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Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 7 comparison: seventh heaven

The iPhone 7 has been announced and really has it all. With hardware innovations and improved photographic capabilities, this looks like the phone to beat. Or is it? When we tested Samsung's Galaxy S7, it performed better than any other phone we benchmarked. But which one should you buy? Find out in this Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 7 comparison.

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 7 comparison: Design

The Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7 both have something in common – they each have some of the best hardware design you'll find in any smartphone. First up is the S7, with its glossy glass and metal finish. It has curvature on the front and back, not as pronounced as the S7 Edge, but this gives it a good feel in the hands and also a smooth feeling while swiping over the display edges. It feels sturdy. The buttons on either side, along with the home button, feel clicky and tactile, and the package has an overall premium look and feel.

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The Galaxy S7 has a great design. / © ANDROIDPIT

The iPhone 7 also screams premium. With its 4.7 inch display, it's almost half an inch smaller and more compact. The camera bump on the back remains. Otherwise, the antenna lines of the iPhone 7 have been moved to the top and bottom edges, giving it a more minimal look on the back. With its aluminum unibody, the iPhone is less prone to being covered in fingerprints than the Galaxy S7, unless you opt for the glossy jet black version.

The iPhone 7 also screams premium

In the latest model, the home button no longer clicks; instead it features Apple's taptic engine. Similarly to the MacBook, this provides feedback (vibration) instead of a click. But the biggest design change of this generation is the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack. If you want to plug earbuds in, you'll need to do it via the Lightning port. This might look like an annoying, unnecessary design change, but it's an innovation that might become a common sight among new smartphones in the future. 

 

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Omar Hamwi
It is a huge mistake from Apple to remove the headphone jack
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The sleek new iPhone 7. / © Apple

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 7 comparison: Specs

You can't go wrong with either phone when it comes to specs. The Galaxy S7 sports enviable hardware, with either a Snapdragon 820 or Exynos 8890 processor running the show depending on the region you live in. These are paired up with either the Adreno 530 or Mali-T880 MP12 GPUs for solid graphical performance, along with 4 GB of RAM. Then you've got either 32 or 64 GB of internal storage.

When we benchmarked the S7, it was one of the best phones we had ever tested. For some time it was actually the best overall performer. So know that, until the Galaxy S8 arrives, this is one of the fastest Android devices you can buy.

When we benchmarked the S7, it was one of the best phones we had ever tested

We haven't tested the iPhone 7, so it's difficult to draw test-based conclusions about its performance. But until we do, its specs give us some indication of how it compares to the S7, along with Apple's reputation for producing solid all-round performance in its iPhones. 

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The S7 is a specs beast. / © ANDROIDPIT

So what are we working with here? The iPhone 7 comes with Apple's new A10 Fusion chipset, which is quad-core, versus many previous A chips running with dual-core configurations. Apple has revealed that two of these cores will do the heavy lifting, while the other two are high efficiency cores. The latter are used while you're performing low intensity tasks like checking email, meaning the high-power chips are put in a kind of standby mode. This should translate into power savings.

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The iPhone 7 (right) next to the iPhone 7 Plus. / © Apple

The iPhone 7 also has 2 GB of RAM, so significantly less than the Galaxy S7. As with every year, the latest Galaxy S always has better on-paper specs. This often doesn't translate into a faster experience than the iPhone during daily usage. If you want to use your smartphone for intensive gaming, or for heavy duty multitasking, it's a safer bet to go for Samsung here. Otherwise you're probably not much better off. 

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 7 comparison: Display

Samsung and Apple ship great displays with their flagship phones. They also stick to proven formulas. Samsung ships AMOLED displays, while Apple ships LCD. While it might be a matter of taste whether you prefer the super saturation of OLED panels, or the more natural tones of LCD displays, that's for you to decide. But we can take a look at some of the differences. 

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Apple has used similar displays for generations. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Galaxy S7 has one of the best in the business. It has a 5.1 inch display housing 1440 x 2560 pixels. This gives it a big pixel density of 577 ppi. Using the phone is a pleasure, with the rich color reproduction, although exaggerated, catching the eye whether you're editing photos, watching video or playing Pokemon Go. This really is the smartphone display to beat, yet Apple doesn't seem intent on playing catch-up with Samsung. Or does it?

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Samsung's Galaxy S7 display is top class. / © ANDROIDPIT

While rumors abounded that the iPhone 7 would ship with an OLED display, both new iPhones come with IPS LCD displays. The iPhone 7 has a 4.7 inch panel containing 750 x 1334 pixels, giving a pixel density of about 326 ppi, which is the same as the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6. While this is not a bad thing, there hasn't been as much innovation on the iPhone's displays as with other components. While pumping up display resolution means bigger processor and battery drain, we're waiting for Apple to focus on this aspect. 

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 7 comparison: Software

This is a divisive one. Deciding whether the iPhone 7 offers better software than the Galaxy S7, and vice versa, goes beyond a comparison between the two. This is a battle of belief, and to some it might even hit the heights of picking between tech religions. There are good and bad points to each, but this ultimately comes down to a platform preference. 

If you prefer Android, or already use it, you might just want to stick with that. So you'd choose the Galaxy S7. If you like TouchWiz, the love-or-hate-it skin that Samsung has woven over the top of Android, even better. But a lot of Android fans have voiced their dislike of TouchWiz's design, notwithstanding that it's more feature-packed than the stock OS, but also carries bloatware. Hopefully soon the S7 will receive the Nougat update, meaning you'll have access to an even more refined Android experience very soon. 

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iOS is sure to work like magic on the iPhone 7. / © Apple

The iPhone 7 comes with iOS 10, so you're getting Apple's latest software mixed with the best hardware to run it on. Do you prefer this clean, simple iOS interface? Do you feel OK with the lack of customizability, but like its reliability even a year or two after using it? With new features like redesigned Messages and Apple Music apps, deletable stock apps and more information packed into the lockscreen, there are some small but good software innovations there.

While there isn't much to get excited about right now, the Galaxy S7 hasn't had much new software innovation since it launched. But that could be about to change very soon. 

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 7 comparison: Camera

The camera debate here is probably one of the most intense and also pointless discussions we can have about these two phones. The Galaxy S7 packs a 12 MP main sensor with a large f/1.7 aperture. This also comes with an LED flash, optical image stabilization and phase detection autofocus. From the tests we've run on the Galaxy S7's camera, we think it's the best in the business. The level of quality is worth paying a bit more for over competing flagships. 

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The S7 has one of the best cameras around. / © ANDROIDPIT

The iPhone 7 has a 12 MP main camera with an aperture of f/1.8. It also packs a quad-LED flash, optical stabilization, and phase detection autofocus. While there is quite a lot of hype surrounding the iPhone 7 Plus and its dual camera setup, the iPhone 7 is on-par with the Galaxy S7 at least for pure camera specs. There isn't much between them. iPhones have a very strong reputation for shooting quality photos, so we're expecting the final comparison between these two phones to be neck and neck once we've tested Apple's latest. 

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 7 comparison: Battery

While the battery life debate goes on and also nowhere, we aren't expecting this section to have too much influence on your decision to buy either phone. That's because battery cells are growing, but so is performance. So it's a never-ending daily charging cycle for us all. 

The Galaxy S7 has a 3,000 mAh battery and, while it performs well, this device is certainly not know for its long life. The performance of the processor and display are a burden to bear, really. It's also non-removable again this year, so you can't simply replace it when you feel that its capacity is shot through. But it does support wireless charging, if this is important to you.

Battery cells are growing, but so is performance

We're still waiting to hear what the iPhone 7's battery capacity is. But looking at the iPhone 6s and its 1715 mAh unit, we could expect a similarly-sized one in the new model. This is much smaller than the Galaxy S7 and, considering that we'll probably find that it will power the phone for a similar amount of time to the S7, this is evidence of good engineering at work. Apple claims that the iPhone 7 will have up to two hours longer battery life than its predecessor. But let's wait and see before we make a final call. 

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 7 comparison: Conclusion

So which one will it be – the Galaxy S7 or iPhone 7? Well of course we can't make any final, definitive judgments without first testing the iPhone 7. That would be unfair. But what we can see from the information at hand is that you're onto a winning choice whichever one you prefer. Do you like Samsung's bit-hitter hardware, slightly larger form factor and richer display?

Or perhaps you prefer Apple's minimal industrial design, aluminum instead of glass, and its clean and reliable iOS. The cameras are going to end up being similarly excellent and even the prices are almost identical (around $650, or a little higher). For you, it might come down to brand or platform preference. Or your taste in design. Perhaps you really need a microSD slot (which the iPhone doesn't have). Either way, these are the decisions you'll be making before deciding which device to buy. 

Writing as objectively as I can, the Galaxy S7 is a compelling device. I'd recommend buying it if you don't feel anchored to Apple's ecosystem. I don't like everything Samsung does, but its hardware design is better than ever. TouchWiz may work for you, or maybe never. But the iPhone's relatively tame specs, such as its RAM and battery capacities, tell us that relying on big numbers isn't always advisable. The iPhone 7 looks like a good iteration of the iPhone 6s. We'll make final judgments soon enough. However, before deciding which to buy, have a think about what you'd regret missing out on. That might help you nail this one down. 

30 comments

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  • Linked 2 months ago Link to comment

    I don't think removing a port counts as an innovation or any kind of invention.

  • Both devices are nice but the Galaxy S7 camera is still much better than the iPhone 7/7 Plus.

  • If Apple ever decides to stop with the bullshit and put readily available technology in those iPhones, and stop being so stingy with software and features, so they can sell more phones later, I will probably buy a iPhone someday. As if we don't know that everything they do is carefully staged and over-hyped. They better stop insulting everyone's intelligence. I could go on all day...

    • One thing I've learned watching Apple launch its iPhones each year is that you'll be impressed with most of it, but there will always be something left out. For example, this time around, the displays Apple is using could do with an upgrade. I mean, the panels have largely been the same for several years. Or the camera will get a big upgrade one year, or the processor, or something important. But never in the same year.
      There's always something to hook you, but never enough to make you say, "I want this generation over this one". Each has something you want. It's just common sense. This is one of the reasons Apple sells so many each year. At some point you just have to buy in.

  • Apple being their usual, first they removed the headphone jack just so they can sell those overly priced lumps of wireless plastic for $150 ( I didn't remember the real price ), then they barely changed anything about the design. Yes, I know they moved some of the buttons to a new spot and changed the look of the camera, the camera, OH YEAH! I just remembered they added two cameras for the rear camera! YEAH, that's VERY innovative. I mean, they're the FIRST company to use them right? The iPhone 7 is also going to get waterproofing. Which is good? I'm going to leave the Price, Performance, and Battery to time because who knows? Maybe those three things will make of all those 3 other things. I still don't know bout the waterproofing so let's leave that to time as well. For now, the Galaxy S7 is better.

    • Plus, the Galaxy s7 is already waterproof.

    • Bastian Siewers
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      2 months ago Link to comment

      Well you have to give credit where credit is due, what they did with the camera on the Plus is actually innovative, and, as long as it actually works as advertised, I really like what they did there. What is frustrating though, is that the normal iPhone 7 feels like a downgrade just because of the camera, you simply do not get all the features. Other than that, I agree with your points, nothing really new or innovative.

      • nope... HTC did it first in 2014. It could do 3D pictures and videos

      • Bastian Siewers
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        2 months ago Link to comment

        Exactly, they did 3D photos and videos, but Apple is doing something completely different. I am not saying using 2 cameras is new, the way they make use of those two cameras is completely new and seems to make sense, as I said, as long as it actally works.

      • What's so completely new? I understand all the smart phone manufacturers are trying to overcome limitations of small cell phone camera lens/sensor (and thus poor sensitivity in low light) by increasing number of cameras. And they are trying to make the camera work together to harness more light and increase picture quality. I guess soon you might see even quad or hex camera phones. That much is obvious. I don't see anything special that Apple is doing however, as much as Apple watch was supposed to be very special, and didn't turn out special at all, except for exorbitant price tags on Apple watch edition. Apple overall is a recipe company which is not so good at revolutionary innovation, but more good at getting taking pieces of things that other people have done and creating new sleek products. And I don't think I see any revolutionary innovations coming out of Apple anytime soon.

      • Bastian Siewers
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        2 months ago Link to comment

        I do agree with you with most products Apple comes up with, but not in terms of the new camera in the iPhone 7 Plus. They are not using the 2nd camera for more light or anything, but for more zoom. Out of the box you use the first camera for a normal image, the 2nd camera for 2x and both in conjunction for more Zoom, up to 10x as far as Apple says. And yea, this is a new way to use 2 cameras in a phone afaik. As I said before we do need to see if this really improves image quality when using the zoom though.

    • You're right, there is very little change to the overall design. If you wanted something new, this kind of sucks.
      It reminds me of a friend who told me about the design way back when he bought he iPhone 5s. He said many designers (he's a designer) consider the iPhone to be like a Porsche. Apple has found the right design formula, so they don't need to constantly rethink it from the ground-up.
      If you look at Porsche design, it's essentially a series of iterations over many decades. Literally decades. Porsche has an incredible reputation and sells a lot of cars. Buyers know what they're getting.
      It's similar to the iPhone. Yeah it might be boring and overpriced, but Apple's design choices are no accident.

      • So you are saying that iphone 8 will be pretty much same as iphone 6, 6s, 7? That's great news for Android market domination! People always want some great new design, and Android manufacturers will provide innovative designs while Apple continue to stick with incremental changes.

      • Bastian Siewers
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        2 months ago Link to comment

        Well if you look at Omars example of Porsche, it does not mean good news for Android ;) Though I think people are looking for something new every once in a while, as you already said.

  • George W. 2 months ago Link to comment

    Well said, Bill. Expandable storage with a micro SD card, being in total control of how you move music files, and app customization were big hitters for me. The removable battery (like my GS4) would have been great, but not a deal breaker.

    Waiting patiently for the GS8.

  • Dusan V. 2 months ago Link to comment

    Very nice article indeed. I have bought S7 one month ago, and overall i am really satisfied with exclusion of one fatal flaw. Glass, both on the front and on the back, are scratching like crazy. I think it is gonna scratch if i look at it. Really bad glass protection for such expensive phone.

  • I'll stick with any Android over any iPhone !
    I can install any app I want without Apple's permission plus I can drag and drop files without using a mandatory iTunes crap that's more like dictatorship.

    Plus Android offers choices in phones from $50- $1100...
    Whereas Apple is $1100 - $1600

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