iPhone 6 vs. iPhone 6 Plus vs. Galaxy Note 4

I’ve had the same iPhone 4 since 2010, and I’m finally looking to make an upgrade. I’ve never felt the desire to be the type of consumer to upgrade my phone every time a new model comes out. I’m definitely not the type of person to follow the tech blogs and watch unboxing videos explaining the specs of each new phone. The whole cell phone race is something I’ve always avoided entirely.

My iPhone 4 is a little small, it’s sluggish with all of Apple’s iOS updates adding new features pushing the limits of its capabilities, and I’m simply ready for something new. My dilemma now is which of these new phones do I choose: iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, or the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Here’s what I use my “phone” for these days:

  • Texting – I use this excessively on a daily basis to communicate with family, work, etc.
  • Internet – My phone is constantly one access point to the internet these days. I’m on the go a lot and I need a quick way to look something up.
  • Games – I’m playing a lot of games these days like Boom Beach, Star Wars Commander, and Clash of Clans.
  • Organization – I like a good calendar and tools to keep me organized.

I can already tell you without much research that all of the phones out there on the market handle these things well. But now that you know that what I normally do, I can tell you a bit more of what I want it to do.

  • Take amazing photos. I’m a lot more active now that I’m engaged, and I’m going places and doing things worthy of documenting with photos. I’ve come to realize my iPhone 4’s camera is not quite as good as some of these photos I see out there lately.
  • Video chat. I want to face time and be able to video chat with my fiance and family.
  • Integrate more with the rest of my life. I feel like my phone has always been detached from everything I do. I’m a PC user which means I’ve been in this weird juxtaposition of technology having an iPhone.

I can tell you now I’m already leaning toward the iPhone 6, but here are my thoughts on all of these devices after playing around with them in the store.

iphone6vs6plusiPhone 6

The iPhone is a solid phone. I’ve used iOS for years. I’m used to it. The phone is larger than my iPhone 4, has a lot of upgrades, and would easily do everything I want it to do. My problems with the iPhone 6 are that it’s … another iPhone.  Is it different enough? I’m not one to ever spend lots of money in an app store, so despite being a pure iOS user for years I haven’t really invested so deep that my switching costs are too high to matter. That said, I still have lots of apps and keeping things consistent would be nice.

Pros: I’m comfortable with the iPhone. It does what I need.

Cons: It’s another iPhone.

iPhone 6 Plus

The “phablet” version of the iPhone. It’s big and has better screen resolution than the basic 6, but is it too big? I have large hands, but I don’t know if I want it to feel like a tablet in my hands. I don’t want to have to always use two hands when using it. I put my phone in my pocket and I’m not sure whether or not this is too big to fit nicely in my jeans, slacks, or shorts. All of my thoughts on the iPhone 6 apply to the Plus as well.

Pros: Big screen with great resolution. It’s the iPhone experience I know.

Cons: Too big to fit in my pocket? Would it be cumbersome? It’s another iPhone.

note4Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Alright… here is a tough one. I’ve never used Android except for these past few weeks as I’ve played with a Galaxy tablet I borrowed. I went into the store and I tried out the Note 4 and immediately felt somewhat turned off by the ‘experience’ of the operating system. However, I like certain features.

I like that it’s linked into my Google accounts. I’m a heavy Google user. I like the feature where multiple apps can be open on the screen at a time or ‘minimized’ and quickly brought back up. I think the Google app store (Play store?) is fine. A few years ago it was trash and this wouldn’t even be a debate, but there really isn’t much of a difference now in app offerings. It has a stylus… I’m a little weirded out by that.

Pros: Great features that trump the iPhone. It’s connected to Google and probably integrates best with my life.

Cons: It’s huge. It feels more like a tablet. I don’t like the overall ‘experience’ as much as the iPhone.

As I mentioned before, I’m leaning toward the iPhone 6. It will fit into my pocket nicely, do everything I need, keep my experience consistent, and integrate with the other people in my life despite not quite integrating well with things I do on other devices.

Anyone out there have experience with these devices and want to share your insights? I’ll probably buy within the next week or two.

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  • Phones are part of a bigger technological picture, they should not be evaluated in a vacuum. Apple products are best served when you fully dive to integrate everything from all of their products. It is the best way in my opinion to live the Apple experience. Sitting on the fence is doable, but depending on the individual patience and technical knowledge could be frustrating. That’s also Microsoft point and the general direction going forward with their mobile devices, making sure everything is flawless on all platforms. The Android platform can pretty much do the same integration, but it’s less clear and less user friendly. Android phones are great devices, you just need a bit more technical know-how-to to fully exploit their potential.

    I personnaly do not use any Apple products, so I adopted Android when I switched away from a dumb phone, but I’m also tech savvy and likes to tweak my techo products. Getting a new phone for me starts with rooting it, unlocking it and pretty much trashing the manufacturer OS. I’m a big fan of Cyanogen, but there are plenty of ROM available.

    I haven’t tested the recent devices, I’m still using a S3. It’s heavily modified so I don’t feel the need to change phone only to upgrade the hardware. However, generally speaking, iPhone cameras are of better quality than Android cameras. Apple has invested a lot of time and energy it its maintenance and upgrade while Google has to play the waiting game with every manufacturer. It’s one of the many reason they released a new Nexus, to show how it could be done. Video chat comes out of the box with Facetime on iOS and could simplify things for you, while going for an Android phone will require some app compatibility checks on both side of the calls (no idea if Facetime can be used to talk with other apps).

    I hope it helps a bit.

  • Your last point is a good one for me to consider. My fiance is going to upgrade from a dumb phone to a smart phone, and she has used my iPhone 4 a lot and has gotten used to it. She needs Apple’s user experience. My whole family uses iPhones and iPads. It seems like a good way to be compatible if we all have those same devices.

    I’m somewhat tech savvy, but not enough to modify my phone. I’m not into that stuff just like I’m not one to overclock a PC. I like how the Android as a device allows for more customization though. I like the features too.

  • Why are you restricting yourself to so few choices? Why not consider the wealth of other options out there? With Android alone you have:

    Moto X
    Nexus 5
    Nexus 6
    OnePlus One (you just missed the pre-orders on that one, but it’s my current phone and it’s great)
    Note 4 Edge (hasn’t come out yet but looks really cool)
    Galaxy S5
    LG G3 (my brother has this one but he doesn’t love it–I think he got a lemon, though)
    Xperia Z3
    HTC One M8

    If you’re going to be spending $600+ like you would for an iPhone 6 (regular or plus) anyway, you would do well to consider some of these other choices. It’s hard to go wrong with any of them.

    The Nexus 6 pre-orders just went live today (https://play.google.com/store/devices/details?id=nexus_6_blue_32gb). I am really disappointed in Google for not releasing a new “budget” flagship like they did with the Nexus 4 and 5, but for someone willing to spend the money I’m sure it’ll be a fantastic phone. Top of the line everything. It’s a little big for my tastes, though. I’m about at my limit with my current 5.5 inch phone, which I can still use with one hand, albeit awkwardly. 6 inches seems a bit absurd, but I love having a bigger screen. Going from a 4.7 inch phone to a 5.5 inch phone is a world of difference when it comes to content consumption.

  • I narrowed it down to these three choices. I looked at the S5, Moto’s, HTC’s, and Nexus phones and simply didn’t like them as much as the iPhone.

  • Fair enough. I had an iPhone 4 a couple years ago and since I switched to Android I can’t even fathom switching back. I got so sick of Apple trying to neurotically control every aspect of my device I almost threw my iPhone against a wall every day by the end.

  • I have an iPad, a Nexus 7, and HTC OneX and an HTC One. For the tablets…. well, tbh, I got the iPad and a Galaxy 10 at the same time back in the day. Preferred the iPad to the Galaxy, though both were certainly functional. Now that I have the Nexus 7 though…….. definitely my favorite tablet of the 3.

    So far as phones go, I’ve only ever had Android phones since “going smart” about 4 years ago, so I’m quite used to it. I support both iOS and Android at work though, so I’m familiar with both. And since the iPad runs the iOS…. easy enough to go back and forth between devices as well.

    In the end, for me it’s pretty much 6 of one, half dozen of the other. Since most of your family’s on Apple already, and I don’t think there’s a Facetime app for Android (though Skype works on both systems), I’d suggest sticking with “another iPhone” in your case.

  • I was using a 5s and had used a Samsung Note 3 previously. I like the size of the note 3, I went with the iPhone 6 Plus. Mainly for the size and battery.

    I think you should try the size of the 6 Plus as it looks big – but frankly fits well, I have big fingers and easier to text on etc.

    I did not like the Samsung Note 3 not for the phone but all the stuff that Samsung loads on the phone, I believe they have not put as much “stuff” on the 4 – but I actually was trying diff roms to just get me to a simple smart phone without all the Samsung apps on it.

    So just my $0.02 since I played with both small iPhones and a Note 3, and then selected a 6 Plus.

  • I need to go to a place where I can test out the size of the iPhone 6 plus in my pocket. I’m worried about sitting down with it being too big.

  • People putting their phones in their pockets… I do a facepalm each time I see that. Your jeans pocket is not the place for your phone people !

    😉

  • I was in a similar boat to you, I had the iPhone4 and it’s a lovely size, just too slow now. I got an iPhone6 and it’s a nice phone, fast, good photo’s, plenty of storage, it’s just a bit too big 🙁 Nothing I can’t deal with though.

  • I’ve had three Samsung phones, galaxy S2, S3 and the note 3. I’ve loved the hardware on all three but the software was an exercise in extreme frustration. The note 3 was handed to me by my employer, I used it for six months before I gave up and put the sim in my HTC one.
    The HTC is one the best phones I’ve ever had my hands on, but I’m now considering going back to iPhone again because ALL android phones I’ve ever tested (aka a lot) have two very serious flaws that I’m not sure if I’m willing to live with any longer.
    I’ll come back here and share what those are later today, no time right now.

  • I R BACK!
    So, all android phones I’ve tested so far have suffered from these two, to me, extremely annoying issues:
    1. Screen active when answering a call using headset.
    Situation: Phone is in my pocket screen facing inwards, someone calls me and I answer using the button on the headset.
    Problem: The screen activates and shows the “call screen” and touch is active, which means that sometimes my leg will touch the screen and hang up the call, put it on pause, mute my microphone or whatever else button there is to press.
    This has led me to having to use a phone case with a flap to cover the screen, to prevent this from happening, and I’d rather NOT have my phone in a case, especially not when the phone itself is enormous like the Note 3/4 or iPhone 6+.
    2. Phone is extreeeemely slow to react from deep sleep (very random, does not happen every time).
    Situation: Again, phone is in my pocket, I am wearing a headset and listening to music/podcast, I hit the button to pause/play music, or to answer a incoming call.
    Problem: It takes the phone several seconds to react to the button press, so long that you think it didn’t register and press again, maybe even several times, when the phone finally wakes up it registers ALL times you’ve pressed the button and executes the command (play, pause, play, pause……. etc). Sometimes I even have to take the phone out of my pocket and wake it up, and when the screen comes on all the previous button presses register.
    What’s even more annoying with this bug is that it happens with phonecalls as well. You hit the button to answer the call, phone keeps ringing, you hit again, phone keeps ringing, heeey it actually woke up and answered the call, but you’ve pressed twice so it hangs up the call by the time you’ve said “hello”…. EXTREMELY ANNOYING!
    I’ve also had it lag so long that the call is connected through to voicemail before the phone registers my headset button press, so instead it starts playing or pauses whatever I have been listening to instead…..

    This is not a problem with one specific android phone or one specific make, and the issue has been around for several years now. I’ve had it on my HTC Desire, the 3 Samsung phones I mentioned, the HTC One (M7, but to a lesser extent on this than the others), and on my HTC Desire I have also been running several custom ROMs and all suffered from the same issue. Googling for the problem will lead you to bug reports made to google about it, some are several years old, reported even on pure android phones like the Google Nexus series, but no fix has been released, they haven’t even acknowledged the problem.

    I love the freedom of android, the fact that I can replace the SMS app if I don’t like the one that came with the phone, or the keyboard, or the mail app etc. But these two issues are so enervating that I am now considering going back to iPhone, because you know what, it actually works well as a phone, my androids have not. ><

  • Sure this has been mentioned already, but I’m been getting this sense a phone is like a TV, you can never have too big a screen. My current Nexus I thought might be too large, but now I want something even more.

    Also, if you don’t have a tablet or have an old one, the bigger screen should be a nice benefit.

    From what I’ve read about people with the Note and i+, after about 4 days you adjust to the size, and within a week or 2 you wonder how you ever lived without such a beautiful screen.

    I love Android over iOS, too.

  • I’m not sure if apple has this but my fav feature of google phones (I have a nexus 4) is the auto backup feature. Basically I can take video or pictures and they auto save to my google plus account so I never have to deal with wires to xfer pics and vids. Also not being forced to use an external program when I want to access my phone via my PC has always been a plus.

  • Yeah iPhones has that too with iCloud. Also, if you use OneDrive or DropBox you can set both of those up to automatically backup your photos both on Android and iOS.
    And, Apple “cut the cord” between iPhones and iTunes a couple of years ago, you no longer need iTunes to manage your phone.

  • I think I’m being swayed into the 50/50 camp right now. I was leaning 6 Plus but now the Note 4 my co-worker let me play around with has me tempted.

    He says he can download files onto it like a normal computer. He can use a super nintendo emulator and all sorts of things.

    I might actually be leaning toward Note 4 now, especially since it’ll integrate with the rest of my tech better. The only downside is face timing with my family… hmmm

  • Speaking to or spending time with the family is grossly overrated and not needed. It can only leads to problems. 😉

  • If you want your phone to integrate more with you life, then it seems like you’d want i6 for Apple Pay, although the store penetration/ubiquitousness for this is a bit iffy at the moment.

  • Take it from a long time Android fanboy, the features that tempts you with Android and in particular Samsung devices are worth little to nothing compared to the frustration you have to endure owning one 😛

  • “I like the feature where multiple apps can be open on the screen at a time or ‘minimized’ and quickly brought back up.”

    Wait, what…? You mean iPhone doesn’t do that? Wow, that’s terrible.

  • I switched from apple to samsung. The main thing that swayed me was being able to use me phone more like a computer the way you can use files. It’s so nice to drop me drag music news movies etc.

  • @Alleji: Yes the iPhone does multitasking, but not in the same way that Android does it. Both systems has it’s upsides and downsides. iOS upside is that Apple has much more control, which means you are less likely to run into shitty apps that will drain your battery in a few hours, or keep downloading tons of data over your cellular connection without your knowledge (I’ve had both happen to me on Android).
    Androids upside is better multitasking, apps are allowed to run in the background and do pretty much whatever they want, this is great because it means apps will keep themselves up to date and can resume very fast. The drawback, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve had single apps on my Note 3 that took battery life (which was close to two full days at the start) down to 8-10 hours, and finding out exactly which app it was ain’t always easy either.
    The samsung multitasking stuff (split screen, one app running in a small window on top of everything else) looks really cool when you’re testing the phone, but once you’ve had it for a few weeks you start realizing that most apps don’t support this feature, and the ones you really like to have running like that doesn’t, so the feature is moot (this was my experience, ymmv).

    Don’t mistake me for a Android hater / iPhone fanboy, I honestly believe that both phones are great, both come with a set of really nice features but equally a set of drawbacks, none of them are perfect.
    I’ve preached Android for many years, but the last year or so I’ve become so frustrated that some really bad bugs that have existed since my first Android phone (in 2009) are still present and the problem is still not being acknowledged by Google.

  • A sad day in gaming as this fine blog posts about phones and not a game.
    A moment of silence please *………………..*

  • No one who has mentioned Android frustrations has mentioned that the Note 4 will be one of the first devices (besides the new Nexus) to use the latest Android OS – Lollipop. The new OS addresses many of the previous frustrations (no idea about the screen being active mentioned by Proximo). Lag has been severely improved …aka smoother performance. Enhancements to camera usage and battery life.

    I believe the Note 4 may originally come with 4.4.2, but will be shortly upgraded to Lollipop as Samsung has tossed out a teaser recently.

    http://www.android.com/versions/lollipop-5-0/

  • Alright, the verdict is in. I went with the iPhone 6 Plus. I did so for the following reasons:

    (1) Simplicity. I don’t use my phone as though it’s a small computer or a tablet. I prefer to call, take photos, use maps, play games, and browse the internet. iPhone 6 Plus offers me that simplicity in spades. The iOS ecosystem is much more user friendly, albeit feature-lacking.

    (2) Call clarity. iPhone 6 Plus sounds clearer to me. Note 4 is louder, but less clear.

    (3) Integration with family/friends. The features of iPhone to iPhone/iPad were extremely enticing to me.

    I think my next phone will most likely be Android unless Apple picks it up with features. I’ll upgrade in 1.5-2 years. By then I expect either Android to be so much better that this isn’t a debate, or Apple to catch up. Either way, both need to focus on simplicity AND features.

  • @Steeldragon
    This doesn’t even compute how long each carrier will take to certify Lollipop and make it available to its users. In Canada where I live, this could take a good additionnal 6-8 months. If I was not using a custom mod on phone, I wouldn’t count on having Lollipop before June 2015.

  • Sounds to me that an iPhone 6 is what you want.

    It ticks all the boxes and has all the features you need.