Apple iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7
There are only two phone companies that can sell $600+ flagships in the millions of units, and that is why the comparisons between the new Apple iPhone 7 and Samsung's top-shelf Galaxy S7 is bound to be intriguing.
Apple upgraded the iPhone 7 with more features than rumored or expected this year, like a wide color screen, new optically-stabilized sensor, and a waterproof chassis. The IP67 rating itself negates one of the advantages that Samsung had with the Galaxy S7 before previous iPhones, but there is plenty more for the iPhone 7 to throw around.
The Galaxy S7 still has a laundry list of top-notch features that should give it a leg in the race against the newest iPhone, at least on paper. So, can the iPhone, released six months after the S7, make you pause and think even if you are an Android aficionado? Let's see...
The iPhone 7 is a hero of palm and pocket, while the glass chassis of the S7 feels nice in the sea of metal contemporaries.
Both the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7 aren't thorough redesigns, and yet can hardly be confused with their predecessors. Apple, for instance, moved the iPhone 7 antenna bands to the edges, ditched the physical home key for a pressure-sensitive one, dispensed with the audio jack, waterproofed the chassis, slapped stereo speakers, put a bigger lens on the back, and issued its bread-and-butter device in two new dark hues – matte Black and Jet Black. That's almost enough of a redesign for it to feel like a completely different phone compared to its predecessor.
What stayed with the two 2016 editions, however, are the premium materials, the pocketability and manageability in the palm, as they are equipped with fairly reasonable for today's standards screen diagonals. Still, the S7 is larger and feels a bit heavier. Its thicker chassis contributes to that notion when held concurrently with the iPhone.
Apple ditched the physical home key for a pressure-sensitive one that has an adjustable haptic feedback when pressed, while Samsung kept its elliptical button clickable. The home key of the S7 is protruding, and the finish easy to scuff and scratch with everyday wear, while the iPhone 7's key is much harder to damage. The haptic key on the iPhone 7 takes some getting used to, both if you are coming from Android, and if you are upgrading from an older iPhone, but overall the uptake period is pretty short.
The first phone with wide color display and active color management has also one of the best screens for outdoor activities.
A 4.7” 750 x 1334 pixels LCD display on the iPhone 7, against a 5.1” 1440x2650 AMOLED screen on the S7 – this seems like unfair fight when it comes to pixel density, but the “HD” resolution on the iPhone is perfectly adequate for the diagonal, while the Quad HD panel is a bit of an overkill on a 5-incher, and has a much higher power draw.
Speaking of power draw, the S7 can reach just under 500 nits max in brightness, while the iPhone 7 can exceed 600 nits in bright scenarios, making it a bit easier to see under the sun..
The color representation round is in the iPhone's camp. It is the first phone with active color management that covers the cinematic DCI-P3, or, as Apple calls it, “wide color” gamut, making it futureproof for whatever is thrown at it in the next few years. With the Galaxy S7, you have to deliberately choose a “Basic” color mode so that the display covers the widespread sRGB gamut, whereas in the default Adaptive display regime, it shows pretty cold and oversaturated colors. Apple, on the other hand, has had active color management since iOS 9, so when an image is tagged sRGB internally, it gets displayed credibly as such on the iPhone 7 display, while if it is taken with a richer color gamut like P3, it is automatically shown in full bloom on the new “wide color” display. It doesn't get any easier for the user than that, and there is no need to fumble with screen modes.
When it comes to viewing angles, both phones perform pretty well, though the AMOLED screen, even in Basic mode, becomes colder and blueish with the slightest tilt of the phone. As for extra display perks, the iPhone is equipped with the so-called 3D Touch tech that can recognize between a slight push or a hard press of the screen's surface, and react accordingly. Apple, as well as third-party devs, are finding more and more uses for this feature, though it hasn't proven an everyday necessity just yet. Samsung, in its turn, takes advantage of the OLED technology to offer the so-called Always-on screen that can display time, date, notifications and so on, when the phone is locked – neat, but quite a power drain.