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6 things Samsung Galaxy S6 does that iPhone 6 can't

Al Sacco | April 6, 2015
Samsung and Apple are the undisputed kings of the smartphone world, and both own right about 20 percent of the global market, according to recent research from IDC. Apple and the iPhone beat out Samsung and its seemingly endless array of handhelds in total sales to end users for the first time during the final quarter of last year, thanks in no small part to the white-hot market reception of both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

The main competitive differentiator, and competitive advantage, for Samsung Pay compared to the popular Apple Pay is its support of magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology, which in theory lets you pay at any PoS terminal that accepts magnetic stripe credit cards. That includes about 90 percent of U.S. retailers, compared to the roughly 5 percent that support NFC and Apple Pay, according to Samsung.

Of course, Samsung Pay is not yet available. When it is released, however, it has the potential to see much wider adoption than Apple Pay because it's expected to work at so many more retail locations. Samsung also told me that GS6 users wouldn't need any sort of accessory or add-on to enable MST payments via Samsung Pay, so you'll be able to use the service at many different retail locations as soon as it's available.

2) Samsung Galaxy S6 and wireless charging

Both new GS6 smartphones support wireless charging without any sort of add-on accessory. The devices support both the Wireless Power Consortium (PWC) Qi (pronounced "chee") and Power Matters Alliance (PMA) wireless charging standards, so they work with charge mats that use either technology. In other words, hungry GS6 users can charge their famished phones at select McDonald's, some of which have PMA charging stations, and GS6 owners in need of caffeine fixes can also wirelessly charge their sleepy smartphones at some Starbucks locations, where Qi stations are available.

It takes longer to charge the GS6 wirelessly than if you use a traditional power cable. For example, using the special charger that came with the GS6 edge, which enables "Adaptive Fast Charging," I was able to fully charge that dead device in just under two hours, while it took me almost three hours to fully charge the dead GS6 edge using Samsung's new Wireless Charging Pad, which costs $50 and uses Qi. In many cases, wireless charging is more convenient, though.

iPhone 6 users can purchase cases to enable wireless charging, but most of these accessories support only one standard, and many are bulky and relatively expensive. (On a separate but related note, the GS6 phones both use standard micro USB ports, compared to Apple's proprietary Lightning ports, so you can use micro USB cords and accessories from a variety of other manufacturers with Samsung phones but not Apple devices.)

3) Samsung Galaxy S6 security and Smart Lock

The GS6 and GS6 edge both support Android Smart Lock features that let you keep your device unlocked when it's in range of a trusted Bluetooth device, NFC tag or when it's in range of a designated trusted location, such as your home or office.

A GS6 owner can, for example, set his Android Wear smartwatch to be a trusted device, so his phone stays unlocked when in hand or in a pocket but then locks if he takes the watch off and walks off. Or he can program NFC tags, such as Samsung's TecTiles, to be trusted tags, then set his phone on the tag to keep it unlocked at his desk or on a night stand.


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