The iPhone 6s got more hardware changes than most 2015 Android flagships

If you go to any iPhone 6s hands on article/video right now on the internet, chances are that a bunch of Android fans will be telling you that it’s exactly the same as the iPhone 6, and that the latest Android phone is better:

People on YouTube saying that the iPhone 6S is the same as the iPhone 6

The problem I have with these comments is that if you think the iPhone 6S is the same as the iPhone 6, why don’t people say the same about the 2015 Android flagships? It seems that people are so distracted by the mostly-sideways design changes that Android flagships get every year that people forget that almost nothing else has changed.

So let’s put aside mostly-minor design changes and focus on significant hardware changes in Android flagships since 2015, data is shown by the table below:

A table showing all the new hardware changes in the 2015 Android Flagships compared to the iPhone 6s

This is the second version of this table, footnotes on data: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

The iPhone 6s beats 6/7 Android flagships in hardware changes since 2015 and draws with the phone it didn’t beat (Moto X Style). This doesn’t mean the iPhone is a better phone, but it’s a bit rich of people to say it’s the same thing as last year when there are more hardware changes than most Android flagships.

So why doesn’t this mean the iPhone 6s is a better phone? For example the Galaxy S6 has 4K video but it doesn’t get a point for it as it’s been there since the S5, the same way the iPhone doesn’t get a point for NFC as it wasn’t added this generation. I’m only showing why the iPhone 6s is not “the same as last year”, just because it’s had many changes it doesn’t mean it’s better.

If you think the table is rigged, fine. But bear in mind the Moto X Style did just as well as the iPhone, and I could’ve easily made the iPhone 6 win by adding features such as “Vibration Motor Upgrade” if I really wanted to be biased.

And sure, I didn’t list new software features like Samsung adding the ability to do a quick note as soon as you pull the stylus out, but if I included that I could’ve also included the new “Live Photos” feature on the iPhone 6s. Most phones add an equal amount of new software features.

  1. The Z5 is compared to Z3 not Z3+/Z4 as they launched a year apart. Z5 Premium not included as it has no direct predecessor.
  2. The symbol “-” on the table means no change.
  3. iPhone 6S is confirmed to have 2GB RAM.
  4. Purple cell indicates conflicting data: For the Note 5 some sources say the battery life is better, others worse. Apple claims the iPhone 6s battery life lasts the same as the iPhone 6 but it has lower capacity.
  5. Quick charging not included as Samsung has their own “fast charging” and so does Qualcomm, any company could claim their phones have fast charging.
  6. Wireless changes not included as it’s hard to draw the line as what counts as an upgrade or downgrade, but this wouldn’t change the end result as the iPhone also got an upgrade.
  7. Although the “significant design change” category is subjective, I think it’s hard to argue that any phone apart from the Samsung models actually took a step-forward in their appearance.
  8. Thickness, weight, and surface area are not included as it wouldn’t be fair. An increase in size is likely to lead to a thinner phone, and it’s subjective as to whether bigger = worse/better. Weight is also unfair as phones which have got larger are likely to weigh more.
  9. iPhone 6s, Note 5, and S6 have an asterisk for an upgrade on fingerprint authentication as all three devices already had fingerprint authentication, however the performance was significantly improved.
  10. It wouldn’t be wise to add a new category called “Material Upgrades” and give the iPhone a point for 7000 Series Aluminium, this is because it’s incredibly difficult to find what counts as a material upgrade in other phones.
  • Satz

    thanks for making a post. Exactly how I felt reading comments on YT and GSMArena.

  • BusterH

    you’re missing an iPhone 6s upgrade for Finger Print Authentication. They added Touch ID gen 2.

  • BillV3

    This isn’t quite how it works….. for example where you have blank on 4k video support for some of these phones how the heck do they ‘upgrade’ like the iPhone if they already had it last time out?

    99% of all statistics are false…….

    • Jack March

      This article is addressing the point that many people think the iPhone 6S is the “same thing” as the iPhone 6, as shown by the comments at the start of this article. All this post shows is the changes, not the features.

      • BillV3

        But you’re awarding points to the iPhone 6S for catching up to other specs, now I realise that the iPhone is ahead in some areas but giving it points for getting a feature that other phones had in previous generations while taking one away from the other phones for having them already in a previous generation feels a tad disingenuous

        • Jack March

          Again, you’re missing the point. I’m not saying the iPhone isn’t playing catch up, I’m saying it’s not the same as last year as hundreds of thousands of people think.

          And I’m not taking points away from phones that already had those features, they just get no change.

          By your logic the iPhone should get a point for fingerprint authentication, NFC, etc if we’re getting points for existing features.

    • Satz

      bit slow..aren’t we ? even with all the screenshots and explaining.

  • nagnag

    You forgot some hardware changes for the s6 :
    – edge
    – New Quick charge
    – New aluminium body and New gorille glass 4 (also for the back)
    – samsung pay hardware
    – New ringer print sensor (no slide needed)
    – ois photo even in 4k and also f/1.9
    – New ddr4 mémory and 3gb instead of 2 on the line S
    – real 64 bits cpu

    U made à mistake
    – only the note 3 had usb3 not the note 4 (2014) and not the si (2014 has well).

    And why do you believe Apple saying with à smaller battery nothing change and dont trust Samsung with his New eco mode and réal 64 bits cpu and ddr4 mémorable ?

    • Jack March

      Thanks for the feedback:

      Quick charge was added as a correction if you read the bottom, I will update the table with all the corrections tomorrow.

      Edge is a design feature, no argument about that, it’s 100% aesthetic. I’m not talking about the design as I stated clearly.

      Gorilla glass was probably added to every phone.

      Samsung pay hardware is something I’m going to look into

      Sure, the fingerprint sensor was updated, but it also was on the iPhone, I will correct this

      OIS is something I’m considering adding, I didn’t at first as I thought there needed to be a cutoff point. Aperture was included in the table

      With regards to the last two points, ram upgrade and chipset upgrades were both included on the table.

      Also I’m 99% sure the s5 had USB 3, I know the note 4 didn’t which is why it doesn’t lose the point on the table, not sure what you’re talking about here?

      • J1mmy1985

        The edge is not just aesthetic it adds software features too.

        • Jack March

          But the edge doesn’t make new software features possible, anything you can do on the edge would be possible on a flat screen, it’s just Samsung chooses not to for UX reasons. It’s also subjective as to whether it’s really an upgrade as many don’t like it. Either way I understand the point, but I can’t add the Edge to the table as it doesn’t have a predecessor just like the Z5 Premium

          • J1mmy1985

            So you can see your clock from laying down in your bed? Or who is calling when the phone is screen down or has a case with a screen cover?

            The S5 is its predecessor?

  • Prime

    wow I’ve thought this year phone upgrades were pretty lackluster compared to last year with some phones getting lower battery life than last year. thanks for the table, it’s quite comprehensive. Moto X is a weird phone because it grew in size and became cheaper. S6 was a big difference to s5 now with a metallic body and crazy Exynos and a great camera. In my opinion G4 has probably the least update, and the new s6 edge plus which was like a note4 edge but lost the pen. I think the greatest thing with the new iphone is how they integrate features nicely. 3D Touch goes with Live Photos on the lock screen. 3D Touch with the app switcher. Front Display using True Tone flash. Don’t forget Taptic Engine the master that fooled anyone who touched the new macbook trackpads.