In September 2016, Apple unveiled its latest flagship smartphones – the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. While ardent Apple fans were expecting to see some pretty significant changes with the new models, they turned out to be slightly disappointing in many ways. That said, the new models do include a few major changes under the hood, making them more desirable than the previous generation iPhones. The bigger iPhone 7 Plus, like the previous generations, has the upper edge in terms of the hardware, making it the true flagship of the iPhone lineup. In our versus battle today, we will be comparing the Apple iPhone 7 Plus against the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and try to find out if the best from Cupertino has what it takes to beat the most popular Android flagship smartphone of 2016.
Announced at the Mobile World Congress 2016, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has turned out to be the most successful Android smartphone of 2016, outselling its predecessor by a wide margin. In fact, the Galaxy S7 Edge has managed to outsell the regular Galaxy S7 too, which is a great feat. While it is similar to the Galaxy S7 in most areas, it does come with a larger display with dual-curved edges, which makes it look really attractive and unique. Of course, there are a few other smartphones with a dual-curved edge display on the market right now, but none of them can match the Galaxy S7 Edge when it comes to overall hardware.
In our Apple iPhone 7 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge specs comparison today, we will be putting these two flagship smartphones head-to-head across ten categories, with a win in each round giving them one point each. The smartphone with the most number of points by the end of our comparison will be declared the winner of our specs battle today.
If you love a fantastic display more than anything else, these two smartphones will definitely impress you. However, there are some pretty big differences as well.
The Apple iPhone 7 Plus features the same 5.5-inch LED-backlit LCD Retina HD display with 1080 x 1920 Full HD resolution as the iPhone 6s Plus. That means you get the same 401 ppi pixel density, which doesn’t sound very impressive for a flagship smartphone anymore. However, Apple is using a new panel that includes a number of significant improvements compared to the previous generation. The Cupertino-based firm claims the iPhone 7 Plus display is up to 25% brighter compared to the iPhone 6s display, which means it has better sunlight legibility than any previous iPhone model. In fact, some tests reveal the panel can hit up to 700 nits maximum brightness, which is on the higher side when compared to other flagship smartphones. In addition to higher brightness, the panel on the iPhone 7 Plus supports the wider DCI-P3 color space, something that very few other smartphones can boast of currently. The smartphone comes with a new Night Shift mode as well, which filters harmful blue-light emitted by the display after sunset, to protect your eyes. Color accuracy has been significantly improved as well and the iPhone 7 Plus is now one of the most color-accurate smartphones on the market. The 3D Touch feature that Apple introduced in 2015 with the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus models has been retained as well.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge on the other hand features a 5.5-inch dual-curved Super AMOLED display with 1440 x 2560 Quad HD resolution and a pixel density of 534 pixels per inch. To protect the display against scratches and other forms of damage, Samsung uses a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on top. As we mentioned above already, the Galaxy S7 Edge features a larger display than the standard Galaxy S7, almost putting it in phablet territory, at least as far as the display size goes. In terms of size however, the Galaxy S7 Edge cannot be classified as a phablet. We will be discussing about the size later on when we compare the dimensions of the two smartphones. The key highlight of the Galaxy S7 Edge display is of course the dual-curve design. In addition to providing a more immersive experience when viewing multimedia content, Samsung offers a few other features as well, which utilized the curved edge on both sides. Some of the key “Edge” features on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge include Edge panels, Edge Feeds, and Edge Lighting. Another key software feature is the ‘Always-on Display’ feature. Basically, a part of the display is always kept on to show you vital information such as the battery percentage, time, unread messages count, missed calls, and more. The display area chosen for the feature is changed randomly at fixed time intervals, which makes sure there is no burn-in of any kind. Similar to its predecessor, the Galaxy S7 Edge comes with four display modes that you can choose from – Adaptive Display, Basic, AMOLED Cinema, and AMOLED Photo. By default, the Adaptive Display mode is chosen, which changes the color reproduction depending on the type of content being shown on the screen. However, it is the least accurate when it comes to color accuracy. In the “Basic” mode, the Galaxy S7 Edge delivers highly accurate colors, although not as accurate as the Apple iPhone 7 Plus display. Still, the difference in accuracy is marginal at best, and most users will not be able to tell any difference whatsoever. All of these modes can be accessed by going to the Display Settings.
While both the Apple iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge displays boast of high color accuracy, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge display does have a slight edge thanks to its higher resolution, better sunlight legibility, and much higher static contrast. So the display round is won by the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
The Apple iPhone 7 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge both feature 5.5” sized displays, but the two aren’t very similar when it comes to physical dimensions.
The iPhone 7 Plus measures 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm and weighs in at 188 grams. In comparison, the Galaxy S7 Edge is 150.9mm tall, 72.6mm wide, and 7.7mm thin. In terms of weight, the Galaxy S7 Edge weighs in at 157 grams.
As you can tell from the numbers above, the Galaxy S7 Edge holds a significant edge over the Apple iPhone 7 Plus in terms of dimensions. In fact, the Galaxy S7 Edge is among the most compact smartphones out there with a 5.5” display size. Quite clearly, the dimensions round goes to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
Apple flagships have traditionally not been as impressive as the best Android flagships in the connectivity department. Let’s find out if the latest iPhone 7 can manage to beat the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge when it comes to connectivity features.
The Apple iPhone 7 Plus comes with Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/n/ac dual-band MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy, NFC, Wi-Fi hotspot, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, Lightning connector, and 4G LTE Cat.9 networks (maximum download speeds up to 450 Mbps). The smartphone also boasts of the widest LTE band coverage among all major flagship handsets on the market right now. However, the iPhone 7 Plus does not include a 3.5mm headphone jack, which means you will need to use the Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter that comes bundled with the smartphone.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge comes with Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, NFC, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, ANT+, Micro USB 2.0, 3.5mm headphone jack, and LTE Cat.9 (supporting maximum download speeds of up to 450 Mbps). Both smartphones feature a fingerprint sensor on the front and support their manufacturer’s mobile payment services (Apple Pay/Samsung Pay).
While the Apple iPhone 7 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge appear to be largely similar in the connectivity department, you should keep in mind that the Bluetooth and NFC features are limited in terms of functionality on the Apple handset. That gives a slight edge to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge in the connectivity round.
The Apple iPhone 6s Plus had an edge over the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge in the battery life department, but the scenario is slightly different with the newer models.
The new Apple iPhone 7 Plus packs a 2900mAh capacity non-removable battery inside, which Apple claims is good enough to deliver up to 21 hours of talk time on 3G, up to 15 hours of browsing on Wi-Fi, up to 14 hours wireless video playback, and up to 16 days standby. Thanks to a larger battery compared to its predecessor, the new model in fact delivers 1 hour longer battery life than the iPhone 6s Plus. Unfortunately, Apple still hasn’t added any support for fast charging, so you will need to be patient while charging your iPhone 7 Plus. There is no wireless charging support either, which again, isn’t surprising.
Samsung too has equipped the Galaxy S7 Edge with a larger battery than its predecessor. While in iPhone 7’s case the battery capacity has gone up by 150mAh, the Galaxy S7 Edge sports a non-removable battery with 1000mAh higher capacity than its predecessor. The large 3600mAh capacity means the Galaxy S7 Edge offers excellent battery stamina, leaving most other 2016 flagship smartphones behind. The smartphone offers fast charging convenience as well, giving you around 4 hours of usage from just 15 minutes of charging. Wireless charging is supported as well (WPC as well as PMA standards), along with fast wireless charging. That means you get to enjoy the benefits of both fast charging as well as wireless charging at the same time.
Thanks to its bigger battery, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge delivers better battery life than the iPhone 7 Plus. However, the iPhone 7 Plus isn’t bad either and is in fact superior to most Android flagships in terms of battery stamina. With superior battery life, fast charging, and wireless fast charging support, the battery life round goes to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
Now let us find out if the Apple iPhone 7 Plus with its custom SoC has the edge over the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge as far as performance is concerned.
The Apple iPhone 7 Plus is powered by Apple’s A10 64-bit Fusion chip, which is the first quad-core mobile SoC from the company. Claimed to be the “most powerful chip ever in a smartphone”, the A10 Fusion chip utilizes an all-new architecture that is not only claimed to deliver impressive performance gains over the previous gen A9 chip, but much improved efficiency as well. The SoC comprises of two high-performance cores and two high-efficiency cores. The two high-performance cores, named Hurricane, are clocked at 2.34 GHz. The high-efficiency cores, called Zephyr, is claimed to use just one-fifth the power of the high-performance cores, which is definitely impressive, especially when you consider the fact that the chipset is built on the same 16nm FinFET process by TSMC as the Apple A9 from 2015. However, unlike the Snapdragon 820, Exynos 8890, and other popular mobile SoCs, only one cluster on the A10 Fusion can be active at a time, which means it functions as a dual-core chipset at all times. Graphics are taken care of by a 6-core PowerVR GPU that is claimed to deliver up to 3 times faster graphics speed compared to the iPhone 6. In terms of CPU performance, the A10 is claimed to be twice as far as the iPhone 6. Like previous custom Apple SoCs, the A10 Fusion chip is an absolute beast in terms of performance, easily besting the Snapdragon 820 and other major 2016 flagship mobile SoCs in pretty much all benchmarks. The GPU is highly impressive as well, trouncing all rivals by a significant margin. Overall, the A10 Fusion chip is currently the most powerful smartphone SoC around.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge units sold in the United States are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 64-bit quad-core SoC. The Snapdragon 820 is Qualcomm’s first mobile chipset to utilize custom Kryo cores, which offer impressive efficiency gains when compared to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core chipset from 2015. The four cores have been configured in a dual-cluster arrangement, similar to the Snapdragon 810. The high-performance oriented Kryo cores feature a high 2.15 GHz clock speed, while the efficiency-oriented Kryo cores have been clocked lower at 1.6 GHz. When running benchmarks or other times when higher performance is required, the SoC can fire all four cores simultaneously. Under low load, the two performance-oriented Kryo cores are shut off, helping save battery life. Qualcomm’s Adreno 530 GPU takes care of the graphics, which is a very powerful GPU and manages excellent scores in every single graphics benchmark. The international variant of the Galaxy S7 Edge is powered by the Exynos 8890 SoC, which is a 64-bit octa-core chipset developed in-house by Samsung. Like the Snapdragon 820, the Exynos 8890 too is manufactured by Samsung on a 14nm Low Power Plus process. The chipset features four Samsung custom M1 cores clocked at 2.3 GHz for high-performance and four ARM Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.6 GHz for high efficiency. Handling the graphics is the ARM Mali-T880MP12 GPU, clocked at 650 MHz. In terms of performance, the Exynos 8890 SoC is largely similar to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 in most benchmarks, however in some it does trail the Qualcomm chipset by a small margin. However, when it comes to efficiency, the Exynos 8890 chipset definitely has the edge.
Overall, the Apple A10 Fusion chip certainly has a pretty significant edge over both the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and Exynos 8890 SoCs. In most benchmarks, it is comfortably ahead of both chipsets, which means that the winner of the processor round is the Apple iPhone 7 Plus.
When it comes to memory, both the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the Apple iPhone 7 Plus are impressive devices, but there are some cons as well.
The Apple iPhone 7 Plus, similar to its predecessor, comes in three storage configurations. However, the base storage has gone up to 32GB from 16GB, while the top end option now is 256GB. The 128GB mid variant is pretty impressive as well. Apple has retained its custom in-house SSD controller and a TLC NAND flash memory for the new iPhones, resulting in impressive transfer speeds when compared to other flagship smartphones. The custom memory solution is in fact even faster than the UFS 2.0 memory chips used by Samsung. There is no microSD card slot for expansion of course, but that isn’t really a major issue anymore with 128GB and 256GB storage options on offer. For improved multitasking performance, the iPhone 7 Plus includes 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM, a decent upgrade over 2GB of LPDDR4 RAM used on the iPhone 6s Plus. Thanks to higher RAM, the Apple iPhone 7 Plus does deliver impressive multitasking performance, when compared to the iPhone 6s Plus. Now, a direct comparison with the Android flagship handsets isn’t fair, as iOS does not use memory in the same way as Android.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge on the other hand comes in 32GB and 64GB flavors, although the 64GB version is hard to find even in markets where it has been launched. Most markets however, only get the 32GB variant. That isn’t much of a big deal though, as Samsung has included a microSD card slot for further expansion this year, so you can expand the storage by up to 2TB quite easily. The memory chips used on the Galaxy S7 Edge are of the UFS 2.0 variety, which offer fantastic transfer speeds, resulting in great system performance. However, UFS 2.0 storage is gaining popularity now among many Android OEMs, so it isn’t a Samsung exclusive thing anymore. As far as the RAM goes, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge includes 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, which is an improvement over the Galaxy S6 Edge but not on par with the newer crop of Android flagships that come equipped with 6GB of RAM. Multitasking performance on the Galaxy S7 Edge is a big improvement over its predecessor, but it still isn’t as good as some of its rivals.
We will have to give the win here to the Apple iPhone 7 Plus as it is available with up to 256GB of onboard storage and despite packing “only” 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM, offers a superior multitasking performance compared to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
Compared to their predecessors, the Apple iPhone 7 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge both offer significant upgrades in the camera department.
The Apple iPhone 7 Plus comes with a 12MP + 12MP dual camera setup at the back, unlike the iPhone 7’s single 12MP setup. The primary 12MP wide-angle sensor is paired with an f/1.8 aperture lens, while the secondary Telephoto unit has been paired with an f/2.8 aperture lens. Thanks to the secondary Telephoto unit, the smartphone is capable of delivering up to 2x optical zoom and up to 10x digital zoom. Key hardware features of the rear cameras include optical image stabilization, six element lens, Quad-LED True Tone flash, Sapphire crystal lens cover, hybrid IR filter, and autofocus with Focus Pixels tech. Moving on to software features, the iPhone 7 Plus cameras offer Tap to focus, Live Photos with stabilization, wide color capture for photos and live photos, body and face detection, exposure control, Panorama shots up to 63 megapixels, noise reduction, Auto HDR, burst mode, Timer mode, and photo geotagging. In terms of video, the iPhone 7 Plus is capable of shooting 4K videos at up to 30 fps, 1080p videos at up to 60 fps, slow-mo 1080p videos at 120 fps, and 720p slow-mo videos at 240 fps. For selfies, the Apple iPhone 7 Plus features a 7MP FaceTime HD camera on the front, paired with an f/2.2 aperture lens. The selfie camera captures videos in 1080p Full HD resolution, which is a first for Apple.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge on the other hand comes with a 12MP primary camera with 1.4 micron sized pixels and a bright f/1.7 aperture lens. For fast autofocus speeds, Samsung has integrated Dual Pixel autofocus tech on to the sensor, which is achieved by packing two photodiodes in every pixel instead of one. The 1/2.5” type sensor integrates optical image stabilization as well (Smart OIS), which further helps low-light performance. Samsung still hasn’t moved to a dual-tone LED flash though, the Galaxy S7 Edge only features a single-LED flash at the back. Key camera features include Auto HDR, 4K video capture, panorama shots, face detection, Motion Panorama, Hyperlapse, Motion Photo, and more. The camera app offers a wide range of manual controls as well as the option of capturing photos in RAW. Pro users can control the exposure, white balance, ISO, shutter speed and more by simply switching to the manual mode in the camera app. For taking selfies, you get a 5MP unit on the front, paired with an f/1.7 aperture lens. In addition to a bright lens, the selfie camera allows you to use the screen as flash for taking selfies under low-light conditions. It also offers a Wide Selfie mode, Beauty mode, and support for video recording at up to 1440p QHD resolution.
As far as overall image quality goes, the iPhone 7 Plus and Galaxy S7 Edge cameras are very similar to each other. However, the Galaxy S7 Edge’s bigger sensor does capture slightly more detail and it also performs admirably in low-light. The iPhone 7 Plus camera app does not offer as much control over settings as the Galaxy S7 Edge camera app, with no option of shooting in RAW by default. So the camera round goes to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
As far as the design is concerned, the new iPhone 7 Plus isn’t very different from iPhone 6s Plus, or even the iPhone 6 Plus for that matter. The three models share the same basic design and are in fact identical in terms of dimensions as well. Apple still uses the 7000 Series Aluminum to construct the iPhone 7 Plus, so the smartphone is quite rigid and durable. However, the antenna strips at the back have been repositioned to the top and bottom edges, which gives the new model a cleaner look at the back. The other major design change is of course the omission of a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom. The iPhone 7 Plus also happens to be the first iPhone model to be waterproof, with an IP67 certification for dust and water resistance. Apple has added two new color options as well – Jet Black and Black. Other color options include Rose Gold, Gold, and Silver.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge too isn’t very different from its predecessor in terms of the overall design and is made using Series 7000 aluminum. Well, only the middle frame is made out of aluminum, the front as well as the back of the handset feature Corning Gorilla Glass 4. The Galaxy S7 Edge too is water and dust resistant like the iPhone 7 Plus, but with a higher IP68 certification. Samsung offers the Galaxy S7 Edge in Black Onyx, Black Pearl, Blue Coral, Gold Platinum, and White Pearl color options.
Both the smartphones offer a premium design with dust and water resistance, so there isn’t a clear winner here in the design department. And since there is no way of coming to an objective conclusion here, we’re calling this round a tie.
The Apple iPhone 7 Plus runs on the iOS 10 mobile operating system, with the latest release being 10.2 at the time of writing. While iOS 10 isn’t a major overhaul in any way, it does include a number of significant changes such as updated iMessage, improvements to 3D Touch, Siri, Photos, and the lock screen. There are a few other minor touches as well, such as the ability to clear all notifications with 3D Touch, decluttered Control Center, third part apps support for Siri, smarter Apple Maps, new Home app, and lockscreen widgets.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is currently running on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow operating system, but an update to Android Nougat is expected to be rolled out very soon. Some of you might be aware that Samsung announced a Nougat beta program recently, letting Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge owners “preview” and help optimize the final Nougat update. Some of the key features of the Android 7.0 Nougat update for the Galaxy S7 Edge will be improvements to the notifications system, new emojis, redesigned camera app, new emojis, new lockscreen notifications, renamed Smart Manager, improved Doze mode, and more. Samsung has also refined the design of its UI with Nougat, so you can expect to some pleasing changes in the design department as well. Of course, while the update to Android Nougat is now close, it is slightly disappointing that Samsung hasn’t yet updated its flagship smartphone to the latest version of Android. A number of other Android OEMs such as Sony, HTC, LG, Huawei, Motorola, and more have already rolled out the update to their flagship handsets.
While the iPhone 7 Plus is definitely going to enjoy better software support than the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, there is no doubt that Android is a more versatile operating system. Which is why we’re giving the win here to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
The iPhone 7 Plus is widely available in the US from pretty much every single carrier and major retailer. Prices range from $32.04 per month on a 2-year contract for the 32GB model, going up to $40.42 per month for the 256GB version. Of course, these prices do vary depending on which carrier you purchase your iPhone 7 Plus from. Off-contract prices range from around $850 for the 32GB variant, going up to $1070 for the 256GB variant.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge too is available from all major carriers in the United States, with prices varying from $33 monthly on a 2-year contract to $790 unlocked. As with the iPhone 7 Plus, these prices depend on the specific carrier you purchase the handset from.
While the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is cheaper off-contract, the iPhone 7 Plus is available for roughly the same monthly payment on a 2-year contract. That means the price round ends up in a tie.
Now that we are done comparing the Apple iPhone 7 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge across ten categories, it is now time for us to find out the winner of the comparison.
Out of the 10 rounds, we had two 2 rounds where there was no clear winner, resulting in them ending in a tie. The Apple iPhone 7 Plus came out on top in only rounds. That means the clear winner of our specs battle today is the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, winning 6 out of the 10 rounds.
Which of these two flagship smartphones is your pick? Leave a comment down below and share your thoughts with us.