Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Apple iPhone 6: which is better?

Samsung's seriously improved flagship against Apple's current favourite. The reviews are in: so which takes the title?

The Samsung Galaxy S6 is 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. Still, we'll call it two steps forward and one step back for Samsung.

Now that we've spent some time with both handsets, it's time to pit them against each other in a duel. They're both five-star phones, but which is the ultimate winner? Let's find out.

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.

The S6 has sleeker styling than the S5, and more importantly, better materials, thanks to the metal frame and glass backing. There may be a very slight hint of boxiness about it, but it feels great in the hand.

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 rubberised lines that help with reception, and some hardware elements. Even the silhouettes are similar, despite the S6 being quite a bit larger.

The iPhone 6 holds its own though; it's a beautifully built bit of kit that feels amazing to hold. The Galaxy S6 may be the best looking Galaxy phone to date but 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 year – 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.

The iPhone 6's display is fine for day to day use, but the Galaxy S5's 1080p screen was better a year ago and, now that the S6 has been bumped up to 2K resolution, it feels like Samsung is in another league entirely with its display.

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 makes 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 it provides fantastic colours (including deep blacks) and serious brightness, with multiple display settings to adapt to all types of content. It's quite simply one of the best smartphone screens around.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S6

Camera: Can't Trust Specs Alone

On paper, you might think the S6 takes this one easy: its 16MP sensor far outdoing the iPhone's 8MP effort. But there's more to this fight than megapixels.

Once you get your hands on the device, the iPhone 6's camera is a joy to use: it takes excellent shots in most scenarios, thanks to impeccable image processing software, speedy autofocus, and large pixels that turn out shots better than the figures suggest.

But Samsung's got one heck of a camera on the Galaxy S6. It has two major enhancements over the S5: optical image stabilisation and a wider aperture. It's a fantastic camera. Not only is it fast and easy to use, but the shots it turns out are among the best we've seen from a phone camera.

With the aperture at f1.9 (vs. f2.2 on the S5), it pulls in more light and leaves you with really excellent low-light shots, something phone cameras have long struggled to do.

Make no mistake: this is one of the best phone cameras ever.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S6