For a lot of people, the only comparison worth making in the smartphone world is between the latest and greatest from Samsung and Apple, and with their respective flagship release cycles out of sync, we have a new comparison to make every six months.
- Samsung Galaxy S7 review
- Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review
It’s Samsung with a new device on offer this time around, and while the latest large display iPhone is an “s” iteration, Apple introduced some key features and upgrades that aren’t usually seen with these versions. How do these smartphones compare? We find out, as we take a comprehensive look at the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs Apple iPhone 6s Plus!
Buy the Galaxy S7 Edge
Buy the iPhone 6S Plus
Both smartphones retain a lot of the design language from their respective previous iterations, even more so in the case of the iPhone 6s Plus, but with subtle improvements being made to further enhance the experience. In the case of the Apple flagship, that involves the use of a higher grade aluminium for the build to help avoid any “bendgate” issues, but apart from being a touch thicker, the iPhone 6s Plus is otherwise identical to its predecessor.
The Galaxy S7 Edge is also slightly thicker than the Galaxy S6 Edge, but that helps reduce the camera protrusion on the back significantly. Borrowing a design element from the Galaxy Note 5, there are also curves along the sides of the back, to help the device nestle nicely in the palm of the hand, which makes for a better handling experience.
Both the iPhone 6s Plus and the Galaxy S7 Edge come with 5.5-inch displays, but the former does have a larger overall footprint compared to the latter. The larger bezels along the sides of the display and the top and bottom portions of the iPhone contribute to its size, while in the case of the Samsung flagship, the side bezels are almost non-existent. Both devices are large and don’t offer the most comfortable one-handed experience, but the iPhone 6s Plus definitely requires a lot more of stretch, and its extra width makes for a less secure grip in the hand as well.
The iPhone 6s Plus comes with a full metal unibody design which looks and feels great in the hand, and while the Galaxy S7 Edge comes with a metal frame, the rear backing is glass. The glass reflects a lot of light, and makes the phone look fantastic, but it does have its disadvantages as well. For starters, despite the glass panel being of the Corning Gorilla Glass 4 variety, a hard enough fall will cause some damage. Secondly, the glass backing is a big fingerprint magnet, which takes away from the great look of the device.
The iPhone 6s Plus is significantly heavier than the Galaxy S7 Edge, with weights of 192 grams and 157 grams respectively. The difference in thickness between in the two is negligible, and even though that isn’t actually the case, the Galaxy S7 Edge appears to be the thinner of the two, courtesy of the curved edges on the front and back.
The power button is on the right side on both devices, but while it is placed within easy reach at the middle in the case of the Samsung device, it sits pretty high up on the iPhone, making it quite uncomfortable to get to. The volume rockers are on the left side, but with the iPhone, you also get a very useful hardware toggle that lets you quickly and easily silence the phone.
We may have different build materials on show here, but both Apple and Samsung have managed to design a couple of beautiful and premium smartphones. Of course, aesthetics comes down to personal preference, so it is up to you as to which look you prefer more. However, it has to be said that when it comes to ease of use and the overall handling experience, the Galaxy S7 Edge does have the leg up over its Apple competition.
The Galaxy S7 Edge comes with a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a Quad HD resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 534 ppi, while the iPhone 6s Plus features a 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen with a Full HD resolution and resulting pixel density of 401 ppi. When comparing the two displays on paper, it is easy to dismiss the iPhone display as “just” 1080p, but 1080p more than gets the job done at this screen size.
The display of the Galaxy S7 Edge is admittedly sharper and clearer, but the real differences between the two can be seen courtesy of their contrasting underlying technologies. The Galaxy S7 Edge comes with all that we’ve come to expect from, and love about, Super AMOLED displays, with the deep inky blacks, vibrant and saturated colors, high brightness, and great viewing angles. The colors are a lot more vibrant on the Galaxy S7 Edge display when compared to the iPhone 6s Plus, but you do have an option to tone it down in the Settings menu for a more natural color reproduction. The LCD display of the iPhone also gets brighter than the display of the Samsung phone, but outdoor visibility isn’t an issue with either device.
As mentioned, the display of the iPhone 6s Plus definitely allows for a good viewing experience, but when comparing two, I do prefer the extra sharpness, more vibrant colors, and overall nicer image that is possible with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
Under the hood, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge comes with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, clocked at 2.1 GHz, backed by the Adreno 530 GPU and 4 GB of RAM, while the iPhone 6s Plus comes with a dual-core Apple A9 processor, clocked at 1.84 GHz, and backed by the PowerVR GT7600 GPU and 2 GB of RAM. While a by the numbers comparison is obviously in favor of the Samsung device, it isn’t really fair in this case, given the completely different ecosystems that are being catered to.
When it comes to real world everyday performance, both seem as fast as the other. When opening applications, the Galaxy S7 Edge is a touch quicker, but as far as loading games is concerned, the iPhone 6s Plus is faster by quite a margin. While gaming, frame rates are great with both devices, which is particularly impressive in the case of the Samsung phone, given that it has a lot more pixels to push. Performance is one aspect where you won’t have anything to complain about with either smartphone, which is the least we can expect from the latest and greatest from both these companies.
In hardware, both smartphones come with fingerprint scanners in a similar implementation, embedded into the physical home button up front. While this is great for unlocking the device when placed on a flat surface, some may prefer the rear placement of the scanner seen with other competing smartphones. Both scanners are fast and accurate, and while the Galaxy S7 Edge requires a slightly longer press to unlock the device, the faster iPhone falls behind because of the slower unlocking animations.
The bottom of both devices look quite similar, with both coming with a single speaker unit on the right side, along with the charging port at the center. You get a microUSB port with the Samsung device, while the iPhone comes with a lightning port, which has an advantage over the former, with the charging cable being reversible. The speaker of the iPhone 6s Plus is also better, with it being louder, clearer, and offering a lot more bass. However, the placement of the speakers are not ideal, and are easy to cover up when holding the phones in the landscape orientation.
While things were a lot more even between Samsung’s 2015 flagships and iPhone, the return of a couple of key features swings things in favor of the Galaxy S7 Edge this time around. First up is the vaunted return of expandable storage, which a lot of Samsung fans were happy to see, and while 32 GB is the only option when it comes to internal storage, you can expand it by an additional 200 GB via microSD card. 16 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB are the storage options available with the iPhone 6s Plus, but without expandable storage available, you will have to fork up quite a hefty premium to pick up one of the higher storage options.
The second returning feature with the Samsung device that is much appreciated is dust and water resistance. The Galaxy S7 Edge comes with an IP68 rating, which means that you can submerge the device in up to 1.5 meters of water for as long as 30 minutes, without a negative impact on performance.
When it comes to the battery, the Galaxy S7 Edge comes with a larger 3,600 mAh battery compared to the 2,750 mAh unit of the iPhone 6s Plus, but the battery life available with both is largely similar, which goes to show just how well Apple has optimized their software package. The Galaxy S7 Edge does have the slight leg up though, but both phones can comfortably last through a full day with moderate use.
The Galaxy S7 Edge extends its advantage in other aspects of the battery, such as the availability of fast charging, that lets you charge the device fully in about 75 minutes, compared to the nearly 2 hours it takes to fully charge the smaller battery of the iPhone 6s Plus. The Galaxy S7 Edge comes with fast wireless charging capabilities as well.
Over the years, Samsung may have made a lot of fun of Apple for their phone cameras having lower megapixel counts, but this year things are an even field on paper, with Samsung “downgrading” their camera to a 12 MP unit, while Apple upgraded theirs to a 12 MP camera as well. However, what the Samsung camera features is a larger pixel size, that allows for better performance in low light conditions, and it also comes with a larger f/1.7 aperture, compared to the f/2.2 aperture of the iPhone 6s Plus. Both smartphone cameras also come with optical image stabilization and 4k video recording.
Both camera applications are easy to launch, but it is much easier and faster with the Galaxy S7 Edge, courtesy of the very useful double tap of the home button shortcut. In the case of the iPhone, you have to wake the device, and at the lock screen, slide up the camera shortcut. However, the very fast fingerprint scanner is actually a disadvantage here, as the device goes past the lock screen in less than a second, making this shortcut almost impossible to get to at times.
As far as the image quality is concerned, the general theme you will notice throughout is softer, darker images with less contrast with the iPhone 6s Plus,and more sharpening, contrast, and vibrant colors with the Galaxy S7 Edges. To see the differences between the two, we’ll be doing a more in-depth comparison now to see whether one camera outperforms the other.
In the images above of the bench, you will immediately see the more toned down colors of the iPhone 6s Plus, with the Galaxy S7 Edge giving a boost to these colors to create a more yellow shot. The Galaxy S7 Edge may impress at first glance because of the vibrancy of the colors, but the iPhone 6s Plus does a better job with exposing the photo, and the softness gives it a more natural look. When zooming into the branches, you will also see the oversharpening that the Galaxy S7 Edge is prone to, that allows for more clarity. Choosing between the two images is a toss up, and comes down to personal preference.
In the second set of images, you can see that the lens of the Galaxy S7 Edge comes with a wider angle, allowing for information to be in the shot. This is without HDR on and you can see that the iPhone 6s Plus does a better job at exposing the shot, keeping the blue sky present, while still having the subject bright. When zooming into the bolts above these rocks, you’ll see that a lot more post process sharpening is being done by the Galaxy S7 Edge, making for a sharper image. Colors also pop a bit more here, but what I did enjoy more is the deeper blue sky that is seen with the iPhone 6s Plus camera.
In the images of the flags, HDR mode is turned on. Looking at the picture taken with the iPhone, the sky looks great, and the main subject is bright. We get a brighter image with the Galaxy S7 Edge, but that does hurt the colors of the sky. You’ll notice a huge boost in the colors, especially in the glass, and you can see the extra sharpening as well.
When taking a picture of the traffic cones, I really put HDR mode to the test. HDR on the iPhone 6s Plus is very subtle, and you can pretty much leave it on and depend on it to take a decent picture. On the other hand, with the Galaxy S7 Edge, HDR can hurt the photo in some cases and you have to be wary about using this mode. In the case of the above images however, HDR makes for a much nicer photo. The shot is also much brighter, and you can actually see the trees in the background, which are mostly blacked out in the shot taken with the iPhone.
In the images of the flowers, we will see the difference in focal lengths, and also how the larger aperture of the Galaxy S7 Edge camera comes into play. The iPhone 6s Plus can’t get as close to objects as the Galaxy S7 Edge, and there is also less of bokeh effect with the former, with the larger aperture of the Galaxy S7 Edge allowing for the background to be more blurred, which looks really nice. The Samsung camera app also comes with a robust manual mode, with granular control over aspects like white balance, ISO, and more, to really get the shot to look exactly the way you want it.
In what we’ve seen so far, the larger pixel size of the Galaxy S7 Edge doesn’t make much of a difference, but a significant separation is seen as we move on to shots taken in low light conditions. In low-light areas, the iPhone 6s Plus image will appear to almost have a haze over the photo. The Galaxy S7 Edge also creates much brighter images, with more punchy colors, and lots of detail. The extra boost in colors take the low light shots taken with the Galaxy S7 Edge to a whole new level, and when zooming into small objects, a lot more detail is available. The layer of haze is always seen with the iPhone 6s Plus pictures, and the Galaxy S7 Edge is the clear winner here.
When taking group selfies with the iPhone, you never get enough information into the shot to really provide any context as to where the image was taken, but that isn’t the case with the Galaxy S7 Edge, courtesy of its wide angle front-facing camera. You can get a lot more people into the shot a lot, even if the post processing seems to soften the faces a little.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge camera samples
Both phones take great 4k video, and thanks to OIS, video comes out very smooth. It has to be said though, the iPhone videos are much smoother, and while the Galaxy S7 Edge isn’t far behind, the software does warp the video a little more, and the OIS isn’t as good at removing any shakiness. In terms of quality though, it’s the same theme we’ve been use to. The Galaxy S7 Edge has very bright and vibrant colors, which looks really good, although there is some trouble with exposure. One areas where the Galaxy S7 Edge has the iPhone clearly beat is when it comes to focus speeds, as the dual pixel technology instantly locks onto objects.
iPhone 6s Plus camera samples
When deciding which camera is better, it depends on how often you take photos in low-lit areas. When it comes to day time shots, both cameras are phenomenal, and the best that can currently be found. However, when it comes to low-light situations, the Galaxy S7 Edge definitely has the advantage.
On the software side of things, the iPhone 6s Plus is running iOS 9.3, while the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. What is great about the iPhone is that when Apple releases a new version of their software, you will receive the update almost immediately, while in the Android ecosystem, official updates can take a disappointingly long time, unless you have a Nexus smartphone.
iPhone 6s Plus screenshots
iOS remains quite limited in its functionality however, and there is a lot more you can do with Android, such as place apps wherever you want, add widgets on the home screens, download icon packs, change launchers, create gestures, and more. iOS is a good, albeit simplistic, operating system, but my biggest gripe with it is with regards to the notification system. On Android, a glance at the top left corner will show you what notifications you’ve missed, but on iOS, you’ll have to swipe the notification down and swipe left to see any pending notifications. Getting rid of these notifications also requires a few extra clicks.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge screenshots
Each device has its own unique software feature as well, namely 3D Touch in the case of the iPhone, and Edge panels with the Galaxy S7 Edge, with both of these features offering a way to add shortcuts without cluttering the interface. 3D Touch is pressure sensitive, and pressing down with more force on certain app icons opens up shortcuts. Edge Panels on the Galaxy S7 Edge allows you to swipe in from the curved edge of the display, and gives you access to apps, app actions, widgets, news, weather, and more.
|Display||5.7-inch Super AMOLED display
Quad HD resolution, 518 ppi
|5.5-inch IPS LCD display
Full HD resolution, 401 ppi
|Processor||2.1 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Adreno 530 GPU
|1.8 GHz dual-core Apple A9
PowerVR GT7600 GPU
|RAM||4 GB||2 GB|
expandable via microSD card
|Camera||12 MP rear camera with OIS
5 MP front-facing wide angle lens camera
|12 MP rear camera with OIS
5 MP front-facing camera
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
GPS + GLONASS
GPS + GLONASS
NFC ( with Apple Pay only)
|Software||Android 6.0 Marshmallow||iOS 9|
|Battery||3,600 mAh||2,750 mAh|
|Dimensions||150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm
|158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm
So, there you have it for this in-depth look at the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs iPhone 6s Plus! While aspects like design, camera performance, and of course, the operating system, comes down to personal preference, the Galaxy S7 Edge does have a lot of advantages over its competitor here.
A better display, better battery life with fast charging and wireless charging capabilities, and better handling experience. The return of expandable storage and dust and water resistance only makes the deal sweeter as well. While adamant fans of either will have a hard time making the switch to the other, the Galaxy S7 Edge is likely to be the clear winner for anyone who’s not set on either of these particular devices.
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Buy the Galaxy S7 Edge
Buy the iPhone 6S Plus