Introduction


In the “big-screen flagship” category, there is barely a comparison more important than that of the Apple and Samsung entrants, seeing as they are the top handset makers globally. There are also indications that Samsung is ramping up production of the larger Galaxy S8+, as it has seen demand to be higher than anticipated for it, that is why clashing it with the iPhone 7 Plus becomes even more important for an overview of what each top-shelf phablet can offer for your hard-earned cash. Read on to see what we found when we took the new Galaxy S8+ and the iPhone 7 Plus for one antagonistic spin...

Design

The narrow 6.2” S8+ is a looker, but its actual display area is not much higher than the 7 Plus


Apple's iPhone 7 Plus design is getting a bit dated next to the shiny glass Galaxy S8+, as it's been around for three years already, while Samsung did a design overhaul this season, introducing trimmed bezels in addition to the curved display. Thus, the S8+ a bit taller than the 7 Plus, but much narrower, and so it's the easier phone to hold and operate. You'd still need the fingers of Shaq to reach the top portion of the S8+ display though, and there is no easy way to, say, pull down the notification shade with one hand, other than swiping down the rear finger scanner of the S8+. Due to its unorthodox placement next to the camera, though, that is also a stretch if you have normal hands.

Moreover, the S8+ offers a very high 83% screen-to-body ratio, but since the 6.2” display comes with an elongated 18.5:9 aspect ratio, the actual screen area you get is that of a 5.54” phone with the “old” 16:9 aspect ratio, or... about the screen area of the 7 Plus. To achieve this best-in-class 83% ratio, however, Samsung had to ditch its staple physical home button, and moved to on-screen keys. The virtual home now provides pressure-sensitive area to ease the transition, similar to the Touch ID home button feedback of the iPhone 7 Plus, but less pronounced. It's not really necessary, as most Androids with on-screen keys can vouch, but Samsung decided to check the “pressure-sensitive display area” box in the specs sheet anyway.

As for the physical keys around the sides of the handsets, they are all sturdy, easy to feel and press without looking, and with good tactile feedback. Apple has the venerable “mute switch” there, while Samsung outfitted the S8+ with a dedicated key to launch its new Bixby virtual assistant.


Samsung Galaxy S8+

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Dimensions

6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches

159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm

Weight

6.10 oz (173 g)

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Dimensions

6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.63 oz (188 g)

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Dimensions

6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches

159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm

Weight

6.10 oz (173 g)

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Dimensions

6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.63 oz (188 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

All the pros and cons of AMOLED, now with HDR certificate and letterboxed gaming. iPhone: a tried and true IPS display


To achieve the new 2:1 aspect ratio trend, or thereabouts, Samsung outfitted the S8+ with “WQHD+” display. It's a 6.2-incher across when flat, and has 2960 x 1440 pixels of resolution, hence the plus sign. The iPhone 7 Plus has a more standard 5.5” 1080p display of the IPS-LCD variety, which offers good viewing angles, and credible sRGB color presentation, but is also “wide color” (DCI-P3 gamut) capable, so photos taken with the iPhone's camera which shoots in P3 as well, can be viewed in full bloom.

The S8+ has adjustable display resolution, and comes with 1080p set as default, though you can always move the slider all the way to the right in the display settings, and get to the screen's full-res potential if you need it for VR or something. The panel still has to light up more than 4 million pixels, though, and they all have to be managed by the graphics subsystem so don't expect any significant battery gains from those synthetic changes in resolution, even if you go all the way down to “HD+”. As for image quality, the Galaxy S8+ display is the typical AMOLED affair in the default Adaptive mode, with gaudy colors that extend way beyond the standard sRGB gamut, and cold, blueish whites. AMOLED Photo and Basic modes provide a more true-to-life image setting, though admittedly not as eye-catchy. Even slight viewing angles introduce noticeable color shift towards blue. The iPhone 7 Plus screen, on the other hand, exhibits more natural colors, and color temperature doesn't shift drastically at an angle, due to the IPS LCD panel.

The S8+ display is “Mobile HDR Premium” certified, so in Cinema mode you can be watching those new UHD movies shot in the DCI-P3 gamut as their creators intended. The catch, though, is that you have to preload HDR content, as neither Netflix, nor Amazon Video have the Galaxy S8+ as a compatible device for their wide-color streams. We checked with Netflix, and the rep said that they plan to include mobile compatibility in the future, but for now the S8+ display certification would be of limited practical use. In order to hit the HDR10 standard, however, Samsung pumped up the peak brightness abilities of the AMOLED panel, which, coupled with the low screen reflectance, bodes well for sunlight visibility in auto-brightness mode, and that's an arguably more useful development stemming out of the HDR certification. The iPhone 7 Plus screen is also very bright, at close to 700 nits, so it offers great outdoor visibility as well.



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28 Comments

1. Lumbergh

Posts: 463; Member since: Feb 14, 2016

iPhone 7 Plus was rated a 9.3. So have to go with it since it's the better phone. The iPhone 8 Plus will obliterate the competition.

3. stferrari

Posts: 56; Member since: Dec 15, 2014

Dream on Lumbergh.......Dream on

5. sgodsell

Posts: 7362; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

PhoneArena gave it that score. However PhoneArena also stated in this article that the iPhone 7 plus has the more standard 1920x1080 display. Maybe standard in iPhones now. But Android flagships and even a number of even mid range Android smartphones have been using QHD for a few years now. So 1920x1080 is standard​ to sum, but definitely not in the Android camp.

24. Muklee

Posts: 7; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

Can anyone tell me, why is 1920x1080 not enough? I am using an iPhone 7+, and have never been in a need of more pixels. Had Galaxy S7 before with QHD, but absolutely no difference visible. I'm not using VR as 99% of the user either.

8. adi90

Posts: 554; Member since: Dec 21, 2015

Phonearena gives 0.3 extra point to iPhone 7 because they think iPhone 7 has better battery life. But we all know that is not true. So is the ratings given.

11. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

they gave some old blackberries above 9.0 scores as well. They must be better than the iphone.

20. lightyears

Posts: 69; Member since: Aug 24, 2015

Good joke man

26. giovan

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 24, 2017

Long time user of iPhone and received an S8 to test out and though have never been a Andriod fan , though the S8 makes the i7+ look and feel like a blackberry bold . no doubt Apple needs a home run out of the park to catch up . I will wait till 8 as all my infrastructure is iOS though if apples fails on screen quality , I have no issue moving over

2. Tech_fan

Posts: 94; Member since: Mar 28, 2017

hehe.. look at the 7+ next to S8+...it looks like Brick

14. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

he write: "The narrow 6.2” S8+ is a looker, but its actual display area is not much higher than the 7 Plus" not much bigger? just look at the very first picture, lol..

19. Darckent

Posts: 90; Member since: Sep 17, 2016

Yeh iphoneArena are blatantly lying about screen Estate Firstly there's an option to force every app and video to fit the screen estate Secondly there are videos on YouTube comparing games like asphalt etc and not only can you see the screen Estate difference between these two phones there are no slowdowns or hiccups like iphoneArena have stated When a website starts to blatantly lie to discredit another company because their phone of choice is being beaten quite significantly by a rival product you know that they are heading downhill We need to spread not only this comparison but the reviews which lie about the s8 battery life, screen brightness and the colour reproduction of the screen with actual facts so people can now see how far iphoneArena have gone just because there is a better phone than the iphone People spread these reviews with links of facts that show the lies of this website I have already and actually got a reply from IGN who state that phonearena is well known among other publications for their biassed when it comes to anything Apple but other publications won't highlight the fact due to being sued etc I might publish the email I received but don't know if that will get IGN in trouble I'm going to forward the reviews and this comparison with facts to other websites and see if I get a response aswell So it's not just us other publications think iphoneArena are a joke

21. TerryTerius unregistered

MKBHD and Michael Fisher said the same thing about certain apps having the issue of the black bars, and that it may remain an issue unless content creators update their apps to support the new ratio. You can force content to fit, but that can result in certain portions of whatever you're looking being cut off. And at least with Michael Fisher's review unit, there was occasional stutter, but that was mostly whenever he called up Bixby. You could clearly see it while he was reviewing the device. That wasn't the case for MKBHD or The Verge, so it may have simply been Michael's unit. Who knows. We'll see if that comes up with other reviews, I haven't looked around yet. But I am kind of curious. If you don't see any value in their reviews and you dislike the way they conduct themselves, then why do you visit the site? I'm not asking to be antagonistic, I'm just curious.

25. Muklee

Posts: 7; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

The S8's screen size is not even 1% (0,7%) bigger. The writer was right, it's not a real difference.

17. Spyro

Posts: 334; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

It's just the white bezels. They could've used black bezels for this comparison but they have to make up for 'em Samsung fans for sucking Apple's d*%# too hard.

4. Tarox

Posts: 114; Member since: Feb 17, 2015

oh iphonearena come on. Already the look at your battery stats let's everybody see how biased your reviews are... Here an real life test of the two opponents: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMC_zo_Ge3w

6. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

Wow! You really made PA. Look bad with this YouTube video...lol

7. ithehappy

Posts: 48; Member since: Apr 24, 2014

Hmm, nothing makes sense in this site! In the iPhone 7 review it said call quality is stellar, but here it says something different. Whatever!

12. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1420; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

iPhones have never had the best call quality, nor reception, batterylife and so on. Free iphones for great reviews, better than spending a fortune on them.

18. Spyro

Posts: 334; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

None of that matters because at the end of the day, it's about how good and not what's best. Best is subjective.

9. Dagdigdug

Posts: 4; Member since: Apr 18, 2017

the article S8 vs iphone7 and s8+ vs iphone is like a lazy writer who decided to plagiarize his/her own work. So Similar and even use the exact same sentences. Only a little paraphrase and changes only iphone 7 and 7 plus side. Even the video of the s8+ is from s8.

15. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

just look at S8 review and S8+ review.. it's pure copy paste..

10. HomerS

Posts: 419; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

The iphone 7+ does not have better battery life than the S8+ as real life tests show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMC_zo_Ge3w

16. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

I've seen this link in PA for like 30times now.. let's continue to spread that video, lol..

13. darkkjedii

Posts: 31030; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I'll own both, as of Thursday :D

22. TerryTerius unregistered

I am honestly jealous of you my friend. I will not be picking one up for probably two or three months.

23. BobbySummers

Posts: 9; Member since: Apr 04, 2017

iphonearena logic: Iphone 7 plus has 2 cons- give it a 9.3 Samsung s8 plus has 0 cons- give it a 9.0 So the better question is how much does apple pay you guys for the faulty reviews

27. madara82

Posts: 36; Member since: Jul 01, 2017

We can't compare the S8 to iphone . Mayabe if the Iphone 8 will be released their we can compare them

28. madara82

Posts: 36; Member since: Jul 01, 2017

i'm just waiting for iPhone 8 to be release and that's the time that we can compare S8 and Iphone 8..... this will be a toe to toe comparison.

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