We round up the best 5.5-inch smartphones that you can buy right now, to see which boasts the better design, performance, battery life, cameras and value for money. Here’s our full iPhone 6s Plus vs Huawei P9 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy A7 2016 vs OnePlus 3 vs Moto G4 Plus comparison review.
Just a few years ago, we gently mocked Samsung’s very first phablet device, the Galaxy Note, for being really rather big. But you might be shocked to hear that the Samsung Galaxy Note was a 5.3-inch phone.
These days, 5.3-inches is positively standard. In fact it could almost be described as ‘compact’ because we’ve already seen several 5.5-inch phones launch in 2016. From the latest iPhone to great-value Androids like the OnePlus 3 and Moto G4 Plus, 5.5 seems to suddenly be the magic number.
And while these 5.5-inch beasts aren’t well suited to one-handed use, they sure are great for staying entertained on the go, thanks to their spacious HD screens. You can enjoy high-def movies, comfortably browse the web and play the latest games, all on a gorgeous full-sized screen.
Here’s our pick of the best 5.5-inch phones right now, and how they stack up against one another.
Moto G4 Plus vs OnePlus 3 vs Galaxy A7 2016 vs Huawei P9 Plus vs iPhone 6s Plus: At a glance
|Phone||iPhone 6s Plus||Huawei P9 Plus||Moto G4 Plus||OnePlus 3||Galaxy A7 2016|
|OS||iOS 9||Android 6.0||Android 6.0||Android 6.0||Android 5.1|
|Processor||A9||Kirin 955||Snapdragon 617||Snapdragon 820||Snapdragon 615|
|Cameras||12MP + 5MP||12MP (dual) + 8MP||16MP + 8MP||16MP + 8MP||13MP + 5MP|
|Price||From £619||£549||From £199||£320||£350|
Moto G4 Plus vs OnePlus 3 vs Galaxy A7 2016 vs Huawei P9 Plus vs iPhone 6s Plus: Design
Line up these 5.5-inch mobiles side-by-side and there’s obviously one that doesn’t quite fit with the others. We’re talking about the Moto G4 Plus, which sports a modest plastic frame rather than the metallic finishes of the other handsets here.
That’s not too surprising as the Moto G4 Plus is the cheapest phone in this group, and while it doesn’t look quite as shiny and gorgeous as the rest of these devices, it is the only handset that can be customised before you buy it. Head to Motorola’s website and the Moto Maker service allows you to pick from a selection of vibrant colours. You can even have the phone engraved with a message of your choice (including dirty words if you’re so inclined).
Another stand-out handset is the Galaxy A7 2016, which sports Samsung's now-typical blend of metal edging and a glossy rear. That glass backing gets scuffed up pretty easily, but it's still an attractive mobile.
The iPhone 6s Plus, OnePlus 3 and Huawei P9 Plus all sport a sexy metal jacket which stretches around the back and edges of the phones. They’re suitably hardy and thinner than the Moto G4 Plus too, although none of the handsets here are water-resistant.
Moto G4 Plus vs OnePlus 3 vs Galaxy A7 2016 vs Huawei P9 Plus vs iPhone 6s Plus: Screen and media
All five phones here not only boast the same 5.5-inch screen size, but also the same 1920x1080 Full HD resolution. That means videos and images look pleasingly crisp on each of these devices.
Each phone is this round-up also sports a panel with strong brightness and wide viewing angles; there isn’t a dud among them. In fact, the only real difference is the vibrancy of the displays.
Samsung’s Galaxy A7 2016, the OnePlus 3 and the Huawei P9 Plus all pack in AMOLED screens which make for punchy, stand-out colours. You can fiddle with the colour warmth in the display settings to suit your personal tastes, making for a more comfortable viewing experience at night. And there are ‘vivid modes’ on the Galaxy A7 and P9 Plus if you really like super-rich colours.
The iPhone 6s Plus and Moto G4 Plus veer towards more realistic hues, although the iPhone also packs in a ‘Night Shift’ mode which again makes the screen warmer and less stressful on the eyeballs.
If you like to carry around a large media collection, then beware the OnePlus 3 and iPhone 6s Plus. The other three mobiles here have a microSD memory card slot to expand the on-board storage, but this feature is missing from the OnePlus and the iPhone. Thankfully the OnePlus 3 at least comes with 64GB of storage space as default, but you’ll need to pay through the nose to upgrade from the basic 16GB model of iPhone 6s Plus.
Moto G4 Plus vs OnePlus 3 vs Galaxy A7 2016 vs Huawei P9 Plus vs iPhone 6s Plus: Features
Four out of five phones here run Android OS, while the iPhone 6s Plus of course uses Apple’s own iOS 9. These two different operating systems share many of the same features, but use their own app stores, voice assistants and so on.
If you want greater control over customisation, you’ll be better served by Android; this allows you to completely personalise almost every aspect of your handset, including installing a new launcher for a fresh new look and feel.
One point worth making is that the Samsung Galaxy A7 2016 runs Android Lollipop, which has since been succeeded by Android Marshmallow (found on the OnePlus, Moto and Huawei handsets here). This means it misses out on some of the latest Google features, including full control over app permissions.
Security-conscious users are well served by all five of these phones, which boast accurate and responsive fingerprint sensors. All five phones here also pack in NFC support, for the likes of contactless payment.
And the Galaxy A7 2016 also sports a stand-out feature in the guise of dual SIM card slots. This allows you to slip two SIMs into the phone and use them simultaneously, although a single SIM model is also available.
Moto G4 Plus vs OnePlus 3 vs Galaxy A7 2016 vs Huawei P9 Plus vs iPhone 6s Plus: Performance
If you’re after the top performers in this group then look no further than the iPhone 6s Plus and the OnePlus 3. Both phones benchmark well above the rest of the competition, which is particularly impressive from the OnePlus 3. After all, it’s one of the cheapest mobiles here, after the Moto G4 Plus.
That said, all five phones here offer a smooth everyday experience right now. We had no trouble running the latest games and apps, even with lots of stuff open at the same time. In the long term of course, it’s the iPhone and OnePlus that should hold up against the competition.
Moto G4 Plus vs OnePlus 3 vs Galaxy A7 2016 vs Huawei P9 Plus vs iPhone 6s Plus: Battery life
When it comes to battery life, it’s a close call between these five phones.
We’ve found that the Samsung Galaxy A7 2017 and Huawei P9 Plus just about win this round, offering pretty much two full days of regular use between each charge. The OnePlus 3 and Moto G4 Plus are close behind, with around a day and a half of battery life before the handset dies.
Bringing up the rear is the iPhone 6s Plus, which gives around 24 hours of use per charge.
However, we also have to big up the OnePlus 3 for its incredible Dash Charge tech, which sees the phone charge up to almost capacity in just over an hour. In comparison, the other phones here take around an hour and a half to reach the same level.
Moto G4 Plus vs OnePlus 3 vs Galaxy A7 2016 vs Huawei P9 Plus vs iPhone 6s Plus: Cameras
Out of these handsets, the iPhone 6s Plus boasts the best camera tech; not surprising as it’s also the most expensive phone here. Apple’s 12-megapixel optics and streamlined app combine wonderfully, offering a simple point n’ shoot snapper that captures bright, crisp photos in almost any conditions. You can also shoot up to 4K UHD video, for ultra-sharp home movies.
Huawei’s P9 Plus sports the most unique smartphone camera here, with a dual-lens 12-megapixel snapper housed on the rear. Huawei wisely joined forces with optics expert Leica and the result is a great snapper that can capture gorgeous macro shots, with impressive boche effects. However, the P9 Plus also maxes out at Full HD video rather than 4K. Check out our in-depth Huawei P9 Plus camera review.
The Moto G4 Plus and Samsung Galaxy A7 2017 also offer solid and dependable cameras which shoot photos quickly and produce clean results across a range of conditions. Both phones can shoot up to Full HD video, with no option for 4K like the P9 Plus. Take a look at our Moto G4 Plus camera review.
The OnePlus 3’s camera is decent, but falls down when it comes to low light performance and video recording. Our video footage often had distorted audio and didn’t look as clean as that shot on the other phones here. Take a look at our OnePlus 3 camera review for samples and more in-depth analysis.
Read next: Best cameraphones you can buy right now
Moto G4 Plus vs OnePlus 3 vs Galaxy A7 2016 vs Huawei P9 Plus vs iPhone 6s Plus: Verdict
As always in these mobile phone group tests, each handset has its own strengths and weaknesses.
The iPhone 6s Plus is a stand-out phone when it comes to camera ability, while also impressing with strong performance and its ease of use. However, it’s also much more expensive than the other handsets here, so anyone on a budget might be swayed by the much cheaper OnePlus 3 instead. You still get a mobile powerhouse, with the added bonus of better battery life, although the camera isn’t quite as good.
Meanwhile the Galaxy A7 2016 is a solid all-rounder that may not excel in any particular area except for battery life, but the colourful screen, sleek design and dependable camera tech make for a pleasing user experience. And if you’re on a stricter budget, the Moto G4 Plus is another gem with few weaknesses, although the plastic design isn’t quite as premium.