Apple iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7
Interface and functionality
Oh, iOS vs Android rivalry, where would we be without you! The iPhone 7 comes with the newest iOS 10 edition of Apple's venerable mobile OS, while the Galaxy S7 is rocking Android 6.0 Marshmallow, the version before the last 7.0 Nougat update, plastered with the ubiquitous TouchWiz overlay on top.
The iOS 10 update is not the under-the-hood rehash that iOS 9 was. Apple comes out swinging with the introduction of a new widget system, lock screen overhaul, brand new iMessage, and opened up its chat app as well as the Siri virtual butler to the world of third-party developers. This resulted in a massive influx of widgets not only for the default apps, but also for popular ones in the App Store. While not as interactive or adjustable like on Android, the iOS widgets are neatly laid out in a dedicated screen, and display the most pertinent and actionable info that saves you having to constantly go in and out of apps for small checks – the whole point of a widget system. Moreover, you can have them displayed by pressing a bit harder on the app icon, so that you don't even have to go to the widget screen for the ones you use the most.
We also like that the connectivity toggles and player controls are called by swiping from the bottom in iOS, whereas you have to stretch all the way up to bring down the notification shade in TouchWiz. A lot of Android phones allow you to swipe down on an empty screen area to unfold it, but Samsung, for all the extra features it has plugged into its interface system, has somehow omitted that.
The iPhone 7 allows you to tilt the phone towards your eyes, or turn it around, and the screen will light up automatically, no need to press the lock key on the side, or stretch to tap the home button. Samsung equipped the Galaxy S7 with an equally useful option – press twice on the home key in quick succession, and you will go straight to the camera app from a locked handset for a quick snap of a moment you might have otherwise missed. The iPhone also offers a shortcut to the camera from the lock screen by swiping left.
Processor and memory
Apple uses its newest A10 Fusion chipset for the iPhone 7, and Samsung does the same by equipping the S7 with an Exynos 8890 of its own making. Both are done with the current top-dog 14nm/16nm production nodes, and are fast, as well as power-efficient. With that being said, Apple's custom-made solution crushes everything in benchmarks, especially the graphics section, while Samsung uses an off-the-shelf ARM-Mali GPU with more modest results. Of course, some of it has to do with the lower screen resolution of the iPhone. Still, both phones are very fast, and only the heavy TouchWiz overlay prevents Samsung to show the true potential of its chipset, as apps open somewhat slower compared to the iPhone, for instance.
Apple equipped the iPhone 7 with 2 GB of RAM, while the Galaxy S7 comes with 4 GB, but, again, the RAM management of iOS is pretty top-notch, so that is only a paper difference, even when queuing up tens of active apps in the memory, as TouchWiz and Android occupy quite a lot from those 4 GB at any given moment.
When it comes to storage, Apple was more generous than usual this year, so the iPhone 7 will start you off with 32 GB of the fast stuff, as much as the Galaxy S7. The next step is 128 GB, and there is a 256 GB version, too, all within a Benjamin distance from each other. Samsung, on the other hand, opted for the slower, but cheaper solution of providing a microSD slot for storage expansion.
Browser and connectivity
Apple uses the tried-and-true mobile Safari browser on the iPhone 7, while Samsung offers both its own Internet solution, and Android's default Chrome browser. Apple and Samsung both offer fast rendering machines, and reading modes that strip articles from distractions like pics or ads, leaving barebones text only for easier skimming.
The iPhone 7 supports up to 25 LTE bands (against the S7's 20), which is a record for a phone, and means you can truly take it most anywhere while traveling to take advantage of the local 4G speeds. The iPhone also supports the faster LTE Cat. 12 highway, which can pipe down 600 Mbit/s, while the S7 makes do with Cat. 9 and 450 Mbit/s. Good luck securing those from your carrier, though. Needless to say, all other wireless connectivity standards are on board with both phones, too.
As for those disgusting cables, Apple comes with a proprietary Lightning port, which in the iPhone 7 is also used to plug the supplied EarPods and listen to music, while the S7 has a run-of-the-mill microUSB port at the bottom.