Samsung's (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF) Galaxy S6 is a powerful phone, one fully capable of challenging Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 6. That's great for Samsung, as Apple's move into larger screens has coincided with a rapid decline in Samsung's mobile profit.
Samsung had the benefit of releasing its phone more than six months after Apple, but the Galaxy S6 still bests the iPhone 6 in several important ways. Below are six advantages Samsung's latest phone has over Apple's flagship -- they could prove to be vital difference makers to would-be buyers.
More ways to pay
Samsung's Galaxy S6 includes technology from LoopPay, a mobile payment start-up it acquired just days before announcing its newest handset. Samsung Pay, as its forthcoming mobile payment solution is called, will be superior to Apple Pay when it comes to merchant availability. Owing to its magnetic capabilities, Samsung Pay will work at over 90% of U.S. retailers, compared to just 3% that currently accept Apple Pay.
In addition, Samsung has kept NFC on board, so fans of Google Wallet can, if they prefer, still use that mobile payment solution instead.
A better screen
Samsung's Galaxy S6 has a larger, higher resolution screen than Apple's iPhone 6. The Galaxy S6 sports a 5.1-inch screen with a pixel density of 557. Apple's iPhone 6, in contrast, has a 4.7-inch display with a pixel density of only 326.
The Galaxy S6 also has smaller bezels, so buyers are getting more screen per inch. The Galaxy S6 edge -- a more expensive variant -- takes it a step further, with curving edges that wrap around the phone's sides.
Support for virtual reality
In real world usage, that might not translate into much of an advantage, but the excellent screen on the Galaxy S6 allows it to perform as a virtual reality headset. Samsung first introduced Gear VR last year with the launch of the Galaxy Note 4, and plans to roll out an updated model for use with the Galaxy S6 sometime this spring.
Admittedly, the iPhone 6 is capable of offering a few shallow virtual reality experiences when paired with Google Cardboard, but it remains a far cry from Samsung's more robust offering.
A faster processor
Samsung's Galaxy S6 is equipped with what may be the best mobile processor in existence. Computer Base ran a series of benchmark tests on Samsung's newest flagship earlier this month, and the results suggest that its processor is far superior to everything on the market, including the A8 found in Apple's iPhone 6.
More base storage
That isn't to say the A8 is a slouch -- in real world performance, most consumers aren't likely to notice much of a difference. But what they are likely to notice is a difference in storage: With 32 GB, the base model of the Galaxy S6 offers double the space of Apple's iPhone 6 (16GB).
That means more installed apps, more photos, and more music. It might also mean a cheaper phone: pricing for the Galaxy S6 has yet to be confirmed, but buyers may find that the 32 GB base option is more than adequate for their needs. The 16 GBs offered by the base iPhone 6, in contrast, may not be enough, and could prompt many to pay the extra $100 for the 64 GB option.
Faster, wireless charging
The Galaxy S6 charges twice as fast as Apple's iPhone 6, and with rapid recharging, can regain enough power for four hours of use in just 10 minutes. It also -- unlike the iPhone 6 -- offers built-in wireless recharging. That means Galaxy S6 owners can charge their phones by laying them down on a mat instead of plugging them into the wall.
But there's one crucial feature Samsung's Galaxy S6 lacks: iOS. It may be more technologically advanced than Apple's iPhone 6 in nearly every way, but Samsung still can't offer the same, cohesive operating system experience as the iPhone. For that reason, longtime Apple buyers aren't likely to be swayed, though a few may be interested. More importantly, potential Android switchers that may have considered leaving for the iPhone might now rethink their decision.
With its mobile profits in free fall, Samsung needs the Galaxy S6 to be a winner. Combined, these six features should help its latest flagship regain some of that lost momentum.
Sam Mattera has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Google (A shares), and Google (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google (A shares), and Google (C shares). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.