A video posted Saturday by PhoneBuff shows the real-world speed differences between Samsung’s latest Galaxy Note 7 device and the (nearly) year old iPhone 6s. The difference is striking.

As John Gruber points out, it is difficult to tell whether or not the big difference in speed is due to the Operating Systems or hardware present in these devices.

There is another factor to consider, however…

I’m more inclined to believe that screen resolution has a big part to play. The Galaxy Note 7 sports a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels while the iPhone 6s has a screen resolution of 1,334 x 750 pixels. Even the equivalently larger iPhone 6s Plus has fewer pixels than the Note 7, at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. Having nearly half the number of pixels as the Galaxy Note 7, the iPhone 6s has the clear advantage when it comes to required processing power. Lower screen resolutions require less processing power to display apps and games.

Zommuter on Stack Exchange sums up the difference in graphical power required pretty well:

“… doubling your resolution requires four times as many pixels to be updated per frame.”

While the screen resolution differences of both devices likely play a part in how fast they open apps, iOS software optimizations also contribute to the iPhone 6s killing it in this speed test. Each app and game used in the speed test was inherently specifically developed with the exact hardware configuration of the iPhone 6s in mind. By knowing exactly what device will be used and with what hardware, Xcode enables developers to write more efficient code that is optimized for a predefined hardware ecosystem.

Android lacks this cohesive integration of software and hardware, with a seemingly limitless number of devices and hardware configurations that may be used with these apps. This may also contribute to the real-world disadvantage the Note 7 shows compared to the iPhone in the video above.

The most logical scenario is that the combination of these factors is what gives the iPhone 6s the speed edge over the Galaxy Note 7. The lower screen resolution coupled with the software and hardware integration of the iPhone is probably enough to give it the advantage. What I found most surprising was that the iPhone did not just have an edge – it absolutely obliterated Samsung’s latest device.

With the iPhone 7 release date right around the corner, I’m especially interested to see comparisons with Samsung’s 2016 flagship Note 7 and Apple’s 2016 flagship iPhone 7.

This is going to be an exciting September!

Although specific to desktop computers, this video does a great job of explaining the relationship of screen resolution and required processing power. Smartphones have become more similar to traditional computers over the years, and I believe the information provided here are relevant to the Galaxy Note 7 and iPhone 6s speed comparison.

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