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Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6s: Slooow moootion video comparison

Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6s: Slooow moootion video comparison
While slow motion video isn't exactly a new thing in smartphones—we've had that as early as the LG Viewty in the 2007/2008 stretch—it has been trending up ever since Apple put its weight behind the feature with the iPhone 5s. Virtually all flagship and high-end smartphones today offer the special shooting mode today. 

As a concept, slow motion video needs no introduction. We've all seen various clips showcasing the minute detail of a water-filled balloon bursting, or a cheetah about to snap its jaws on a gazelle. In most cases, however, these have been shot with high-end, dedicated gear, which can shoot video at frame rates in the hundred of thousands. With the two most popular smartphones on the planet—the iPhone 6s and Galaxy S7—the cap is set at 240 frames per second, or FPS for short. That's still more than enough for consumer-grade videos, however, so we were curious as to whether either of the two is superior than the other in this particular area. So we put them head to head.

If you're shooting at 240FPS, both devices will automatically limit their resolution to 720 x 1280 pixels, which isn't crazy high in today's world, but still sufficiently detailed for most use-case scenarios. And if you're ready to sacrifice on frame rate, with the iPhone 6s you can go down to 120FPS, but 1080 x 1920 pixels, for a lesser slow motion effect, but higher resolution. You can't do that on the Galaxy S7.

Before we get judgy, here's a mash-up of slow-mo clips we shot for the occasion:


Alright, so time to get technical and a little more analytical. First off, it's worth pointing out that both devices play back slow motion clips at 30 frames per second, and clips have a comparable bit rate at close to 9,000kbps. On the audio side of things, however, the iPhone 6s has the edge, with a 187kbps/44KHz audio, while the Galaxy S7 retains less information (127kbps), but samples at 48KHz. On paper, that means better audio coming out of the iPhone 6s, and in this case, we like what we hear better as well (especially noticeable during the Jenga tower segment).

Technical specifications aside, let's talk about the actual image quality. First off, playback appears to be equally smooth with both devices. In terms of image quality, however, we have some notable differences. For example, as with stills, Samsung goes for a much more noticeable sharpening effect, while the image of the iPhone 6s is much softer. Sharpening often leads people to mistakenly believe that images that otherwise offer comparable level of depth are superior than softer ones. In this case, however, sharpening or no sharpening, the Galaxy S7 offers notably better video quality than the iPhone 6s, and with far less yellow tinging.

The Galaxy S7 is superior in other areas, too. For example, slow motion clips aren't nearly as noisy on the Galaxy S7, and it's obvious that the significantly wider, f/1.7 lens lets a bit more light in than the f/2.2 one on the iPhone 6s—especially indoors. Given how footage at such high frame rates tends to be considerably darker than if you were taking normal video at, say 1080p or 4K resolution, this puts the Galaxy S7 in an advantageous position. But that's not all.

Slow motion video editing interface with the Galaxy S7 (left) and iPhone 6s (right).

Slow motion video editing interface with the Galaxy S7 (left) and iPhone 6s (right).


Due to limitations that Apple put on the software—whether knowingly or not—we actually had to spend quite some time before we figured out how to export slow motion clips from the iPhone 6s to our computers, without a loss in detail. No, you can't e-mail them nor send them through iMessage—they'll be mercilessly compressed—and if you try to download them directly from the phone's storage, they'll be played back as a normal video sans the slow motion effect. The only workaround that we know of and that doesn't involve the purchase of an app is to use the free iMovie app from Apple to import the clips and then export them manually. It's a bit of a headache, but at least there's a way—it just means that the Galaxy S7 scores better on user experience, as with Samsung's device it's a simple drag-and-drop operation.

Finally, on the editing front, we have a near perfect tie. Both devices let you trim the footage and set a start and end manually, along with the ability to only slow down specific parts of the footage. The only plus on the S7's side is the ability to mute the footage if you're so inclined. 

Our verdict? The Galaxy S7 has this, by a mile.

46 Comments
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posted on 24 Mar 2016, 09:54 23

1. adi9764 (Posts: 42; Member since: 16 Feb 2016)


The s7 is much better

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 09:54 2

2. Unordinary (Posts: 1284; Member since: 04 Nov 2015)


Good job Samsung. SS's slow mo used to be ass. Glad to see its doing better now. Too bad no 1080p with 120 FPS though :(

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 10:24 2

12. tyrionTheWise (unregistered)


Technically the exynos 8890 supports 1080p@480 fps. There must be a way to get it working with a software update. Also both SoCs(8890 and 820) support 4k@60fps and 1080p@120 fps. It's just the classic case of laziness and poor software from Samsung.

The only place where I feel like samsung is using the camera's full software is with the front facing camera. They allow QHD video recording.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 12:28

22. Unordinary (Posts: 1284; Member since: 04 Nov 2015)


That would be awesome

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 12:45 5

23. sachouba (Posts: 156; Member since: 08 Jun 2014)


It probably isn't a limitation of the software if the camera can't shoot 1080p@480 fps...
You know, camera modules, ISPs, bandwidth... are limited too, they can't just shoot at 100 000 fps with a powerful enough processor.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 12:59

25. tyrionTheWise (unregistered)


Maybe. It may be limited by ISP. But the bandwidth and SoC is not the bottleneck.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 13:30

26. xondk (Posts: 1249; Member since: 25 Mar 2014)


Hrm, but exynos comes with two different camera depending on what you get it would vary would it not? is it the sony sensor or the samsung camera sensor that can do that high speed?

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 13:45 3

27. Macready (Posts: 861; Member since: 08 Dec 2014)


Nonsense. Processor power is not the limiting factor here, sensor read out speed is, as it usually is. Most of these sensors can't got past 240/300 fps at lower resolutions, such as 720P.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 13:56

31. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8939; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


Or maybe they thought using it was pointless? I mean, most people dont even use slow motion. Those who make such that important will simply be using a real camera, not a camera phone.

Have you forgotten that these devices are trying to balance usability with features? Most people scoff at extra useless gimmicky features. So motion is only useful for pros.

Unless a person is thinking they specifically want to record something in slow motion, most people aren't. As I said, people who do this on a professional level will use a real camera.

Yes I have seen professional-looking slow motion video produced from the iPhone and it looks great. I'm not saying a smartphone can't be used for such. I am saying most people aren't going to use this on a smartphone.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 13:57

32. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8939; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


Please also consider that a slow-motion video will also consume a lot of space the higher the resolution. Most phones don't even have internal storage large enough to hold such. Yes the S7 does support sdcards, but the vast majority of people will never buy one.

posted on 25 Mar 2016, 01:47

41. ibend (Posts: 3858; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


my guess:
1. shutter speed limitation
2. it produce terrible quality for 1080p
3. they just save it for next gen galaxy S (or note)

posted on 07 Apr 2016, 09:01

46. manav3311 (unregistered)


4k @ 60 fps would be availaible in s8

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 09:58 7

4. Carbo (Posts: 26; Member since: 07 Aug 2015)


They are both 720P, but it really looks like the iPhone use a lower résolution.
Is it possible that it's shooting at a lower résolution, then do an interpolation ?

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 10:01 3

6. Coconut00 (Posts: 474; Member since: 13 Jan 2015)


I think the iPhone is upscaled 480p

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 10:26

13. tyrionTheWise (unregistered)


The iphone 5s did that. They fixed it with the 6. If you think iPhone's video is ass, look at the footage from S6, it's 480p upscaled. And the G4 is 360p upscaled.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 11:59 1

19. Coconut00 (Posts: 474; Member since: 13 Jan 2015)


Yeah I know Samsung's slow mo used to be laughably bad

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 13:59 2

33. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8939; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


At the time it was a useless gimmicky feature. Oh wait...nothing changed.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 13:49

28. Macready (Posts: 861; Member since: 08 Dec 2014)


At ultra high read out speeds, all these sensors using binning and/or subsampling. Only the extend varies, so while these sensors for example probably read out about 1 out of 3 pixels on every row or even one in 3 rows in this mode, previous generations would do about 1 out of 6. In 1 or 2 generations, all pixels will be scanned during slow motion too.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 10:00 9

5. Coconut00 (Posts: 474; Member since: 13 Jan 2015)


The S7 is better in both image quality and audio. Good job Samsung. Their slow mo used to be terrible

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 10:38 1

16. MrHate (Posts: 220; Member since: 09 Feb 2015)


Wait the audio is the only thing the S7 is worse and you are saying it was better. The iPhone 6s takes so much more details up compared to the S7.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 11:56 1

18. Coconut00 (Posts: 474; Member since: 13 Jan 2015)


IMO the iPhone has better audio on paper, but if you see the video I think the S7 beats it. The iPhone makes it seem like a bomb exploded or something on the Jenga one lol

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 14:04 1

35. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8939; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


Every video I have heard recorded in regular speed, the iphone audio sound muffled and bland, while the Galaxy S was clear and vivid.

Check here -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6VUPgOzGlw

Even the video he did with the iPhoen 6 vs the S6, same results

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aybrBYKmqZg&index=8&list=PL7lJjKhsIqjJpRf_aHXz995JbZyoVDJRq

Also a good comparison of the S6 vs S7 too

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9olR5hYdKk&index=1&list=PL7lJjKhsIqjJpRf_aHXz995JbZyoVDJRq

posted on 07 Apr 2016, 09:04

47. manav3311 (unregistered)


MR HATE THERE ARE MANY BRAINWASHED FANDROID NOBODY WILL AGREE WITH U .EXCEPT ME I AGREE WITH ASS 7 IS LAG-HORRIBLE

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 10:03 1

7. willy.4 (Posts: 42; Member since: 14 Oct 2015)


seems to have more ghosting ( artifacts ) on the Apple phone.... and heavy image shading as well , to much added richness to video heavy colors appears to be artificially saturated....

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 10:03

8. willy.4 (Posts: 42; Member since: 14 Oct 2015)


Good job Samsung.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 10:17 5

9. darkkjedii (Posts: 20085; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Why do these comments not surprise me one bit lol? Did we expect anything different than what's being posted?

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 10:37 1

15. Subie (Posts: 543; Member since: 01 Aug 2015)


Yup, every time there's a pro Apple article the haters yell iPhonearena. Where are they now?

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 10:42 9

17. Chris.P (Posts: 548; Member since: 27 Jun 2013)


Fed by the delusion that we're secretly in cahoots with this or that manufacturer. It's just our job, we call it as we see it. Nothing sinister going on.

Of course, that's too simple an explanation—conspiracy theorists would be out of a "job" if too many people thought that way.

(:

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 12:50 3

24. sachouba (Posts: 156; Member since: 08 Jun 2014)


Slow motion is just so much better on the S7.
Even when you are biased, sometimes, you can't deny the truth (it would be too obvious).

posted on 25 Mar 2016, 00:56 5

40. MrElectrifyer (Posts: 2366; Member since: 21 Oct 2014)


Since you obviously missed it, like I said before, little news like this doesn't cover up the hypocrisy of their articles and reviews. From crediting features from different rivals that Samsung and other manufacturers implement in their devices, to ALWAYS one rival, apple:

http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-Galaxy-S7-to-have-a-version-of-Live-Photos-called-Vivid-Photo_id77435

http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-to-answer-Apple-iPhone-SE-with-4.6-inch-Galaxy-S7-mini-featuring-SD-820-or-Exynos-8890-SoC_id79259

http://www.phonearena.com/news/Camera-and-Photos-apps-for-Windows-10-Mobile-receive-updates_id79520

Yet not writing a single article pointing out the dozens of features that single rival has copied:

http://www.gottabemobile.com/2015/06/08/ios-9-features-apple-borrowed-from-android/

http://phandroid.com/2015/09/09/iphone-6s-new-features-vs-android-phones/

To making bizarre naive statements in praise of that 1 rival's products, like "No PC will let you do what the iPad does for $999":

http://www.phonearena.com/news/iPad-Pro-9.7-inch-specs-review--big-guns-small-form_id79566

To mentioning cons in non-apple device reviews, yet ignoring those same cons in apple device reviews even though they 100% apply.

To inconsistency in product reviews. Like their con for the S6 was due to it lacking a MicroSD card slot, so they gave it a 9.3. Then S7 fixes that and improves on many other things, they go and give it a 9.

A little positive article ain't gonna fix all of that anytime soon. They need to end their hypocrisy and double standards.

posted on 25 Mar 2016, 11:53

43. refillable (Posts: 1045; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)


Well said.

posted on 25 Mar 2016, 19:33 2

44. k4ever (Posts: 156; Member since: 08 Oct 2014)


Excellent post! Exactly how I see it also. I will sum up your post in one sentence: PA is hypocritical and one good story for a manufacturer that is not Apple isn't going to change that.

PA needs to just be fair in all of their stories, which seems to be a hard thing for them.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 14:01 1

34. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8939; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


Well some people probably did. After all, most people here including you think the iPhone is better at everything above the Galaxy S, simply because the feature is on the iPhone.

Also, facts have show that many sensors are really good at still photos but terrible at video and vice versa.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 10:17

10. natypes (Posts: 1081; Member since: 02 Feb 2015)


Wow, there was a clear winner there in my book.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 10:18 3

11. saif2711 (Posts: 69; Member since: 22 Feb 2016)


S7 camera is comfortably ahead.Smoother,well focussed and eye catching.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 10:29 2

14. Hoggington (Posts: 163; Member since: 23 Feb 2016)


The incredibly fast autofocus is what really helps the S7 here. Definitely the winner.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 12:08

20. talon95 (Posts: 481; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)


Can I just say that on the audio comment, in some cases higher sampling might have a better result than higher bitrate, but only if it's variable bitrate encoding.

If you're sampling faster you can catch more detail (when it is present) so unless you're recording music that always requires high bit rate, normal audio comes and goes, so constant bitrate isn't very efficient. Meaning that if you use a variable bitrate, even though it is lower, it might be more than sufficient to capture the audio that is sampled. But if you clip the high frequencies, there's no amount of bitrate that will bring it back.

Normally, with any type of music, i would agree that bitrate is the bottleneck.
And with the really poor mic on the 6s it really doesn't matter what the bitrate is. Recording a bad sound in high quality doesn't make it any more desirable!

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 12:18

21. Neros (Posts: 1016; Member since: 19 Dec 2014)


The only problem is the 720p resolution. It just sucks.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 13:52

30. Macready (Posts: 861; Member since: 08 Dec 2014)


720P isn't bad, it's the binning and/or subsampling that makes it look mushy with lots of artifacting. That's a limitation of the read out speed of these image sensors and a matter of maybe 2 generations before solved... at these slowmotion rates, at which point say 50x slowmotion will have mushy resolution... ;-)

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 13:51

29. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8939; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


Asking the writer. Based on where you filmed the dog, which phone produced the colors better?
From the video it appears the S7 video looked a bit color-washed, while the iPhone appears to have significantly over-saturated the green. However I have seen very vibrant green grass like that in real life too, so that si why I am asking.

Then I noticed as the dog moved to the left, the phones seemed to reverse in color as teh gras appeared washedout on the iPhone and saturated on the S7.

Maybe it had something to do with the sunlight?

Also in that clip, the S7 appears to have gotten the color brown more accurate, while the iPhone made the dirt look grey.

Both phones seems to have done very well, but the S7 is the winner for better color accuracy at the least.

posted on 25 Mar 2016, 05:56

42. Chris.P (Posts: 548; Member since: 27 Jun 2013)


As is the case all too often when talking image quality, the duller image is, typically, more true to life. In this case, there's no argument that the iPhone produced footage with incorrect color balance (way too yellow), and that's not at all how the scene looked in real life. It's been a gray March here, with tons of rain and such. You'd think it's a sunny paradise here watching that sample.

This is not to say that the Galaxy S7 produced a perfectly natural clip. In fact, its own representation is also far from ideal, just not as critically bad as with the iPhone 6s in that specific scenario.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 14:20

36. justrt (Posts: 376; Member since: 10 Jul 2014)


OMG, you had to build the Jenga twice?

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 15:17

37. dvassafor (Posts: 31; Member since: 13 Nov 2014)


God damn that dog is a lovely creature!

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 22:37

38. jeroome86 (Posts: 901; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)


Nice feature to have. Samsung needs to work on their audio quality now. Sounds too muffle. Maybe the IP68. 720p just fine. My 52" Samsung plays 720p and looks great. So on a 5 - 5.5 screen hardly noticeable difference between 1080p.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 23:42 1

39. MrElectrifyer (Posts: 2366; Member since: 21 Oct 2014)


The S7 has a much better microphone than the iPhone:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6VUPgOzGlw

posted on 26 Mar 2016, 03:49

45. Inotamira (Posts: 173; Member since: 06 Feb 2016)


SANS! ARE YOU PRANKING PEOPLE ACROSS WEBSITES IN SPACE AGAIN!

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