The rivalry between tech giants Samsung and Apple has reached cola war proportions

  • Rajiv Makhni, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Apr 11, 2015 20:25 IST

Apple’s iPhone 6 made it to India a short while ago. The Samsung Galaxy S6 has just come into the market, too. And for the next six months or so, both companies won’t be introducing any new major products.

Around this time every year, the flagship products war heats up. Sony releases the next version of its Xperia Z series, LG churns out another G model and HTC introduces a new version of its One sub-brand., that’s not how the cards have played out this year. Sony hasn’t come out with the next generation Z as yet, the LG G4 is nowhere on the horizon, and the HTC One M9 is a strange misfire from a company that usually hits the bullseye.

And thus, the typical question I get asked around this time (which phone should I buy from the above five?) has turned into a totally different query now: Should I buy the iPhone 6 or the Samsung S6?

Classic Rivalry Rebooted
Apple and Samsung have been competing for quite a while, but a head-on collision has taken place after many years. It’s now reached the Coke-Pepsi or Reebok-Nike level. But for the first time in tech, the contenders are evenly matched. And the stage is set for an iPhone 6 vs Samsung S6 battle. So let’s bring the contenders into the ring.

Both companies have been criticised for their design. Apple for sticking to a winning formula and not taking too many risks; Samsung for being too plasticky and continuing with a design that’s four years old.

The iPhone 6 looks different from its predecessor, the iPhone 5S. But with its metal-and-glass framework, it looks like the first iPhone model. The S6 Edge, on the other hand, is a completely different beast. It’s all metal and glass, no plastic.

And the two curved edges that seem to defy the laws of physics, make it look years ahead of the competition. Pity, the curved screen doesn’t add to actual usage. In terms of materials used, engineering, body-parts fitting and overall build quality – it’s an even match.
Winner: The S6 Edge by a huge margin and two curves.

This is a critical aspect for a flagship product now. This is what you’re going to look at, tap, scroll and read from all day. The iPhone 6 has a smaller 4.7-inch display with a 1334x750 (326 pixels per inch) Retina resolution. Apple uses an LCD panel that displays natural colours and appears razor sharp. No one is going to criticise this screen.

Until you keep it next to the S6 Edge, that is. That 5.1-inch screen with a staggering resolution of 2560x1440 (577 pixels per inch) and a Super AMOLED technology just blows everything else out of the park.

Some people do feel that Samsung tends to over- saturate its colours and that the contrast is almost flinchingly overdone, but there is no escaping the fact that the S6 may well have the best screen any phone has today.

Winner: The S6 Edge by a rainbow of liveliness.

The rule of thumb has always been that pictures from an iPhone were a reference point and all others had to catch up. And Samsung always had serious issues with low-light and fast-moving images. Not any more.

The S6 Edge’s 16-megapixel camera’s muted and low-light photography is professional and real optical image stabilisation knocks the socks off any motion blur. Plus, the S6 can do 4K video, which is a major bonus.

The iPhone 6 may only have an 8-megapixel camera, but there’s still magic behind that sensor. Images are sharp, detailed and colours are very natural. They just don’t reach the S6-levels. The omission of optical image stabilisation and the absence of 4K video unbalances the cart.
Winner: S6 Edge overtakes iPhone for the first time in many years.

Battery, apps and more
Both have incredibly powerful processors, can handle graphics with ease and have fingerprint sensors that are almost at par with each other. Samsung has reduced its bloatware and preloaded apps to almost zero, while Apple has added some apps.

Both phones still fail on battery life. The S6 Edge has a 2600mAh battery while the iPhone 6 has 1810mAh. iPhones have always had poor battery life, and now, without a removable battery and a top-notch screen, the S6 may have similar issues. Other benefits of the S6 include wireless charging, a heart-rate sensor, and instant camera access by double tapping the home button.
Winner: At the risk of sounding nice to Apple – it’s a tie

This is where Samsung screwed up. And how! By making the S6 Edge more expensive than the iPhone, they lost out on what could have been a bludgeoning blow to Apple’s rib cage. Many would say the S6 (non-Edge) is cheaper – but that’s not the point.

It’s the S6 Edge that is truly a revolutionary product and could have even swayed a lot of Apple fans. All it needed was for Samsung to go super aggressive on price and make all iPhone users think again. As of now, Apple will keep most of its fans. And Samsung may have lost a huge chance on making Apple go over the ‘Edge’.
Winner: Not the S6 Edge

Still, it’s a true battle between equals and only one can go for the winning six. And in six months, we’ll know who that is!

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

From HT Brunch, April 12
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