Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Apple iPhone 7: best of the best

Did you know we have an extremely convenient Rivals tab within our specs pages? For example, if you check out the Galaxy S8 specs page, the second tab on the top is Rivals. This page ranks all the biggest Galaxy S8 rivals based on the number of times our readers have compared it with other models. Going into this comparison, I honestly expected the iPhone 7, Apple's current top mainstream phone, to be if not the first (biggest rival), then maybe the second one there.

It turns out, at least for the time being, fans of Samsung's latest and greatest are most interested in figuring out how the S8 stacks up against the other top Galaxies out there, like the Samsung S7 and S7 edge, and only then proceed to pit it against the Apple iPhone 7. Not to be mistaken, there's still an obvious, gigantic interest in such a comparison, as fans of either brand are curious to find out all the ways these two handsets can best each other. Beyond the specs sheet comparison, however, there are other details that can only be experienced first hand. Things may seem a certain way when you're looking at pictures, but perceptions can change when you finally have the actual devices in your hands. This is the kind of value we can offer you right now with this comparison: as we've had the rare opportunity to personally play with both smartphones, we're in good position to share some useful insight, with regards to the feel and quality of the hardware, as well as the software on these phones.

The bezel-less Galaxy S8 looks superb, but we wouldn't call the iPhone 7's styling "last-year"

It appears we're going to see a lot of this so-called bezel-less design trend this year, or, as Samsung likes to call it – infinity screen! It is generally believed that after LG and Samsung, Apple is also going to adopt a similar design style later this year with the iPhone 8. However, where does all this leave our current handsets, like the iPhone 7, with their chunkier top and bottom bezels? There's no argument that there's indeed something futuristic about an-all screen phone like the Galaxy S8, and we can definitely see the iPhone 7 benefiting a little from a slight bezel reduction, but should we really remove all the frame and switch to a much taller screen? In terms of aesthetics, such a decision feels mostly arbitrary at this point. Removing all of the bezel is a bit like removing the face – with even less space for artistic expression, how are we going to tell phones apart, if all they end up being on the front is just a big screen, wth no home button or other details.

And even subjectively, looking at the Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7 doesn't feel like standing at the crossroads between past and future. Both handsets look modern and stylish. The Galaxy's design has mostly benefited from the more minimal design, but all details found on the iPhone 7's body look especially well considered and positioned, that it's hard to imagine it being put together in any different way.

The biggest and most important difference between the exteriors of the Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7 is in the materials used. The new Galaxy's back panel is again glass, while the metal frame surrounding the phone has been polished, so it too now reflects the environment in a shiny and eye-catchy way, plus, just like the glass, it sticks to your hands, making it very hard to drop the phone. In contrast, all variants of the iPhone 7, except one, are made of metal with a matte finish, which is record-breaking in its ability to slip out of your hands (if you're not using a case). Only the Jet Black version, which is still metal, has a very polished finish, which sticks to the fingers like glass, and gives the phone a smooth and shiny look. It's similar in nature to the polished metal frame of the S8.

What the extra-tall Galaxy S8 screen means

Here's a small revelation: the Galaxy S8 screen doesn't really have a very 'large' display. It's not 5.8" big. Technically, it is, but due to the taller screen aspect ratio, which is now 9:18.5, extended from 9:16, the screen hasn't grown horizontally, only vertically. Plus, with the side edges being slightly curved backwards, as on previous Samsung 'edge' models, the Galaxy S8 almost feels on the small side. It's quite a narrow smartphone, with a screen that holds the promise to improve user experience, but does it succeed? We'd say it's too early for any grand conclusions; while we did play around with the S8 for half an hour or so, the potential benefits of the taller screen will probably start unfolding as we get to use it as a daily driver. For now, we can see it as helpful for stuff like showing more of a web page when browsing, or more of a Facebook feed, or more text when reading a book – scenarios that benefit from vertical space. This 5.8" screen on the Galaxy S8 doesn't make things bigger — they are probably around the size of things in a 5" phone — but it does mean that you can fit more at the same time.

As for the iPhone 7, things will look about as big on its 4.7" screen, and it's just what it is: a 9:16 panel where most video and other media will fit perfectly (no black bars), including games, and while it isn't as tall, we feel it's already tall enough. We'd definitely like to see the diagonal grow a little, but maybe by somewhere around .2 inches, retaining the 9:16 ratio for content. A useful function area or something of the sort may find place outside of that 9:16 main panel, but for most content, we don't see a pressing need for a taller (wider) aspect ratio.

Performance, performance, performance!

We simply love the speediness and response we see on both handsets. With the upgraded software UI on the Galaxy S8, the nasty jitteriness when swiping around is gone, and actions are executed swiftly and fluidly, with no delays or inconsistencies, at least these are our initial impressions. We can't say if one's faster than the other yet – but surely neither is slow. As you know, the iPhone 7 is powered by the A10 Fusion chipset, built on 16 nm process. In terms of processing power, it's proven to be an amazing achievement, but we're curious to see more of the Galaxy S8's processors, because those are the first 10 nm ones! Both the Snapdragon 835 variant and the Exynos 8895 are built on this new technology, which should supposedly allow for better power efficiency. Naturally, we'll need to do a lot more testing before we can talk about the battery longevity of this phone.

For graphics, the Samsung Galaxy S8 has the Adreno 540 with the SD 835 chip, and the Mali-G71 MP20 GPU with the Exynos 8895. We're sure these will give it more than enough horse power to run every everything smoothly, even despite the high screen resolution. The same goes for the PowerVR GPU in the iPhone 7, which some have claimed is the same as in the iPhone 6s. How can it be the same when Apple says it's gotten faster, we don't know, maybe they've just managed to get it working at a higher clock speed. Either way, it's proven to be incredibly powerful, and we have a feeling it'll continue to provide flawless gaming experience even in the next couple of years.

Cameras: basically the S7 vs the iPhone 7 all over again

Looking to compare the Galaxy S8's 12 MP shooter versus the iPhone 7? It's your lucky day, as we've already produced a quick camera comparison featuring both of these guys, and more! From the looks of it, Samsung has made some changed in the way images are processed, because we see some slight differences between the S8 and S7 photos. Most notably, pics from the Galaxy S8 seem to come out ever so slightly warmer and more detailed, but for the most part, the camera is basically the same. This means it's still lightning fast and particularly adept at low-light photography. The iPhone 7 often can't quite match the S8/S7's low-light or nighttime performance, but otherwise it's pretty comparable in other, more light-abundant situations. For a more detailed comparison, be sure to check out any of our latest grand smartphone camera comparisons:

What will happen on April 21

The Galaxy S8 will be released in the US, that's what. But if we try to look a bit deeper into the significance of this event, we'll see it's going to have quite the consequence for the entirety of the mobile market. The Galaxy has managed to be the only Android smartphone with a desirability factor dialed to 11, meaning people actually fancy it, and buy it for its overall excellence and visual appeal, not just for the fact it'll run their Facebook and messaging. The Galaxy is the Android iPhone, and this year's lineup is even stronger than last year's, with a considerably improved design (in a number of likable colors), the same extensive range of features, better software experience, and one other great benefit: reaching the market about 5 months earlier than the iPhone 8. As such, it's first next-gen smartphone of this year worth buying.

Where does this leave the iPhone 7? Well, it'll have the difficult task of holding its ground against the GS8 until the iPhone 8 arrives. For now, the iPhone 7 has enough class left to still attract immense numbers of buyers, but with the GS8 around, we can imagine consumers will gradually start getting hungry for something fresher from Apple's camp. The iPhone is long overdue for an exterior overhaul, and while the iPhone 7's Jet Black edition was a nice small refresh, we want more. For many iPhone users, it'll still be hard enough to jump ship and switch platforms, but if you're undecided and have no loyalty lying with any of the two operating systems, the Galaxy S8 now offers you the option to join Android through an exquisite device that's both high-tech and desirable.

Related phones

Galaxy S8
  • Display 5.8" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(30h talk time)
iPhone 7
  • Display 4.7" 750 x 1334 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A10 Fusion, Quad-core, 2340 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 1960 mAh(14h 3G talk time)



1. BeersAndTech

Posts: 95; Member since: Sep 28, 2015

S7 Edge > S8/S8+ Sad but true

7. peace247 unregistered

You're an idiot. Sad but true

22. BeersAndTech

Posts: 95; Member since: Sep 28, 2015


64. Stappy3

Posts: 108; Member since: Dec 09, 2015

It's replies like these that make think there's more to the interent than trolls.. :D

12. sgodsell

Posts: 7533; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The iPhone 7 has the lowest resolution of any flagship device on the market. Yet it's priced as a flagship. It's pushing more than 4 times fewer number of pixels compared to the S8. Yet the iPhone 7 isn't even close to two times faster than a S7, or for that matter a S6. The Galaxy's give a really great VR experience. They are including a free VR headset with a a preorder. Something iPhone's still to this day cannot do. Let alone Apple does not support. I always laugh at benchmark tests. Let me know when the iPhone is using a QHD or higher display, then let's run some tests again. Until then the iPhone 7 is a joke, and asking too much money for what they offer in comparison to the competition. No wonder why Apple continues to see record profits. They offer very little, but ask for a lot of money.

27. Spyro

Posts: 334; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

Lol VR on mobile isn't even popular, at least worldwide. Apple wasn't even aiming for the VR market.

28. Spyro

Posts: 334; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

Lol VR on mobile isn't even popular, at least worldwide. Apple wasn't even aiming for the VR market.

42. sgodsell

Posts: 7533; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Spyro the Gear VR is in the hands of more than 5 million users now. Google's Cardboard is the hands of over 10 million users and still growing. Combined the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift only have less than 600 thousand users. Sony's PS VR sold over a million. Yet you talk like you know, and that Apple knows what they are talking about when it comes to VR, AR, or MR. Please Spyro when you can talk shop and know what you are actually talking about, then get back to me. Until then I will continue to enjoy the many versions of VR at my disposal, like my Oculus Rift, Gear VR, Daydream VR, PS VR, and the ton's of different Cardboard headsets.

39. therealestmc

Posts: 679; Member since: Jul 23, 2012

There is nothing great about the vr experience. The damn thing is freaking blurry and gives me headaches. Not even close to being great.

40. thxultra

Posts: 472; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

Honestly I don't see the need for these really high res screens except for VR. I currently have a Iphone 7 plus that I'm trading in on a S8. The screen on my iphone 7 plus looks great but I think the resolution would be an issue for VR. I had the VR headset with my S7 edge and it did work great but I found it gimmicky. No real killer apps for it. It was cool to play with street view for a bit but after a week it just sat on the shelf. Hoping they make some great games for the new controller though. Apple does two things really well. Accessory support. I have found iphones work best with car radios etc. Second is they are efficient. They don't have the most ram, fastest processors but they are fast. All that being said I'm looking forward to the screen on the S8, the audio chip that supports hi res audio, The gig LTE tech. Personally feel both Apple and Samsung have their strengths.

46. sgodsell

Posts: 7533; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I love liars like you. You pretend to use VR. If you actually used the Gear VR then you would have realized that there is a lot of VR apps. Especially since the Gear VR has access to use not only Gear VR apps (Oculus), but access to Steam VR, as well as all the Cardboard apps. Now that the latest Gear VR has a controller similar to Daydream's​9 axis controller. It should bring some much needed spacial awareness through this new controller. Just like Daydream's​ controller. Btw Apple for years has always been behind the tech curve.

59. Spyro

Posts: 334; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

The point is, for most of the average consumer, they wouldn't need a $100 VR set let alone even want it. VR isn't even a standard in the gaming industry. It's pure gimmick. Yes, the S8 aims at the VR market too but not every phone should. Apple has never been behind. That's just some perspective used by most fandroids to belittle Apple. I bet if Apple didn't introduce Touch ID, we would be getting fingerprint scanners as a norm for a few more years

60. sgodsell

Posts: 7533; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Are you trying to be stupid, or are you just ignorant? Apple is behind the tech curve, period. Spyro, I would love to hear from you what tech Apple is ahead on? There is no belittling here needed. Apple has done that to themselves. So let's see Apple is so far behind in screens, correct? Apples doesn't have the best cameras, correct? Apple doesn't use the latest wireless technologies, like LTE, or the latest WiFi ad, or Bluetooth 5.0, correct? Apple doesn't have or use the latest USB-C (iPhones), correct? Apple doesn't support or have anything to do with VR, AR, or MR, correct? Apple doesn't use the latest sensors, like gyroscopes, accelerometers, heart rate, O2, or other sensors, correct? So please tell everyone here what is the latest hardware in the iPhone 7 or even the latest iPhone SE that was just recently released. Can't wait to see what you come back with.

41. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

Maybe Apple aren't the stupid ones by trying to offer so many pixels that require such powerful processors and extra files sizes on a tiny screen? Maybe they offer enough for optimum performance rather than what is unnecessary? Even cameras gave up on the megapixel race and started going back to more optimal numbers some time ago...

62. janis

Posts: 397; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

very true, i would buy iphone as second phone if price would be about 300-400$, since screen is like from that price range and no fast charging and wireless charging, its midrange phone.

61. janis

Posts: 397; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

i have edge 7 + 3600 battery, will see how 3500 battery work with 6.2 screens. but this iphone vs samsung, they lost this battle while ago and this samsung s8+ destroys iphone in every category, screen, wireless charging, fast charging, OS, SD cards, etc./.

2. dubaiboy78

Posts: 457; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

Iphonearena, really best of the best then inserting iphone 7?!??!? Dafuq!!!

19. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

'but we wouldn't call the iPhone 7's styling "last-year"..' We know, we know...

21. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"'but we wouldn't call the iPhone 7's styling "last-year" Hilarious. Besides, what's up, Klinton! It's been quite a while. You getting the S8?

36. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Well, I'm Note user. Nothing not-Note-like tempt me anymore. Pity that only Samsung is there. Competition would be great.

30. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

looks who is writing this article...

3. Babadook

Posts: 230; Member since: May 24, 2016

Umm.... Pixel XL still exists. wtf

6. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

8. peace247 unregistered

Lol...lame article

11. adi90

Posts: 554; Member since: Dec 21, 2015

I think no one in phonearena owns a pixel . That is why they have not published any article on s8 vs pixel. All the android users are eagerly waiting for it.

4. Jevon5

Posts: 60; Member since: Feb 15, 2016

""The bezel-less Galaxy S8 looks superb, but we wouldn't call the iPhone 7's styling "last-year""" Yeah I would call it the "last 4 years"

51. Michigan

Posts: 246; Member since: Nov 19, 2016

did i see a toy next to my s8 guys? this is garbage article total crap man not s8 vs LG g6? trying much to campaign for crook.

52. Michigan

Posts: 246; Member since: Nov 19, 2016

did i see a toy next to my s8 guys? this is garbage article total crap man not s8 vs LG g6? trying much to campaign for crook.

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