Now, iPhone 6 and Samsung Note 4 fans have a lot to fight over

  • Rajiv Makhni, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Oct 24, 2014 16:29 IST

It was 11:50 at night, with hints of winter in the air already apparent. Even though the midnight hour was approaching, it seemed a human population bomb had just exploded at M Block market, Greater Kailash 1, Delhi.

Completely grid-locked, car horns blaring, people teeming on both sides of the streets, laser light shows, bhangra drums playing, Red Bull cans being handed out for free, people dancing, huge lines of people patiently waiting, street magicians performing and a countdown timer loudly displaying minutes to go.

No, this wasn’t some psychedelic over-saturated dream of my tired mind – this was real. This was Apple starting the midnight frenzy sale of its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in India.

Just hours earlier, I had returned from an event where bloggers from all across the country had converged and had gone through some very interesting experiments in making their own movie, featuring themselves and a phone as the main stars.

They had professional cameras, special-effects machines, jib-mounted optics, an army of editors and even people helping them script their own story and lines.

The event had been beamed live across the country and Samsung had left no stone unturned to make sure that the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 made news everywhere.

The battle of the giants had resumed and Samsung and Apple were leaving nothing to chance.

For each, the product being launched was their super-flagship top-of-the-line phone and was also what would bring them their biggest chunk of revenue for the next one year.

Failure was not an option and any weakness in sales or perception by customers would sound the death knell.

And yet, within all this, a silent new battle had emerged, a battle that didn’t exist last year.

By bringing out a large-screen device, Apple has unwittingly acknowledged that Samsung was on to a good thing with its Note series.

In the last two years, the hottest category of smartphones has been the phablet. Samsung had literally invented this category while Apple was here in the hope to redefine it.

Has Samsung done enough with the Note 4 to maintain superiority, or has Apple reinvented the category with the 6 Plus?

Form factor
Nobody buys an ugly phone anymore and Samsung has finally realised that. The Note 4 feels solid due to a metal frame, has classy accents and a soft back and is super thin at .33 inches.

The iPhone 6 Plus has all the curves you need, is almost all metal and it’s even thinner at .28 inches. But most people will buy a case for the iPhone 6 due to its infamous bendgate stories.

The Note 4 display (2560x1440; 518PPI) leaves the 6 Plus (1920x1080; 401PPI) in the dust on paper but in real life the difference isn’t so apparent.

The Note 4 screen is bigger yet the phone is smaller and has a much narrower bezel. Once you open a web page or read an ebook, the screen is better. More colour and pop too.

The Note 4 is a beast of a device with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor and 3GB RAM.

The iPhone 6 has a 64-bit A8 processor with 1GB RAM. Do remember though that iOS and Android have different needs to run at full efficiency.

The other major difference is that the Note 4 has an expandable storage slot to take the 32GB memory up by another 128GB. No such luck on the 6 Plus.

Special features
The Note 4 has added a lot of innovation from its Note 3 avatar. True PC-style multitasking, the use of the S pen as a scissor and a mouse and a pressure-sensitive calligraphy pen, plus it has a heart-rate sensor too.

iPhone 6 has quite a few things like Apple Pay, landscape orientation and a few other things, but nothing that uses the extra screen real estate any differently from previous, smaller screen iPhones.

Battery life
iPhone 6 starts off well here to take care of its notorious reputation with poor battery life by packing in 2915mAh of power.

The Note 4 packs in some more with 3220mAh and then goes one step further by adding in a new feature where you can charge your phone 50 per cent in a flat 30 minutes.

The camera
Despite having fewer megapixels, the iPhone has always had one of the best cameras.

That legacy continues and is enhanced with some more video tricks too as it can now do time-lapse movies and slow motion. The Note 4 comes with a 16 megapixel camera, a wide selfie mode that really works and can also shoot 4k video.

The Note 4 comes in at a steep Rs 58,500 for the 32GB model but starts to look good when you consider that the iPhone 6 Plus 16GB is priced at about Rs 62,500.

So, it would seem that the Note 4 is way superior and gives more bang for the buck.

But, in real life, that’s not how it works. To those invested in iOS and to all those who didn’t want an iPhone as the screen was too small, the 6 Plus is manna from heaven.

There is also a third category the Plus will now attract. Many iOS users may not need an iPad: the iPhone 6 Plus with its gigantic screen is as good as an iPad Mini.

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3

From HT Brunch, October 26

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