Phones In-Depth Review/Comparison: iPhone 6S Plus, Nexus 6P & Samsung S6 Edge+

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by Jaw3000, Jan 24, 2016.

  1. Jaw3000 macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2004
    For the last few weeks I have been testing out the iPhone 6s Plus, Nexus 6P, and the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus in an attempt to determine which phone I want to replace my aging iPhone 5. For background, I have been an iPhone user since the original iPhone and have never used an Android phone in daily use, although I do have experience with Android tablets. I’m going to attempt to emphasize hardware over OS differences, because I think hardware is more important when buying a phone - and Android has matured enough that both OS’s are generally equally good in use (with some small differentiations). After taking a lot of time to experience all three phones equally and accurately, I’m really trying for a non-biased review here. I would love to hear comments if anyone has felt anything similar or has anything to add. This is just my own opinion, and I would appreciate not getting into iOS vs Android fanboy battles. This is a long and in-depth post.

    To summarize: I think the Nexus 6p is an excellent device with a great display, design, still camera, and price, but hampered by poor battery life, video recording, and reliability issues/concerns. The iPhone 6S Plus is likely the best iPhone (and fastest smartphone) ever, with fantastic battery life, video recording, network support, and reliability, but I’m not sure that means as much as it used to, as the iPhone’s hardware lags behind in display size & quality, still photo quality, and excitement. It’s essentially the same old iPhone, while often Android hardware exceeds it in many places. The Samsung S6 Edge Plus is a beautifully designed device, with a gorgeous display, fantastic camera, and many advanced features, but greatly hampered by poor battery life, poor fingerprint sensor, Samsung’s own software bloat and update regime, carrier control, and lack of network support. For me, none of these phones stand out as clear winners over the others.

    Now, the in-depth review.

    Look & Feel:
    • Overall, I have been really impressed with the Nexus 6P. The phone is really beautiful and nicely crafted. I’ve tested both a graphite and aluminum 6P, and both are impressive. My personal favorite is the aluminum, which looks fantastic even with the black “visor” on the back. It’s a very elegant looking phone. I actually prefer the look and feel of the aluminum 6P to the iPhone 6S Plus - I find it more attractive, and it’s about 15g lighter which makes a big difference in-hand. That said, the Nexus materials and aluminum feel thinner, tinnier, and more temperamental than the iPhone - this is part of what causes the iPhone to feel more premium in hand. The only really design complaint I have is the placement of the volume and lock buttons, and how easy they are to press. I would have preferred the volume buttons on the other side of the phone, and more resistance built-into the buttons to keep them from pressing errantly. I am also very concerned about build-quality and durability with the 6P - which I will get to in a moment.
    • The iPhone is very premium and seems durable, and I don’t have complaints other than the screen-to-body ratio is too high, the bezel is too large, and the phone is too heavy. The weight begins to weigh on you after a while (especially using the phone in bed). The iPhone looks essentially like the iPhone has always looked, and I think it’s getting a bit boring. My favorite design is the Samsung. It’s design is fresh, very premium, good materials and durability, looks modern and advanced. The Edge display has a wow factor. Best of all, it’s quite a bit smaller and lighter than both the iPhone or the Nexus, even though it has a 5.7” display. The Samsung felt the best in my hand, followed by the Nexus, and then the iPhone (due to weight).
    • Along with battery life, I feel the display is the most important characteristic of a modern smartphone. In comparing the displays on these three phones, I would rank Samsung first, then the Nexus - and the iPhone comes in a far distant third. The Android devices are both 5.7” where the iPhone is 5.5” - and the Android phones are either the same size as the iPhone (Nexus) or smaller than the iPhone (Samsung). I really like have the extra screen space when watching media - it makes a big difference, and it’s hard to watch media on the iPhone Plus after using the 5.7” display.
    • The 2k AMOLED displays on both Android devices are absolutely beautiful. With 518ppi, text is extremely sharp - I can’t see any pixelation. It’s very smooth.The Samsung screen gets quite a bit brighter than the Nexus (almost double), which is nice, as I find the Nexus can be a bit dim at times. Both AMOLED displays are calibrated for saturated (non-realistic) colors, which pop off the screen and I am surprised how much I actually enjoy them. The Nexus does have an RGB mode, but looks dull and lifeless when I switch to it (reminds me of the iPhone here, but the text is still sharper). The colors on the Samsung seems to be on the colder side, with white screens often having a blueish tint. The Nexus has a very warm calibration, with facial skin tones appearing almost orange, and white screens having an orange/brown/sepia tint (especially at lower brightness settings). At higher brightness settings, whites look great on the Nexus (including text on white backgrounds) - but I do not at all like the dimness and orange tinting once the brightness gets reduced below about 50%, where I find it unpleasant to read on. I didn’t notice such an issue with brightness and tinting on the Samsung, although I’m not a fan of the blueish whites. For these issues, I feel Samsung wins here as I find it overall a better, more pleasant display than the Nexus.
    • A bit more on the Samsung. I am not a fan of the curved edge display on the Samsung - I find the wrapping of text, media, and the errant screen presses while holding it very annoying. It looks really cool though. There is something about the Samsung I can’t entirely describe - but the screen looked like it was right at the glass and therefore popped and was more immersive than the other two. Whatever it is, I like.
    • After using both of these Android screens, I can’t emphasize how much I am disappointed when I switch back to the iPhone. It’s LCD display just looks so low-resolution - at 1080p and 401ppi - it is in comparison. Text is not sharp - and looks pixelated. Colors look muted and washed out. Nothing pops. There doesn’t seem to be any emotion to the screen. It’s like I’m taking a step-back in time to an old phone - I honestly don’t see a huge amount of difference between the display and text sharpness on my iPhone 5 and the 6S Plus (which would make me question the upgrade). I have seen where people claim resolution over 1080p on a phone is overkill, because the eye can’t see the difference. Well, I think in regards to 2k at least this is wrong, as my eyes can certainly see the difference when it comes to text (less so with images and video). It’s just a much better experience reading on the higher-res displays. As far as color goes, the iPhone is certainly more accurate and it’s quality is decent - but soulless. The LED backlight is also harsher on the eyes when reading. Black-levels are also poor in comparison to AMOLED, but that’s to be expected. The iPhone can get plenty bright, so that’s good - although it’s not as bright as the Samsung.
    • In the end, I’m greatly conflicted on AMOLED vs LCD, even though the AMOLEDs look so much better. Each technology has their pros and cons. The screen on the Samsung always seems to look fantastic, no matter the brightness. At higher brightness levels, the AMOLED screen on the Nexus looks fantastic as well. However, when you start to lower the brightness below 50% on the Nexus, the screen becomes less enjoyable - less sharp, sepia-tented, dim, harder to read requiring straining my eyes. The LCD display on the iPhone looks good at any brightness level - the color and sharpness doesn’t degrade and I don’t strain as much to read the screen. I’m also very concerned over burn-in, brightness degradation, and warm color-shifting on the AMOLEDs, as I or a family member tend to use the phone for multiple years. I feel the Nexus would handle this worse than the Samsung due to its lower-brightness and already warmer colors. Any burn-in would likely bother me. I feel like I would also be inclined to feel like I would have to limit my use of the display with an AMOLED device - not keeping it on with GPS in a car, for example - and lowering the brightness and thus the enjoyment - in an attempt to delay or prevent these issues. With an LCD display, I don’t have to deal with these issues. I know it will likely be just as bright and colors just as good in three years as it is now, no matter how much it’s used. I can’t say this with AMOLED, and this is a big concern. This leaves me with a quandary - go with the display that looks fantastic, but has quality/longevity worries, or go with one that I feel is quite sub-par but know it will last and not degrade? I’m not sure.
    Battery Life:
    • I am disappointed with both Android devices. I can only get about 4hrs (5hrs max) on average of screen-on-time on the Nexus, with about 10-12hrs of standby. I can get about a half hour more with the Samsung. Over two to three weeks, this battery usage has been extremely consistent. My typical use consists of Chrome browsing, Gmail, Hangouts, GReader, and other text based apps - no gaming, few videos, and limited if any music - with cellular & wifi on, excellent signal, bluetooth off, and auto-brightness on around 50%. I feel like this is poor on a modern smartphone. Maybe I’m jaded coming from an iPhone. In an hour of Chrome browsing, battery drops about 20% (8% on iPhone). Doze is great overnight, with only about 2% loss, but it’s worthless during the day if your phones in your pocket.
    • I’ve read reports of people claiming the Nexus and Samsung both have excellent battery life. Maybe they do for Android devices. I don’t have experience there to compare. Maybe I use text-based apps w/ white backgrounds and Chrome more than other users. I don’t know. I do know traditionally Android has had poor battery management compared to the iPhone, and this is probably still an issue to some degree. I’ve seen reports of people claiming 8hrs of SoT on the Nexus and 10hrs on the Samsung. I don’t understand how this could be.
    • I know the AMOLED display is power hungry with white screens, and the Snapdragon 810 is power-hungry. I’m not interested in ROMs, extreme tinkering, use of black themes, greatly dimming the display (which then makes it less enjoyable in my opinion) and the like in an attempt to eek out more battery life. I feel like it would ultimately reduce my enjoyment of the phone, and I shouldn’t have to do it in the first place.
    • In the battery category, it’s an easy win for the iPhone. The iPhone 6S Plus has “good” battery life. I would not say it’s fantastic. I can get about 6-7hrs of screen on time (same usage as above w/ bluetooth on) and 14-16hrs of standby. It’s way better than the Androids by about 1/3. Overnight, the iPhone does drain more than the Nexus w/ doze - about 6-8%. During the day, standby drain is way less than the Nexus. That said, I can not get the 10-12hrs of use many reviews and other users claim. That would be fantastic if I could. I don’t understand how people could get this. Overall though, doing normal things with the phone, the battery degrades much slower than Android - and that’s important to me.
    • All three phones perform really well. Benchmarks show the iPhone is the fastest phone on the market, and I can’t dispute this. It may very well be twice as fast as the Nexus, but I can’t really test that in practice. I think we are at a point where existing apps & games really don’t take advantage of what the hardware is capable of, so we really can’t push these phones to the point where we would notice a huge difference.
    • I have not noticed any slowdowns or jerkiness on the iPhone. None. I have noticed both slowdowns and jerkiness on both Android phones. It is more of a problem on the Samsung then the Nexus, likely due to Touchwiz - but its still there on the Nexus. This could just be an inherent problem with Android. Either way, iPhone wins here.
    • I feel like the Samsung and iPhone cameras are the best overall.
    • The Nexus is the best with still images, and an easy win in this category - extremely sharp and detailed. I can’t get over the sharpness and detail in the images. The larger sensor size means brighter images too, especially in low light - although sometimes the color seems a bit warm. The iPhone blows out exposure and loses detail in images where the Nexus excels. That said, the Nexus loses big time with video and the camera app. Video is actually horrible in my opinion. Lacking OIS, and having a poor digital stabilization algorithm, video is very jerky. The digital stabilization does not do a good job of reducing this, and further introduces a wobbly “jell-o” effect. Audio recording is mono. Recording in indoor lightning, colors are poor, lots of grain is present, and video is not sharp. The camera is slow to re-focus during video records, requiring constant tap-to-focus. I can’t take snapshots during video. It’s just really bad. I find the videos it takes hard to watch. The camera app is also very poor in comparison to Apple’s and Samsung’s. It’s slow to start and focus. Rotating the camera is jerky. Viewing taken images is cumbersome and not smooth. It lacks features. There isn’t any face detection. There is no focus lock or brightness controls. Panorama mode is not as easy or good as on the iPhone or Samsung - requiring the stitching of images. I am very disappointed with the Nexus camera app, and feel it ruins an otherwise excellent still camera. The overall experience is just poor. It’s sad a phone with such a fantastic still camera is hampered by extremely poor video and app.
    • The iPhone’s and Samsung’s apps are about equal in quality and features. I like both. Both are much faster and smoother than the Nexus. The photos from the Samsung are sharper, have more detail, and has a wider-angle than the iPhone. Both have OIS. I’ve noticed lock-ups multiple times while recording video on the Samsung though, which resulted in pauses in the recorded video. I’ve also noticed this with the Nexus. Not good. I have never experienced this with an iPhone, and have the general impression the Android’s might be somewhat unreliable here - causing me to possibly miss a photographic moment. The iPhone camera is fast, and all resulting video is jerk free. The OIS on the iPhone 6S Plus does an excellent job with video stabilization - almost like a GoPro. That said, generally the iPhone’s still images were more apt to be blown-out, darker, and lacked detail and sharpness in comparison. It’s a real shame that there isn’t an all around winner here - and you have to accept lower-quality photos to get excellent video. I feel like the iPhone’s excellent video and smooth/fast app may make it the best all around, even though it has the worst stills. The Samsung is right behind (maybe even tied) with the iPhone, but the slowdowns in the app and jerkiness in recorded video deteriorate an otherwise quality camera.
    • Additionally, my Samsung (from the Ultimate Test Drive program) came with a dark spot on the image sensor visible in all images. I’ve had dirty SLR sensors causing this, but never experienced this on a phone, which makes me question Samsung’s quality assurance. It reflects poorly considering this is a program designed to show how great Samsung is and make you want to buy a Samsung. It shouldn’t be there.
    Build Quality:
    • I’m not talking about design, but quality and durability. The iPhone excels here and wins hands down. I have nothing to complain about with the iPhone - it feels premium. It feels like it will hold up well and stand the test of time. The Samsung also feels very high-quality and premium, although I have noticed a lot of scratches and the color coming off on the metal edges on my loaner phone.
    • I’m worried about the Nexus 6P. I purchased two 6p’s in two different colors (not knowing which I would prefer, and not being able to see them in person). Both exhibited many quality-control issues, leading me to wonder about what I would get if I went with a Nexus, and what the long-term reliability would ultimately be. The power and volume buttons on the Nexus are extremely poorly placed, and press in too easily when picking up or holding the phone - very annoying. The graphite 6p buttons press extremely easily - I think you could blow on them and activate them. The aluminum 6p had more resistance to errant presses here, but the volume button was otherwise loose and wiggled around. The graphite 6P had a static/clicking sound in attached headphones (both wired and bluetooth) with any screen touch - Aluminum didn’t. The display greatly varied. The graphite was sharper and brighter, where the aluminum looked “grainy” and less-sharp in comparison. However, the graphite display had color shifting and yellowish-tinting which the aluminum one didn’t exhibit. The graphite Nexus seemed to overheat and ran hot doing things like Chrome browsing, where the aluminum did not to the same extant. I could get almost an extra hour of battery life on the aluminum one compared to the graphite (maybe due to overheating, but there seems to be great battery variations with these phones)!!! The aluminum 6p had a very poor, almost imperceptible vibration motor in comparison to the graphite. The graphite 6p’s fingerprint sensor was fast and excellent w/ no false reads - the aluminum was not quite as fast and had false-reads (I redid the fingerprint profile, and results were the same). The aluminum 6p came from the factory with a dent in the chamfered aluminum edge and a scratch on the side. There is obviously poor quality control to have all of these issues on brand new devices, and it scares me. I don’t know what I’m getting. It makes me question long-term reliability and durability. It makes me question Huawei. I have never had issues like these with iPhones (or other Apple products). Nor did I notice such things with the Samsung. I also can’t walk into a store (like I can with Apple) and have them deal with such issues.
    • Furthermore, I am concerned about the Nexus phone bending in pocket. There are quite a few pictures and reports of bent phones, especially bulging around the volume button. With as thin and tinny as the aluminum on the Nexus is, I could certainly see this happening. I don’t think this would be an issue with the Samsung or iPhone (due to strengthened aluminum). Additionally, the graphite paint scratches/chips very easily, and the polished chamfered edges on the aluminum are likely to show hairline scratches fairly easily.
    Cellular Network Support:
    • This is very important to me, as I want to be able to use my phone anywhere I may be around the globe, and on the network I want. The iPhone 6S wins hands down here. It supports almost every available cellular band, which means the iPhone will work anywhere and on any network (including China). It also supports CDMA, so I could theoretically switch to Verizon or Sprint in the US from AT&T if I wanted to. I really like having the network flexibility when I’m buying a $1000 device like this. Furthermore, I can buy it unlocked, don’t have to deal with a carrier to purchase it, and it doesn’t have carrier branding or bloatware.
    • The Nexus 6P is right behind the iPhone. It supports fewer bands than the iPhone, so global roaming won’t be as good. It does support both GSM and CDMA. It’s unlocked, with no carrier bloatware or branding. Good. It also supports Google’s Project-Fi.
    • This is where the excellent Samsung goes to die. In the US, Samsung’s phones are sold only by carriers, complete with carrier-logo branding, non-removable bloatware, and complete carrier control over updates and features (no Samsung Pay on Verizon! Months-long wait for updates). You can’t buy a Samsung phone sans-carrier or unlocked. It sucks. It’s a hornets nest I don’t want to enter. Plus, the band support on Samsung’s phones are region-specific and carrier specific. The AT&T model doesn’t support T-Mobile’s band 12. The T-Mobile model doesn’t support AT&T’s band 30. Neither support CDMA. Neither support much in the way of non-North American LTE bands - so even with an unlocked phone, international roaming is very limited. This does not work for me at all. Outside of the US, Samsung sells an unlocked international model (sans proper North American network support). If I purchase an import, Samsung USA won’t honor the warranty or support features like Samsung Pay. I do not understand why Samsung won’t just create one global model (like Apple and Google can) and sell it direct to the consumer unlocked in the US. If they did this, and fixed their software/updates, I would likely purchase a Samsung.
    • Another black spot here is AT&T. AT&T supports VoLTE, wifi-calling, and visual voicemail on the iPhone. It supports none of these on the Nexus 6P, even though it is fully capable of all. This is unlikely to change anytime soon, unless the government requires AT&T, as they don’t support these features on ANY phone except iPhone (including their own carrier-branded Samsungs). All are supported on T-Mobile, on all three phones. I have an unlimited plan, and am not about to give that up right now. I find AT&T’s reception rather good where I live. If I didn’t, I would likely go to T-Mobile. This is something to consider, and as long as I am on AT&T, is a big win for the iPhone.
    • Cases & Screen Protectors: I uses both. The iPhone has the most availability, followed by Samsung. The Nexus is lacking here in brand-name quality cases and protectors. That said, due to the curved glass on both the iPhone and Samsung, screen protectors don’t adhere well and can’t fit the entire glass. Not an issue on the flat Nexus - win for the Nexus!
    • On-Screen Buttons: Nexus has on-screen buttons, taking up screen real-estate and potentially burning in the AMOLED screen. Samsung has hardware buttons. I prefer the hardware buttons, and on the Nexus, I miss having a home button to turn the screen on. Not applicable on the iPhone.
    • 3D Touch: I really don’t find this useful at the moment on the iPhone. I actually think it gets in the way, as when I’m trying to open background tabs in Safari it often triggers peek now, which is annoying. I don’t really use peek and pop or the context menus. Hopefully this will get better a more apps support it, but I think Apple also needs to do a better job of building this into more areas of the OS. I’m not sure this will happen. Right now, I feel like its more of a gimmick used for marketing purposes than an helpful tool.
    • Ambient Display: The Nexus has a feature that lights up the screen for incoming notifications. Problem is, it’s too quick and dim in a lighted room to read, so it’s mainly worthless. By the time you see it lit, and you move to read it, it’s off before you get to it. It’s also supposed to activate by touching/shaking/moving the device. This is very inconsistent. Sometimes it activate, most often it doesn’t. Often, it activates for no reason, like while carrying the phone. It also unnecessarily activates fairly constantly in my pocket while I’m moving, wasting precious battery. The Samsung doesn’t have such a feature. The iPhone lights up the screen by default with incoming notifications, and due to length and brightness, is easier to read.
    • Payments:Android Pay and Apple Pay are comparable in use and retailer support. Apple supports many more banks. Samsung is probably the best here, because it supports any retailer with a mag-strip reader (not just NFC). Impressive. I couldn’t test Samsung Pay, because it wouldn’t work on my test phone. It said an update was needed, but AT&T’s software update app said no update was available. Again, not a good impression on Samsung.
    • Speakers:The iPhone and Samsung have mono speakers, that are low-volume, and can be easily covered when holding the phone. The Nexus has stereo front-mounted speakers, with excellent sound, high volume, and can’t be covered when holding. Big win for the Nexus!
    • Fingerprint Sensor: Both the iPhone’s and Nexus’s sensors are excellent, extremely fast, and very accurate with no or very-few false reads. The Nexus might be faster. The Nexus can turn on the phone with a touch, whereas the iPhone requires a home button press - a small detail, but significant in use - I quite like the Nexus here. I’m out on the placement. Being on the back has some advantages, but requires the phone to be picked up to unlock it if it’s on a table. I can unlock the iPhone without picking it up, and it does not require a hole on the back of a case. The Samsung fingerprint sensor is poor. Low accuracy and slow. Additionally, at the moment, app support for fingerprint sensors is much more extensive on iOS than Android.
    • Charging: Samsung’s fast-charging is really fast! It supports wireless charging. The Nexus 6P is also fairly fast in charging. USB-C is forward thinking and reversible, although the connector is bulkier than lightning (I prefer lightning and think it’s a more elegant connector). The iPhone charging is quite slow in comparison. I wish it supported fast-charging.
    • I have had nothing but great experiences when dealing with Apple support on warranty issues in the past. Their extended warranty is though Apple. You have stores you can walk into and deal with Apple in person. They give you loaner phones if needed. Refurbished phones have brand-new cases and glass so appearances are factory-new. I can get a battery replaced. I know what I’m getting with Apple.
    • Huawei is not a common brand in the United States, and I have no prior experience with the company. I have some apprehension due to this and their Chinese-origin. Google/Huawei has no in-person stores for support. There are no loaner phones. There seems to be a handoff between Google support sending you to Huawei and vice-versa - who is ultimately responsible for support? The extended warranty is not offered by Google or Huawei, but a third-party extended warranty company. No one knows what claiming under this will be like. Furthermore, the terms of the warranty indicate they can replace your phone with a refurbished phone of any color, or provide the current value in credit of the phone. So, if I have a problem I may not receive the same color phone. It may be scratched, dented, or not in as good condition as the one I had sent in. I can’t easily walk into a store and have the battery or glass replaced (or likely even get them replaced at all - after the two incidents are exhausted). This may not be an issue, but it is something to consider.
    • Samsung has a much larger support network in the US than Huawei, but doesn’t have the stores or in-person support Apple has. I have had many Samsung products (not phones) that have been high quality.
    Software Updates:
    • Apple’s are available immediately. Google’s are in a phased-rollout - but almost immediately. Both are for at least two years, likely more with iPhone. With Samsung, updates are horrible and generally take months if they come at all. AT&T has to approve the update. Both Samsung and AT&T have incentives NOT to update “old” devices too. I figure I would maybe get two or three updates for about a year with a Samsung phone, and months after the 6P gets them. The 6p and iPhone win here.

    Android vs iOS: I like aspects of both OS’s, and this is something to seriously consider.
    • On Android, I like the persistent notifications and UI. I like material design more than the iOS UI (too white and old fashioned - boring). I like the speed of scrolling and animations. I really like the filesystem! I like Google’s own apps, and their features not available on iOS (like push Gmail, My Timeline is Maps, and offline and system-level translation). I like the accuracy and knowledge of Google Now voice (Siri is horrid). I like that Google Now supports third-party apps (even though I don’t really use the ones it supports). I prefer the Play store UI to the App Store. I like how Dropbox can run in the background and backup my photos. I like the Android sharing menu. I like being able to set default apps. I like the back button. I like being able to download files.
    • I do not like the general app quality on Android in comparison to iOS. There are still more apps available for iOS, and new apps and games still frequently appear on iOS way before Android (if they comes to Android at all). I really do not like media handling in Chrome and other apps for embedded media (sometimes can go full screen, often can’t - usually jerky, can’t tap to zoom). I do not like the general slowdowns and restarts I’ve experienced with Android. I do not like the background processes I can’t stop, unless I uninstall the app (Facebook). I do not like the additional difficulty in syncing music and playlists to Android. I do not like having to resort to 3rd-party apps of varying degrees of quality to equal features built-into iOS - such as viewing videos or photos - and the lack of smoothness/integration between it all. Google Now on Tap is unreliable for me, and doesn’t seem to add much value at the moment. Likewise, as I’m an Apps for Work user, I don’t get much value out of Google Now Cards (as Gmail/Calendar integration is unavailable). I miss tap to scroll to top from iOS. Fewer apps support fingerprints on Android. There are no extensions in Chrome (1Password and ad blockers). I miss some of the on-device control commands from Siri, which are more extensive than what Google Now offers (when Siri actually understands what I ask). There is no system-level dictionary. I don’t like how there is no built-in to the OS way to transfer files & photos wirelessly over wifi to/from my computer.
    • On iOS, I appreciate the app quality and availability. I appreciate the security. I appreciate the extremely smooth performance and media handling. I appreciate the smooth integration between apps and the OS. I like Siri’s more extensive on-device control commands (but much prefer Google’s accuracy and knowledge). I like quick replies and actions within notifications on iOS (and miss them on Android). I really like iMessage. I like the sync between Safari (tabs, history, bookmarks - seems more reliable than Chrome sync) and my Mac. I don’t like iTunes, but appreciate being able to sync my extensive playlists and music quickly and easily (and over wifi too). I like being able to respond to messages and answer phone calls on my Mac. Apple Notes isn’t bad. I love how I can easily use TouchID with many apps, and 1Password is integrated into Safari. I can search for things like emails or calendar events on the phone with better results using Spotlight than I can get on Android (strange since Google is a search company). I can even search within apps, like 1Password. Very nice. I like that I can have separate lock-screen and home screen wallpapers. I appreciate the extensive gestures on iOS (such as going back and forth in Safari). I like iOS’s extensive backup and restore support.
    • I do not like iOS’s lack of a filesystem and the work arounds I have to do to get around it (if I even can). I detest Siri’s inaccurate voice detection accuracy and lack of knowledge on questions - I hardly use Siri because of this. Scrolling in iOS seems extremely slow - like scrolling through molasses - after coming from Android (scrolling in Facebook and Chrome on iOS seems like a breath of fresh air compared to Safari). UI interactions and animations make the entire device seem slow. I feel like iOS’s UI can be bit tired in design and un-exciting at times, along with some of Apple’s apps, which seem outdated. The sharing menu on iOS is poor. I really dislike iOS’s notification center UI, and lack of persistent notifications. News sucks - at least Google Now does a good job of actually suggesting articles I’m interested in. I miss having my pictures automatically uploaded to Dropbox. The whole “predictive Siri” thing in iOS 9 is poorly implemented, uninformative, and has a poor UI - I don’t use any of it.
    • I have no problem spending $1000 on a phone if I’m excited about it. Both the Samsung and iPhone are close to $1000. The Nexus is approximately $350 less than both and is a very good value in comparison. It’s very hard to accept paying that much for a locked-down, AT&T branded, Samsung phone with bloated software - so the Samsung is unfortunately out for my needs. In the past, I’ve always felt like Apple’s hardware was cutting edge - and while you were paying a premium, you were getting the absolute best hardware tech available. It was worth it. But Android hardware has gotten a lot better, and Apple has seemingly stopped improving as much, and standing still in areas where they used to excel (Retina display & camera?). Likewise, the iPhone just seems technically inferior to these two other phones (especially with the display), it’s unexciting, and doesn’t seem like a huge upgrade from my existing iPhone 5. It makes it difficult to justify the high-price for a device that doesn’t stand out from the rest, and has somewhat sub-par hardware (again, display). If the iPhone had a better, higher-res 5.7” display and better still camera performance, combined with a better/smaller/lighter design, I would likely feel very differently. All could be rectified on an iPhone 7, although the lack of a headphone port would likely kill any interest for me.
    • But the Nexus 6P isn’t a clear winner either. It has reliability and quality issues - both regarding it’s build and the AMOLED display. It has poorer battery life. It’s doesn’t support network features on AT&T. And I have concerns about support. I also feel Android has some issues too, and I’m not sure how happy I’ll be dealing with them coming from iOS.
    • Do I save $350, and get the Nexus with a larger, beautiful screen and excellent still camera - but has poor battery life, a really poor video camera, and poor quality control? Do I spend more on iPhone, and get battery life, excellent video camera, support, and build quality - but a poor low-res display and lower-quality still photos?
    In the end, none of these phones really stand out as the absolute best to me. They all have issues. They all would be a compromise in one way or another. All things being considered, I feel the iPhone may still be the best overall compromise device. But I do feel like it’s a “compromise,” which I never used to feel about iPhones in the past. It’s a shame. I don’t think I should feel that way on a $1000 device. What to do.
  2. Lloydbm41 macrumors 68040


    Oct 17, 2013
    Central California
    Just a side note. There is no such thing as "burn-in" anymore. No mobile or computer displays use phosphorus. And last I checked, CRT and Plasma screens are dead tech now.

    There is a possibility of "ghosting" on OLED, but this is easily fixed, unlike with "burn-in" which requires a complete screen replacement.
  3. Jaw3000 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2004
    I'm aware of the difference. I was just using the common term people seem to frequently use in reference to AMOLED, even if it's technically incorrect. With AMOLED, the pixels naturally degrade over time, and certain colors degrade faster than others causing color shifts (such as blue). Pixels that are lit more often may degrade faster. The result is that you may see areas of the screen which are either brighter or dimmer than other areas, and often these correspond to static UI elements, such as status bars or on-screen buttons.
  4. jamezr macrumors G4


    Aug 7, 2011
    Nice write up OP!
    I have found myself in the predicament several time over the years. So my solution was to have both phones. I have a IP6s+ and a Note 5. I switch between the two phones weekly or daily whenever the urge comes to me.
    Maybe that would work for you?
  5. nfl46 macrumors 604

    Oct 5, 2008
    Yep, these are the three best phones, IMO. I have them all, well Note 5 instead of Edge +. I like my iPhone as the best overall device.
  6. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    Enjoyable read. As for Android Wi-Fi file transfer, I use WiFi File Transfer Pro and it does the job! I wouldn't lose that iPhone 5 just yet. It might be worth checking out what Apple does for the 7, and hopefully they address the adapter situation in a painless manner. I went with the edge+ mainly for these reasons.

    1. Design and display: simply the best. Cutting edge (literally), thin, and light. This and the Note5 have the best smartphone displays available as of this writing.
    2. Android: filesystem, Google Maps as default mapping service, superior notifications, amazing live wallpapers, customizable launcher, Samsung Pay...
    3. TouchWiz: I actually like it. The notifications system and quick icons are nice. The settings pages are convoluted but it doesn't bother me much at all. I use S Launcher and my home screen consists of a single page, no icons on the main page, and 7 in the dock. My apps drawer has a 7x7 grid with no words, just icons. I use Earth&Moon Pro and it is stellar. My home screen looks so clean and simple. That is the way I like it.

    1. The device is a little uncomfortable to hold. I think the Note5 is more comfortable to hold, but this is the trade off for having the curve on the front.
    2. No iTunes sync. I don't use this phone as an iPod because the music player is inferior (although I believe the Music app on the iPhone has gotten worse since a few years ago) and syncing is not as straightforward.
    3. Battery is ok, but not great. I usually make it through a day, but sometimes I go through a charge and a half or two in a day (I use my phone pretty often).

    That's about it for the cons. Android OS, the screen and native Google integration are two huge selling points for me that outweigh the other points. Those are my favorite aspects of the phone, and are the reason why I wouldn't go with a 6S Plus or other Android device. Now I'm waiting for the 4K crop of Galaxy devices.
  7. Jaw3000 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2004
    I agree. I would probably go for the Note 5 myself if I were to purchase a Samsung, only because I'm not a fan of the curved Edge screen. Other than that, the Note 5 and 6S+ are essentially the same phone. Now the S7+ is on the immediate horizon, and rumors point it to having a smaller 5.5" screen. If so, it's a shame - I really like the 5.7" size, and don't find the existing Samsung phones at all too large (considering they are much smaller and lighter than the Nexus and iPhone Plus models already).

    The biggest downside to the iPhone for me is the display. Not so much the excellent black levels AMOLED provides, but the lack of sharpness in text and faded colors in comparison to these two other phones. Do you feel this way too when you switch back and forth? Which one do you find yourself using the most?
  8. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    I kind of wish Apple started incorporating OLED displays in the iPhone this year instead of the rumored 2018. In any case, Samsung has been several steps ahead of Apple for the past few years on the display front, which is the biggest consideration for me when choosing a phone.
  9. Jaw3000 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2004
    Good post. I agree with most of your points.

    • I have tried a few wifi transfer apps, and found the ones I tried at least never worked very well or were really slow on transfers - so I kept plugging in and transferring via the awful Android File Transfer tool on Mac.
    • Totally agree on the quality of the Samsung displays. They are excellent.
    • Google Maps as default doesn't really bother me. On iOS, the app is just as good (minus My Timeline).
    • I'm really torn on notifications, but give the nod to iOS. On Marshmallow, there are no ticker notifications anymore, so you can't even see what notifications are when they come in. You have to just swipe-down the notification tray. iOS excels here, with the unobtrusive slide-down notifications, and allow you to use quick reply w/ messages, delete email messages, etc. Very nice. Android's heads up notifications are a mess, as they are obtrusive, many apps don't support them, are not actionable, and only Messenger allows for quick reply (Why not Hangouts?). I do appreciate Android's card UI and persistent notifications, rather than on iOS where they disappear into the woefully inefficient notification center once you unlock your phone. I think most iOS users aren't even aware there is a notification center. In the end, I think the power of iOS notifications with the notification actions (better supported than Android) and quick reply make them superior at the moment.
    • I can't stand TouchWiz. The settings menu was the strangest, jumbled up mess I've ever seen on the phone. Stick Android is such a better, easier experience here. Notification UI isn't much different than stock Android. The bloat is enormous on TouchWiz, and noticed it slowing down the phone. I didn't use the Samsung apps (other than Camera), and went with Google's anyway. I replaced the Samsung launcher with Google Launcher. I did like that there were more settings available for quick toggles than on stock.
    • I'll agree the S6 Edge is a bit uncomfortable. Sometimes felt like a sharp slab was pushing into my hand when holding.
    • Both iTunes and the iOS Music app have gotten worse. Quite a bit worse, especially now with Apple Music hogging the UI and pushing your own music library to being a second class citizen. Audiobooks being moved to iBooks are absolutely horrendous. I've begun using Google Play Music more with my own library even on iOS, but Play Music is convoluted with personal playlists and music libraries as well. Now that Apple has cut out the free radio stations and made them subscriber-only, I'll probably be using Google Play more anyway. I find song suggestions on Google Play much more tailored to my specific tastes than Apple's were. I really do miss a straightforward syncing system with Android though for music and playlists. I'm not a cloud convert here, and don't want to subscribe to music services.
    • I thought the battery on the S6 Edge+ was fairly poor for being a top of the line flagship device. I never received the battery life others claimed to get with it. About 4-4.5 hours was my max screen on time. It needed charging during the day, but luckily the fast charging was super fast. Wireless charging never held interest to me. It's much slower, requires special pads, and I never felt connecting a cord was cumbersome.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 25, 2016 ---
    Display is tops for me as well. I don't understand Apple's decisions regarding displays. Maybe in 2013/2014 with the iPhone 6 design, Apple felt they could get away with a 720p display on the 6/6s and 1080p on the Plus as they felt they weren't that far apart from the rest of their competition. But that competition has drastically improved their displays in the last two years, and Apple hasn't. It already puts Apple in huge hole and at a real disadvantage here if anyone bothers to compare displays - I can't even imagine what it will be like by 2018. I feel like Apple has to do something here with the iPhone 7 to remain competitive. At the very least, a 2K LCD display in the iPhone 7 Plus, if they aren't ready to go AMOLED. I've also read something about experimentation with LCD "micro pixels," but am not sure how that would improve the display quality. Anything would be welcome at this point.

    Also, regarding screen size, I had hoped Apple could redesign the iPhone 7 to fit in a larger 5.7" display in a smaller body like what Samsung is doing. I doubt this will happen though. It seems even Samsung is moving away from 5.7" to smaller displays, as the new S7 Edge+ is rumored to be only 5.5" - taking away some of its "edge."
  10. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    Carrier bloat was pretty bad but I took the time to disable many apps and now it's ok. I agree Google Maps for iOS is fine but when it comes to other apps, especially real estate apps and also embedded maps on websites, I much prefer Google Maps tiles being used here over Apple Maps... their satellite image quality is far inferior.

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