IPhone 6S Plus versus Note 5: my experience side-by-side and dilemma

jimbaker123

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Dear all,

I'd like to share my experience with both phones with you.

The IPhone 6S Plus has been my primary phone for the past 2 months. I bought it on launchday and jailbroke it after using it for a while (which unexpectedly turned out to be quite easy, took me a 2 hours to figure it all out) because I needed some additional features (such as f.lux, Twilight on Android, to 'warm' the colors of the screen when it gets dark - to put less strain on the the eyes).

The IPhone 6S Plus is just an amazing phone overall: amazing battery, never crashes, always smooth and almost never stutters, but 2 things bothered me: (1) boredom because of the limited customization abilities and (2) the screen quality seemed much better on the Note 5.
Luxury problems indeed very much!

So I decided to buy a Note 5 a week ago and how now used both phones extensively side-by-side for a week - spending the most of the weekend setting up the Note 5 with my IPhone 6s Plus in my other hand. I now have to decide what to do: return my Note 5 within the 14-days-return-policy or sell my IPhone 6s Plus.

The main differences I experienced:

- The screen of the Note 5 is beautiful with its vibrant colors, much better than the IPhone 6s Plus. The only thing that sucks of the Note 5 screen is the color white: white actually looks yellowish on AMOLED. I'm sure your eyes won't notice it anymore after a while, but having the IPhone 6 next to it you clearly see the difference: when I was scrolling through Google News pages which have a lot of white in it I felt like the screen of the Note 5 was a bit dirty all the time because of the yellowing (I tried change Adaptive display to cinema to basic etc., but the yellowish white is just inherent to AMOLED). Were I to pick between both screens, however, I would definately go for the Note 5.

- I love the customization possibilities of the Note 5 in comparison to the IPhone 6S Plus , being able to design your own homescreen and so on. I got bored of the IPhone 6S Plus, and jailibreaking can only very partly solve this. The Note 5 just blows the IPhone 6S Plus out of the water here. This also helps since the way the Note 5 came out of the box came across as really ugly to me. The cartoonish layout seems to be part of Lollipop and I hope they get rid of it (some of the features are built-in the core it seems and cannot really be changed).

- S-Pen versus 3D touch: the real unique features of each phone. I have hardly used 3D Touch over the past 2 months. I tried to get myself to use it more for peek-and-pop and so on, but found it simpler to just touch normally in the end. To me it only is useful for scrolling the cursor over text. The S-Pen seems much more appealing and allows for much more creativity. I just like the idea of pulling the pen out and do things with it to change things up a little - I never really got this feeling with 3D touch. Hence, I'd much prefer the Pen over 3D Touch.

- App quality: the IPhone 6S Plus is clearly better in this respect. Even apps from Google I found much better designed (visually and usability-wise) in iOS (compare the gmail app on Android to the gmail app on iOS and you'll clearly see the difference). The stock email from Android, the stock browser from Android, all much inferior to their counterparts by iOS. I have searched around on the Google Play Store for alternatives, but my impressions is the apps there simply can't beat the apps for iOS.

- The IPhone 6S Plus is much smoother than the Note 5 in scrolling, animations and so on . There have been many threads on scrolling problems on Android devices (I just read a huge thread on this from April 2015) and I find it embarassing that Android hasn't gotten this right yet. Sure, great hardware on paper, but just making scrolling smooth is impossible? I use my phone as an E-Reader, so I installed Kindle on the Note 5 and used it alongside my IPhone 6S Plus for the same book, and scrolling through pages just gave me a headache on the Note 5 after a while. Every time you turn a page on the Note 5 it hurts the eyes, and this not only holds for Kindle for also for other apps (the browser for instance - don't even get me started on using Chrome on the Note 5 which is installed by default). I tried fiddling with the developer options, changing the animation speeds, disabling them and so on, as well as factory resets, clearing caches, and many other things, but it just doesn't help much. Again, maybe you'll get used to it after a while, but put the phones side-by-side and you'll clearly notice the difference. The IPhone 6S Plus is just much easier on the eye overall in terms of smoothness than the Note 5.

- The Note 5 is much worse on battery than the IPhone 6s Plus . I have fiddled with both phones for hours straight on whilst holding each phone in 1 hand, doing the same tasks, running the same apps, running the same videos, and the IPhone absolutely outperforms here. And this is while my IPhone was fully configured and had a lot of apps running in the background (three apps fetching emails on push for instance) while the Note 5 came fresh out of the box. Given that the battery size of the Note 5 is even larger than the IPhone 6s Plus (3000 mAh versus 2750 mAh) it shouldn't perform so bad in comparison, it just reflects bad programming on the side of Android in comparison to iOS. Of course the Note 5 has fast charging but still this definately shouldn't be necessary.

- The IPhone 6S Plus has much better memory management than the Note 5 . The Note 5 has twice as much memory as the IPhone 6s Plus (4 versus 2 gig of RAM) but again, like the battery, this was not reflected whilst using the phone. Particularly when watching a video, going to other apps, and then going back to the video, 7 out of 10 times the Note 5 had to reload the video from the beginning again, whereas this was almost never the case with the IPhone 6s Plus, even when the latter had much more apps running. Again, this just reflects bad programming on the side of Android in comparison to iOS.

So these issues related to stuttery scrolling/animations, battery and RAM leave a really bad taste in my mouth. The Note 5 is such a superior phone on paper hardware-wise, but do I really have to hand it to the IPhone 6S Plus here simply because its software is much better aligned with its hardware?

So I tried fixing these issues on the Note 5. I have spent days going through threads and carrying out the steps below. They did help to some extent, but the IPhone 6S Plus still blows the Note 5 out of the water in these areas.

- The Note 5 apparently comes with a lot of unnecessary garbage that affects battery life and memory . I have followed the now-famous guide by rlsrouf debloating the Note 5 and disabled 178 system apps and bloatware (178 is the lower end of the spectrum of bloatware to disable). However, this also made many features disappear (e.g. the ability to put an Action Note on the homescreen wit the S Pen, having the calendar as a Widget), so I had to go through each of these 178 to figure out why I couldn't do certain things anymore. This took me longer than actually figuring out how to jailbreak the IPhone 6S Plus, and I have not figured out most of it yet.
And the worst thing of this is, having disabled these 178 things I don't know the features that I am missing now since they just disappear from the phone (for instance, I noted by incident on youtube that there was a function to put an Action Note on the Home screen and only then figured out that I had disabled it as one of these 178 things). Having to disable such an amount of garbage to increase memory performance is really bad.

- Relatedly, many threads have been posted about the 'Cell Standy battery drain' (particularly affecting Verizon Phones, but have also read about bad AT&T experiences). I have gone through countless of threads, disabling voice-over-LTE/HQ calling, disabling wifi when the phone is asleep, and so on and so forth, but the Cell Standby still drains much battery. In many threads there seems now the be a concensus that this is a bug that has not been fixed yet. Seriously? After 3 months this huge drain bug is still unfixed and as far as I know has not even been acknowledged by Android/Samsung/providers? Very bad.

So now I am hesitating which phone to keep :
- Keep the Note 5 which has a superior screen (despite the yellowish white) and allows for much more creativity through its customization options and the Pen but having to deal with with bad software integration with worse battery + worse memory management + less smooth scrolling and animations + worse apps?

- Or keep the IPhone 6S Plus, which just works perfectly all around and gets me through the day easily, does everything I want smoothly, but which allows for very little creativity and bores me. I am leaning towards the IPhone 6S Plus now, especially since I like reading on my phone and tend to get a headache from going through stuttery animations/scrolling all the time. My brain says IPhone 6S Plus, but my heart says Note 5. Maybe I should just stick to the Note 5 and hope my eyes get adjusted to less smoothness, which they probably will, but I'm afraid it'll have me longing back to the IPhone 6S Plus after awhile.
 
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anon(9228075)

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I don't understand the whole scrolling animation in kindle. I've used both to check kindle since i read a lot and don't get it . What do you mean? Outside of that, your other issues... I didn't check all the other.

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burwil

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I just sold my 6 Plus. I disagree on a number of things. I really dislike Safari and its inability to handle multiple tabs efficiently and slow reload times. And that it juggles the Amazon app when you select an Amazon link. I don't think iOS app store is greatly superior to Android anymore. And why do all the weather apps emphasize style over substance? The Note 5 is quicker than the Plus and less laggy. That might have been remedied in the S version. In the end everyone is going to see things from a different perspective. IOS is too boring for me and its lack of widgets make iOS simply an app launcher with little interactivity. I guess I'm not an Apple phone person but there is no right or wrong.
 

jfreeflowers

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I have to say I agree with you on most of your experiences. I actually just purchased a IPhone 6S after owning a note 5 since launch. I love them both, but something I noticed right off bat was app quality it just seems better on IOS. Another thing I noticed was games seem to run better on the IPhone they also seem more polished. The screen quality, customization and spen all make the note a great device. I would recommend it to anyone one. Don't know what I would choose if I could only have one. I Never thought I would have purchased and iPhone but I am def enjoying it and glad I bought it.
 

victoryrules8

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Sounds like you've made up your own mind. Both great phones, both have their pluses and minuses, I've owned both apple and samsung and I can the apple plus devices have better battery life but I'm ok with it.

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nyc_rock

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I have both the Note 5 and 6S plus as well. Pretty sure I am keeping both. If I had to get rid of one though, I would probably sell the Note 5.

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burwil

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One other thought....when you consider the open nature of Android, the open canvass so to speak and what some of the launchers are doing (anyone try Buzz or Total Launcher) there is more 'upside' to it's continued evolution. And a chance for manufacturers to differentiate itself.

iOS is pretty much stagnant IMO and some of these new items like photos which are really tiny video clips and touchforce show that they are running out of ideas. There is only so much you can do with a pallet of icons and an app launcher. Yes it does 'just work.' But certainly not flawlessly as I discovered after seven months.

The integration/backup with iTunes is a mess, no swiping keyboard that works decently, it's war with Amazon which makes it difficult to order an e-book (they want you to use their own bookstore), poor implementation of other browsers (if you don't like Safari, and I didn't, tough luck), expensive and non returnable apps (and I surely wanted to return a few) and terrible voice searching....Siri is an integrated failure IMO easily bested by Google (which I used quite often along with Drive and Maps).

On the other hand, I miss the battery life which was incredible. Great build/look. That's kinda it. I was an Android owner for years starting with the Droid OG (Rezound, Notes 2/3,etc) and gave the iPhone a shot. Liked it at first. But didn't after almost a year. Gone full circle. But I do think every Android owner should try an iPhone at some point.
 

dkunzman

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iPhone 6S Plus is definitely the better option than Note 5 , especially when you consider the performance.

Absolutely not. I use both daily (I have separate work and home numbers).
Once I had my Note 5 set up the way I wanted it (using Nova Prime) and turned on the Developer Options, I can lay my 6S+ and Note 5 side by side and swipe, sweep, launch, close, swap, etc... and the Note in most cases runs rings around the iPhone. Turning on Reduced Motion on the iPhone helps, but is still lags the Note.
 

Coney718

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So these issues related to stuttery scrolling/animations, battery and RAM leave a really bad taste in my mouth. The Note 5 is such a superior phone on paper hardware-wise, but do I really have to hand it to the IPhone 6S Plus here simply because its software is much better aligned with its hardware?
.

This basically sums it up for me when it comes to iOS vs. Android. I have the 6s Plus now and love it. I also had the S6 for 5 months and played with a friends Note 5 for a while and I agree with you on most of your points. The Note 5 (and most android phones) are always better on paper if you just look at specs. But battery life, app quality, bloatware and OS optimization has always been (and may always be) the thing that turns alot of ppl off to Android. In the 5 months I had my S6 I experienced multiple app crashes, OS lag, random restarts, etc. In the 3 months with the 6s Plus I haven't had any of those issues, not once. As far as customization, yes note 5 blows the iphone out the water no doubt about that, and if that's really important to you then that's cool. But me personally I prefer a smooth operating experience, high quality apps, and great battery life (without having to use any battery saving apps or tweaks). I used to love tweaking and customizing my android phone but at this point in my life I just need something thats reliable, stable and works well right out the box.
 

worldspy99

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The one thing that keeps me away from iOS is their terrible keyboard. How come no one notices an extra tap required to enter a punctuation! This can be somewhat circumvented by a third party keyboard but still on certain apps the default Apple keyboard still manages to pop up. I type a lot of stuff on my phones/tablets and this particular issue just drives me bananas.
 

tubbz the bull

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This basically sums it up for me when it comes to iOS vs. Android. I have the 6s Plus now and love it. I also had the S6 for 5 months and played with a friends Note 5 for a while and I agree with you on most of your points. The Note 5 (and most android phones) are always better on paper if you just look at specs. But battery life, app quality, bloatware and OS optimization has always been (and may always be) the thing that turns alot of ppl off to Android. In the 5 months I had my S6 I experienced multiple app crashes, OS lag, random restarts, etc. In the 3 months with the 6s Plus I haven't had any of those issues, not once. As far as customization, yes note 5 blows the iphone out the water no doubt about that, and if that's really important to you then that's cool. But me personally I prefer a smooth operating experience, high quality apps, and great battery life (without having to use any battery saving apps or tweaks). I used to love tweaking and customizing my android phone but at this point in my life I just need something thats reliable, stable and works well right out the box.

These are just my beliefs but what i believe is that andriod os designers does is turn their ideas into things. So they make these aops and upgrades to their phones but they dont completely debug the app. So we had things like nfc s beam and ir blasters and apps to go along with em but apple will develop these same things but wont release apps or features until they know nothing will absolutely go wrong while android will be first to drop. All of apple technology is technically 2 or 3 years behind but 2 or 3 years ago we had ot and it had bugs. My note 5 crashed literally 20 to 25 times a day until these last 2 updates (reasons why i dont want this marshmallow update). While an iphone wont have these same features but wont crash at all

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jlczl

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Have you considered rooting the Note 5 and applying a custom ROM? That way you could compare a jailbroken iPhone to a rooted Note. My main phone is a Note 4 that I love but I also lease a second device from T-Mobile. I recently traded in my iPhone 6s to give a Note 5 a second shot. I personally can't see how anyone would be happy with a stock Note 5 but once I rooted and ROM'd the Note was a way better experience all around than the 6s.

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OceanView

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I have both the note 5 and iphone 6S Plus and I would pick the Note 5 every time.
After looking at a Note 5 screen, it's really hard to go back to an iphone screen. The iphone is not in the same league. Other issues such as swype keyboard not working properly on the iphone is a pain in the ****. I still feel iOS is about 2-3 years behind android and Samsung in general.
 

Coney718

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These are just my beliefs but what i believe is that andriod os designers does is turn their ideas into things. So they make these aops and upgrades to their phones but they dont completely debug the app. So we had things like nfc s beam and ir blasters and apps to go along with em but apple will develop these same things but wont release apps or features until they know nothing will absolutely go wrong while android will be first to drop. All of apple technology is technically 2 or 3 years behind but 2 or 3 years ago we had ot and it had bugs. My note 5 crashed literally 20 to 25 times a day until these last 2 updates (reasons why i dont want this marshmallow update). While an iphone wont have these same features but wont crash at all

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Completely agree. Samsung always tried to cram as many features in their phones as quick as possible so they can say "Hey look what our phone can do that the iPhone can't" but many of those features are useless, half baked or just dont work well. iPhone is not about getting first its about getting it right.
 

recDNA

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Dear all,

I'd like to share my experience with both phones with you.

The IPhone 6S Plus has been my primary phone for the past 2 months. I bought it on launchday and jailbroke it after using it for a while (which unexpectedly turned out to be quite easy, took me a 2 hours to figure it all out) because I needed some additional features (such as f.lux, Twilight on Android, to 'warm' the colors of the screen when it gets dark - to put less strain on the the eyes).

The IPhone 6S Plus is just an amazing phone overall: amazing battery, never crashes, always smooth and almost never stutters, but 2 things bothered me: (1) boredom because of the limited customization abilities and (2) the screen quality seemed much better on the Note 5.
Luxury problems indeed very much!

So I decided to buy a Note 5 a week ago and how now used both phones extensively side-by-side for a week - spending the most of the weekend setting up the Note 5 with my IPhone 6s Plus in my other hand. I now have to decide what to do: return my Note 5 within the 14-days-return-policy or sell my IPhone 6s Plus.

The main differences I experienced:

- The screen of the Note 5 is beautiful with its vibrant colors, much better than the IPhone 6s Plus. The only thing that sucks of the Note 5 screen is the color white: white actually looks yellowish on AMOLED. I'm sure your eyes won't notice it anymore after a while, but having the IPhone 6 next to it you clearly see the difference: when I was scrolling through Google News pages which have a lot of white in it I felt like the screen of the Note 5 was a bit dirty all the time because of the yellowing (I tried change Adaptive display to cinema to basic etc., but the yellowish white is just inherent to AMOLED). Were I to pick between both screens, however, I would definately go for the Note 5.

- I love the customization possibilities of the Note 5 in comparison to the IPhone 6S Plus , being able to design your own homescreen and so on. I got bored of the IPhone 6S Plus, and jailibreaking can only very partly solve this. The Note 5 just blows the IPhone 6S Plus out of the water here. This also helps since the way the Note 5 came out of the box came across as really ugly to me. The cartoonish layout seems to be part of Lollipop and I hope they get rid of it (some of the features are built-in the core it seems and cannot really be changed).

- S-Pen versus 3D touch: the real unique features of each phone. I have hardly used 3D Touch over the past 2 months. I tried to get myself to use it more for peek-and-pop and so on, but found it simpler to just touch normally in the end. To me it only is useful for scrolling the cursor over text. The S-Pen seems much more appealing and allows for much more creativity. I just like the idea of pulling the pen out and do things with it to change things up a little - I never really got this feeling with 3D touch. Hence, I'd much prefer the Pen over 3D Touch.

- App quality: the IPhone 6S Plus is clearly better in this respect. Even apps from Google I found much better designed (visually and usability-wise) in iOS (compare the gmail app on Android to the gmail app on iOS and you'll clearly see the difference). The stock email from Android, the stock browser from Android, all much inferior to their counterparts by iOS. I have searched around on the Google Play Store for alternatives, but my impressions is the apps there simply can't beat the apps for iOS.

- The IPhone 6S Plus is much smoother than the Note 5 in scrolling, animations and so on . There have been many threads on scrolling problems on Android devices (I just read a huge thread on this from April 2015) and I find it embarassing that Android hasn't gotten this right yet. Sure, great hardware on paper, but just making scrolling smooth is impossible? I use my phone as an E-Reader, so I installed Kindle on the Note 5 and used it alongside my IPhone 6S Plus for the same book, and scrolling through pages just gave me a headache on the Note 5 after a while. Every time you turn a page on the Note 5 it hurts the eyes, and this not only holds for Kindle for also for other apps (the browser for instance - don't even get me started on using Chrome on the Note 5 which is installed by default). I tried fiddling with the developer options, changing the animation speeds, disabling them and so on, as well as factory resets, clearing caches, and many other things, but it just doesn't help much. Again, maybe you'll get used to it after a while, but put the phones side-by-side and you'll clearly notice the difference. The IPhone 6S Plus is just much easier on the eye overall in terms of smoothness than the Note 5.

- The Note 5 is much worse on battery than the IPhone 6s Plus . I have fiddled with both phones for hours straight on whilst holding each phone in 1 hand, doing the same tasks, running the same apps, running the same videos, and the IPhone absolutely outperforms here. And this is while my IPhone was fully configured and had a lot of apps running in the background (three apps fetching emails on push for instance) while the Note 5 came fresh out of the box. Given that the battery size of the Note 5 is even larger than the IPhone 6s Plus (3000 mAh versus 2750 mAh) it shouldn't perform so bad in comparison, it just reflects bad programming on the side of Android in comparison to iOS. Of course the Note 5 has fast charging but still this definately shouldn't be necessary.

- The IPhone 6S Plus has much better memory management than the Note 5 . The Note 5 has twice as much memory as the IPhone 6s Plus (4 versus 2 gig of RAM) but again, like the battery, this was not reflected whilst using the phone. Particularly when watching a video, going to other apps, and then going back to the video, 7 out of 10 times the Note 5 had to reload the video from the beginning again, whereas this was almost never the case with the IPhone 6s Plus, even when the latter had much more apps running. Again, this just reflects bad programming on the side of Android in comparison to iOS.

So these issues related to stuttery scrolling/animations, battery and RAM leave a really bad taste in my mouth. The Note 5 is such a superior phone on paper hardware-wise, but do I really have to hand it to the IPhone 6S Plus here simply because its software is much better aligned with its hardware?

So I tried fixing these issues on the Note 5. I have spent days going through threads and carrying out the steps below. They did help to some extent, but the IPhone 6S Plus still blows the Note 5 out of the water in these areas.

- The Note 5 apparently comes with a lot of unnecessary garbage that affects battery life and memory . I have followed the now-famous guide by rlsrouf debloating the Note 5 and disabled 178 system apps and bloatware (178 is the lower end of the spectrum of bloatware to disable). However, this also made many features disappear (e.g. the ability to put an Action Note on the homescreen wit the S Pen, having the calendar as a Widget), so I had to go through each of these 178 to figure out why I couldn't do certain things anymore. This took me longer than actually figuring out how to jailbreak the IPhone 6S Plus, and I have not figured out most of it yet.
And the worst thing of this is, having disabled these 178 things I don't know the features that I am missing now since they just disappear from the phone (for instance, I noted by incident on youtube that there was a function to put an Action Note on the Home screen and only then figured out that I had disabled it as one of these 178 things). Having to disable such an amount of garbage to increase memory performance is really bad.

- Relatedly, many threads have been posted about the 'Cell Standy battery drain' (particularly affecting Verizon Phones, but have also read about bad AT&T experiences). I have gone through countless of threads, disabling voice-over-LTE/HQ calling, disabling wifi when the phone is asleep, and so on and so forth, but the Cell Standby still drains much battery. In many threads there seems now the be a concensus that this is a bug that has not been fixed yet. Seriously? After 3 months this huge drain bug is still unfixed and as far as I know has not even been acknowledged by Android/Samsung/providers? Very bad.

So now I am hesitating which phone to keep :
- Keep the Note 5 which has a superior screen (despite the yellowish white) and allows for much more creativity through its customization options and the Pen but having to deal with with bad software integration with worse battery + worse memory management + less smooth scrolling and animations + worse apps?

- Or keep the IPhone 6S Plus, which just works perfectly all around and gets me through the day easily, does everything I want smoothly, but which allows for very little creativity and bores me. I am leaning towards the IPhone 6S Plus now, especially since I like reading on my phone and tend to get a headache from going through stuttery animations/scrolling all the time. My brain says IPhone 6S Plus, but my heart says Note 5. Maybe I should just stick to the Note 5 and hope my eyes get adjusted to less smoothness, which they probably will, but I'm afraid it'll have me longing back to the IPhone 6S Plus after awhile.
Set screen to "dynamic". It is blue-er
 

sydneycooper1979

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My opinion would be to keep the 6S Plus. The plus will work well for a lot longer than the Note 5 will (generally speaking of course). The Note 5 is a great device and probably my favorite in the Note series to date. And I do agree, the screen and S pen are absolutely fantastic! My husband has had his Note 5 since launch day and it's starting to bug out a little bit. Like the screen freezing on calls or the phone not ringing when someone calls and such. I just don't have those problems with my plus. If you just want to tinker, grab a nexus tablet or pick up a nexus 5 on the cheap and tinker all you want. For day to day, I personally would stick with the iPhone (not to mention better resale value and better customer service).