Do we have a good one for you today – the Apple flagship, the iPhone 7 Plus, goes up against the new Samsung Galaxy S8. When Samsung comes out with a new model, we like to put it up against the best that its archrival, Apple can produce. Because the Galaxy S8 Plus only has a larger display, we decided to look at the base Galaxy S8 and how it stacks up to the iPhone 7 Plus. The Apple iPhone 7 Plus is a solidly built device, with a fast processor, but the problem we Android lovers have with the iPhone is its restrictive iOS. 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 Plus and the Galaxy S8 look nothing like one another inside or out. The iPhone 7 is typical looking smartphone with an all-metal design with large bezels all around, whereas the Galaxy S8 is an all glass design with a new Infinity Display that has no bezels on the right or left and only small ones at the top and bottom. Even though the Galaxy S8’s display is .3-inches larger, the device itself is 10mm shorter and 9mm narrower and weighs 33 grams less than the iPhone 7 Plus. Besides the size of the display, they use a different technology and different resolutions. When it comes to processors, the iPhone 7 Plus uses its own Apple A10 Fusion while 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 Plus 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 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 both 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 Plus
The Apple iPhone 7 Plus looks very similar to its predecessor, the iPhone 6s Plus, with the usual enhancements throughout the device. This will quickly become a problem for Apple with all of the new bezel-less designs and curved displays hitting the market, as the iPhone is very quickly looking ‘dated’ when viewed side-by-side a newer flagship. Apple did a little maintenance work of the outside of the 7 Plus by moving the antenna positioning to the outside edges for a cleaner look, and the old physical Home button is now touch-sensitive with no moving parts. What remains are large bezels everywhere. Apple introduced 3D Touch on the iPhone 6 and made improves to both it and the Display Zoom – great features that appear on a typical looking smartphone. Apple added stereo speakers, but took away the 3.5mm earphone jack and now you must go through the Lightning plug adaptor or turn to Bluetooth earphones. The processor is much improved and is still a standout for speed and stability. Apple finally added IP67 dust and water resistance, but did not go that extra mile to IP68. They added a dual camera only on the iPhone 7 Plus. Let’s take a look and see just how the iPhone 7 Plus holds up to the new Samsung Galaxy 8.
The Apple iPhone 7 Plus sports a 5.5-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD display with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 401 pixels-per-inch (PPI.) Apple improved the 3D Touch feature that allows the user to press a finger, with varying degrees of force, to make multiple selections. The processor is their new Apple A10 Fusion quad-core clocked at 2.23GHz and coupled to a PowerVR Series 7XT Plus six-core graphics processor. The iPhone 7 Plus packs only 3GB of DDR4 RAM and comes with 32GB of internal memory as standard. The memory is not expandable, but you can purchase a 128GB or 256GB model. Apple has still refused to drop in 4GB of RAM, although for all that the iOS will allow the user to do, 3GB is probably enough. We are glad to see that after all of these years, Apple finally eliminated the 16GB option, which was a complete waste. Even with 32GB, why is Apple so afraid to include expandable memory?
Only on the iPhone 7 Plus does Apple include the dual cameras. There are new dual 12MP sensors – one for wide-angle with a larger f/1.8 aperture and one for telephoto shots with a much smaller, f/2.8 aperture. The dual cameras use phase detection autofocus (PDAF), Quad-LED dual-tone flash, and OIS. For its FFC the iPhone 7 Plus uses a 7MP sensor with an aperture of f/2.2 for selfies and FaceTime. It uses a 2900mAh non-removable battery to supply power and Apple still offers no form of rapid charging for their batteries, which is another area that Apple really needs to address.
The new Apple iPhone 7 Plus comes with many internal refinements – a much improved processor, a dual-camera (Plus model only), improved camera lens, and Quad LED flash. Apple then improved the 3D Touch, improved the stereo sound and increased the volume, improved Home button, and added IP67 dust and water resistance. They increased the RAM from 2GB to 3GB, did away with the 16GB model, and now offer 32GB of non-expandable memory as the smallest amount available. Those refinements are in a design that is physically outdated looking. Apple has removed their 3.5mm earphone plug in what appears to be an increasing trend. They supplied an adapter for you to use with regular earphones or you can switch to Bluetooth earphones to avoid lugging around the extra dongle. The iPhone 7 Plus measures 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm and weighs in at 188 grams. Apple still uses its proprietary plugs and ecosystem services like iTunes, Apple Pay, iMessage, and FaceTime, making it increasingly difficult for iPhone users to communicate with Android folks. Pricing starts out at $770 for the 32GB model and will cost you $870 for the 128GB model.
Samsung Galaxy S8
The new Samsung Galaxy S8 is a refreshing change of pace – Samsung actually made their new flagship look and act nothing like its predecessor. The flat display on the Galaxy S7 is gone as Samsung introduces us to their new Infinity Display that seamlessly wraps around the sides of the device. No more side bezels and the top and bottom bezels are almost non-existent, allowing Samsung to squeeze much more display into a smaller area. Samsung got rid of their physical ‘Home’ button and it is now an on-display key. The lower part of the display now has 3D Touch capabilities and when pressed and the ‘Home’ as well as the ‘Back’ and ‘App’ keys magically appear on the lower part of the display. The fingerprint sensor was moved to the back of the device, near the camera lens, but the Galaxy S8 gives us facial recognition and an iris scanner to unlock the device. The new Galaxy S8 is a real beauty, even more so than the ‘Edge’ display. However, does it have the specs to beat the iPhone 7 Plus? Let’s check out the Galaxy S8 to see where it stands.
The Galaxy S8 has a new and larger 5.8-inch Infinity Display that uses the Super AMOLED QHD+ display with a resolution of 2960 x 1440 pixels and 570 PPI. The display uses a 18.5:9 aspect ratio making it taller and slightly narrower and 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. 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.
Samsung used the same camera from the Galaxy S7 with a Dual Pixel 12MP sensor and instead concentrated on making advancements to their imaging software. They kept the same f/1.7, 26mm, PDAF, LED flash, auto HDR and OIS. Samsung did increase 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 is packed full of ‘extras’ – it has the better IP68 certification rating against dust and water; it sports a heart rate monitor and oxygen saturation sensor. Samsung’s long-established S-Health is still there but is now called Samsung Health. 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 help answer your questions. If you point it at a historical building, 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. The Galaxy S8 can use both Android Pay as well as Samsung Pay, which will allow Galaxy S8 users more flexibility to make mobile purchases just about anywhere a merchant can swipe a credit or debit card. The Galaxy S8 will come with Android Nougat 7.0 and then be followed by a quick upgrade. 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.
...And The Winner Is...
The Final Word
The Galaxy S8 easily wins this comparison, as it is the more advanced device – both in design and specifications. This is not to put down the processor or GPU of the iPhone 7 Plus as they are both excellent, but the dated look, lack of features, and inflexibility of iOS are only more reasons the Galaxy S8 wins. The Galaxy S8 has a larger and better display, more RAM for true multi-tasking, 64GB of storage, but expandable memory, and an excellent camera. It has the always-on display feature, better water resistance, a fast charging battery, wireless charging, and can make mobile payments at more places than the iPhone.
The iPhone 7 Plus is a nice device, but you are limited by its iOS to customize your smartphone experience. It is outdated in looks and other than the processor/GPU, it has less of everything, yet will cost you $50 more than the Galaxy S8 and give you 32GB less of memory.