Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6S review: is the new iPhone 6S better than the Galaxy S6?

For years Apple has dominated the top end of the smartphone market, but many reviewers say the latest Samsung offerings are better

iPhone 6s Samsung s6

With the glittering launch of the iPhone 6S, Apple fired the latest salvo in its ongoing war with rival mobile maker Samsung, whose own flagship smartphone - the Galaxy S6 - stole a march on Apple when it came out in April to rave reviews and is still regarded by many as a contender for phone of the year.

So which of the two high-powered phones is better? Here is how they stack up against one another in terms of their design, power, performance, camera and price.

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iPhone 6S vs Galaxy S6 design

With the Galaxy S6, Samsung left behind the full plastic body of the S5, PC Pro notes, and rebuilt its flagship phone from the ground up with an aluminium trim around the side, gorilla glass on the rear case and higher-grade materials throughout.

The company also introduced the Galaxy S6 Edge, a phone with a curved screen that offers the illusion of a near edge-to-edge image. Know Your Mobile declared the Galaxy S6 Edge to be "perhaps the finest Android phone we've ever tested" and labelled the curved screen "sexy".

But not everyone was so convinced. Forbes magazine declared that the display is little more than a "gimmick". "The edge on the S6 Edge is a nice idea, it looks stunning, but in day-to-day use it makes the S6 Edge a bit of a mess to hold and use", Ewan Spence wrote.

So is the iPhone 6S better? In the hands-on reviews that came out immediately after the new phone's launch, most reviewers agreed that very little has changed in design terms from the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models to the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus today.

That said, the styling of the iPhone 6 was praised broadly, and the phone went on to become Apple's best-selling handset of all time. For PC Pro, it is close, but the Galaxy S6 wins in the style department.

iPhone 6S vs Galaxy S6 power and performance

The iPhone 6S features a brand new Apple A9 processor, which is 70 per cent faster in performing tasks than its predecessor, the A8, and 90 per cent faster at rendering graphics.

The Galaxy S6, on the other hand, sports a lighting-quick octa-core Exynos 7420 processor. So is one noticably quicker than the other?

Tech Radar put both phones to the test and found that in pure performance terms, the Galaxy S6 beats its rival.

In its "Geekbench 3" test, which is designed to measure a device's processor power, "the Galaxy S6 came out with an average score of 4850... [whereas] the iPhone 6S went through the same rigorous testing and came out the other side with an average score of 4417.

"A bit less than the Galaxy S6, proving Samsung is better on pure power alone."

iPhone 6S vs Galaxy S6 camera

Photography has long been an area where Apple has dominated its smartphone rivals. So much so that when the iPhone 6 was released Apple focussed much of its advertising on the pictures people had captured with the flagship smartphone.

But the release of the Galaxy S6 saw the gap narrow between the two manufacturers.

The iPhone 6S, has a 12MP main camera and a 5MP front-facing one. The Samsung Galaxy S6, on the other hand has a 16MP main camera to sit with its 5MP camera on the front.

Both, though, offer special features designed to enhance your photographs. The 6S has a new feature called "live photos" which takes a 1.5 second buffer of video on each side of the main image, allowing you to turn normal snaps into short three-second animations.

The Galaxy S6 doesn't offer this, but has a bunch of other tricks such as slow motion and fast motion video capture, and a mode called "virtual shot" which allows you to take 360 degree panorama images.

Both cameras have different strengths, and most reviewers say it will be a matter of personal preference which is better.

"The Galaxy S6 has more detail in some images but still had a few issues with overexposure," Tech Radar says, whereas "the iPhone 6S can look a little dull in some shots, but that selfie camera is far more detailed than the Galaxy S6."

iPhone 6S vs Galaxy S6 price

As phones have become increasingly powerful, their price has crept gradually higher and higher. In fact, if you buy them outright, you could buy many laptops or tablets for less than either of these two handsets.

At launch, the iPhone 6S costs £539 (16GB), while the Galaxy S6 can currently be bought for £415 (32GB). Different models and greater storage boost that price tag considerably. The top level iPhone 6S Plus (128GB) will set you back a whopping £789, while the gold/platinum-finish Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ costs an eye-watering £829.

iPhone 6S vs Galaxy S6 verdict

It has been a long time since Apple was presented with a genuine challenger in the mobile market, but this year Samsung has come up with the goods. Most reviewers conclude that the Galaxy S6 outclasses the iPhone 6S in most categories.

According to Alphr: "After sizing up the iPhone 6s and Samsung Galaxy S6, it seems that, while Apple's new contender has a lot going for it, Samsung ultimately retains the crown."

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