Do we have a good one for you today – the popular Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge takes on the new flagship from OnePlus, the OnePlus 3. Samsung and OnePlus are about as different in their product philosophies as you can get – Samsung wants to pack as much technology, features, and build quality into their devices as possible and then charge a premium price. OnePlus is all about build quality and value, although that can sometimes make it hard to build a real flagship. Whatever their formulas, it seems to be working for their target audiences. Samsung made a bold change last year to an all-metal chassis and glass front and back, while OnePlus decided to take the all-metal approach this year with the OP3. Both devices look the part of a premium flagship, but we have to give the nod to the Galaxy S7 Edge for premium looks and feel. We are going into this comparison knowing that the Galaxy S7 Edge has some better overall specs than the OnePlus 3, however, a $390 price difference is a lot to overlook. Let’s look at some of the similarities between these two devices before we look at each one individually.
The Galaxy S7 Edge and the OnePlus 3 do have a few things in common – starting with their physical size where the OP3 comes in just slightly larger and weighs 1 gram more than the Galaxy S7 Edge. They have the same display size of 5.5-inches and both use the AMOLED technology, but they use different resolutions. The US version of the Galaxy S7 Edge and the OP3 use the same Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor and an Adreno 530 GPU. Although they offer different amounts, they both use the faster UFS 2.0 internal memory. The camera areas differ, but both devices provide great photos. Both devices have a fingerprint sensor to unlock devices and to authorize mobile payments, and both devices have a non-removable battery with quick charge capabilities. Both have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and a USB connection (V2.0 microUSB on the Galaxy S7 Edge and the newer reversible Type-C on the OnePlus 3) for charging and data transfer.
Please take a careful look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the “View Full Comparison” link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each device in greater depth and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Samsung only offers one ‘Edge’ model this year – a larger model, naming it the Galaxy S7 Edge. It is primarily based on last year’s total redesign with a few refinements outside and many changes inside. It still retains that metal and glass design with the dual-curved edge display – and now that people are getting used to seeing it, some of the ‘wow factor’ is wearing off, but still a very sexy design. Let us take a closer look at the new Galaxy S7 Edge and see how it competes with the new OnePlus 3 flagship. The OP3 you say, they are not in the same league – but let us wait and see after a closer look.
The Galaxy S7 Edge has a beautiful and sexy 5.5-inch display with its dual-curved edges and QHD Super AMOLED ‘always-on’ display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 577 pixels-per-inch (PPI). There are two processors used in the Galaxy S7 Edge – if you live in the US, you will get the newest Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with dual cores clocked at 1.6GHz and dual cores clocked at 2.15GHz. In other countries, you will get Samsung’s Exynos 8890 octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.6GHz and four cores clocked at 2.3GHz. The 820 processor uses an Adreno 530 GPU, and the Exynos 8890 uses the Mali-T880 MP4 GPU – either one can handle the toughest graphics you can throw at them. The Galaxy S7 Edge packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM, offers 32GB of UFS 2.0 memory and allows room for expansion up to 200GB via a microSD card.
Samsung took a bold step in the camera area by lowering the megapixels from 16MP and replacing it with a new Dual Pixel 12MP sensor. The new sensor and pixels are actually larger than the older 16MP, and this allows it to take in more light and information. They continued with other improvements by increasing the aperture to f/1.7, included faster phase detection autofocus (PDAF), auto HDR, and retained the OIS. The Galaxy S7 Edge uses a 5MP wide-angle lens with a larger f/1.7 aperture and Live HDR for its front-facing camera (FFC) allowing for excellent low-light selfies and video chatting. Samsung added a larger 3600mAh non-removable battery this year and included quick charge and quick wireless charging as well.
The Galaxy S7 Edge incorporates a QHD Super AMOLED always-on display to help conserve battery life and uses dual curved edges that do provide some functionality. The Galaxy S7 Edge is IP68 certified water and dust resistance. You also have the option of using Samsung Pay to make mobile purchases just about anywhere you can swipe a credit or debit card. The S7 Edge packs a heart rate monitor, oxygen saturation sensor, and quick wireless charging. The S7 Edge measures 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm, weighs in at 157 grams and is available in Black, White, Gold, and Silver, costing about $790, although many carriers are still offering specials.
OnePlus has always built a quality product, but they never included the top-of-the-line of everything in one smartphone, but people are willing to overlook some of their shortcomings because they are such a good bargain. The OnePlus 3 is their closest smartphone yet to taking on Samsung's flagship devices – the two biggest drawbacks in the OP3 are the lack of a Quad HD display and no ability to expand its internal memory. This new all-metal design is very similar to the rest of the OnePlus lineup – a minimalistic look that is very business-like in appearance. It is a well-built and solid design that looks the part of a flagship smartphone. Just how does it stack up to the premier Galaxy S7 Edge – let us take a look.
The OnePlus 3 takes its cue from the OnePlus X and did away with the IPS LCD display, and comes in with a new 5.5-inch FHD Optic AMOLED display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and roughly 401 PPI. While still not a QHD resolution, the new AMOLED display should offer much better color contrasts than the old LCD on the OnePlus 2. OnePlus went with the newest Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with a dual-core clocked at 1.6GHz and another at 2.15GHz. It works in tandem with an Adreno 530 GPU to provide the graphics. OnePlus then packed in a full 6GB of DDR4 RAM and 64GB of the faster UFS 2.0 internal storage (used in the Galaxy S7 Edge), although there are no means to expand.
OnePlus made massive improvements over the OnePlus 2 when it comes to the camera area. They are using a new 16MP shooter, with fast PDAF (Phase Detection Autofocus), LED Flash, a large f/2.0 aperture, and both OIS and EIS (Electronic Stabilization.) The FFC camera increased from 5MP to 8MP with a f/2.0 aperture for better selfies and video chatting. OnePlus never does everything right – they decreased the battery from 3300mAh to 3000mAh in the OnePlus 3, but included rapid charging they call Dash Charge for up to a 60-percent charge in only 30 minutes.
We are happy to see that OnePlus decided to include BOTH a fingerprint sensor and NFC chip on the same device. This partnership will allow it to authorize mobile or Android Pay purchases with a swipe of your finger – thanks to Marshmallow. It runs mostly stock Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out-of-the-box with OnePlus’ OS called OxygenOS on top. It measures 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm, weighs in at 158 grams, and will cost you about $399 USD for the 6GB/64GB model. It comes in Graphite, but OnePlus promises a Soft Gold color arriving later.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
As beautiful, as powerful, and as sexy as the Galaxy S7 Edge is, I have to pick the OnePlus 3 as the winner for the pure value of the device. On one hand, we have a $790 wunderkind and on the other hand, we have a $400 device that fulfills the same needs. You lose a QHD display, a larger battery, curved display, memory expansion, heart rate monitor and oxygen saturation sensor – but you have to ask yourself if you truly need those, would never miss them, or if you can live without them.
The OnePlus 3 is a well-built, all- metal design, the same size display (albeit, FHD), the same AMOLED technology, the same processor/GPU, more DDR4 RAM than the Galaxy S7 Edge, and the same UFS 2.0 storage memory (albeit, no expansion). The core specifications are either the same or better in the case of the RAM, so if you are not going to miss the ‘extras’ that the Galaxy S7 Edge offers than save yourself $390 and get a OnePlus 3 – or buy yourself two for the price of one S7 Edge.