The star highlights of this year’s Mobile World Congress were undoubtedly the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge. And just like last year, it is the Galaxy S7 Edge that found a greater number of fans, mainly due to its more attractive styling and the dual-curved edge display. While it may not be a major upgrade over the Galaxy S6 Edge in terms of the design, it does include a number of significant upgrades in other areas to make it one of the most compelling flagship phablets on the market currently. Together with the Galaxy S7, it also happens to be the most refined Galaxy flagship smartphone yet.

One of its toughest rivals in the smartphone market currently is the Apple iPhone 6s Plus, the Cupertino firm’s 2015 flagship phablet. Even though the iPhone 6s Plus has been in the market for close to eight months now, it is still fairly popular among buyers. And to be fair, the hardware it offers is still pretty competent and even though it may not seem like an obvious choice when compared to a 2016 flagship like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, it does have a few advantages of its own.

In our versus comparison today, we will be pitting the popular Apple iPhone 6s Plus to its latest and greatest Android rival, the Galaxy S7 Edge. The two smartphones will be pitted against one another in ten different categories – Display, Camera, Battery Life, Processor, Dimensions, Memory, Connectivity, Design, Operating System, and Price. The one that manages to come out on top in each of these categories will be awarded one point each. That means the smartphone to bag the highest number of points by the end of our versus battle will be declared the winner of the comparison today. So let’s begin.

Display

We are going to begin our Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs Apple iPhone 6s Plus comparison by taking a look at the displays on these two flagship phablets. While both of them do feature large high resolution displays, they aren’t very similar to each other when it comes to most key display parameters.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge comes with a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED dual-curved edge display with 1440 x 2560 Quad HD resolution and a pixel density of 534 pixels per inch. That’s a pretty decent upgrade over the 5.1” display that we saw on the Galaxy S6 Edge last year. However, as you will find out in the dimensions category later on, the larger display doesn’t mean that the Galaxy S7 Edge is more difficult to hold single-handed. On top of the display, there is a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 4 to provide good protection against scratches and other forms of damage. The dual-curved edges aren’t just for improved visual experience, but you also get a host of “Edge” features such as Edge panels, Edge Lightning, and Edge Feeds. In addition to these specific “Edge” features, the Galaxy S7 Edge also offers the “Always-in Display” feature that is also present on the regular Galaxy S7. A part of the handset’s 5.5” Super AMOLED display is used to permanently display vital info such as the clock, unread message count, battery percentage, and missed calls. The position of the graphics is changed constantly in order to ensure that there is no risk of a burn-in, something that is quite common with OLED displays. Some of the other improvements with the Galaxy S7 Edge display include higher peak brightness, improved sunlight legibility, and better calibration. When set to the “Basic” mode, the Galaxy S7 Edge displays is among the most color accurate displays on the market right now, faring much better than most of its direct rivals. If you prefer punchier colors, you do have the option of switching to AMOLED Photo, AMOLED Cinema, or the Adaptive Display modes under Display Settings.

The Apple iPhone 6s Plus too features a 5.5” display although the display technology is quite different. Instead of a Super AMOLED display, the iPhone 6s Plus comes with an IPS Retina display that boasts of dual-domain pixels for improved viewing angles. The resolution is 1080 x 1920, giving it a pixel density figure of 401 pixels per inch. According to Apple, the iPhone 6s Plus display offers a 1300:1 static contrast ratio, maximum brightness of 500 nits, and covers the entire sRGB color space. For protection, the display has a layer of custom glass on top that is manufactured using a dual ion exchange process and is claimed to be even tougher than Corning Gorilla Glass 4. While the display itself isn’t vastly different from its predecessor, Apple has integrated the new 3D Touch feature that has been relatively successful in attracting buyers. The display assembly includes an additional layer of capacitive sensors that are able to accurately measure the amount of pressure your fingers apply on the screen, giving you shortcuts to various tasks depending on the amount of pressure you apply. An all-new Taptic engine has been employed as well, which gives users real-time feedback. Rest of the characteristics remain similar to the iPhone 6 Plus, so you do get very impressive color accuracy out of the box and a near perfect sRGB coverage. So if you are someone who is obsessed with color accuracy, the iPhone 6s Plus display is definitely going to impress you.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge display does have an edge over the Apple iPhone 6s Plus display thanks to higher pixel density, much higher contrast ratio, and slightly better accuracy when it “Basic” display mode. So the display round goes to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

Dimensions

Now it is time for us to find out if the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the Apple iPhone 6s Plus are similar to each other in terms of dimensions. Since both of them feature a 5.5-inch display, some of you might think they aren’t going to be any different in this category. But is that really the case?

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge happens to be 150.9mm tall, 72.6mm wide, and is 7.7mm thin. In terms of weight, the Galaxy S7 Edge tips the scales at 157 grams, which is pretty decent for its size. On the other hand, we have the iPhone 6s Plus which is 158.2mm tall, 77.9mm wide, and 7.3mm thin. When it comes to weight, the Apple phablet is definitely much heavier at 192 grams.

As everyone can tell from the numbers above, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is a clear winner in the dimensions round.

Processor

Since the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is a 2016 flagship smartphone, you would expect it to be a lot more powerful than the Apple iPhone 6s Plus. But is the difference very significant?

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge in the US is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core chipset. The Snapdragon 820 chipset is based on Qualcomm’s custom Kryo 64-bit cores, with two cores clocked at 2.15GHz for performance and two power-saving cores clocked at 1.6GHz. The chipset features a dual-cluster configuration and despite being “just” a quad-core SoC, it is in no way inferior to the octa-core solutions out there. For graphics, you have the Adreno 530 GPU, which is an all-new GPU with significantly improved performance when compared to the Adreno 430 GPU that we saw on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset last year. The Snapdragon 820 also includes a number of other highlights such as a new Hexagon 680 DSP, X12 LTE modem, and the new Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 standard for even faster charging speeds. In the international markets, the Galaxy S7 Edge is powered by the Exynos 8890 SoC, which is an octa-core chipset. It features four Samsung Exynos M1 custom cores clocked at a high 2.3GHz for performance and four ARM Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.6GHz for efficiency. It integrates the ARM Mali-T880MP12 GPU, which is clocked at 650MHz to ensure great performance. The Exynos 8890, like the Snapdragon 820, is manufactured by Samsung on a 14nm second-generation LPP process. Both the chipsets are more or less similar in terms of performance, although according to most tests, it appears the Exynos chipset is a little more efficient and delivers better battery life. The difference isn’t very significant though.

Apple iPhone 6s Plus on the other hand is powered by the A9 chipset, which features two Twister cores clocked at 1.85GHz. Despite featuring just two cores, the A9 is a very impressive chipset in terms of performance. As Apple revealed during the iPhone 6s launch event last year, the A9 is a desktop-class chipset and brings significant performance improvements compared to the A8 chip. It is said to be 70 per cent faster in terms of CPU performance and up to 90 per cent faster when it comes to graphics performance. The PowerVR GT7600 is a 6-cluster GPU that delivers impressive performance that is not much worse than what the flagship 2016 mobile chipsets can manage. Apple A9 is manufactured by TSMC on a 16nm FinFET processor and by Samsung on a 14nm FinFET process.

Compared to most other chipsets last year, the Apple A9 definitely had an edge. However, when pitted against 2016 chipsets such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and the Exynos 8890, the Apple A9 loses out both in terms of CPU as well as graphics performance. That means the clear winner in the processor round is the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

Battery Life

While the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the Apple iPhone 6s Plus aren’t the best phablets out there when it comes to battery life, they are definitely among the two better options on the market right now.

Unlike the Galaxy S6 Edge from last year, the Galaxy S7 Edge doesn’t have a tiny battery inside. While it is still impressively thin at 7.7mm, Samsung has crammed in a much larger non-removable 3600mAh capacity battery inside, which helps the Galaxy S7 Edge deliver much better battery life. That’s 1000mAh more than the battery on its predecessor. Along with the larger battery, it also benefits from the more efficient chipset inside as well as the various software optimizations that help it extract the most out of the large capacity battery inside. Just like the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge+, the Galaxy S7 supports fast charging as well as fast wireless charging over both the WPC and PMA standards.

While Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge features a larger battery than its predecessor, the Apple iPhone 6s Plus is equipped with a smaller battery than its predecessor. Instead of the 2915mAh capacity battery on the iPhone 6 Plus, the iPhone 6s Plus is equipped with a 2750mAh unit. However, Apple claimed that the decrease in battery capacity has no impact on battery life and that the 6s Plus delivers battery life nearly identical to its predecessor. Fortunately, that has been proved to be quite accurate although the phablet isn’t quite the best out there in this department. Apple claims the phablet is capable of up to 12 hours of browsing on 3G networks, up to 14 hours continuous HD video playback, and up to 80 hours of continuous audio playback.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S7Edge definitely is the better phablet when it comes to battery life, with higher endurance. So if battery life is high on your priority list, the Galaxy S7 Edge is the one to pick.

Camera

Most modern flagship smartphones are immensely capable when it comes to camera performance, so no matter which smartphone you choose, you can look forward to clicking some fantastic shots with it.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is equipped with an all-new 12MP camera sensor that is of the 1/2.5” type, boasting of a relatively large pixel size of 1.4 micron. So while the resolution has been downgraded compared to the 2015 Samsung Galaxy flagship smartphones, the pixel size has increased. Another significant change is a new f/1.7 aperture lens, which allows the sensor to gather more light and perform brilliantly even under low-light situations. Samsung has also equipped the Galaxy S7 Edge rear camera with the new “Dual Pixel” technology, which basically means that each pixel on the 12MP sensor feature two photodiodes instead of just one. This helps the camera focus much quicker than other smartphones, even those equipped with phase detection auto focus technology. What also helps low-light performance is Smart OIS (optical image stabilization). Some of the other major camera features on the Galaxy S7 Edge include support for video recording at up to 4K resolution, Auto HDR, face detection, panorama shots, and manual controls with RAW format support. For selfies, the phablet includes a 5MP sensor on the front, paired with a bright f/1.7 aperture lens and a Selfie Flash feature. You also get software features like Wide-Selfie mode and Beauty mode.

The Apple iPhone 6s on the other hand is equipped with a 12MP iSight camera at the back, which happens to be of the exact same size as the 8MP sensor used on previous iPhones. Thanks to a rather small sensor size, it features a pixel size of 1.22 micron. Unfortunately, the lens on the iPhone 6s Plus isn’t vastly different from the one on previous iPhones, it is still a five-element f/2.2 aperture lens with a sapphire crystal cover for protection against scratches. Unlike the regular iPhone 6s, the iPhone 6s Plus does include optical image stabilization, which does help slightly when it comes to low-light performance. The upgraded resolution of the sensor allows the iPhone 6s Plus to record videos at up to 4K resolution, a major upgrade over its predecessor. In addition to recording 4K videos, you can also record slow-motion videos in 1080p resolution at up to 120fps. Other highlights include a dual-tone True Tone LED flash, Auto HDR, face detection, exposure control, up to 63 megapixel panorama shots, and Burst Mode. On the front, you get a 5MP FaceTime selfie camera with a Retina Flash and video capture at up to 720p HD resolution.

When it comes to both still camera and video performance, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge definitely has a major edge over the Apple iPhone 6s Plus thanks to its larger sensor, brighter lens, and faster autofocus technology. So the camera round goes to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

Connectivity

Since the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is a newer device, we expect it to be a clear winner in this category.

The Galaxy S7 Edge supports Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac dual-band MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, NFC, ANT+, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, Micro USB 2.0, and LTE Cat.9 networks (maximum download speeds of up to 450 Mbps).

Apple iPhone 6s offers Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac dual-band MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy, Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC (for Apple Pay only), GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, Lightning connector, and LTE-Advanced Cat.6 (maximum download speeds of up to 300Mbps).

Overall, there isn’t much of a difference between the two phablets in the connectivity department except for faster LTE speeds supported by the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. However, such speeds aren’t going to become a reality anytime soon for most buyers, so we’re going to declare this round a tie.

Memory

Last year, Samsung introduced the ultra-fast UFS 2.0 storage with the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge. However, thanks to the use of the new memory chips, Samsung couldn’t offer memory expansion on the two flagship smartphones, which lead to major disappointment. Things have changed for the better this year as Samsung has managed to get UFS 2.0 storage to work in conjunction with external memory, so the Galaxy S7 Edge comes with a microSD card slot that lets you expand the memory all the way up to 2TB. As far as the internal storage goes, the Galaxy S7 Edge comes in two flavors – 32GB and 64GB. The former is quite easily available in most markets but the 64GB variant on the other hand is not very easily available even in the few markets that it is offered in. When it comes to RAM, the Galaxy S7 Edge includes 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, similar to the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge+ from last year. However, Samsung has fixed the memory management issue with the Galaxy S7 Edge, so multitasking is definitely significantly better than on the Galaxy S6 Edge as well the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge+.

Apple has never been interested in microSD expansion, so just like every other iPhone, the iPhone 6s Plus too doesn’t come with a microSD card slot. Instead, you get to choose from three different storage options – 16GB, 64GB or 128GB. Not many flagship smartphones out there come with 128GB of onboard storage, so if you aren’t a fan of microSD cards and would instead want 128GB of fast onboard storage, the iPhone 6s Plus is one of the few options out there for you. But of course, you will need to shell out significantly more money if you decide to go with the 128GB version. While Apple hasn’t used Samsung UFS 2.0 storage on the iPhone 6s Plus, it has opted for a custom TLC NAND flash with NVMe technology. This has resulted in significantly faster transfer speeds, even higher than what the UFS 2.0 chips manage. In fact, the iPhone 6s Plus storage is somewhat similar to an SSD drive in terms of performance, which is definitely an impressive achievement. When it comes to RAM, the iPhone 6s Plus includes 2GB of LPDDR4 RAM, which is a significant upgrade over its predecessor and helps the phablet handle multitasking a lot better.

Since both the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the Apple iPhone 6s Plus have their own pros and cons in the memory department, we think it makes sense for this round to be declared a tie.

Design

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge isn’t very different from the Galaxy S6 Edge as far as the design goes. It uses the same metal and glass sandwich design with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on the front and back and an aluminum frame in the middle. However, while the Galaxy S6 Edge had a flat back, the S7 Edge has a rounded back that makes it easier to hold in the hand. A major difference however, is that the phablet is IP68 certified for dust and water resistance. The IP68 certification means the Galaxy S7 Edge can withstand being submerged under 1.5 meter deep water for up to 30 minutes. This Galaxy S5 was the first flagship Galaxy smartphone to offer water resistance, but last year Samsung decided to drop the feature with the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge. While we do not think that water resistance is a key selling point, it is still reassuring to know that your smartphone is protected against accidental water damage. Another small difference is that the rear camera now doesn’t protrude outwards significantly. Samsung is also offering a new color option for the Galaxy S7 Edge – Onyx Black. Other color options include the familiar White Pearl, Gold Platinum, and Silver Titanium.

Like Samsung, Apple didn’t make any major design changes with the iPhone 6s Plus. For the most part, it looks nearly identical to its predecessor with the same aluminum unibody design. However, the iPhone 6s Plus is made out of Series 7000 aluminum, which makes its body a lot more durable than the iPhone 6 Plus, which suffered from “BendGate”. The phablet also feels better in the hand, thanks to the increased weight. Along with a stronger build, the iPhone 6s Plus also offers a new color option – Rose Gold. Other color options include Space Gray, Gold, and Silver.

Overall, both the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the Apple iPhone 6s Plus are fantastic premium devices when it comes to the design. Since both of them are highly impressive in the design department, we’re going to call the design round a tie.

Operating System

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge runs on the latest Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow operating system with the company’s TouchWiz UX layer on top. By now, most people know that Samsung has made major changes to its custom Android skin and that trend continues with the Galaxy S7 Edge. The latest iteration of TouchWiz on the Galaxy S7 Edge is even leaner than last year’s version and is closer to stock Android than ever before. However, you still do get a host of added functionality from Samsung’s side, including new “Edge” software features such as Edge Panels, Edge Feeds, and Edge Lighting.
Apple iPhone 6s Plus on the other hand runs on iOS 9, with the latest available version at the time of writing this comparison being 9.3.2. The latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system comes with quite a few new features such as improvements to its virtual assistant Siri, a new Low Power Mode to extend battery life, third-party extension support in Safari, improvements to Spotlight search, and more.

The operating system round definitely goes to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge as Android offers a lot more flexibility and is more open than the still closed nature of iOS. The number of additional features offered by Samsung also help tilt the decision in favor of the Galaxy S7 Edge.

Price

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is widely available from almost all major carriers in the US starting at $299 for the 32GB variant if you choose to opt for a 2-year contract. In case you are interested in purchasing the Galaxy S7 Edge unlocked, get ready to pay around $799 or lower, depending on which carrier you buy it from.

Since the Apple iPhone 6s Plus is now a slightly older device, its prices have now dropped slightly. Currently you can find the 16GB iPhone 6s Plus for $199, 64GB for $299, and the top end 128GB variant for $399 on a 2-year contract from most carriers. When purchased outright, prices range from $799 for the 16GB version to $999 for the 128GB version.

Conclusion

Now it is time for us to find out which of these two popular phablets has managed to bag the win in our versus comparison today.

Out of the ten categories that we compared the two phablets in, three rounds ended up in a tie – Memory, Connectivity, and Design. In the rest of the seven categories, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge emerged as the victor. That clearly means the winner of our comparison is the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

Which of these two phablets would be your pick? Leave a comment down below and let us know.

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