Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Apple iPhone 7



The S8 excels in low-light and continuous focus

Samsung gave the S8 the same camera that is in the S7 edge, at least on paper – a 12 MP shooter with Dual Pixel focusing tech. The camera system uses new Sony or Samsung sensor models, though, and, in addition, the selfie snapper has been upgraded to an 8 MP autofocus affair, from a 5 MP fixed-focus unit. The iPhone 7 also has a 12 MP rear camera, but with a smaller sensor and pixels, which, all other things being equal, would mean less photons soaked in for low-light scenarios.

Samsung cleaned up its camera app interface significantly, with only the most used functions on the main screen, like with the iPhone, while the numerous shooting modes and color effects are tucked a gesture flick away. The front camera interface got richer, though, as it can now add bunny ears or funny sunglass stickers to your pics and vids, Snapchat and Apple Clips-style. When it comes to speed of shooting, these two are kings of the hill, and yet the Galaxy S8 feels slightly ahead, as the Dual Pixel tech is best in class when it comes to focus and refocusing times.

Image quality

The iPhone captures images in “wide color,” and these can be viewed as such on the handset's display immediately, which is pretty svelte, especially if you are swapping photos with other iPhone 7/7 Plus users. Oftentimes, especially in sunlight scenarios, the pictures from the iPhone 7 come with a warmer color temperature than those from the S8, but sometimes the roles are reversed, and it's the S8 that gets warm and fuzzy. Still, it's the pictures from the iPhone 7 that come out much warmer than natural, to the point of having a yellow overcast, of which we aren't particularly big fans. In those scenarios, the Galaxy S8's photos tend to look more authentic, though not perfect either, due to an oversharpening and saturation which makes pictures stand out at first, but also gives them a somewhat artificial look. Both phones can capture copious amounts of detail, and handle tricky dynamic range scenes in a superb manner – probably the best that the tiny phone sensor technology can offer at the moment. Needless to say, the fast processing times and auto HDR modes play a significant part in these stellar exposure adjustments that the iPhone 7 Plus and S8 are capable of. In low-light the Galaxy exhibits some sharpness and exposure advantages, emphasizing the shadows a bit more.

Video recording

All 4K video abilities aren't created equal, and Apple, while a late bloomer, used to do UHD recording the best of them all, with smooth footage, devoid of artifacts, and no recording limitations. With the Galaxy S8, however, it now has a worthy competitor, as Samsung hits all the spots mentioned, too, but the Dual Pixel focusing system that uses the whole sensor to focus, makes going from near to far objects, and vice versa, a seamless process. Not that the continuous autofocus of the 7 Plus is slow, it's just not as fluid. Both the iPhone and the S8 are capable of slow-motion video with 240fps at HD definition, which can create some very eye-pleasing effects.


The AMOLED display of the S8, while superior in terms of contrast and with HDR certification should the need arise, is a bit of an oddball on the S8. Not only is video watching marred by the slightly curved display sides, but also the new aspect ratio is hit or miss. Go to the YouTube app, for instance, and you will find yourself with black bands on the sides of the screen to fit the standard 16:9 aspect, or with slightly cropped footage in compatibility mode. Even if you are streaming one of the new Netflix series, which are now shot in 2:1 Univisium format, they'd still show letterboxed, even if you download them for offline viewing, and there is no compatibility button in the Netflix app by default. You have to explicitly go to the Full Screen option in the Display settings menu to add an aspect ratio compatibility option for the Netflix app. Upon tapping said button, if the series is 2:1, then you lose nothing by making it stretch and fit the whole display, but if it's 16:9, tough luck, you got cropped.

The Galaxy S8 outputs decent audio with its sole speaker, but the iPhone 7's stereo sound does it one better. Even though it is smaller than the 7 Plus, so the stereo effect is more dubious, there's a fuller, stronger sound coming out, while the S8 tonality and strength range are more limited in comparison.


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