Introduction


From now until the end of the summer, the fight that will define the smartphone realm will be between Samsung's newest Galaxy S8, and Apple's brave flagship, the iPhone 7. Is the 5.8” screen of the Galaxy all that it's cracked up to be against the humbler 4.7” iPhone panel? Are their 12 MP cameras ready to blow our collective minds? Which one will outlast the other? Let's embark and find those Easter eggs out...

Design

The Galaxy S8 is a looker, while the iPhone 7 scores more practical design points, and both are very easy on the palm.


Samsung went thermonuclear on phone bezels with the Galaxy S8, destroying its clicky home key and flat screen flagship options in the process. That is why the 5.8” S8 is half an inch taller, but as wide as the 4.7” iPhone 7, and thus comparable in holding comfort. In fact, the size of these two munchkins makes them one of the most suitable for one-handed operation top-shelf phones on the market, and you can reach almost anywhere on their screens with your thumb only. That being said, you still have to readjust the elongated S8 slightly in your hand to, say, reach up and pull the notification shade.

There is a catch with the Inch High Private Eye screen diagonal of the Galaxy S8, when compared with the iPhone 7, and it's called a new 18.5:9 screen aspect ratio. Due to the laws of geometry, the screen area is not nearly as large as it would be on a 5.8-incher with the standard 16:9 display format. It is definitely bigger than the iPhone 7's, though, so you can, say, fit more text on one screen when reading, but is a double-edged sword when displaying 16:9 games and vids. These are the vast majority of titles for the moment, and either get letterboxed, or stretched out of proportion. Having black bars on the sides isn't a huge deal, but can be annoying.

Gorilla Glass 5 meets metal in the chassis materials of the S8 and the iPhone – one is more shimmery but prone to cracking when dropped, while the other is less pretentious but stands better to everyday abuse. If the Galaxy slips out of your hand and falls flat on its back, there is a greater chance for ugly damage than with the iPhone, whоse aluminum alloy would simply get a bruise or two, for instance, and that has been visualized in a few drop tests already.

The virtual home key of the S8 now provides pressure-sensitive area to ease the transition from a physical one. Its feedback is similar to the Touch ID home button of the iPhone. A physical feedback when tapping a home key is not really necessary, though, as most Androids with on-screen keys have already demonstrated, so we'd file the pressure-sensing screen section of the S8 in the “thanks for playing” cabinet. The physical keys around the sides of the handsets are all sturdy, easy to feel and press without looking, and with good tactile feedback. Apple has its staple mute switch there as an extra, while Samsung outfitted the S8 with a dedicated key to launch its new Bixby virtual assistant.

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S8

Dimensions

5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31 inches

148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

Apple iPhone 7

Apple iPhone 7

Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches

138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 g)

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S8

Dimensions

5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31 inches

148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

Apple iPhone 7

Apple iPhone 7

Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches

138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 g)

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



Display

Much larger screen in a tad taller size? We'll take it, but iPhone 7 has none the cons of AMOLED, and no problems with 16:9 titles


To achieve the new 2:1 “Univisium” aspect ratio trend, or thereabouts, Samsung outfitted the S8 with a curved “WQHD+” display. It's a 5.8 inch panel across when flat, and has 2960 x 1440 pixels of resolution, hence the plus sign. 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 iPhone 7 has a 4.7” flat panel 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.

As for image quality, the S8+ display is the typical AMOLED affair in the default Adaptive mode, with gaudy colors that extend way beyond the standard sRGB gamut, and whites that turn blueish with the slightest tilt of the phone. Even if you set the display in the most color-credible Basic mode (sRGB), you'd still notice very pronounced colder tinting when you look at it from even the slightest angle. The iPhone 7's screen, on the other hand, exhibits more natural colors, and color temperature doesn't shift drastically at an angle.

The S8 display is “Mobile HDR Premium” certified, so in Cinema mode you can be watching those new UHD movies shot in the 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 autobrightness mode, and that's an arguably more useful development stemming out of the HDR certification. The iPhone 7's panel is also very bright, at 600+ nits, so it offers great outdoor visibility as well.



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56 Comments

1. miketer

Posts: 520; Member since: Apr 02, 2015

Such a fine diplomatic, gentlemanly comparison when a gadget is better than the iPhone. Hate to make such comments, but couldn't help it.

17. wildcat80

Posts: 7; Member since: Aug 02, 2012

I wonder why PA continues to show the battery usage for the non US version of the S8 with the Exynos processor and not the Snapdragon that comes in the US version.

20. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

need better battery comparison? there you gohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMC_zo_Ge3w (spoiler: S8+ win over iPhone7+ with ~40% battery left)

28. htcisthebest

Posts: 436; Member since: Nov 15, 2011

Even their Exynos version battery result is not accurate. Normally the Exynos processor is more battery efficient than the Snapdragon, at least that's been true in the past.

21. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

and about some of that S8's cons: - letterboxing can be removed in S8. and even with letterbox, S8 still have much bigger screen area than iPhone7 - color accuracy? better check displaymate for that (they said it's really great) - one hand usage? just enter one-hand mode, it won't even take 1second to it :-/ - battery and performance test, youtube have lot of (more) legit reviews for that for iPhone's pros: "Richer apps and services ecosystem" seriously? lol... both OS have almost the same good apps right now.. and android is far more customizable btw..

23. Darckent

Posts: 91; Member since: Sep 17, 2016

I phonearena are soo upset there beloved iphone looks ancient next to the s8 they are now calling the look of the s8 pretentious This site gets lower and lower When the iphone 8 has less bezels you can be sure as hell they will call it amazing

2. Tech_fan

Posts: 94; Member since: Mar 28, 2017

Sorry, there is NO comparison.

3. Lumbergh

Posts: 463; Member since: Feb 14, 2016

Samsung Fanboy Denial syndrome at its finest. iPhone 7 - 9.3 rating S8 - 9.0 rating Clearly, there is some comparison.

7. HomerS

Posts: 419; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

This site is called iphonearena by the users for a reason.

11. Kibzara

Posts: 123; Member since: Feb 24, 2016

lol, them ratings are from last year. it's same as puting iphone 6 or 5s to comparison with s8, and looking at ratings. please, walk away with a cape on your head, seriously...

13. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

WELL SAID.....LOL

25. ColinW

Posts: 412; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

I think it is you and PA that is in denial. The S7 Edge was clearly better than the iPhone 7+ which is superior to the iPhone 7 and the S8 is above them all. I would struggle to give an iPhone 7 a 7/10.

4. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

Iphone 7+ looks ugly near gs8+ lol

5. AlikMalix unregistered

I'm an iPhone fan - but I agree when it comes to screen side. The rear side - I will take iPhone over samsungs clutter-mess anyday. The arrangement of FP sensor and camera flash - look at the comparison of the FCC prints on the back of both. Yeeek!

15. sgodsell

Posts: 7368; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The S8 also has a heart rate monitor and a O2 sensor. Oh, yeah and every SX has wireless charging as well. All of which is missing from every iPhone. But you don't really notice those things if your a blind ignorant person like you AlikMalix.

24. AlikMalix unregistered

Look asshole, stop calling me ignorant. 1. I don't care for heart rate monitor - and if I wanted one there's an app that does the same thing with camera on any phone. 2. I don't care for O2 sensor at all. 3. And I will only care for wireless when it's really wireless - not inductive charging - since you cannot pick up the device and use while it's on the pad - but you can while it's plugged in - plus I don't want to give up metal body for glass or plastic just to have inductive charging that I'm not gonna use. 4. And most important, why don't you find me when I'm talking about gimmicks and features instead of aesthetics to flame my post. Got it? (So annoyed).

29. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

Lol isheep. Baaa

30. AlikMalix unregistered

Seriously why do I even bother..?

31. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3106; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

You cannot reason with s-sheep. They're too blinded with the S logo. Don't bother.

6. adecvat

Posts: 640; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

iPhone 7 pros. + Display - no flickering, no pentile. + Camera video stabilization.

16. sgodsell

Posts: 7368; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The iPhone 7 cons are no video stabilization for the second zoom camera. The S8 has both OIS and EIS. Plus the S8 has Superior low light capture compared to the iPhone 7 and 7 plus. Can you tell everyone here why iPhone users like you are so blind and ignorant like you?

18. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

and S8's OIS also work on 4k video..

42. AmashAziz

Posts: 2927; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

IPhone 7 doesn't have any secondary zoom camera.

27. htcisthebest

Posts: 436; Member since: Nov 15, 2011

Let me add more to the iPho 7 pros: + shiny (and ugly) Apple logo on the back + super big bezels (bigger is better, right?) + camera that stands out (literally because the camera sticks out) + 'battery-efficient' (and out-dated) 720p resolution display + antenna design that isn't copied from HTC anymore Wow, the iPho 7 is so great! (sarcasm)

46. SCell

Posts: 15; Member since: Apr 23, 2017

You'll be wonder, but LCD backlight flickering :))) Pentile... lol... you dont ever see it. And on FHD resolution you have more the 12 diods on pixel!!!

8. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

One can't go wrong with either one. S8 is clearly the better choice today and it really makes the iPhone look somehow dated (fast/inductive charging, Apple, we want that).

9. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1354; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

PA - you are aware the iPhone 8 will get an Amoled screen with the same aspect ratio? I really can't believed you are turned off by the display when Apple will be sourcing its displays from Samsung with the same aspect ratio? How will you review that? will it also be a con? I was hoping you would be fair with this review However, I feel a big bias here. But I will wait and see what your iPhone 8 review will be like. That should say it all.

10. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Every new Samsung phone PA, you purposely leave out specification of accuracy to mislead the inevitable stupid, including YOURSELF. The Note 7 for example, had a brightness of over 800NITS when set to auto, which is its default, as is also what the iPhone is set at...auto brightness. The Galaxy S8 according to DisplayMate has a maximum bright of an I quote: When Automatic Brightness is turned On, the Galaxy S8 produces up to a very impressive 1,020 cd/m2 (nits) http://displaymate.com/Galaxy_S8_ShootOut_01.htm You guys purposely do this every year and its annoying. The facts are availble to you. Why dont you try to act like a tech site and not some biased bunch of ingrates. When its comes to hardware specs, you have no problems mentioning any facts about the iPhone. If you just speak the facts and stop being biased, the specs will speak for themselves. 1000 nits is double what the iPhone produces at max. Its not a bad thing because the iPhone is lower. The iPhone has been lower than the Galaxy in NITS since the S4.

12. darknyte

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 18, 2017

I registered to comment here specifically. I don't understand the purpose of this review, other than to undermine the progression of technology. I own both Apple and Android devices (my home is a mishmash of android/apple - macbook pro, chromecast, etc, work iphone, home android). And after reading this review in it's entirety, I do not understand what the writer is trying to get at here. It would make more sense if they reviewed the S8 to the Iphone 8, when it gets released. Sorry, but to review this year's model phone, to another phone of last year is just a disservice to the newer device. Would anyone do a review with an Iphone 7 to a Galaxy S6.. no because that is just stupid and proving nothing. Furthermore, IOS and Android are inherently different, you get an iPhone if you like iOS, you get Samsung if you like Android.. to compare the OS as part of the phone review is just a waste of time. I feel like this writer is somewhat uneducated in terms of it's remarks on nit (further explained by another comment) and how more screen equals issues with durability. Let's make it clear, when the iPhone 8 comes out with the same or similar form factor, this reviewer better hold to that stance as well. If you read reviews from all the other sites (including Apple Insider), they are at least slightly more honest and less biased as to what is great and what needs work. I for one, am excited at the excellent form factor and sleekness for this phone, and equally excited to see what Apple will release in the future. Please move on, and stop bashing new phones with the old one, upholding progression of technology. Call it for what it is, Apple has been stagnant for the last 3 years, and Samsung is on their heels, which is great, because I'm expecting something grand from Apple this year.

19. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

welcome to iPhonearena... btw, did your "Enter" button broken or something? :-/

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