Do we have a good one for you today – the Apple iPhone 7 goes up against the new Samsung Galaxy S8. Every time Samsung comes out with a new model, we like to put it up against the best that its arch-rival, Apple can produce. The other day we looked at the iPhone 7 Plus and the Galaxy S8 Plus, so it is only befitting that we look at the two smaller models as well. The Apple iPhone is a solidly built device, but that is not the problem we Android lovers have with the iPhone – we object to its restrictive iOS and that is not going to change when we look at the iPhone 7. These two devices could not be more different in their specifications or design philosophy, but we will look and see just what common threads we can find.
The iPhone 7 and the Galaxy S8 look nothing like one another inside or out. The iPhone 7 is an all-metal design with large bezels all around, whereas the Galaxy S8 is an all glass design with no bezels on the right or left and only small ones at the top and bottom. Even though the Galaxy S8's display is 1.1-inches larger, the device itself is less than 10mm taller and 1mm wider and weighs only 17 grams more. Besides the size of the display, they use a different technology and different resolutions. When it comes to processors, the iPhone 7 uses its own Apple A10 Fusion and the Samsung Galaxy S8 uses the newest Snapdragon 835 octa-core 10nm processor in the US Model, although the Samsung Exynos 8895 octa-core 10nm processor is used in other markets. The iPhone offers 32GB, 128GB, or 256GB of fixed internal storage while the Galaxy S8 offers 64GB of expandable UFS 2.1 storage. The primary cameras are both 12MP – although the Galaxy S8 uses a Dual Pixel variety. The front-facing cameras (FFC) are only a megapixel a part – 7MP on the iPhone 7 and 8MP on the Galaxy S8. Both will provide you with excellent photos and social media selfies. They both use a non-removable battery, but the Galaxy S8 is much larger and offers rapid charge and quick wireless charging. They both provide a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone and authorizing mobile payments – the iPhone only offers Apple Pay while the Galaxy S8 provides Android Pay and Samsung Pay. They have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth (iPhone with v4.2 and S8 with v5.0), GPS, and NFC (the iPhone's is only good for Apple Pay), and they each have a connector for charging and data transfer but the Apple plug is proprietary, and the Galaxy S8 uses a standard reversible Type-C port.
Please take a thoughtful 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.
Apple iPhone 7
The Apple iPhone 7 looks very similar to the iPhone 6s that it replaces. Oh, it has a few enhancements, especially when it comes to the processor, but Apple's leaps and bounds in the cameras area are starting to slow down. Externally, you will notice that the antenna lines were moved to the top and bottom of the device to make them less conspicuous. The Home button is no longer physical, but a touch-sensitive button to sense your fingerprint. The 3D Touch, introduced on the iPhone 6 has been improved, as well as the Display Zoom. Apple threw in an IP67 certification for dust and water resistance, but the real improvements are in the processor and GPU. Let's take a look and see just how the iPhone 7 holds up to the new Samsung Galaxy S8.
The Apple iPhone 7 is sporting a small, by today's standards, 4.7-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD display with only an HD resolution of 1334 x 750 pixels and 326 pixels-per-inch (PPI), which Apple likes to call their 'Retina Display'. The display does include an improvement on Apple's 3D Touch that allows the user to press a finger, with varying degrees of force, to make multiple selections. The powerful processor is their new Apple A10 Fusion quad-core clocked at 2.34GHz and coupled to a PowerVR Series 7XT Plus six-core graphics processor. The iPhone 7 packs only 2GB of DDR4 RAM and either 32GB, 128GB, or 256GB of non-expandable internal storage.
Apple did make some considerable changes in its camera area on the iPhone 7 Plus, but not on the iPhone 7. It still packs a 12MP sensor, phase detection autofocus (PDAF), Quad-LED dual-tone flash, and OIS, but they did increase the aperture from f/2.2 to f/1.8 that should allow better low light shots. For its FFC, the iPhone 7 replaced the 5MP with a 7MP sensor with an aperture of f/2.2 for selfies and video chatting, or as they would call it, AppleTalk. It uses a small 1960mAh non-removable battery to supply power and Apple still offers no form of rapid charging for their batteries.
The Apple iPhone 7 comes with many changes and refinements – an improved camera lens, a Quad LED flash, an improved 3D Touch, improved stereo sound, improved Home button, and added IP67 dust and water resistance. Apple kept the same 2GB of RAM, but finally, did away with the ridiculously low 16GB model and now offers 32GB of non-expandable memory as the standard amount. Apple removed the 3.5mm headphone jack and supplied an adapter for regular earphones or you can switch to Bluetooth earphones to avoid the proprietary plug. So far, Apple and the Moto Z line have lost their earphone jacks. It measures 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm and weighs in at 138 grams. Pricing starts out at $649 for the 32GB model and jumps to $750 for 128GB. The iPhone does have an NFC chip, but only for Apple Pay; so there will be no available Android Pay. Apple still uses its proprietary plugs and ecosystem services like iTunes, Apple Pay, iMessage, and AppleTalk, making it increasingly difficult for iPhone users to communicate with Android folks.
Samsung Galaxy S8
The new Samsung Galaxy S8 only jumped up one number, but it looks and acts nothing like its predecessor. Gone is the flat display on the Galaxy S7 as Samsung introduces their new Infinity Display that seamlessly wraps around the sides of the device and it has allowed Samsung to squeeze much more display into a smaller area. Also missing is a favorite of Samsung – the physical 'Home' button that is now an on-display key. The lower part of the display now has 3D Touch capabilities and when pressed, the 'Home' as well as the 'Back' and 'App' keys magically appear on the lower part of the display. The fingerprint sensor is now on the back of the device, inconveniently near the camera lens, but Samsung gives us alternative ways to unlock the device – facial recognition and an iris scanner. The new Galaxy S8 is a real beauty and one sexy device, even more so than the 'Edge' display, but does it have the specs to beat the iPhone 7? Let's check out the Galaxy S8 to see where it stands.
The Galaxy S8 jumps the screen from 5.1-inches to a larger 5.8-inch Infinity Display that uses the Super AMOLED QHD+ display with a resolution of 2960 x 1440 pixels and 570 PPI. Out of the box, Samsung set the default resolution to 2220 x 1080 to conserve battery life, but it can be manually turn up to the maximum through the settings. The display uses a 18.5:9 aspect ratio making it taller and slightly narrower, although it truly does go edge-to-edge taking up 83.6-percent of the front of the phone. The Galaxy S8 retains the 'always-on' screen to help save battery life and makes it easy and quick to check notifications. Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protects the display. The newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core 10nm processor clocked at 2.35GHz and an Adreno 540 GPU are used in the models destined for the US. In other countries, the Galaxy S8 will use Samsung's Exynos 8895 octa-core 10nm processor with four cores clocked at 1.7GHz and four cores clocked at 2.3GHz. The Galaxy S8 packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and has 64GB of the faster UFS 2.1 expandable memory via a microSD card.
We were surprised that Samsung used the same camera from the Galaxy S7 with a Dual Pixel 12MP sensor. Samsung said they concentrated on making advancements to their imaging software and kept that same f/1.7, 26mm, PDAF, LED flash, auto HDR and OIS. Samsung did up the FFC from a 5MP to an 8MP sensor and added its own autofocus while retaining its wide-angle lens, the same f/1.7 aperture, and Live HDR. The camera area should continue to take great pictures, but it is odd that Samsung did nothing to the primary camera's hardware. Samsung also kept the same sized non-removable 3000mAh battery that features Quick Charge and still offers Quick Wireless Charging.
The Galaxy S8 has many 'extras' and some of them you will use and others you may not, but they are there just the same. It has the better IP68 certification rating against dust and water; it sports a heart rate monitor and oxygen saturation sensor. Samsung Health has replaced Samsung's S-Health and you will find a new Samsung Connect feature to tie together Samsung's appliances, SmartTVs, thermostats and other IoT (Internet of Things). Samsung's new Bixby personal assistant works a lot like Google Assistant, but also uses the camera to answer your questions – point it at a historical building and it will tell you the history of the place or aim it at a sign in a foreign language, and Bixby will translate it for you. Another new feature is the DeX Station that will interface the Galaxy S8 with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse for a desktop experience – this concept has never proven to be popular in the past, but we will have to wait and see if DeX takes off. The Galaxy S8 can use both Android Pay as well as Samsung Pay, which will allow Galaxy S8 users more freedom to make mobile purchases just about anywhere a merchant can swipe a credit or debit card. Either the Galaxy S8 will come with Android Nougat 7.0, followed by a quick upgrade, or it may possibly include 7.1 by release time. It measures 148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm, weighs in at 155 grams, is available in Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, and Maple Gold depending where you are located. The Galaxy S8 will cost about $720 outright and is now available for pre-order to be delivered no later than April 21.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
There was never a doubt that the Samsung Galaxy S8 would be the winner of this comparison and not because we are Android lovers and consider the Nougat 7.1 superior over the iOS used in the iPhone – the Galaxy S8 is simply a much more advanced device. The iPhone 7 has a 4.7-inch display and that just does not cut it for most users, nor will the HD display of only 326 PPI. The design of the phone is getting a little outdated and a little tired looking, especially when compared to Samsung's Infinity Display on the Galaxy S8 – the bezel free sides and small bezels at the top and bottom make the large bezels on the iPhone almost 'clown-like'. The iPhone only gives its users 2GB of RAM and 32GB of standard fixed memory, whereas the Galaxy S8 doubles the RAM to 4GB and has a minimum of 64GB of expandable memory. With an excellent camera, and all of the added features it brings to the table, the Galaxy S8 is the clear winner in this comparison.
The iPhone 7 is nice little phone, but other than the Apple name; it is lacking many things for a real power user. You really cannot enjoy a game or video with a 4.7-inch display. Once you try a larger display, there is no going back – try going back to a 21 or 26-inch TV after watching sports or a movie on a 60-incher. The iPhone may run fine on just 2GB of RAM, but then you cannot run two apps at once in a split-screen mode, you need RAM for that to happen. The iPhone takes nice pictures, but DxOMark scores it less than last year's Galaxy S7. It does offer better sound through its stereo speakers, but for only $70 more than the iPhone 7 the Galaxy S8 gives you 32GB more expandable internal memory, a bigger and better display, and a slew of additional features, making it the winner.