Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Apple iPhone 6: the weigh in

Samsung's seriously improved flagship against Apple's current favourite. Who takes the early showdown?

Samsung revealed its new Galaxy S6 yesterday, and it's a stunner. Metal! Glass! And it finally feels premium enough to justify its price tag.

That's all well and good, but the Apple comparisons haven't faded – probably because the S6 looks a whole lot like the iPhone 6, which is equally convenient and expected. Still, we'll call it two steps forward and one step back for Samsung.

But we can't help but put the two phones up to a duel, based on the specs and our hands-on time with the Galaxy S6. We'll have a full verdict in due time, once Samsung's device lands in our anxious hands for good. But until then, here's our early look at how the two flagships compare.

Build and design: Awfully familiar

Cheers to Samsung for finally listening to… well, seemingly everyone. Critics and consumers alike had tired of the heavy reliance on materials like plastic and faux leather while competitors turned to flashier, premium-feeling flagships.

The Galaxy S6 shows that Samsung very clearly got the memo, as it and sister device the Galaxy S6 Edge are the company's best-looking and most premium-feeling phones to date. It has sleeker styling than the S5, and more importantly, better materials, thanks to the metal frame and glass backing.

You could argue that nearly every Galaxy phone has owed a debt of influence to the iPhone to some extent, and that's true again here: the Galaxy S6 seems like it could only exist in a post-iPhone 6 world. There are clear similarities with the framing, the rubberized lines that help with reception, and some hardware elements. Even the silhouettes are similar, despite the larger S6.

The Galaxy S6 is significantly slicker than its predecessor, and it comes darn close to looking like something that could've come out of Cupertino. We'll have to live with it for a while before we can really judge its quality through everyday use. For now, put up against the minimal, amazingly constructed iPhone 6, we can't help but give Apple's handset the slight nod.

Besides, the standard S6 isn't even the most stunning phone Samsung announced this week – the S6 Edge takes that honor.

Winner: iPhone 6

Screen: 2K tops Retina

Let's be honest: this one isn't even that close. The iPhone 6 has a great display: impeccable colour replication, great contrast, and sharp Retina graphics. If you've only ever used Apple devices, chances are you'll be plenty pleased with its 4.7in, 1334x750 display, which comes in a bit above 720p for crispness of 326ppi.

But the Galaxy S5's 1080p screen was better a year ago, and now bumped up to 2K resolution, it feels like Samsung is in another league entirely with its display.

Rumours of a 4K screen didn't pan out, but that seems hilariously unnecessary on a display of this size. Maintaining the 5.1in frame of the previous device, the Galaxy S6 pumps out a resolution of 2560x1440, which comes out to 572ppi. That's incredibly crisp, and it should make every task – from flipping through menus to running high-end games – an absolute treat.

And the specs don't tell the whole tale: don't forget that it's another Super AMOLED screen, which means you can expect fantastic colours (including deep blacks) and serious brightness, with multiple display settings to adapt to all types of content. Considering the pedigree set by previous models, it should prove to be one of the best smartphone screens around.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S6