Apple’s first attempt at a smartphone over 5 inches brings it to battle with the latest and greatest Android phones of about the same size.
The days of Android fanboys and fangirls mercilessly mocking the 4-inch Apple iPhone screen are over. The 5.5-inch Apple iPhone 6 Plus (and to a lesser extent the 4.7-inch iPhone 6) smash the iPhone screen record, and in doing so, start competing toe-to-toe with today’s top big-screen phones.
APPLE IPHONE 6 PLUS SPECS VERSUS SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 4, LG G3
|iPhone 6 Plus||Samsung Galaxy Note 4||LG G3|
|Display||5.5-inch 1080p LCD||5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED (2,560×1,440)||5.5-inch Quad HD LCD (2,560×1,440)|
|Pixel density||401 ppi||515 ppi||538 ppi|
|Dimensions||6.2 x 3.1 x 0.28 inches (158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm)||6 x 3.1 x 0.34 inches (153.5 by 78.6 by 8.5 mm)||5.76 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches (146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm)|
|Weight||6.1 ounces (172 g)||6.2 ounces (176 g)||5.26 ounces (149 g)|
|OS||iOS 8||Android 4.4, TouchWiz||Android 4.4.2, custom UI|
|Camera, video||8-megapixel, 1080p HD video||16-megapixel, 4K video (3,840×2,160)||13-megapixel, 4K video (3,840×2,160)|
|Front-facing camera||1.2-megapixel, 720p HD||3.7-megapixel; 1080p HD||2.1-megapixel; 1080p HD|
|Processor||A8 with M8 co-processor||2.7GHz Snapdragon 805 or 1.9GHz octa-core chipset||2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801|
|Capacity||16GB, 64GB, 128 GB||32GB||32GB|
|Extra storage||None||Up to 64GB||Up to 128GB|
|Battery||Up to 12 hours (LTE); embedded||3,300mAh; removable||3,000mAh; removable|
|Bluetooth||4.0 Low Energy||4.0 Low Energy||4.0 Low Energy|
|Colors||Silver, gold, gray||White, black, gold, pink||Black, white, gold, violet, red|
|Extras||Apple Pay, Touch ID fingerprint scanner||Heart-rate monitor, fingerprint scanner, stylus||Rear controls, knock code, laser camera focus|
|US retail price||$300, $400, $500 (contract)||N/A||$200 on-contract ($600 off)|
|UK retail price||£620, £700, £790 (off-contract)||N/A||~£400 off-contract|
|AU retail price||$1,000, $1,130, $1,350 (off-contract)||N/A||~$700 off-contract|
Metal versus plastic
Apple’s iPhone continues to favor aluminum craftsmanship, while the Note 4 adds a metal frame. The LG G3, meanwhile, sticks with a lighter plastic construction for its phone housing.
One of the major differences among these phones comes down to the screen resolution. The iPhone 6 Plus has the same 5.5-inch display size as the LG G3, but is the only one of the three to use a 1080p resolution display instead of the more pixel-packed Quad HD resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels.
As a result, the iPhone 6 Plus’ pixel density is significantly lower than both those of the Note 4 and the G3. When we hold the screens side by side we expect to see that difference on content that supports ultrarich detail, like 4K videos and photos.
The megapixel war rages on among most handset makers, pushing up the number of pixels captured to 13 and 16 megapixels. Apple (and separately, HTC) takes a different tack, keeping megapixels steady at 8 for the rear camera and 1.2 for the front.
Any camera buff will tell you that megapixels don’t matter nearly as much as other photo-processing elements, like how well a camera handles light, noise, and focus. Apple is certainly banking on this, though we’ll have to analyze image quality in a full-blown camera test.
Optical image stabilization, rather than digital, is another big deal, one that makes smartphone cameras a lot more like dSLRs. All three supersize phones use it (but not the smaller 4.7-inch iPhone 6.)
It’s a little trickier to compare pricing without all the details (Samsung Galaxy Note 4), but it’s safe to say that it should cost about the same as last year’s Note 3 — about $250 or $300 on-contract in the US and $600 off; about £400 in the UK, and AU$1,000 in Australia.
The LG G3 is likely the most affordable of the bunch, offering some pretty enviable specs in the process.
More to come
We haven’t spent much time with the iPhone 6 Plus, and the Galaxy Note 4 is still weeks away from its own ship date, but check back with CNET for even more comparisons as we get our review units side by side.