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Shootout: The best smartphone of 2015

By James Lu - 31 Dec 2015

Apple iPhone 6s and HTC One M9



Smartphones are one of the most competitive consumer markets out there, especially at the high-end where manufacturers get to showcase their latest and greatest research and development and most luxurious designs. We’ve rounded up six of the best flagship smartphones to find out which is truly the best of the best.

Here are our competitors:

  Apple iPhone 6s Plus HTC One M9 Huawei Nexus 6P LG V10 Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
  Apple iPhone 6s Plus HTC One M9 Huawei Nexus 6P LG V10 Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
Launch SRP
  • From S$1008
  • From S$949
  • From S$1088
  • From S$1088
  • From S$1098
Operating system
  • iOS 9
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop with HTC Sense 7
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • Apple A9 64-bit dual-core 1.8GHz processor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core (Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2 GHz Cortex-A57)
  • Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810 v2.1 (Quad-core 1.55 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A57)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 (quad-core 1.44 GHz & dual-core 1.82 GHz)
  • Samsung Exynos 7420 octa-core (quad-core 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 & quad-core 2.1GHz Cortex-A57)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core (Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2 GHz Cortex-A57)
Built-in Memory
  • 2GB RAM
  • 3GB RAM
  • 3GB RAM
  • 4GB RAM
  • 3GB RAM
  • 5.5-inch Retina HD / 1,920 x 1,080 pixels / IPS
  • 5-inch / 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (441 ppi) / Super LCD 3
  • 5.7-inch / 2,560 x 1,440 pixels (518 ppi) / AMOLED
  • 5.7-inch / 2,560 x 1,440 pixels (515ppi) / IPS
  • 5.7-inch / 2,560 x 1,440 pixels (518 ppi) / Super AMOLED
  • 5.5-inch / 4K UHD 3840x2160 pixels (806 ppi) / IPS LCD
  • Rear: 12-megapixel iSight camera with phase detection autofocus, optical image stabilization and dual warm/cool LED flashes
  • Front: 5-megapixels FaceTime HD camera
  • Rear: 20.7-megapixel, f/2.2, 27.8mm lens, autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash
  • Front: 4-megapixel (HTC Ultrapixel) f/2.0, 26.8mm
  • Rear: 12.3-megapixel with f/2.0 aperture and laser autofocus
  • Front: 8-megapixel with f/2.4 aperture
  • Rear: 16-megapixel with f/1.8, optical image stabilization and laser autofocus
  • Front: dual 5-megapixel
  • Rear: 16-megapixel with f/1.9 aperture and smart OIS
  • Front: 5-megapixel with f/1.9 aperture
  • Rear: 23-megapixel, f/2.0, 1/2.3-inch sensor size, 5248 х 3936 pixels, OIS, autofocus, LED flash
  • Front: 5.1-megapixel
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, hotspot, Bluetooth v4.2, A2DP, LE, GPS, GLONASS, Lightning connector, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX enabled, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5GHz), NFC, DLNA, Micro-USB 2.0,
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4+5GHz), MIMO (2x2), Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, USB 2.0 Type-C connector
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, A-GPS, GLONASS, CAT 6 LTE
  • Bluetooth 4.2, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4+5GHz), Wi-Fi Direct, GPS, GLONASS, NFC
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot, NFC, Bluetooth v4.1
Storage Type
  • 16 / 64 / 128GB internal storage
  • 32GB internal storage
  • microSD support up to 128GB
  • 32 / 64 / 128GB internal storage
  • 64GB internal storage
  • microSD support up to 2TB
  • 32 / 64GB internal storage
  • 32GB internal storage
  • microSD support up to 200GB
  • 2,750mAh
  • 2,840mAh
  • 3,450mAh
  • 3,000mAh
  • 3,000mAh
  • 3,430mAh
  • 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm
  • 144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61mm
  • 159.3 x 77.8 x 7.3 mm
  • 159.6 x 79.3 x 8.6 mm
  • 153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6mm
  • 154.4 x 76.0 x 7.8mm
  • 192g
  • 157g
  • 178g
  • 192g
  • 171g
  • 181g


Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Full review here.

The iPhone 6s Plus may look identical to last year's model but once you start using it you realize just how different it is. The biggest addition is 3D Touch, Apple's game-changing technology that we expect to see many brands try to copy and reproduce on their 2016 flagship smartphones.

If you're not familiar with 3D Touch, its a technology built into the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus display that lets it register varying degrees of pressure. With 3D Touch, you can press harder than normal on a homescreen app, and a Quick Actions menu will appear with shortcuts related to that app - like taking a selfie with the camera, or calling one of your favorite contacts. When you’re actually inside an app, you can hard press on web URLs, messages, maps or images to create a ‘Peek’ window that lets you preview that content. Press harder a second time to ‘Pop’ that content open in its related app. 3D Touch is a revolutionary addition to the touchscreen interface that creates a new way to interact with your phone. It makes everything more efficient and convenient and introduces a completely new way to interact with your phone that is both intuitive and incredibly useful. It's the single biggest improvement to the touchscreen since its creation. Here are some key apps that are 3D Touch ready.

And it's not just 3D Touch either, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus benefit greatly from upgraded cameras and processors, expanded RAM, and better battery life. All of these combine for what is easily the best iPhone ever.


HTC One M9

Full review here.

The HTC One M9 was one of the earliest flagship smartphones released in 2015 (way back in April). As expected from HTC's One line, the phone boasts a combination of luxurious looks and premium materials with a comfortable and ergonomic shape, an excellent display and some of the best stereo speakers available on a smartphone. It's also one of the few flagship smartphones left these days with expandable storage. But for all its good points, there's just nothing particularly exciting about it.

The HTC One's feature set hasn't really grown in two years, and even the Duo camera, one of last year's big features, is missing from the One M9. It's also the only smartphone in this comparison without a fingerprint scanner.

Additionally, areas which HTC have focused on, like the camera and battery life, arguably the two most important features of any smartphone, didn't really impress us, and the M9 isn't even a definite upgrade over last year's model in either of these categories.

Ultimately, despite the lack of innovation or any major upgrades, the One M9 is still a good phone, but it leaves a very big question hanging over HTC's head for 2016. Where does it go from here?