THE GALAXY NOTE 7 made headlines last week for all the wrong reasons, but is that enough to sway buyers to opt for the iPhone 7 Plus instead?
We’ve pitted Apple’s super-sized headset goes head-to-head with Samsung’s latest phablet on paper, to see which one comes out on top.
iPhone 7 Plus: 158x78x7.3mm, 188g, IP67 certification, Lightning port
Galaxy Note 7: 154x74x7.9mm, 168g, IP68 certification, USB Type-C
There’s no way to sugarcoat this: the iPhone 7 Plus is a big device and it’s the larger than the Galaxy Note 7 in almost every dimension. It’s noticeably heavier too, no doubt owing to the dual-lens technology and bigger battery inside its gorgeous unibody chassis.
The Note 7 also succeeds in the looks department, having borrowed heavily from the polished edges and smooth curves of the Galaxy S7 Edge.
Apple has finally added IP67 certification, meaning that the phone is fully protected against dust and can survive a dip in water no deeper than 1m for up to half an hour. However, the Note 7 goes further with its IP68 credentials, sticking with the same 30 minutes but coping with deeper water.
We think it’s safe to assume that the Note 7’s USB Type-C connection will cause less consternation too as Samsung ships a micro USB adaptor in the box that will surely save frustration when you’ve forgotten your USB-C cable. The iPhone 7 Plus relies solely on the Lightning port for all connectivity needs.
The removal of the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack means that Apple’s new AirPods require the use of the Lightning port. Like Samsung, Apple includes an adaptor for ordinary headphones, but this puts the port out of action.
Related: iPhone 7 review
The two devices are available in a variety of colours. The iPhone 7 Plus debuts new Black and Jet Black colour options alongside Silver, Gold and Rose Gold. The Note 7 comes in Silver Titanium, Black Onyx, Gold and the new Coral Blue.
iPhone 7 Plus: 5.5in 1,920×1,080 at 401ppi
Galaxy Note 7: 5.7in 2,560×1,440
Despite being the larger phone, the iPhone 7 Plus has the smaller display of the two. At 5.5in it’s still plenty big enough, but it lacks the increased 4K resolution found on the new Note, and the curves.
The Galaxy Note 7’s QHD Super AMOLED panel offers bold, vibrant colours, bags of detail and deep, inky blacks. In a further trick, the Note is capable of 800-nits brightness, meaning it can support Mobile HDR (High Dynamic Response) video content.
Another difference concerns screen protection. The iPhone 7 Plus uses ion-strengthened glass along with a coating to prevent smudging, while the Note uses Gorilla Glass 5.
It might be unfair to mention, but the Note comes with an S Pen stylus that transforms the handset into a robust note-taking tool.
iPhone 7 Plus: iOS 10
Galaxy Note 7: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Apple has said that iOS 10 was designed with the iPhone 7 in mind, so that is the version you’ll receive when you pick up your order. iOS 10 was made available to all Apple devices running OS 8.3.1 and above on 13 September.
The Note 7 arrived just before the rollout of Android 7.0 Nougat, but an update from 6.0.1 Marshmallow is promised. As ever, Samsung’s TouchWiz UI adds an extra layer of functionality over the top.
iPhone 7 Plus: Apple A10 Fusion chip, quad-core 2.23GHz, 2GB of RAM
Galaxy Note 7: 2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 820/Exynos octa-core CPU, 4GB of RAM
Both of Apple’s new iPhone 7 handsets incorporate the new A10 Fusion processor. Apple claims that the chip is capable of 40 per cent faster processing speeds compared with the A9, and that the new GPU is 50 per cent faster.
Depending on region, the Note 7 will ship with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 or Samsung’s Exynos chip.
iPhone 7 Plus: Force Touch home button
Galaxy Note 7: Iris scanner, fingerprint sensor
A new taptic (haptic feedback) engine underpins the home button on the iPhone 7 Plus. The new design manages to cram in functions like Siri, multi-tasking, Touch ID and Apple Pay, so the iPhone 7 feels more responsive despite losing the button style of old.
The Note 7’s iris scanner has dominated the headlines. The popularity of biometric security is growing year on year, but it’s too soon to say whether adoption of the technology will take off. Still, it’s nice to see Samsung gaining a stranglehold so early on. Like the iPhone 7 Plus, the Note 7’s fingerprint scanner is located in the home button.
The Note 7 is fully compatible with Android Pay and will support Samsung Pass. In theory this also means you’ll be able to use your eyes to authenticate payments.
iPhone 7 Plus: Dual 12MP rear, f/1.8 and f/2.8, OIS, 7MP front
Galaxy Note 7: 12MP rear, f/1.7, OIS, with 4K video, 8MP front
The crowning glory of the iPhone 7 Plus is probably the powerful dual-camera set-up. The Plus combines a wide-angle 28mm lens and a 56mm telephoto lens to provide 2x optical and 10x digital zoom, plus depth of field effects pending a later software update. There’s also OIS across the board, and quad-LED (dual-tone) flash.
So it’s a good job that the Note 7 shares the same 12MP sensor that impressed us on the Galaxy S7. In our original review we noted that the camera focuses quickly and exhibits loads of detail, and the impressive f/1.7 aperture means it copes ably in low light.
iPhone 7 Plus: 2,900mAh
Galaxy Note 7: 3,500mAh
The iPhone 7 Plus battery is the largest in an Apple mobile device to date. The A10 Fusion processor should provide an hour’s extra life over last year’s 6S Plus, so we expect great results when it comes to putting it through its paces.
Like Note devices before it, Samsung’s phablet is a powerhouse when it comes to battery stamina. The Note 7 has a meaty non-removable (if sometimes exploding) 3,500mAh battery.
Samsung’s effort can also take advantage of Quick Charging technology, which means it can regain around half of its charge in just 30 minutes. The iPhone does not.
iPhone 7 Plus: 32GB, 128GB, 256GB
Galaxy Note 7: 64GB, microSD slot
If you compared the Note with any other phone it would be sitting pretty with 64GB of storage. But the iPhone 7 Plus is supersized in more ways than one, none more so than the colossal 256GB maximum capacity. That extra space comes at a premium price, mind, and the Note 7 does offer up to 256GB via expandable storage, so the iPhone’s victory here is a hollow one.
iPhone 7 Plus: £719 (32GB) SIM-free
Galaxy Note 7: £699 SIM-free
Premium devices command premium prices, and both are evenly matched when it comes to cost. The iPhone 7 Plus starts at £719 for the 32GB variant, increasing to £919 for 256GB.
The Note 7, when sales resume, will be available SIM-free for £699 from Carphone Warehouse and Samsung direct.
It goes without saying that the iPhone 7 Plus and Galaxy Note 7 are vastly different phones. They are both big, but one has been designed with a stylus in mind and the other has advanced camera tech.
The Note 7’s camera is impressive too, plus it has iris-scanning technology, leading us to think it offers just that little bit more than Apple’s giant new iPhone. µ
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