Camera

For the first time Samsung developed a camera that is superior to the iPhone's in more ways than one.

The Galaxy S7 edge employs a brand new 12 MP camera sensor, which might sound like a regress compared to the 16 MP shooter of the S6, yet the story here is rather different. The new camera has larger, 1.4 micron pixels, and wider, f/1.7 aperture, which cumulatively results in almost double the light collected compared to its predecessor. Moreover, Samsung now employs Dual Pixel focusing tech, which, compared to the PDAF technology of the S6, provides much faster focusing.

On paper, the 12MP camera on the Galaxy S7 is looking superior to the iPhone's 12MP one, despite the identical resolution. Samsung's flagship sports wider aperture (F/1.7 vs F2.2) and larger pixels (1.4-micron vs 1.22-micron) which could translate to better performance in low light. In addition, the Galaxy S7 has optical image stabilization, its camera interface is richer in features (Hyperlapse, Motion Panorama), and the new Dual Pixel system uses 100% of the pixels for focusing, instead of about 10% with Apple's Focus Pixels tech.

But that's all theory. How did the two phones fare when we challenged them against each other? First off, we can attest that focusing is amazingly quick on the S7 indeed. It's faster than on the iPhones which used to hold the record in our CamSpeed tests database, and continuous autofocus is out of this world while filming, with almost no lapse when moving the focus back and forth.



Focusing aside, when looking at the two phones' shots, we'd say that in decent lighting they're both in the same ballpark when it comes to quality. The iPhone goes slightly to the warmer side in terms of color presentation, and its photos are a tad darker than what comes out of the S7 in the same scenario, but overall the phones deliver a great amount of detail, and excellent dynamic range, without over- or underexposing lights and shadows.

When shooting in not-so-good lighting conditions, however, the Galaxy S7 has the upper hand more often than not, delivering a brighter frame and sharper detail, though colors that are a bit too warm and yellowish. It does overexpose brighter light sources, to the point of significant halo around lamps, headlights, and so on, as often happens with OIS-equipped phones that keep longer exposures, but everything else in the picture looks much brighter, too, which is important when you shoot at night. The LED flash on the back of the S7 seems slightly weaker than the flash on the iPhone 6s, but it illuminated our test objects more evenly, from up to about 7 feet distance.



Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S7 1.5
1.6
315
281
Apple iPhone 6s 1.7
1.9
485
293

In terms of video, both phones can record 4K footage, as well as slow-motion ones with 240fps, so in theory they are at the top of the mobile video game. Galaxy S7, however, steadies the picture while panning around with its optical image stabilization mechanism, while Apple relies on a software solution that is not that stable. Moreover, the Dual Pixel technology and auto HDR ensure that video from Samsung's phone usually comes out smooth and brightly exposed, even in night scenes. There is rolling shutter “jelly” effect while panning around, though, especially in the 4K footage, and color presentation is a bit on the saturated and warm side, while the iPhone manages to produce a bit more realistic scenes.


Multimedia


The media-centric apps on both phones do an equally fine job for basic tasks: browsing through photos, watching a video or playing music, but there are still contrasting points to be made for each.

First off – the stock photo gallery. It is still something that practically everyone uses very often, and on the S7 it’s the typical Samsung affair: you can resize the thumbs by pinching - make them small to easily go back in time, or large to have a better preview. Some quick editing options like cropping and basic effects are also available, and that's about it. The built-in image editor in Apple's Photos, however, is more powerful, and does an excellent job at managing images. You also have Live Photos that are well integrated in the app. Samsung now offers a similar feature, called Motion photo, but it's more like creating a GIF, rather than a short Vine-style movie, sound and all, like with Live Photos.


For videos, Samsung's player has the upper hand when it comes to supported formats and extra features like adding subtitles, but Apple does more when it comes to editing, as usual. The iMovie app is an extremely capable video editor that handles multiple 4K videos without breaking a sweat, with effects, transitions, text and so on. The Galaxy can only trim 4K videos and really doesn’t have a full-blown 4K video editor.

Then comes Apple's tune player that now integrates seamlessly with the Apple Music streaming service. This deep integration with the platform, huge catalog and great, curated playlists are definitely impressive. On the Galaxy you can get third-party apps like Spotify, which are also doing a great job, but they lack that deep dive within the system. Android also still does not have a free and robust music making app like GarageBand for enthusiasts.

The Samsung music player app auto-categorizes your songs, and it also has a useful folder view. You can also go to the SoundAlive menu to make quick adjustments to the bass/treble as well as instrument/vocal balance, or tap on details for a full-on equalizer from within the app itself.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S7 0.704
Apple iPhone 6s 0.986
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S7 72.7
Apple iPhone 6s 69.6


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34 Comments

1. Dr.SamX

Posts: 245; Member since: Jan 19, 2015

May the battle begin: iPhone is crap!

3. Rafishant

Posts: 401; Member since: Oct 13, 2015

Could you comment with useful words better than trolling?

9. bachir8k

Posts: 153; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

Just today I received a message from my operator in Qatar for the S7 SD820 pre-order, honestly, and as I am always in the pre-order list since the S3, I don't feel very excited about the S7, despite that I really like the water-proof and SD-Card features, but the SD820 results are really disappointing at least regarding the heat, body endurance and battery life, it will be the first time that i will skip pre-ordering the newest Samsung flagship and i will wait until the results of the exynox version, hopefully it will be better. Also, can anyone tell me how the SD808 is doing in the Lumia 950? I am not sure why i am so attracted to this phone now, but most probably because of Windows 10, any feedback?

14. eli577

Posts: 142; Member since: Jun 29, 2010

The SD820 results are desappointing? In which universe?

31. bachir8k

Posts: 153; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

ok let me re-phrase my statement, the results of the SD820 on S7 are disappointing regarding heat and battery life, even they use the latest samsung 14nm technology which should increase battery life and reduce the cpu temp. i thought that extra 17% of battery will add extra 2 or 3 hours with the help of the extra optimizations, but it shows that the S6 with its smaller battery is doing much better, that's why i am blaming the sd820 because both phones sport almost the same hardware except of the cpu.

10. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

@Rafishant: Don't waste your energy, lad... He's seemingly oblivious of any wisdom and manners...

22. Kratos7

Posts: 62; Member since: May 15, 2015

That's asking a lot for people like this.

18. MSi_GS70 unregistered

How can iphone have pros perfect design ? it is horrible design .. S7 has futuristic design for god sake PA .. stop playing iphone game already.. u are truly pathetic and naive.. When I look at S6 edge or S7 edge I see future .. when I look at iphone it is like history subject in school.. 3D touch ?? who uses it ? Make pool please... how many ppl percentage uses it! Premier app ecosystem .. you really believe this nonsense ?? FacePalm ....

27. BradyCrack

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 29, 2015

Ahem in your opinion.

34. bachir8k

Posts: 153; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

Pros that i can see for 6s against S7 1- hold its price better 2- more durable design (drop tests) 3- still less lag but that's only because of the low resolution screen. 4- 3d touch, it's somehow a nice features and you will see all the others will add it on their phones. everything else are for the S7

2. Rafishant

Posts: 401; Member since: Oct 13, 2015

Good and marginal improvement Samsung, but I guess the next iPhone will crush the S7 in many aspects.

4. Chuck007

Posts: 1412; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

..and so will the S8 vs. iPhone 7 half a year later. The cycle never ends lol

7. Podrick

Posts: 1285; Member since: Aug 19, 2015

Thats too much. Next iPhone will beat S7 in graphics(obviously) and processing power. iPhone camera won't stand a chance as always. Gaming ecosystem as always Apple holds the advantage. Battery life would be poorer than S7 maybe more or less on par. And iOS is too much of a walled garden and pain(thats just my preference) so Android has absolute advantage on that. Also its not a "S' model and as history has shown a non S model always has some major hardware defect like bendgate, antennagate so I'm expecting a major hardware defect this time too. Good if it comes without a major defect. Sorry for bad grammar(before a grammar Nazi strikes)

20. MrHate

Posts: 318; Member since: Feb 09, 2015

I mean the iPhone 7 will have a new design so maybe ... maybe this time Apple will make the phone a little bit thicker and add a better battery...Oh wait who am I kidding.

5. Landon

Posts: 1247; Member since: May 07, 2015

I'm surprised with the battery performance of the S7's. How are they not better than the Note 5, especially the S7 Edge with a 3600mAh battery?

12. Clars123

Posts: 1078; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

PA's crap battery test..check other reviews

6. sergiobr

Posts: 718; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

Keeping my Note 5 for social networks and RX100 for the rest. No cameraphone (yes I have Nokia 1020, and I had a 808 (the best !) ) is close to those 1" sensors pocket cameras. Maybe Panasonic DMC-CM1. Low light photos aren't good enough , for me.

32. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

if I'm lugging around a camera might as well take the dslr for a ride

8. saif2711

Posts: 105; Member since: Feb 22, 2016

Very much similar points between the two except the camera.The camera is one hell of a beast I have to say.

11. oozz009

Posts: 520; Member since: Jun 22, 2015

Hmmm. One thing is for sure, Apple won't have to put that much effort to beat the S7 with their iPhone 7 since the differences between iPhone 6s and GS7 are so small. Both come with their up's and downs and both have some unique features to be proud of. I'm surprised though that the iPhone 6s actually ends to have a better battery, albeit it recharges much slower though.

28. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

oozz009. Based on what i saw the S7 beat the 6S all around. the camera result of the 6S compared to the S7 look like comparing htc m9 camera to samsung S6.. All of the iphone picture look like there is a filter on them and are crappy.

13. eli577

Posts: 142; Member since: Jun 29, 2010

"The higher pixel count – 1440 x 2560 vs 750 x 1336 pixels for the 4.7” iPhone – lets it display images in greater detail, though for all practical purposes the difference is pretty negligible to the naked eye." The difference is negligable??? Really? Come on, it is very clear that the S7 has the superior screen, why can't you write it down PA?

15. eli577

Posts: 142; Member since: Jun 29, 2010

Oh yeah, forgot one thing: please PA, if you post the "On screen" results of the GFX Bench, then post the "Off screen" results as well. In this comparison one could think that the GPU in the Iphone is much better.....NO. If you compare results then make sure that they are comparable. I wouldn't say that the results int the two phones' native resolution are comparable, because one of the phones need to run the benchmark in 4 times the resolution than the other. It's not so fair.

23. oozz009

Posts: 520; Member since: Jun 22, 2015

I agree with this one! +1 Although, keep in mind that Samsung still decreased the maximum brightness which helps enjoy the display even more. So even though it's crazy good it could still have been a little better.

16. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Everything about the latest Galaxy S is so much better than the iPhone 6S. Yes its bigger and thus with size comes weight. But most of the weight is the much larger battery and the water proofing. The physical appearance of the S7 is better, the display is brighter and the colors are better too. The UI of the S7 is so much better as it doesn't have you do things backwards. The huge benefits of USB Storage, can transfer any file over bluetooth/wifi direct and more under the hood. The phone simply offers better features considering the price. The iPhone is flat and boring. As far as durability, neither is anymore or less durable than the other. If you drop either phone without protection they can equally break. The only thing is with a dual glass design the S7 is more fragile. But considering drop tests, it took dropping the phone several times before it broke. It is fairly durable for its design. A 1440p display offers double the screen resolution for 750p. We are talking more than 2M more pixels. You claim that the difference is negligible is complete bullsh!t. The difference of 1080p vs 1440p with a similar screen size would still show some difference though it would be small. but 750p vs 1440p? I mean seriously dude. I dont give a crap how much biased you have for the iPhone, not relaying facts makes everything you say suspect. Your reviews are sh!t dude.

17. saif2711

Posts: 105; Member since: Feb 22, 2016

This is the most one-sided comment I have ever read.typical shamesung boy

21. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

S7 is better than 6s but idk if the S7 Edge is better than the 6s plus.

24. Skimshaddy

Posts: 126; Member since: Feb 23, 2016

IMO: Both the 7 Edge and 6 Plus looks great but I like the feel of S7 edge in my hand better. Waterproof is a win for Samsung side. No more worry again when rain comes down in the middle of my kids soccer games.

29. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

The 6s,6s plus and S6 might as well be waterproof with how long they can last under water. I bet the feel of the S7 edge is better looks like it would be.

25. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Funny how they omit important benchmark (offscreen) test so the iphone 6S sound as performing.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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