Whether you're waiting expectantly by the front door for the UPS driver to arrive with yours or you're just thinking about getting one, people have a lot of questions about the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Are the displays brighter and more colorful? Is the A8 chip really that much faster? And how about graphics performance?
You're also probably wondering how the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus stack up not only to the iPhone 5s but Samsung's Galaxy S5. We put all four phones through a battery of tests to find out just how good Apple's new smartphones perform against the competition.
One thing's for sure: The displays on the new iPhones are BRIGHT. We measured the iPhone 6 at 504 nits, and the iPhone 6 Plus at a retina-searing 537 nits, which blows away the Galaxy S5 (373 nits) as well as the iPhone 5s (470 nits). The next-closest Android phone was the international version of the HTC One M8, which hit 498 nits.
Brightness is one thing, but how many colors are the iPhones capable of showing? Not as much as the competition, it turns out. The iPhone 6 Plus could only display 95.3 percent of the sRGB color gamut, and the iPhone 6 hit 96.8 percent. To be fair, those aren't bad numbers, but the iPhone 5s managed 98.4 percent.
The S5 was able to display a whopping 158.4 percent of the gamut. Numbers above 100 percent aren't necessarily better in this case, as the Samsung displays more oversaturated colors. It's more a matter of preference.
One area where the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus definitely fall short of their peers --and predecessor -- is in color accuracy. With respective Delta-E scores of 3.6 and 1.9 (numbers closer to 0 are better), the displays aren't as accurate as the Samsung S5 (0.9) or the iPhone 5s (0.05). Still, they bested the smartphone average (4.9) by a fair margin.
Despite their larger size, we didn't find much of a difference in the audio output of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus compared to the iPhone 5s. When measured from a distance of 13 inches, the iPhone 5s was slightly louder, at 82 decibels, compared with 81 dB for the iPhone 6 and 78 dB for the iPhone 6 Plus. All three were louder than the S5 (73 dB).
Apple is making a big deal about the A8 chip inside the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which promises a 25 percent boost in CPU performance and up to a 50 percent graphics improvement.
On Geekbench 3, which measures overall performance, the new iPhones scored markedly higher than the previous generation A7 CPU in the iPhone 5s, and put them a par with the Samsung Galaxy S5's 2.5-GHz Snapdragon 801 CPU with 2GB of RAM.
When it came time to load N.O.V.A 3, however, all three iPhones were on roughly equal footing, taking about 4.6 seconds to load the first-person shooter. All three were about three times as fast as the S5.
On Peacekeeper, which measures browser performance, Safari on the iPhone 6 Plus proved the best with a score of 2,608. The iPhone 6 came in second, at 2,565, and the iPhone 5s followed with a score of 2,265. When we ran the test using Chrome on the S5, it scored a much lower 753.
Watching HD videos and playing games constitutes a lot of what people do on their smartphones, so having a strong graphics processor is essential. Fortunately, the new iPhones are up to the task.
On the synthetic benchmark 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited, the S5 blew past all of Apple's devices with a score of 18,204. The iPhone 6 Plus scored 16,965, while the 6 scored 16,558, and the 5s notched 14,259.
However, other graphics tests painted a different story. On the WebGL Cubes Experiment, which renders 150,000 cubes lit by three sources, the S5 averaged only 18 frames per second, just barely better than the iPhone 5s (17 fps) and less than the 6 (24 fps) and the 6 Plus (23fps).
We saw a similar delta when running GFXBench. On the Manhattan test, which measures OpenGL ES 3.0 performance, the iPhone 6 Plus scored 31.6 frames per second, the 6 hit 30.1 fps, and the iPhone 5s scored 24.3 fps. The S5 came in last, at 11.7 fps.
When also ran the Manhattan 1080p offscreen test, which uses the same 1080p resolution on every device. The iPhone 6 Plus still came out on top with a score of 18.7 fps. Next was the iPhone 6 (17.8 fps), the iPhone 5s (12.9 fps) and the Samsung S5 (11.9 fps).
That's a quick look at how the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus compared to the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 5s. The S5 displays more of the color gamut, but Apple's smartphones are by and large much brighter. In general, Apple's newest handhelds also outperform the S5 on many tests, making them the more powerful devices.
The most crucial test--one we're running this weekend--is battery life. The iPhone 5s lasted just 5 hours and 46 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (Web surfing via LTE), which was well below the S5's runtime of 9 hours and 42 minutes. How will the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus compare? Stay tuned.