iPhone 6s Plus vs. Lumia 950 XL vs. Galaxy Note5 vs: The tri-platform throwdown

GSMArena team, 20 January, 2016.

Introduction

Google's Android dominates the market in sheer numbers while Apple's iOS fights in the premium market and is winning the profit margin game. And then there's Microsoft's Windows 10 Mobile, trying to find its place under the sun. We've handpicked the best phablets from each of these platforms to put them head to head, focusing on the devices rather than the platforms they represent.

There will be several rounds, each focusing on a certain specific aspect - the screen, the battery life, performance, audio and the camera.

iPhone 6s Plus vs. Lumia 950 XL vs. Galaxy Note5

The Apple iPhone has defined the must-have smartphone experience for years, even when Androids win on features. If anything, the iPhone 6s Plus is more like an Android than ever before with a focus on higher numbers (12MP camera with 2160p video) and some advanced UI tricks (3D Touch).

Apple iPhone 6s Plus

  • All-metal unibody
  • 3D touch
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Bespoke chipset with great performance
  • Finely tuned 12MP/2160p camera with OIS
  • Expensive (especially if you want storage)
  • Smaller, lower resolution screen (5.5" 1080p)
  • Thick bezels
  • No wireless charging
  • Mono audio recording in videos
  • No dual-SIM option
  • No RAW or manual shooting

The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL is the latest in the legendary PureView camera line with its hybrid sensor (4:3 and 16:9), ZEISS lens and full manual controls. Very much a Windows phone, the Lumia 950 XL promises access to Continuum for a desktop-like experience on a bigger screen and a unified app store.

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL

  • Continuum (desktop-like interface)
  • Iris scanner
  • 20MP camera with ZEISS lens, tri-LED flash
  • Removable battery
  • microSD card slot
  • Excellent loudspeaker
  • Dual-SIM option
  • Limited app selection
  • No fingerprint reader
  • No mobile payment solution
  • Polycarbonate body doesn't feel premium
  • Battery life is not great (especially for dual-SIM)

The Samsung Galaxy Note5 is the latest device in one of the best-selling Android lineups, but many feel it was a step back from the power-user inclination the series was known for. You've heard it all before - sealed battery, no microSD slot, also this one took its sweet time coming to Europe.

Still, the Samsung-made screen and chipset are bleeding edge and as with all Galaxy flagships, the Note5 has more features per cubic centimeter than anything else out there.

Samsung Galaxy Note5

  • Metal and glass body
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Fast wireless charging
  • 16MP camera with OIS
  • Heart rate and blood-oxygen sensors
  • Dual-SIM option
  • Not widely available in Europe for now
  • No TV out
  • Single-LED flash, protruding camera
  • S Pen slot design easy to damage