Apples to Oranges: Comparing Top-Tier Smartphones of 2015

If you’re looking for a top tier smartphone and budget isn’t your main concern (which it shouldn’t have to be as Verizon’s new plan structure allows you to get any phone you like at a monthly payment you can afford), the fact is you’d be hard-pressed to find ANY new smartphone on the market right now that isn’t an excellent user experience.  Of the devices premiered in 2014 and 2015, software and hardware games have been stepped up by makers substantially and the products are exemplifying it.  Phone makers are listening; and they want to give the people what they want.  At this advanced point in the digital age, many of the pros and cons of each phone out there are really a matter of taste.  That said, there is a different customer in mind for each phone, and the smartphone makers out there are looking to offer something specific and unique to their particular audience in a noisy world of cellular advertising.

Some of us love a juicy fruit full of vitamin C with a sweet and acidic bite; while others are looking for a crisp texture in the flesh of their fruits and a touch of tartness.  Neither is wrong, it’s simply a matter of preference.  In the words of Papa Portokalos, “One is apple, one is orange.  They both different…but in the end, they’re both fruit!”  Ensignal offers you this summary of tech’s current big hitters to hopefully simplify the decision, and help you choose the device that will best serve YOU.


iPhone 6S & 6S Plus:

Large screen, great resolution, super bright coloring.. The 6S Plus has a 5.5-inch screen and 1,920 × 1,080-pixel resolution, same as the 5S Plus.  This is most likely to maintain long battery life in the new model.  Samsung’s displays are technically sharper, but you won’t notice the difference (unless you’re a real screen snob) on the both the 6S and 6S Plus.  6S plus has much more accurate and less finicky touch ID as well from the 5S Plus, which is a key improvement if you use or would like to use Apple Pay.  iOS 9 is debatable still at this point, as some often-used apps (like Maps) may give you some trouble still.  This will most likely be corrected quickly with updates, as Apple tends to do with any hashtagged iOS issues.  #applemap #appleprobs  Positive aesthetic response overall on iOS though with sharper, modern font and layout, and more shortcuts and features.  Faster CPU and more RAM round out the benefits INSIDE the familiar not-so-changed-from-5S-or-5S-Plus phone shells.

As far as hardware, the aluminum alloy coating is probably the largest improvement, and definitely the most popular, as they also come in “Rose Gold,” or what Instagram is just calling pink.  Additionally, a better camera (12 megapixels on the front facing) also has the internet all abuzz.  Sharper color reproduction, clarity and definition even when zooming on subjects up to 100 feet away, and optimal additions in picture editing and filtering are all popular benefits.

Overall: 9.5/10 Great for the college student and budding professional.  Also your mom. (with easy-to-learn software)



Samsung Galaxy Note 5

A true “fablet,” this big guy is a weird cross between a phone and tablet love-child.  Read your Charles Dickens novel, skype your 4 year old niece, or manage your banking…the mere size of this device offers you the versatility to do it all.  For those who spend long hours on meeting conference calls or in long distance relationships using the device as an actual phone however, we may recommend something else.  Comfort is not always the greatest as far as hand and head rest during an extended call.  Might be a great solution for teens and your retired parents however as they can have everything needed from Minecraft to grocery lists available in the same spot.  No need for anything else when you own this personal computer in your pocket.

Overall: 8/10 Teenagers and older folks are a great fit for this device as an all-in-one stop shop with functions serving anywhere from a reader to a laptop.


Blackberry Z30 Review

If you want all of the functionality and versatility of an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S6, with a much better price tag due to a less flashy exterior, this is a great phone for you.  This budget friendly beauty has comparable high quality camera and screen resolution to the other high performers; and size wise it sits somewhere between a phone and a fablet–i.e. its big, but not big enough to just be used as a tablet.   It’s a matter of personal preference and use if that is a good fit for you.  The only drawback is Blackberry software is a unique system all its own–so if you’re all ready versed in Droid or Apple the transition may be difficult.  It’s not hard to learn per say though, we still found it to be very user friendly.  Overall a solid smartphone that will help your pocketbook rest a little easier.

Overall: 7/10  Nice fit for the business professional that isn’t all ready married to the Droid or Apple operating systems; small business owners would love the personal customization available.


Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Right off the bat, the Edge has the iPhone beat with storage, above all.  The entry level model starts with 32GB, doubling iPhone’s entry level 16.  There have also been convenient Android software and shortcut additions, like the camera shortcut on the home button and finger print scanner.  Many say the home button gives the feel of a sturdier construction.

Design-wise, the Edge is slightly thicker and heavier than the regular Galaxy S6, with a bigger battery, and of course the name-given “edge” on the front screen, but beyond that is pretty much the same.  The rounded screen offers a beauty and “wow factor” that’s hard to ignore, but ultimately changes little in terms of use and functionality.  Until Samsung offers more features to utilize the Edge, the standard Galaxy S6 will be a pretty hard competitor.  Some critics have judged the backside of the Edge, indicating less care was taken as the front screen’s revolutionary look; however I feel the incredible 16 megapixel camera and cleanliness of look overshadows the hand feel.

Overall: 9/10 An executive level professional will love this phone with its versatile functions and bigger storage.


HTC One M9

This phone greatly benefits from some trial-and-error corrections learned from its predecessors, as it has a great hand feel–slender and lightweight, but also sturdy and coated in high quality materials.  The quick charging feature is a neat addition, and the external easy-to-use charging station seems to function well.  The software runs the risk of feeling a little dated two years on, however HTC has improved it by dialing back the customization (which very much teetered on excessive customization with the M8) while maintaining HTC lovers’ favorite features.  The camera is less high quality than some of its’ peers, but the benefits in storage due to this is a bonus.

Overall: 8/10 Great phone for really anyone super busy or short on time: the on the go mom, traveling businessman, anyone that will greatly benefit from a comfortable mid-size device with quick charging capability.


Samsung Galaxy S6

This has been regarded this year as the “King of the Androids” and the “Phone to Beat.”  While we love the Edge with it’s beautiful look, this phone has all the benefits and none of the drawbacks or excess of the Edge.  It’s more simple design makes for a better hand feel and easier use.  There’s decreased chance of damage as well without the rounded sides of the Edge screen.  This phone is also slightly lighter and more slender than the Edge.  Some old Samsung fans may shudder at the loss of external SIM card access and removable battery, but for us in the biz we know this just means greater protection from the elements for the inner technology of your phone–a win in our book.  The Android software layout is updated in a clean and sleek way as well, making this phone overall…truly the winner for us in 2015.

Overall: 10/10 This is a great starter phone for the teen in your life, but it also has all the tools a high level exec would require.  We recommend this for all ages and stages of individuals.



One Response to “Apples to Oranges: Comparing Top-Tier Smartphones of 2015”

  1. Meagan

    I really like to do my research before making a big purchase like this. This is great information. I have slimmed my choices down because of it. Thanks for sharing!

Comments are closed.