Apple iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: the weigh-in

It's the day Samsung's premier phone has been waiting for - the chance to square up to the 2014 iPhone. So which wins on paper?
Apple iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: the weigh-in

Before Tim Cook got up this morning, before you'd even heard one little detail about the new iPhone, you'd probably already made up your mind on that burning question of our time: iPhone 6 or Galaxy S5? 

But in case you want some reassurance that your tech studies have steered you in the direction of pure gadget truths, take a look at our side by side comparison of these two mighty smartphone warriors.

It's early days for the iPhone 6, but we've already seen enough to know that it has the potential to be the best iPhone in years. The Galaxy S5, meanwhile, has sat near the top of our smartphone Top 10 for months. 

So, on specs alone, which would we buy?

READ MORE: Samsung Galaxy S5 reviewed in-depth 

Design and Build: Metal vs Plastic

iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S5
iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S5

You might think this category would be a shoo-in for the iPhone. But the Galaxy S5's waterproof, durable build might be music to the ears of many ex-iPhone owners who endured cracked screens for half their contracts. Or who dropped it down the loo after a month. The S5's dimpled polycarbonate back works to make this the grippiest, not slippiest Galaxy to date and it's light (for a big 5.1in phone) too at 145g.

Then there's the iPhone 6. With a new 4.7in screen, it's bigger than the 5s but no less lovely. With new rounded edges, a bit like we've just seen on the Sony Xperia Z3, Apple is vying for better ergonomics than the iPhone 5s. And now you'll be able to tell which way the screen is facing when you slide it out of your pocket or bag. A few details have changed, such as the the oblong volume buttons and the camera is now slightly raised above the aluminium on the rear - that's because Cupertino's packed in a lot of glass. Probably the most impressive detail is those slim bezels either side of the Retina HD screen. Plus the new 6.9mm skinniness - the 8.1mm S5 looks fat by comparison. 

It comes down to this - the iPhone 6 is prettier, the Samsung more practical. The S5 is less impressively engineered than its predecessor and just doesn't feel like a £500+ device. The iPhone 6 is as expensive-looking and desirable as ever, with no extra durability announced so far. We'd wager it will be the smartphone of choice for everyone from monarchs to muggers with its killer looks. 

Winner: iPhone 6 

Screen: A bigger, small iPhone screen

iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S5

It's all change in the screen department. With two new screen sizes, the iPhone 6 comes in at 4.7in in size - possibly the absolute sweet spot between a bigger screen size and ergonimics for anyone with smaller hands. It's not a sapphire display as expected but Apple did boast that it's covered in ion-toughened glass to help avoid unsightly cracks. 

As for the resolution, it's just higher than 720p showing that Apple won't be bullied into the pixel wars by its rivals. That's 1334x750 to be exact and 326ppi - the original benchmark for a Retina display. Only now Apple's calling it Retina HD. It's not just more pixels, we can also look forward to higher contrast, wider viewing angles and more accurate colours thanks to dual-domain pixels. 

As for the S5, it's 5.1in Full HD Super AMOLED screen is one of the best we've ever laid eyes on. Its colour reproduction is second to none, especially those inky blacks, and at 432ppi it's still incredibly sharp. It's also the brightest we've used outdoors, making it more useful than most on the go.

Our only complaint? Having to dive into the display settings when movies look too saturated or homescreens look drab in Samsung's modes - adapt display does auto adjust depending on the app but we end up tweaking it anyway. 

It's a close one to call but the S5's screen is bigger, sharper and probably brighter - we're not sure how the iPhone could get near its brightness levels. It'll require hours of eyeballing but for now we'll give this one to the Galaxy. 

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S5