhone 6 Plus, and there's no way to increase that after you've purchased the smartphone.
The Galaxy Note Edge comes with 32GB internal memory but you'll find that there's a microSD card slot that allows you to increase that by up to 128GB.
When it comes to connectivity, both the iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note Edge offer 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth (4.0 for iPhone, 4.1 for Note Edge), 4G LTE and NFC (though the iPhone's NFC chip is currently limited to Apple Pay). The Galaxy Note Edge also has an IR Blaster.
iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note Edge: Cameras
On to cameras now, and we absolutely love the camera in the iPhone 6 Plus. The rear-facing offering is 8Mp, and has 1.5-micron pixels combined with an f/2.2 aperture and optical image stabilisation, resulting in sharp, bright photographs, even in low light. There's also a dual-LED true-tone flash.
Video capabilities reach 1080p HD at 60fps, and 240fps slo-mo at 720p.
The front-facing camera is just 1.2Mp, though, which is not so good for selfie lovers. The front-facing camera in the Galaxy Note Edge is slightly better, at 3.7Mp and a Wide Selfie mode to include more of your surroundings.
The rear-facing camera is a brilliant 16Mp with optical image stabilisation, but it doesn't boast those larger pixels.
Overall, both smartphones double as brilliant cameras, perfect for taking holiday snaps, capturing video at concerts and more.
iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note Edge: Additional features
As mentioned previously in this article, the iPhone 6 Plus has a Touch ID fingerprint sensor beneath the Home button, which offers better security, particularly when using the NFC Apple Pay mobile payment feature, which is set to arrive in the UK this year.
The Galaxy Note Edge also boasts a fingerprint sensor, in addition to a UV sensor and a heart-rate monitor on the rear. In addition, the Galaxy Note Edge has an S Pen stylus, which provides an extra way of interacting with the smartphone should you enjoy using it.
iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note Edge: Software
Software is one of the most important aspects to the buying decision when it comes to smartphones, and it's particularly tricky because it often comes down to personal preference. But if the software isn't up to scratch then the overall user experience is going to be one that you won't enjoy, no matter how awesome the specs of your smartphone are.
The iPhone 6 Plus runs Apple's iOS 8 mobile operating system, and as Mac users here at Macworld, we love it. But of course, if you're a long-time Android user you'll probably disagree. The Galaxy Note Edge runs Google's Android 5.0 Lollipop (it'll ship with 4.4 KitKat but a Lollipop update is rolling out for the Note Edge as I type).
Both operating systems have their pros and cons, so if you're considering swapping from one to the other you might want to follow the links below to give you an idea of what to expect and how they compare. Keep in mind, though, that if you've downloaded lots of apps and other content through the iOS App Store or the Google Play Store, you'll have to redownload them (which might come at a cost) if you switch operating systems.
iPhone comparison reviews
If you've enjoyed this article, perhaps you'd be interested in more iPhone buying advice? We've written a series of comparison reviews, which set various combinations of iPhone against one another, head to head:
- iPhone 6s vs iPhone 5s
- iPhone 6s Plus vs iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6s
- iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6s Plus
These may be useful if you're trying to device between two specific iPhone models.
iPhone buying guide, autumn/winter 2015
And for a broader look at Apple's current iPhone range, take a look at our iPhone buying guide video for autumn/winter 2015:
Or, if you'd prefer to see our buying advice in written rather than video form, head over to our iPhone buying guide article.
But now, on to the verdict!
Apple iPhone 6 Plus: Specs
- A8 processor chip with 64bit architecture and M8 co-processor
- 5.5-inch 'Retina HD' screen with resolution of 1920 x 1080, pixel density of 401ppi and 1300:1 contrast ratio (typical)
- Rear-facing camera ('New iSight camera') with 8Mp photos, ƒ/2.2, optical image stabilisation and 1080p video recording
- Front-facing ('FaceTime' camera) with 1.2Mp photos, ƒ/2.2, 720p video recording and burst mode
- 16GB/64GB/128GB storage
- Lightning connector
- Touch ID fingerprint scanner
- 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1mm