The iPhone 7 is finally here, and boy has it been the subject of headlines. Between the new A10 Fusion processor and ultra-classy finish, the device doesn’t just look great — it performs well, too. But does it stand up to other flagships released this year?
We consider the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge one of the best devices of the year. On the surface, the Galaxy S7 Edge and its edgy design is more innovative than the new iPhone 7 … but innovative doesn’t always mean better. That being the case, we placed the two phones head to head to find out which is better.
Related: Forget the iPhone 7, next year’s smartphone from Apple will be one big screen
|iPhone 7||Galaxy S7 Edge
|Size||138.3 × 67.1 × 7.1 mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 in)||149 × 72 × 7.62 mm (5.58 x 2.85 x 0.30 in)|
|Weight||4.87 ounces (138 grams)||5.54 ounces (157 grams)|
|Screen||4.7-inch Retina HD LED-backlit widescreen||5.5-inch Dual-edge Quad HD Super AMOLED|
|Resolution||1,334 × 750 pixels (326 ppi)||2,560 × 1,440 (577 ppi)|
|OS||iOS 10||Android 6.0|
|Storage||32, 128, 256GB||32, 64GB|
|MicroSD card slot||No||Yes|
|Processor||A10 Fusion with 64-bit architecture, M10 motion coprocessor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 820/Samsung Exynos 8890|
|Connectivity||4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi||4G LTE, GSM, HSPA, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi|
|Camera||12MP rear, 7MP front||12MP rear, 5MP front|
|Video||4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30 or 60fps||4K at 30fps, 1080p at 60, 720p at 240fps|
|Bluetooth||Yes, version 4.2||Yes, version 4.2|
|Fingerprint sensor||Touch ID||Yes|
|Other sensors||Barometer, 3-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor||Barometer, gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, heart rate monitor|
|Water resistant||Yes, IP67 rated||Yes, IP68 rated|
|Battery||1,960mAh, 14 hours talk time on 3G||3,600mAh, 27 hours talk time on 3G|
|Ports||Lightning||micro USB, headphone|
|Marketplace||Apple app Store||Google Play Store|
|Color offerings||Gold, rose gold, silver, black, jet black||Black, white, gold, silver, pink gold|
|Availability||AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile||AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile|
|DT review||Pending||4/5 Stars|
It’s always difficult to compare Apple products with others, largely because Apple doesn’t use the same Snapdragon chips that others do. We can, however, look at things other than model number.
The iPhone 7 features Apple’s A10 Fusion processor, which is the company’s best mobile chip to date. The chip features four cores, making it the first Apple-made processor to be quad-core. Not all chip cores are the same, either — two of them are specially designed to handle more demanding tasks like gaming. The other two are low-powered and handle day-to-day tasks. The advantage to this is that these cores don’t require as much power, which maximizes battery life.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a method used all the time. In fact, both the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and the Samsung Exynos 8890 utilize the same concept, although the Exynos 8890 has eight cores and devotes four each to high and low power.
The processors use similar concepts, but that doesn’t mean they’re as powerful as one another — there are also benchmarks to look at. The iPhone 7 scored a whopping 178,397 on AnTuTu’s benchmarks, putting pretty much every other smartphone to shame. The Galaxy S7 Edge scored 134,599, which is a great score to be sure, but nothing compared to the iPhone. In other words, the iPhone 7 is a far more powerful device than the Galaxy S7 Edge. That’s despite the fact that the iPhone 7 has half as much RAM as the Galaxy S7 Edge. Of course, considering that extra RAM real-world performance may be a little different, but in terms of sheer processing power Apple has the edge.
When it comes to storage, it’s a toss up. The iPhone is available in 32, 128, and 256GB variants, and the Galaxy S7 Edge comes in either a 32GB or 64GB build. The Galaxy S7 Edge has a MicroSD card slot, which evens the field and may even put the Galaxy slightly ahead, especially considering how cheap MicroSD cards are these days.
In the performance department, the iPhone is a higher performer, but with the extra RAM and and MicroSD card slot the Galaxy S7 Edge redeems itself. This one’s a tie.
Apple has been crowned the design king over and over again, and for good reason. The company’s attention to detail and beautiful finishes all point to the best design team in the world, led by design guru Jony Ive. This year, the iPhone is available in two extra-stunning finishes — Jet Black and a matte black. You can also get the traditional gold, rose gold, and silver finishes.
Sure, looks are subjective, but not every aspect of design is. The iPhone 7 is around half a millimeter thinner than the Galaxy S7 Edge — a small amount, to be sure, but important to consider nonetheless. In fact, the iPhone 7 is smaller in every aspect, which is somewhat due to the smaller display. Because of that, it’s also lighter, coming in at 4.87 ounces compared to the Galaxy S7 Edge’s 5.54 ounces.
The Jet Black iPhone 7 will likely attract fingerprints like the Galaxy S7 Edge’s glass back does, so these two tie for oily smears. However, if you hate fingerprints, the matte color options for the iPhone 7 offer an alternative. With the S7 Edge, you are stuck with glass and fingerprints unless you buy a case. Glass is also much more fragile than metal, so the iPhone wins on the durability front. However, the curved edges on the Galaxy S7 Edge are undeniably beautiful and it is a slim phone for a device with a 5.5-inch screen.
The worst thing about the iPhone 7? The camera bump on the back, but the Galaxy S7 Edge has one of those too. The Galaxy S7 Edge does, however, have something that the iPhone 7 doesn’t — those sexy edges. Sure, they add a bit of bulk to the device, but in the end it’s worth it.
A word about the headphone jack
No, the iPhone 7 does not have a headphone jack. However, like it or not, the consumer audio world is going wireless (and for good reason). Bluetooth headphones — or headphones using Apple’s new wireless tech — are much more convenient, and their audio quality is, at this point, pretty astounding. For many consumers, there’s simply no reason to balk at the lack of wires.
Apple also included a 3.5mm headphone jack adapter in the box so you can use your old headphones. Lightning wired headphones also work with the iPhone 7, and Apple included a pair in the box with the iPhone. You will have to pay $160 more for the wireless Air Pods, though. Alternatively, there are many other wireless headphones that assuredly sound better than Apple’s default ones.
Still, there is something to say for wired headphones. The best headphones in the world are still generally wired — and normally use an external headphone amp — so if you’re a pure-bred audiophile and one that wants to listen to music through your phone, then you probably won’t want the iPhone. That’s despite the fact that if you’re a pure-bred audiophile, you probably won’t want to use your phone for music listening at all.
Despite the fact that the world is going wireless and Apple decided to adopt the futuristic standard moving forward, having the option of the headphone jack is nice, so we’re awarding this one to Samsung.
Winner: Galaxy S7 Edge
This one obviously goes to the Galaxy S7 Edge, and for more reason than one. First of all, the device has a much higher battery capacity, sitting at a cool 3,600mAh, compared to the iPhone’s 1,960mAh capacity. That’s almost double the amount of storage, and while it adds a little extra bulk to the device, we think it’s worth it.
Beyond battery capacity, however, the Galaxy S7 Edge has other advantages. For example, it offers quick charging, a technology that Apple has long refused to incorporate into the iPhone. It also offers wireless charging, yet another technology that’s overdue on the iPhone
With a much better capacity, the ability to charge that battery up again quickly, and wireless charging, Samsung is the clear winner here.
Winner: Galaxy S7 Edge
Apart from being smaller, the display on the iPhone is of lower quality for a number of reasons. First, the device uses an LCD panel instead of the Super AMOLED screen found on the Galaxy S7 Edge. OLED panels are known to generally produce deeper blacks and brighter colors. However, the iPhone 7’s screen is still gorgeous and it’s not like you’ll see an ugly pixelated screen. Some even prefer the iPhone’s natural color reproduction over Samsung’s saturated look.
However, the pixel density on the Galaxy S7 Edge is much better, sitting at 577 pixels per inch over the iPhone’s 326. Of course, these days, displays are used for more than just looking at stuff. Both phones have their own extra layer of functionality with the display — the Galaxy S7 Edge includes Samsung’s edges, while the iPhone 7 uses 3D Touch, which allows users to press down to access more controls.
Still, with the better display type and a higher pixel density, we’re awarding this one to Samsung.
Winner: Galaxy S7 Edge
The iPhone has long been hailed as the phone to get if you want a great camera, but Samsung has seriously stepped up its game in the past few years.
The iPhone 7’s rear-facing camera features a 12-megapixel sensor, along with a f/1.8 aperture, phase detection autofocus, and — a first for the standard model of the iPhone — optical image stabilization. The Galaxy S7 Edge’s camera has almost exactly the same specs except for the fact that it has an f/1.7 aperture, meaning that it may be able to handle low-light situations a little better. Samsung is known for oversaturated images, though, so if you’re into natural color reproduction, the iPhone 7’s photos may be more up your alley.
The iPhone shines in the front-facing camera department, however. The camera has a 7-megapixel sensor with an f/2.2 aperture, while the Galaxy S7 Edge has a 5-megapixel sensor with an f/1.7 aperture. In other words, the iPhone’s photos will be of a higher resolution, but in low-light situations, the Galaxy S7 Edge may fair slightly better. We’ll hold a shootout between the two to determine a winner. For now, it’s a tie.
Apple has really stepped up its game when it comes to durability. The device is now water-resistant with an IP rating of IP67, which essentially means that it should be able to handle being in up to a meter of water for up to 30 minutes. You don’t want to intentionally take it swimming, but if you happen to drop it in the bath, you should be fine.
The iPhone 7 still doesn’t beat the Galaxy S7 Edge’s water-resistance though. The S7 Edge has a rating of IP68, meaning that it can handle being immersed in up to 3 meters of water. Neither phone should be purposefully immersed in water, but if accidentally dropped in liquid, the Galaxy S7 Edge is more likely to survive a long plunge.
On the other hand, Apple’s aluminum iPhone 7 is more durable than the Galaxy S7 Edge in terms of drops, because the S7 Edge is made out of fragile glass. You don’t want to drop the S7 Edge because that special curved glass is going to be expensive to replace. We’re calling this one a tie because Samsung wins in water, but Apple wins with drops.
We’re not going to make this article an “iOS vs. Android” article — it’s totally subjective, and most of you have probably already decided which you prefer. There are a few things to note, however.
Android is generally the more customizable operating system, while iOS is typically considered easier to use. For that reason, if you want to be able to simply turn on your phone and have it do what you need — make calls, texts, use apps, and so on — the iPhone is the way to go.
That’s not to say that Android isn’t easy to use — it just takes a little more work to learn. Of course, the Galaxy S7 Edge doesn’t use stock Android. Instead, it uses Samsung’s proprietary Android skin. TouchWiz brings a slightly different look to Android, but it also brings some of Samsung’s services to the forefront.
Another thing to consider is app availability, though you’ll have apps aplenty on both of these phones. While some apps come to the Apple app Store first, they normally eventually make their way to Android.
Basically, if you want an easy-to-use phone, choose an iPhone. If you want something you can customize, go for the Galaxy S7 Edge.
The other points to consider are security and software updates. Samsung is notoriously bad at getting timely Android updates to its phones. That means vital security patches may take months to arrive if they ever do. That’s not a good thing when you consider how many major hacks are targeted at Android. In contrast, iOS users get software updates immediately and Apple’s devices are more secure because of it. You’ll always have the latest software if you own an iPhone 7 and that makes it a winner for us.
Winner: iPhone 7
Price and availability
Both devices are available to purchase or pre-order now, and they’re both available on all four major carriers in the United States. The iPhone 7 starts at $650 unlocked; you’ll need to shell out an extra $100 for the Jet Black version, however. The Galaxy S7 Edge starts at $780, which is $130 more than the iPhone 7. Below a rundown of the two devices availability on the four major carriers.
|iPhone 7||Galaxy S7 Edge|
|AT&T||$650 or $21.67 per month for 30 months||$795 or $26.50 per month for 30 months|
|Sprint||$650 or $27.09 per month for 24 months||$750 or $31.25 per month for 24 months|
|T-Mobile||$650 or $27.09 per month for 24 months||$780 or $32.50 per month for 24 months|
|Verizon||$650 or $27.08 per month for 24 months||$792 or $33.00 per month for 24 months|
Based on numbers alone, the iPhone 7 is the winner here, however it’s important to keep in mind that the Galaxy S7 Edge is really more like Samsung’s version of the iPhone 7 Plus, so it’s going to be more expensive than the iPhone 7. If you’re deciding between the iPhone 7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge and are concerned about price, then the iPhone might be the device for you, but keep in mind you get features like the Edge on the Galaxy S7 Edge.
Winner: iPhone 7
It’s always a tight race between the iPhone and the Galaxy S line. The iPhone 7 is more powerful and cheaper, yet the Galaxy S7 Edge has a headphone jack and offers a better display. It really comes down to personal preference as to which one you will buy. If you’re an Android user, the Galaxy S7 Edge will hold more appeal for you. And if you have nice headphones and you’re pissed off that Apple removed the jack, you’ll want the S7 Edge too.
However, if you’re open to iOS and you want a powerful phone that’s easy to use and very secure, the iPhone 7 is calling your name. The Galaxy S7 Edge wins most categories here, so it’s technically the winner, but considering the price difference and ease-of-use, most will be happy with the iPhone 7.