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Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Apple iPhone 7

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Interface and Functionality

The feature-rich Samsung Experience UX slows the Galaxy down

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Apple iPhone 7

Both the iPhone 7's iOS 10 interface, and Samsung's UX are painfully familiar from our reviews, so we'd focus on added functionality. The S8 does come with new iconography compared to, say, the S7 with the Nougat update – more uniform and minimalistic – but that beauty is skin-deep, as the settings and other menus are nearly identical. Not that they look bad.

Samsung has provided some handy new gestures, though. You can, for example, slide up from the bottom of the screen to pull the app drawer now, then swipe in either direction to close it, or swipe on the finger scanner to bring down the notification shade. On the iPhone 7, the connectivity switches and other oft-used controls are placed in the Command Center at the bottom, and it is much easier for your thumb to swipe or tap at the bottom than try to stretch all the way up.

Samsung's unique software UI is now dubbed Samsung Experience - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Apple iPhone 7
Samsung's unique software UI is now dubbed Samsung Experience - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Apple iPhone 7
Samsung's unique software UI is now dubbed Samsung Experience - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Apple iPhone 7
Samsung's unique software UI is now dubbed Samsung Experience - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Apple iPhone 7

Samsung's unique software UI is now dubbed Samsung Experience


Samsung's interface overlay on top of Android 7.0 Nougat is, as usual, full to the brim with functions you may or may not use, like the iris recognition security that is in addition to the fingerprint and other authentication methods already on the phone. It may be cool for bragging purposes, or if you are in a secure corporate environment, but not that much faster or more convenient than finger scanning or keying in a PIN number. Not that Apple hasn't added features that haven't proved everyday necessities just yet (looking at you, 3D Touch screen Peek and Pop), but on Samsung's new Experience UX, just as with TouchWiz of yesteryear, these are much more numerous, and often redundant. The end result for Samsung handsets is that you get a more function-rich, but a tad slower to move and execute apps interface, compared to iOS.

Apple's iOS 10 - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Apple iPhone 7
Apple's iOS 10 - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Apple iPhone 7
Apple's iOS 10 - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Apple iPhone 7
Apple's iOS 10 - Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Apple iPhone 7

Apple's iOS 10


Some of these extra options, especially with Nougat, can be attributed to Android itself, like the split-screen multitasking, or the power management features, so Samsung doesn't really have a say here, but others are of its own making. The new Bixby virtual butler, for instance, claims it will be better than Apple's Siri in terms of natural speech recognition and language support, but its full functionality will be coming at a later date, and for now it just duplicates Google Assistant.

Processor and memory


The Galaxy S8 is powered by the latest and greatest Snapdragon 835 (US and China), or Exynos 8895 processors, which blaze through benchmarks, and even encroach on Apple's scores achievable with the A10 chipset in the iPhone 7. Moreover, 4 GB of RAM are a pretty generous amount still, but, as we mentioned, the Samsung UX is heavier than iOS, and not as organically fused with the underlying operating system kernel, so this raw horse power doesn't translate into unequivocally better performance of the S8+ compared to the 7 Plus, and even falls behind in some demanding graphics tasks. Samsung starts at 64 GB of internal storage this year, and provides a microSD slot for memory expansion, while Apple has 32-256 GB tiers to choose from.

Connectivity

Top LTE dogs, but S8 hits it out of the park in download speeds

These two are the handsets with the most LTE bands you can find (20+ on both), so if you are a globetrotter they are your best bets for local network compatibility. The S8, however, has the upper hand in theoretical LTE speeds as it is the first phone to support Cat. 16 for up to 1Gbps downloads, if you carrier can provide those. T-Mobile already boasted that it can, in certain areas and conditions, so there's that – you can eat through your 30 GB “deprioritization” limit in no time now with the Un-carrier's unlimited plan.

The Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7 are chock full with almost every radio you can think of, and Samsung even throws in its MST standard for wireless payment authorizations that can mimic a swipe credit or debit card. As for wired connectivity, Samsung moved to USB-C at long last, while Apple has been doing Lightning for a good while – both are the best in speed and power transfers, so no complaints.

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