It’s the biggest head-to-head since Game of Thrones’s Battle of the Bastards, and one that’s being fought more closely than the ultimate quest to command the Iron Throne. Having recently lost its smartphone supremacy crown, Apple with the newly unveiled iPhone 7 release is looking to dethrone the Samsung Galaxy S7 as the best smartphone to buy right now.
But can it? Well, the iPhone 7 might not feature the radical redesign many were hoping for, and it has killed off the headphone port, but it has made just enough improvements to give the S7 a serious run for its money.
So, if you’re in the market for a new phone, should you wait for Apple’s new handset to drop with retailers next week or simply plump for the S7? Well, we’d recommend waiting. No, the iPhone 7 might not be for you, but with these flagship phones costing so much and contract periods so lengthy, you’d feel pretty foolish splashing the cash now only to want something different in a couple of weeks, right?
iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Design: Like picking your favourite super model
The iPhone isn’t a total clone though. A number of changes have been introduced to mix things up just enough. Some you’ll want, others, well, not so much. Falling into the former column, Apple has cut back on those ugly antenna lines while retaining the same easy-on-the-eye curvaceous metal body. On the negative side, it’s time to wave goodbye to the traditional 3.5mm headphone port. Seriously.
Rendering your current cans a phone-dodging redundancy, Apple has killed off the headphone jack and instead force people to either make do with an ugly adaptor, buy a pair of Bluetooth headphones or use the basic pair of Lightening EarPods that coming the box. New Beats anyone? No matter how good-looking the phone is, Apple’s move to kill the headphone port will be a serious reason for many to dodge it and plump for the S7 instead.
Heck’s it’s even pissed of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. “If [the iPhone 7]’s missing the headphone jack, that’s gonna tick off a lot of people,” he said recently. “I would not use Bluetooth… I don’t like wireless.”
A present headphone connector isn’t all the Sammy smartphone’s got going for it either. Yes, the Apple effort might be slimmer, sleeker and lighter, but unlike the S7 it doesn’t have the same options of the curved edge display introduced by the S7 Edge.
Both, however, offer impressive waterproof skills. While the iPhone 7 can now be dropped down the toilet with little worry, the S7 is capable of withstand 30 minutes submerged in up to 1.5 metres of water without succumbing to a watery demise.
iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Screen: Samsung’s show steeler
It’s not just the shells of these two phones that are easy on the eye, their screens are up there on the visual delight fronts, too. This is an area Apple still needs to improve though. Sure, the iPhone 7’s panel is solid, but its 1334 x 750 pixel resolution is starting to show its age. No, resolution isn’t everything, but the S7’s stunning 2560 x 1440 pixel panel leaves the iPhone, and everything else for that matter, firmly in its wake.
Fortunately, the iPhone 7 has made improvements elsewhere. While hopes of a 1080p Full HD panel have gone unanswered, Apple has widened the phone’s colour gamut and increased its brightness by 25%. The result is a screen that really pops and one that can match up to the Super AMOLED delights of Samsung’s flagship phone, well, almost.
Related : New Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Hands on
It’s not just movie-improving, game-bettering visuals that Samsung has in its favour either. Although the two phones feature a similar footprint, Sammy’s phone squeezes in a much larger display. And boy is it a beaut? The phone’s 5.1-inch, QHD display offers even more of its unrivalled image quality than the 4.7-inch iPhone effort can muster. Another point to Samsung then.
iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Features & Performance: Two of the best
It’s not just oodles of power that these phones have in common either. Impressively speedy and secure fingerprint scanners are a familiar sight on both, as are decent inbuilt speakers where Apple has finally gone stereo. Where Samsung has the edge, however, is storage.
Although the iPhone 7 has moved to a new 32GB entry level standard like the S7, unlike its illustrious rival it doesn’t feature any storage expansion, that’s just not Apple’s way. Why is this a big deal? Well, when you’re only halfway through your 24-month contract and you’ve filled your phone with apps and images, Samsung will simply let you buy a cheap microSD card to sort the issue while Apple will make you delete things, buy a new phone or cough up more monthly cash on cloud storage – boo.
iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Camera: A battle of the best
This is where the battle of the iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 is really going to get tasty. The Samsung Galaxy S7 currently boasts the best smartphone camera available. Bar none. The iPhone 6S was no slouch, however, and the iPhone 7 has kicked things up another gear.
So, what makes the S7’s camera so good? Well, despite having dropped from a 16-megapixel to a 12-megapixel sensor (don’t worry, that’s not a bad thing) compared with its predecessor, the S7’s snapper features a larger sensor that utilises bigger pixels. That means more light can be drawn in, and that’s key to a high quality shot. It pairs this with integrated optical image stabilisation (OIS) and speedy auto focus for sharper shots that never fail to impress, even when the lights have dropped.
Fortunately, the iPhone 7 has thrown OIS skills into the mix, having previously been reserved the photo-enhancing ability for the larger iPhone 6S Plus. A new sensor not only allows more light in when partnered with the new six-piece f/1.8 lens, but its 60% faster than its predecessor too. As a result, the Apple handset can now compete with the S7 in dark, dingy situations such as gigs, clubs and parties – y’know, the places you really want to take pictures.
iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Software: iOS vs Android, again
Ah, the classic iOS vs Android battle. Ding-ding, round 437. While iOS was, for years, king of the clean systems and Android the lord of customisation, the two operating systems have increasingly merged together in recent years. Android still has the customisation edge, however, and iOS is still neater and a bit more user-friendly, but there’s less between the two than ever.
Behind the top layer of gloss, there’s plenty users switching between systems would find familiar. Both now work hard to eek out your battery life, both will turn your holiday snaps into a fun video montage, and both will support every app you could possibly want. What separates them, and what’s in Apple’s favour, is how quickly the two phones will get updates.
While the S7 is set to face a notable wait for the camera-improving, VR-friendly, emoji-promoting Android Nougat update, the iPhone 7 will launch with the new iOS 10operating system pre-installed. That means improved Messages features, smarter Siri skills and a Photos app that will automatically know who’s in your snaps – creepy.
iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 battery: Similar staying power
Related: How to improve your iPhone’s battery life
To date, neither Apple nor Samsung has covered itself in glory when it comes to smartphone staying power. iPhones and Galaxys have never been wanting for battery life, but neither will take you much past lunch on a second day without needing a trip to the mains either.
Although the iPhone 7 offers an additional 2 hours of staying power per charge compared with its predecessor, this doesn’t give it much of an edge. Like the S7, it will be comfortable cruising through 24 hours on a single charge – assuming you’re not mashing it on Pokémon Go or other games – but you’ll still be better off plugging it in when you head to bed every night.
iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7: The Summary
The battle for smartphone supremacy continues to get hotter and hotter, and this year, the iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 head-to-head is shaping up as a doozie. The S7 is already the best phone we’ve ever seen, and Apple has its work cut out to return to the top of the pile. Can it do it?
Well, with just days until the phone hits retailers’ shelves, it remains to be seen. On paper the S7 still has the edge, but paper doesn’t account for that sprinkling of Apple magic that so often transforms seeming mediocrity into something truly special.
What could be a death sentence for the iPhone 7, however, is that missing headphone port. If a lack of expandable storage and eye-meltingly detailed display wasn’t enough, that lack of jack could push many longstanding iPhone owners into the arms of Samsung.