WE’VE SEEN A growing trend in recent years of phone makers unveiling two handsets at the same time to woo the masses.
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge and Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus good examples of this, and are considered premium offerings with just that little bit more to justify their existence.
How do they stack up against each other on paper?
iPhone 7 Plus: 158x78x7.3mm, 188g, IP67 certification, Lightning port
Galaxy S7 Edge: 151x73x7.7mm, 157g, IP68 certification, microUSB port
The Galaxy S7 Edge would win hands down if this was a modelling contest. Samsung joyously innovates with the curved screen, while the iPhone 7 Plus sticks largely to the blueprint of its predecessor.
We’d stop short of calling Samsung’s effort lithe (after all, it increased in size following the S6 Edge), but it still has a smaller footprint than the Plus. The iPhone pushes the pocketable limit at 158x78mm and 188g.
It’s not all about the looks, though, and the Edge gets one over the Plus in terms of toughness. Apple has finally added IP67 certification to its devices, but Samsung goes one further with IP68. This means that the Edge can survive in 1.5m of water compared with the iPhone’s 1m.
The two handsets have different connectivity options. The iPhone does away with the traditional headphone port and instead uses a Lightning connection for audio, data and charging.
In a way, it’s a shame that the Galaxy uses the older microUSB v2.0 standard over the new USB Type-C, although this at least eliminates the frustrating search for a compatible cable.
Colour-wise the iPhone 7 Plus adds Black and Jet Black options to the existing Silver, Gold and Rose Gold. The S7 Edge is available in Black, White, Gold, Silver and Pink Gold.
iPhone 7 Plus: 5.5in 1920×1080 at 401ppi
Galaxy S7 Edge: 5.1in 2560×1440 resolution at 534ppi
The iPhone 7 Plus might have the larger display, but Samsung’s Super AMOLED panels are hard to rival. The S7 Edge trumps the Plus in resolution (QHD vs Full HD) and offers bold, vibrant colours, bags of detail and deep, inky blacks. The 7 Plus does improve on last year’s model, though, and the screen is 25 per cent brighter and benefits from ‘Wide Colour’ for added vibrancy.
The iPhone uses ion-strengthened glass and a coating that is said to prevent smudging, while protection for the Galaxy is provided by Gorilla Glass 4.
iPhone 7 Plus: iOS 10
Galaxy S7 Edge: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
iOS 10 was made available to all Apple devices running OS 8.3.1 and above on 13 September, but it was always designed with the iPhone 7 in mind. Apple has already indicated that an update is on the cards, although this time around it’s for Plus users only. The update will add functionality to the dual-cameras and allowx clever depth of field effects.
The Galaxy Edge 7 arrived a good while before the rollout of Android 7.0 Nougat, but an update from 6.0 Marshmallow is promised. Samsung’s TouchWiz UI adds an extra layer of functionality over the top of the traditional Android experience, and this time around it’s not bad.
iPhone 7 Plus: Apple A10 Fusion chip, quad-core 2.23GHz, 3GB RAM
Galaxy S7 Edge: Samsung Exynos 8890 (four 2.3GHz cores, four 1.6GHz cores), 4GB RAM
The iPhone 7 Plus is powered by the formidable A10 Fusion processor. We’re told it offers speed improvements of 40 per cent when compared with the A9, and the new GPU is 50 per cent faster.
The iPhone 7 impressed us hugely in our benchmarks, and we don’t expect that to change too much as the two phones use the same hardware. For all the fanfare, the iPhone 7’s 2GB of RAM was beginning to sound archaic so we’re pleased to see the Plus getting bumped up to 3GB.
Samsung’s processors are determined by territory. Europe usually gets an Exynos and the US gets a Snapdragon 820.
The iPhone 7 Plus’ Home button has undergone an upgrade. A new capacitive solution replaces the once clicky button. The taptic (haptic feedback) engine that powers this new input method means that vibrations can now be assigned to different actions and functions, providing useful feedback to boot. The Touch ID sensor still lives within, meaning you’ll be able to take advantage of Apple Pay and use your fingerprint to make transactions.
Samsung has slightly tweaked its fingerprint sensor from the Galaxy S6 range, and it’s now even more accurate. It also provides support for Android Pay (and later Samsung Pay).
iPhone 7 Plus: Dual 12MP rear-facing, f/1.8 and f/2.8, OIS, 7MP front-facing
Galaxy S7 Edge: 12MP rear-facing with 4K video, 5MP front-facing
The headline feature of the iPhone 7 Plus is undoubtedly the dual-camera set-up. The Plus combines the impressive wide-angle 28mm lens of the iPhone 7 with a 56mm telephoto lens to provide 2x optical and 10x digital zoom. There’s also quad-LED (dual-tone) flash and OIS. The iSight snapper now has a 7MP sensor and OIS.
With such stiff competition it’s a good job that the S7 Edge has the same 12MP sensor that impressed us on the Galaxy S7. We noted in our original Galaxy S7 review that the camera focuses quickly and packs in loads of detail. The impressive f/1.7 aperture means it performs well in low light, where so many modern smartphones struggle.
iPhone 7 Plus: 2,900mAh
Galaxy S7 Edge: 3,600mAh
It’s a shame that Apple hasn’t yet embraced fast charging, especially as the iPhone 7 Plus has the largest battery found in an iPhone to date. The A10 Fusion processor should provide an extra hour of juice over last year’s 6S Plus. But the S7 Edge rules the roost and will easily outlast the Plus. It supports Quick-Charge 2.0 and offers wireless charging too.
iPhone 7 Plus: 32GB/128GB/256GB
Galaxy S7 Edge: 32GB/64GB, microSD (up to 256GB)
Only the 32GB model was available for purchase in the UK at the time of our Galaxy S7 Edge review. We hoped that Samsung would release the larger 64GB edition, but that hasn’t come to pass. Still, thanks to microSD you’re at least able to add to the original capacity.
Apple has refreshed its storage options for 2016. This time around only 32GB, 128GB and 256GB models are being made available. The increase in capacity is welcomed, but it comes at a price. Only the more expensive 256GB iPhone 7 Plus model is able to scale the Edge’s (expandable) storage heights.
It’s heartening to see that both phones are fairly evenly matched in terms of specifications.
The iPhone 7 Plus takes the lead in terms of the processor and, while the Galaxy’s snapper is good, it can’t compete with Apple’s dual-camera set-up.
However, the Galaxy S7 Edge annihilates the Plus in the screen stakes, and has a bigger battery (with fast charging attributes) and a microSD slot.
Despite the new colours available in the iPhone 7 range, the Plus doesn’t push the design any further forward. Samsung has certainly won points for style this time around. µ
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