Do we have a good one for you today – the new Samsung Galaxy S8 takes on the new Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017). We know that the Galaxy S8 is their new flagship device, while the Galaxy A7 is their mid-range smartphone, but we thought it would be interesting to compare Samsung's flagship to their mid-range just to see how close they are in specifications. The Galaxy S8 uses a glass construction, front and back, whereas the Galaxy A7 is an all-metal device. Which one of these devices has what it takes to win this competition and is the Galaxy S8 worth the extra $200 in price? Let's see just what these two smartphones have in common and just how much they differ.
The Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy A7 do have a few things in common besides their Samsung heritage, with the Galaxy S8 representing the new Samsung look while the Galaxy A7 carries on the old Samsung look. Their Super AMOLED displays are different resolutions and different sizes – 5.8-inches vs. 5.7-inches – however, the larger Galaxy S8 actually measures less in physical size and is 31 grams lighter. They both share Samsung's 'always-on' display feature to save battery life. They both (the international version of the Galaxy S8) use an Exynos processor – the 8895 octa-core and the 7880 octa-core – along with a Mali GPU for graphics. They both offer expandable memory to 256GB via a microSD card, with the S8 using a 64GB base and the A7 using a 32GB base. The main camera areas vary, but both take great photos. They both sport a non-removable battery with rapid charging, and the Galaxy S8 enjoys wireless fast charging built in. They both employ a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device or authorizing mobile payments, including Samsung Pay. Both devices are IP68 certified against water and dust. The usual suspects are here – WiFi, Bluetooth (v5.0 in the S8 and v4.2 in the A7), GPS, NFC, and the newer Type-C reversible for charging and data transfer.
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.
Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung started dealing a fresh hand with their new Galaxy S8 models. Gone is the flat-screened Galaxy S7 design and gone is the S7 Edge model. The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus come with their new Infinity Display – a dual curved display that seamlessly dissolves into the sides of the device. The Galaxy S8 has very small top and bottom bezels so they moved the fingerprint sensor to the back near the camera lens. Samsung added a couple of easier ways to unlock the device to avoid using the fingerprint sensor – by way of facial recognition or an iris scanner. Samsung dropped their physical 'Home' button, as they did with the 'Back' and 'App' keys. They are all located on the lower part of the display that has 3D Touch capabilities. The physical appearance alone of the Galaxy S8 is stunning enough to win you over, but did Samsung upgrade the specifications enough, and just how does it stack up to the Samsung Galaxy A7.
Samsung finally increased the Galaxy S8 display from a small 5.1-inches to a much larger 5.8-inch Infinity Display, which maintains its Super AMOLED technology but this time around, Samsung gave it a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio. The QHD+ display resolution of 2960 x 1440 pixels generates 570 pixels-per-inch (PPI). This new display goes edge-to-edge, with very small top and bottom bezels. Samsung continues to use the 'always-on' display to help save battery life but also making it easier and quicker to check notifications. On the inside, the Galaxy S8 uses the new 10nm technology found in the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor and Samsung's excellent Exynos 8895 octa-core. The model coming to the US uses the SD 835 clocked at 2.35GHz with an Adreno 540 GPU. Other countries will use the Exynos 8895 with four cores clocked at 1.7GHz and four cores clocked at 2.3GHz and a Mali-G71 MP20 for graphics. The Galaxy S8 packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and has 64GB of the faster UFS 2.1 expandable memory via a microSD card.
In an unusual move, Samsung kept the same camera from the Galaxy S7 series and said they concentrated on making advancements to their imaging software. The Galaxy S8 uses with a Dual Pixel 12MP sensor with a large aperture of f/1.7 for those low light conditions, a 26mm lens, PDAF, LED flash, auto HDR and OIS. Samsung did tinker with the front-facing camera (FFC) by enlarging it from a 5MP to an 8MP sensor and gave it its own autofocus. It still uses a wide-angle lens for those group selfies or a conference chat, and uses the same f/1.7 aperture, and Live HDR. Samsung also kept the same sized non-removable 3000mAh battery that features Quick Charge and still offers Quick Wireless Charging.
The Galaxy S8 series continues to be IP68 certified against dust and water resistance, keeps its popular heart rate monitor, oxygen saturation sensor, and for those that exercise, the new Samsung Health that replaces Samsung's S-Health. Samsung included a new Samsung Connect feature that will allow you to control Samsung's appliances, thermostats, and more. Samsung introduces its own personal assistant called Bixby. You can either ask Bixby simple questions or get information from a picture through the camera. Samsung added a DeX Station that will interface the Galaxy S8 with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to give you a near desktop experience. You have access to Android Pay and Samsung Pay, which allows Galaxy S8 users more freedom to make mobile purchases. The Galaxy S8 will arrive with Android Nougat 7.0, followed by a quick upgrade to 7.1. 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 purchase at major retailers.
Samsung Galaxy A7
Samsung's new Galaxy A7 (2017) is all Samsung with its typical rounded corners, speaker grill at the top and an oval home button at the bottom – it looks very much like a Galaxy S7 with a larger display. The significant difference is that the Galaxy A7 (2017) steps away from its recent glass heritage and uses an aluminum back designed to fit comfortably in your hand. It includes some decent specifications for a mid-range phone, but with a price tag of $530, we should expect no less. The Galaxy A7 (2017) includes the IP68 certification for water and dust and an unusual new side-positioned loudspeaker. Let's see just how this new Galaxy A7 (2017) mid-range holds up against their flagship, the Galaxy S8.
The Galaxy A7 sports a large 5.7-inch Super AMOLED FHD display giving it a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with a respectable 386 PPI. Samsung included the 'always-on' screen on the Galaxy A7 to help save battery life and to make checking your notifications a breeze. The Galaxy A7 uses Samsung's Exynos 7880 octa-core processor clocked at 1.9GHz and a Mali-T830MP2 covers the graphics. The Galaxy A7 packs 3GB of RAM and has 32GB of expandable internal memory up to 256GB via a microSD card.
Samsung included a large 16MP lense for the primary camera on the Galaxy A7 with an aperture of f/1.9, autofocus, and an LED flash. The Galaxy A7's FFC also comes with a large 16MP lens with the same f/1.9 aperture as the primary camera. This large FFC should give you excellent low-light selfies and video chatting. Samsung included a large non-removable battery of 3600mAh, and includes rapid charging.
The Galaxy A7 is available in some Asian and European markets now – there is no word on when or if there will be a US release. It has a front mounted fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device as well as making mobile payments. It can use both Android Pay as well as Samsung Pay, which will allow A7 users to make mobile purchases just about anywhere they can swipe a credit or debit card. It has IP68 certification against dust and water and a side-mounted speaker. It comes with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow as the OS, but its Nougat upgrade should be ready in May 2017. This is a GSM device and will work on either AT&T or T-Mobile networks in the US. The Galaxy A7 measures 156.8 x 77.6 x 7.9mm, weighs in at a hefty 186 grams, is available in Black Sky, Gold Sand, Blue Mist, and Peach Cloud and costs about $530.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
I must pick the Samsung Galaxy S8 as the winner of this comparison for obvious reasons – it is packing higher specifications, more features, and innovations than the Samsung Galaxy A7. However, the S8 is also packing a price that is $190 more than the A7. The Galaxy A7 is a great device with a solid build, but only works on T-Mobile and AT&T.
The Galaxy S8's display is slightly larger, the physical size is smaller, making it easier to hold and work with one hand. It has the better AMOLED Infinity Display, a much better processor with its 10nm architecture, more RAM and base memory, a better camera, incorporates an iris scanner and facial recognition, faster battery charging and wireless charging. Samsung throws in a heart rate monitor, oxygen saturation sensor, Samsung Connect, Samsung Health, Samsung Pay, Samsung Bixby, and Samsung DeX docking.
The Samsung Galaxy A7 is a great device but has limited use in the US and offers no features the Galaxy S8 does not possess. Although cheaper than the Galaxy S8, its pricing is a tad high at $530 for what it offers.