Video Quality

At a high level, video recording seems to be mostly similar. Both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 continue to rely on EIS for video stabilization, both seem to use somewhat similar optics and sensors, and both can only shoot 1080p video. However, the details are really where we see improvements in the iPhone 6. For starters, the iPhone 6 now has 1080p60 video support, which is definitely helpful for improving spatial resolution and general performance. There's also 720p240 slow motion video, which is an addition to the 720p120 video that we saw in the iPhone 5s.

Video Encode Settings (Approx.)
  iPhone 5s iPhone 6
1080p30 17 Mbps High Profile H.264 17 Mbps High Profile H.264
1080p60 - 27 Mbps High Profile H.264
720p120 27 Mbps High Profile H.264 31 Mbps High Profile H.264
720p240 - 42 Mbps High Profile H.264

As you can see, there's really not a massive difference in encoding bitrate, at least for the standard video record settings. However, even casual examination shows just how big a difference there is when comparing video from the iPhone 5s to video from the iPhone 6.

While the YouTube compression is likely to make it hard to see whether the iPhone 6 really has better video quality, when viewed at full resolution with Quicktime it seems that there is some level of improvement, but this could be due to the smaller field of view that is used when compared to the iPhone 5s. This tighter FOV also seems to be part of the reason why the stabilization is more effective than before. At various points in the video, it's quite obvious that the iPhone 6 is also benefiting greatly from PDAF as we see seamless transitions throughout the video and consistently better focus while the iPhone 5s is locked from the start and would require multiple taps to refocus the video.

1080p60 brings significant improvements to temporal quality, as capturing fast motion is noticeably more fluid when compared to 1080p30. Video stabilization is also retained, which makes 1080p60 an easy choice when capturing fast-moving objects.

As with the iPhone 5s, the original video on NAND is saved to play back at either 120 or 240 fps, but on the phone and when uploaded to social media the slow motion versions play back certain parts at 30 fps. As far as I can tell, there's relatively little difference in the image quality between the two modes, but this advantage is unlikely to hold when in lower light situations as the frame rate inherently caps the exposure time.

Camera: Still Image Performance Audio Quality


View All Comments

  • bigstrudel - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Yeah Alpha and Note 4 are frankensteinish. Plastic on the back. Metal on the edge. Glass on the front.

    No wonder the Note 4 has gaps in the build you can slide a piece of construction paper into.

    Samsung needs to go back to what they do best: using leftover "polycarbonate" TV scrap to make their devices.
  • danbob999 - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Like I said, I agree completely. I don't see any reason for not using plastic. Reply
  • elajt_1 - Friday, October 3, 2014 - link

    Metal + glass = heavier, breaks more easily, blocks signals. I would have to say that I like the iOS more than anything I've seen from Android so far tho. Reply
  • cupholder - Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - link

    Protip chuckles: Samsung phones cost more to make than the iPhone. So what point are you trying to make? That you'd prefer a cheap feeling bendable phone?

    And this is coming from someone with an iPhone 6+. It feels cheap. And it IS cheap.
  • Kidster3001 - Thursday, October 2, 2014 - link

    Plastic is not necessarily crap. I work with all kinds of phones everyday at work, testing them. In our experience iPhones are much more prone to breaking when dropped than are plastic phones. Metal and glass doesn't bounce very well. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    I think Apple needs to compete in the mid range and low end pricing segments, and they needed to a year or three ago.

    The lightning connector is defective, these iPhone 6s bend, which is absurd, etc...

    I'll defend the resolution though. It's perfectly fine. Android devices just compete on some specs that don't actually matter because there are so many companies directly combating each other.

    I think the iWatches LOOK great too for that matter, and they come in 90 billion styles anyway. BUT of course you have to be seriously married to iOS for their to be a point of them...even then, I'm not sure.

    Not sure about Google Wear either. I'd really prefer something that can work on it's own. As always, Microsoft was YEARS (a decade?) ahead on this with their spot watches, but everyone acts like Apple invented it LOL.
  • steven75 - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    I know lots of people with iOS devices and never heard any complaints about the lightning connector. That thing was an incredible improvement over the old 30 pin connector and is head and shoulders above micro USB as well. Reply
  • mrochester - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Yeah, I love the lighting connector. Micro USB is just horrible in comparison, I can't believe its not even reversible. Come on manufacturers, it's 2014, not 2011! Reply
  • Parhel - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Me too. I wish the cables were cheaper, but that's about it. Don't see how anyone could call it 'defective'. I've never had a cable or port break. I'm sure it happens, but I've never heard of it happening. Reply
  • Omega215D - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    That's my only issue with the Lightning cable is the price. Though I can find some good ones for a decent price from a reputable manufacturer and is sold in big brick&mortar stores like Best Buy.

    After using it for the iPod Nano 7th gen I can't go back to the old iPod cables.

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