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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.

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

1. adi9764 (Posts: 64; Member since: 16 Feb 2016)


The s7 is much better

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 09:54 2

2. Unordinary (Posts: 1951; 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 3

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: 1951; Member since: 04 Nov 2015)


That would be awesome

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 12:45 5

23. sachouba (Posts: 171; 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: 1587; 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: 1122; 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: 10618; 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 06 Nov 2016, 04:46

52. Daniel7 (Posts: 11; Member since: 05 Nov 2016)


Hello.
Do you think, that some features are gimmicky and useless? Then just do not use them and ignore them. You always have to think, that a notable fraction of people would still consider those features as useful. And if you do not think so, just disable them.

Hyun Yeul Lee already removed half the features on the Galaxy S6, including many UI elements and menu features and some suff like EXiF data viewer in the gallery application (which was actually already removed on the Galaxy Note Four). A flagship device's purpose is actually to have as many features as possible. LG did a great job with the V10, which I actually use.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 13:57

32. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 10618; 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 06 Nov 2016, 04:50

53. Daniel7 (Posts: 11; Member since: 05 Nov 2016)


Slow motion needs a lot of space, of course. But on my V10, I can adjust the Bitrate for my video in manual video mode. I really enjoy the powerful camera application user interface of my V10. If I would like my video to look professional and has a high quality, I will choose a higher bitrate. Otherways, if I just want to make some random videos for fun, I will choose a lower quality.
Samsung had a quality chooser for photos and videos (it affected the bitrate), which still was available until 2012 (Note 2 with TouchWiz NatureUX v1) and was removed in 2013 on the Galaxy S4 with the second version of Nature UX.

posted on 25 Mar 2016, 01:47

41. ibend (Posts: 5059; 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 05 Nov 2016, 20:22

49. Daniel7 (Posts: 11; Member since: 05 Nov 2016)


Yeah. I already read that on GSMArena.
But the Note 3 is able to play back 720p@240fps (surprisingly, the Note 4 isn't), and record 2160p@30fps. At 2160p@30fps, the exact same number of pixels on the image sensor are getting read out per second as 1080p@120fps. And the S7 has the tripple processing performance of a Note 3. So where is 2160p@90fps?

posted on 05 Nov 2016, 20:21

48. Daniel7 (Posts: 11; Member since: 05 Nov 2016)


Hello, tyrionTheWise.
I hope, that you are going to read my comment. If you do, please respond.
As I can read, you are a real smartphone genius. Your comment was glorious, my mate (nicknamed TechLord777) said.

I can remember having read your comment a few months ago, and finally, I fonud it again.
2160p@60fps is, as my friend says, „a glorious combination of smoothness and detail.“ And he considers 1080p@120fps not as ripe slow motion (slowing down to ¼ would give 60fps to spare), but as ultra-smooth video.
But here is another huge disappointment from the S7: phonearena.com/news/Your-Galaxy-S7s-slow-motion-vi​deo-stutters-You-are-not-alone_id79936 (I just created this account to reply to your glorious comment, so I am registered since less than seven days. This makes me unable to parse links. Please forgive me for that.)

Another interesting internet article, which hasn't been translated to english yet is: User:S536870912/HFR on the german Wikipedia. That is the only article about that topic in the whole Internet‼

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 09:58 7

4. Carbo (Posts: 32; 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: 480; 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: 480; 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: 10618; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


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

posted on 05 Nov 2016, 21:09

50. Daniel7 (Posts: 11; Member since: 05 Nov 2016)


The apparent upscaling maybe was just sensor reading quality loss at that high framerate. But I guess, that you read this article: blog.gsmarena.com/the-apple-iphone-5s-is-not-actua​lly-recording-720p-slo-mo-video/

(please forgive me for the unparsed link. My account on PhoebeArea has been created less than a week ago.)

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 13:49

28. Macready (Posts: 1122; 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: 480; 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: 227; 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: 480; 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: 10618; 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 05 Nov 2016, 21:11

51. Daniel7 (Posts: 11; Member since: 05 Nov 2016)


The S7 lag is a very annoying and huge disappointment, I agree about that, bro.
But the quality of the S7's slow motion fulfills 720p very well. The LG V10 is able to pause 720p@120fps videos in pro mode, which the S7 lacks of, but that can be reproduced in video editing.

posted on 06 Nov 2016, 04:57

54. Daniel7 (Posts: 11; Member since: 05 Nov 2016)


Hello.
It is 2016, and the iPhone still uses 75 kbit/s mono AAC audio tracks for their videos. The quality of that audio is so low, that you can even hear the difference to other device's audio samples on a phone's speaker. I really wonder about that.
The S7's microphones were maybe not dry, if the audio does not sound as good as expected. Then, wait for it to dry out, so that the soundwaves are not disturbed by the water remained in the microphone.
But a very exemplary device is the HTC ONE M10, whose camera application actually uses FLAC as audio codec for the audio tracks in their recorded videos.

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