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
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  • techconc - Monday, October 06, 2014 - link

    @shm224 - I now know several people with iPhone 6 and 6+ devices that keep them in their pockets. They all seem to agree that there is no merit to this "bend gate" nonsense. While nobody doubts that these phones can bend under a certain amount of pressure (90 lbs. according to Consumer Reports), from a practical matter, it's a non-issue. Further, I find it rather interesting that phones such as the HTC One which bend under significantly less pressure (70 lbs.) don't receive the same sort of media attention.
    As for the 8.0.1 update, yup, Apple screwed that up. Fortunately, for Apple, the update was pulled after about an hour. It's also fortunate that in only affected some phones and only for the over the air update as opposed to the iTunes update. To your point, no, this typically isn't an issue for other phones... then again, neither are regular updates.
    Reply
  • elajt_1 - Friday, October 03, 2014 - link

    (@melgross) And to call you one would be an insult to an idiot.
    Apart from the rage, I think it was he made some valid points.
    Reply
  • Jimrod - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    You mad bro? Reply
  • rational_wannabe - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    You have serious issues. So it's OK for Samsung to sell their plastic crap for the same amount of money? Nice way of rationalizing things... Reply
  • danbob999 - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Yeah it's OK since there is nothing wrong with plastic. It absorbs shock, is light and do not block wireless signal. Perfect material for a phone. It is also durable enough. How many people replace their phone because the plastic is cracked? Not much. People replace their phone either because the screen is broken, it was damaged by liquid or simply because it is too slow/old.

    Apple has been selling phones which are cheaper to produce for years at the same price (or higher) than the competition. Smaller phones tend to be cheaper, because the display is cheaper, the battery is cheaper, and the rest cost the same. So even by using plastic, Samsung phones cost more to produce so I fail to see how they can be labeled as "cheap".
    Reply
  • blackcrayon - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Apple is spending far more in developing the phone in other areas though. Writing the OS, designing custom SoCs, etc. Reply
  • danbob999 - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Designing custom SoCs is an investment. It isn't supposed to raise the cost of the phone.
    Samsung also design some of its own SoCs and even manufacture them.

    The OS is debatable. But from a hardware perspective Samsung phones (at least the high end ones) are definitely not cheap, even if they use plastic.
    Reply
  • Parhel - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    R&D should affect the cost of the product? That's not how it works . . . Reply
  • Parhel - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Ugh.. meant to say R&D "shouldn't". To state it plainly, R&D may be an investment, but it's still an expense. The cost needs to be recouped, and they make money by selling phones, so . . . you do the math. Reply
  • danbob999 - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Of course they have to make money. But spending more in software development, R&D or marketing doesn't make their phone any less "cheap". I was replying to someone saying that Samsung phones were "cheap" because they were in plastic. The fact is that Samsung phones tend to be more expensive than iPhones to make, because the cost of the components is higher, despite any savings made by using a plastic shell. Reply

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