iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Which smartphone should you buy in 2016?


The smartphone market is pretty chaotic at the moment, so if you’re looking to get a new handset you’ve picked a tricky time. The new Apple iPhone 7 is here, but it faces tough competition from the impressive Samsung Galaxy S7 – and now the equally good Google Pixel. However, like many people you’ve probably narrowed your next smartphone down to the Samsung Galaxy S7 or the iPhone 7. So which one should you buy, Samsung or Apple, Android or iOS? In this article, we’ve compared everything from features and specs to price and battery life, so you can decide the best phone for you.

iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 features: Design and camera

Design

The iPhone 7 doesn’t look that different from the iPhone 6s, and that’s really not a bad thing. This time around Apple has removed those unsightly antennae lines at the rear of the device, and introduced two new finishes. There’s now Jet Black, a super-high-gloss finish that looks amazing, and also regular Black, which is essentially a matte-black coat. There are other changes elsewhere, too: the home button now has Force Touch, and the phone is now water-resistant – just like the S7. Finally, and more controversially, Apple has also removed the 3.5mm headphone jack and added stereo speakers.

In the same way, the Samsung Galaxy S7 looks much like the Samsung Galaxy S6 before it. Featuring a large screen that seems to take up the entire front of the phone, and a smooth glass back, the Samsung oozes style and sophistication – and comes in a range of colours too. There’s Black, Gold, White, Silver and of course Rose Gold – and all work well with the glossy finish that covers the handset.

Verdict: Looks are subjective, but for me personally the iPhone 7 wins by a mile. The Samsung Galaxy S7 is a good-looking device, featuring clean lines and a good number of finishes, but for some reason it doesn’t have the same “object of desire” feel as something such as the iPhone 7 Jet Black.

Camera

The iPhone 7 may not get the super dual-lens camera found on the iPhone 7 Plus, but it still gets a worthwhile upgrade. The iPhone 7 uses a 12-megapixel camera with an f/1.8 aperture that lets 50% more light in, meaning that the new handset is better at taking photos in low-light than ever before. Apple has also added optical image stabilisation to the smaller iPhone 7, so your photos are less likely to be blurry at longer exposures. When you want to use the flash, the iPhone 7 uses a quad-LED fusion flash, which is brighterand can make subjects look more natural in photographs. For selfies and video calls there’s a 7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera at the front of the phone.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is one of the best Android phones you can buy, coming with an extremely impressive camera. Like the iPhone 7, the Galaxy S7’s camera is a 12-megapixel affair, but it also uses a f/1.7 aperture and 1.4µm pixels to capture as much light as possible. The result? Extremely good photos in low-level lighting. Alongside that performance, the Samsung’s Dual Pixel sensor technology make focusing faster, too. On the front, the Galaxy S7 uses a 5-megapixel camera.

iPhone 7 camera

Verdict: The iPhone 7’s camera is much better than before, but the Samsung Galaxy S7 is still much better. And if we’re honest, the iPhone 7  camera is actually pretty disappointing. Although it should perform better in low light, it seems as though the camera of the iPhone 7 suffers from weird, post-processing artefacts. The result? The Galaxy’s  f/1.7 aperture makes it still has the best snapper around.

iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Specs

Performance

The new iPhone 7 uses a quad-core A10 Fusion processor, comprising of two high-performance cores and two efficiency cores. Apple says the iPhone 7 will decide which tasks should be assigned to which core, so you’ll get a good blend of performance and battery life. The new iPhone 7’s A10 Fusion chip is said to be 40% faster than the A9, and comes with 2GB of RAM – meaning it should be fast enough to deliver console-comparable graphics.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 UK model is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Exynos processor and ships with 4GB of RAM. That means for the past few months, it’s been the fastest smartphone around.

Samsung Galaxy S7 review: Front

Verdict: The Samsung Galaxy S7 is fast, but the iPhone 7 uses the A10 Fusion processor, which is reported to be the fastest smartphone processor ever made. In fact, Geekbench results published the same week as the iPhone 7 launch suggest the iPhone 7 Plus is faster than the current iPad Pro. The iPhone 7 has 1GB of RAM less than the iPhone 7 Plus, but it shouldn’t be too far behind in performance terms.

Display

The iPhone 7 uses a 4.7in LED-backlit IPS LCD screen, capable of displaying 16 million colours in total. As with the iPhone 6s before it, the screen uses 3D Touch, keeping the resolution of 750 x 1,334 with a pixel density of 326ppi. However, this time around, the iPhone 7 screen is 25% brighter and has a wider colour gamut than before. The result? The iPhone 7 screen should look more colourful and vibrant.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 uses a 5.1in Super AMOLED touchscreen, and it’s one of the best displays you can get on any smartphone right now. Super AMOLED technology can make blacks blacker and other colours more vibrant, and when you combine that with the S7’s huge 1,440 x 2,560 resolution and 577ppi pixel density, the end result is simply amazing.

Verdict: The Samsung Galaxy S7 may not have 3D Touch, but everything else about its screen is superior to the iPhone 7’s. Despite a much-needed upgrade, the iPhone 7’s LCD screen still can’t match the vibrancy of the Galaxy S7’s, and when you consider the S7’s significantly higher pixel density, it’s clear that one screen is much better than the other.

Battery life

The Samsung Galaxy S7 packs in a huge 3,000mAh battery, which the company’s stats claim is good for 22 hours of talk time, and 62 hours of music playing. In contrast, Apple reckons that the iPhone 7 will give you 14 hours of talk time, and just 40 hours of music. In our tests, the Samsung Galaxy S7 achieved 18 hours of battery life, while the iPhone 7 lasted for around just 13 hours before needing a charge. 

Verdict: Samsung Galaxy S7. Another year, another Apple phone eclipsed by the Samsung Galaxy’s battery life.

iPhone 7 vs Samsung S7: Storage and Price 

Storage

The iPhone 7 comes in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB variations this time, whereas the Samsung Galaxy S7 comes with just 32GB. But unlike the iPhone 7, the Samsung Galaxy S7 comes with a microSD slot, so its memory can be boosted all the way up to 256GB if needed.

Verdict: The iPhone 7 gives you a range of options when it comes to storage, and on first glance, the S7’s paltry 32GB storage looks like a huge oversight. However, Samsung’s decision to throw in a microSD slot can offer good value if you know where to look – 128GB microSD cards and be picked up for as little as £25.

Price

A SIM-free 32GB Samsung Galaxy S7 will cost you £569, while a 32GB iPhone 7 costs £30 more and starts at £599.

Verdict: When you’re spending around £600 on a handset, £30 isn’t that much, so both units are pretty much equal. The Samsung Galaxy S7 was released in early March 2016, while the iPhone 7 only became available to pre-order on 9 September – with the first handsets shipping on 16 September. That means that if you’re after an iPhone 7, you’ll need to wait for the time being. The Samsung Galaxy S7, on the other hand, has been out for a while, and is easy to get hold of. The Samsung Galaxy S7’s head start means you can now find some pretty attractive deals, too.

iPhone 7 vs Samsung S7: Final verdict

The iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7 are two of the best phones you can get right now, and whichever you pick will be a great purchase. Both phones offer amazing specs and features, so until we get our hands on the iPhone 7 and test them side by side, they look pretty equal. Right now, choosing the best phone for you comes partly down to the ecosystem you use, and the type of operating system you prefer. If you already own an Apple Watch, iPad or a MacBook, the iPhone 7 will fit best into your life. If you’re more of an Android user, then it currently makes more sense to pick up a Galaxy S7. Simply put, both phones are impressive, but their specs are so similar that neither warrants jumping to a brand-new OS. If, however, you insist that your phone has a headphone jack, it’s probably best to go for the Samsung Galaxy S7…

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