Clash of the phablets: Apple vs Samsung

Clash of the phablets: Apple vs Samsung

If you can't beat them, join them.

The world's two biggest smartphone manufacturers each has a premium flagship phablet vying for your attention: Apple's iPhone 6 Plus and Samsung's Galaxy Note 4.

But which is the right one for you?

DESIGN AND BUILD QUALITY

The iPhone 6 Plus undoubtedly sports a more premium aesthetic with its aluminium unibody chassis and curved glass display trumping the Note 4's metal frame and faux leather back.

While the 6 Plus may look nicer, the Note 4 is easier to hold. Its squarish profile with chamfered edges means you have a sturdier grip, and the faux leather back provides a softer, less slippery surface than the smooth aluminium of the iPhone.

The 6 Plus also has its "bendgate" issues, which might matter especially if you plan to pocket your device for long hours.

DISPLAY

Looking at the spec sheet, the Note 4 obviously has the upper hand here, both in terms of its larger 5.7-inch display size and its higher 2,560 x 1,440 QHD resolution.

However, the difference in clarity is impossible to tell in actual real-world usage - brightness and contrast are comparable on both phablets.

The only noticeable difference is that colours on the Note 4 are slightly more saturated, which you may or may not prefer. It's also worth noting that most apps and content are not optimised for use with QHD displays, so there's not actually as much benefit to a higher resolution display as you might think.

As for the Note 4's extra 0.2 inch of screen real estate, it's noticeable but not a game changer.

SOFTWARE FEATURES

This one is highly subject to personal preference. If you like simplicity, Apple's iOS 8 keeps everything streamlined and smooth. Its menus are easy to navigate and well-designed, but with limited options overall.

On the flip side, Samsung's TouchWiz interface includes absolutely everything you can think of (plus a few you would never think of).

The Android OS offers more options for customisation and, if you're prepared to put in the time, you can customise it to almost anything you want it to be.

In terms of phablet features, the 6 Plus has a handy Landscape mode (it's specifically designed for this layout) that rotates the entire user interface sideways when the phone is held in landscape orientation, which makes it feel like a mini-tablet and enhances some content.

The Note 4, meanwhile, has the S Pen stylus and its suite of related features, which offer a lot more productivity options.

CAMERA PERFORMANCE

The Note 4 is fitted with a 16MP shooter with optical image stabilisation, while the iPhone 6 Plus has an 8MP camera, optical image stabilisation and phase detection autofocus, which speeds up focusing.

In our test shots, both cameras performed very well, but we found colours to be slightly more vivid on the Note 4. It was slightly better at capturing fine details, which also makes it easier to crop and re-frame pictures.

But the 6 Plus focused faster, especially in low-light conditions.

BATTERY PERFORMANCE

The Note 4 has the best battery life among phones available today, lasting close to 15 hours in our video looping battery benchmark.

Its battery can also be switched out, giving you more versatility for long road trips or other occasions where you won't be able to recharge your phone.

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