Both the Note 4 and iPhone 6 are high-end, cutting-edge devices packed with valuable and unique features. They're two of the best smartphones available today, which is why they've found homes in my pockets.
Neither device is perfect, though. When you use them alongside each other, their individual strengths and weaknesses quickly become apparent.
The following list details six things the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 does that the iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus can't do — or at least can't do as well.
(Note: The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are nearly identical, with three exceptions. The iPhone 6 Plus is notably bigger, the iPhone 6 screen resolution is lower than the 6 Plus screen, and the iPhone 6 Plus has an optical image stabilization camera feature that the iPhone 6 lacks. Unless otherwise stated, the conclusions I make about iPhone 6 can also be applied to the iPhone 6 Plus.)
1) Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the S Pen
When Samsung originally announced its first Galaxy Note smartphone in the summer of 2011, the defining feature was its size. During the years since, the Galaxy Note family created a whole new "phablet" product category. The concept was largely ridiculed at first, but it's been further legitimized by Apple's September 2014 announcement of the similarly sized iPhone 6 Plus.
The Galaxy Note 4's size no longer sets it apart from the pack. Now it's the S Pen that stands out. The S Pen has always been a part of the Galaxy Note experience, but the Note 4 S Pen is evolved and enhanced, and its integration with Samsung's customized Android OS makes it unique.
Samsung says the latest S Pen, when used with the Note 4, is significantly more sensitive than earlier versions; users can do more with it, with more precision. Specifically, the S Pen now supports more than 2,000 levels of pressure sensitivity, compared to approximately 1,000 levels in earlier versions, according to Samsung.
The S Pen can be used for quick and precise on-screen navigation, not unlike how you use a mouse with a desktop computer. The pen also lets you "write" on the Note's display; the experience is surprisingly similar to writing on paper. You can easily select, cut and paste text using the S Pen. The S Pen's on-screen menu lets you quickly look up definitions for words and search your device for specific content. It's also easy to drag and drop applications, images and more from one place to another using the S Pen.
If you're not familiar with the Note family and S Pen, there's a bit of a learning curve. Once you get used to the Pen, though, it's hard to go back to using just your fingers for input. Of course, you can buy a third-party capacitive stylus for use with the iPhone 6, but Apple's phone isn't designed to work with a stylus, and as such, the Note 4 experience is far superior.
2) Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is a Multitasking Machine
The Galaxy Note 4 has some useful and unique multitasking features that let you view and access multiple applications at the same time.
The Pop Up View shortcut lets you shrink compatible Samsung apps down to smaller windows that you can drag and position wherever you want them on your display. You can continue to work with the apps on the screen. If you want to close one, just tap a circle logo to collapse the app onto itself, then tap the circle again to reopen it.
An evolved two-paned Multi Window feature lets you view and interact with multiple apps in split-screen modes. You can stretch and positions the panes wherever you want them. It's also easy to drag and drop text or other content between compatible apps.
The iPhone 6's multitasking features pale in comparison. They consist mostly of an application switcher that lets you scroll through open apps, along with a Recent Contacts bar that sits atop the app switcher and gives you quick access to, well, recent contacts.
3) Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Removable, Replaceable Battery Pack
It's simple to snap off the Galaxy Note 4's battery cover, remove its battery pack and pop in a new one. The Galaxy Note 4 has a large battery (3,220 mAh), and it's supposed to get an impressive 37 hours of standby time and 11 hours of continuous Internet use. Frequent travelers know, however, that no matter how long a phone lasts on a single charge, there are times when it's not enough.
I always feel better when I have a spare battery pack in my carry-on bag, and I appreciate that Samsung still makes phones with removable batteries. The trend seems to be toward fixed batteries in high-end phones, so the Note 4's replaceable power pack is all the more notable. The iPhone has never had a removable battery and very likely never will.