Battle of the 7s: Apple iPhone 7 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Christian de Looper

Well folks, the iPhone 7 is finally here, and boy has it been the subject of headlines. Between the new A10 Fusion processor and ultra-classy finish, the device doesn’t just look great, it performs well too. But does it stand up to other flagships released earlier this year? The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is considered by many to be one of the best devices of the year, and for good reason. On the surface, the Galaxy S7 Edge, with its edgy design, is more innovative than the new iPhone 7, but innovative doesn’t always mean better. That being the case, we placed the two phones head to head to find out which is better.

Related: Forget the iPhone 7, next year’s smartphone from Apple will be one big screen

Specs

iPhone 7

iphone-7

Galaxy S7 Edge

samsung-galaxy-s7-2

Size 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 in) 149 x 72 x 7.62 mm (5.58 x 2.85 x 0.30 in)
Weight 4.87 ounces (138 grams) 5.54 ounces (157 grams)
Screen 4.7-inch Retina HD LED-backlit widescreen 5.5-inch Dual-edge Quad HD Super AMOLED
Resolution 1,334 x 750 pixels (326 ppi) 2,560 x 1,440 (577 ppi)
OS iOS 10 Android 6.0
Storage 32, 128, 256GB 32, 64GB
MicroSD card slot No Yes
NFC support Yes Yes
Processor A10 Fusion with 64-bit architecture, M10 motion coprocessor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820/Samsung Exynos 8890
RAM 2GB 4GB
Connectivity 4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 4G LTE, GSM, HSPA, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Camera 12MP rear, 7MP front 12MP rear, 5MP front
Video 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30 or 60fps 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 60, 720p at 240fps
Bluetooth Yes, version 4.2 Yes, version 4.2
Fingerprint sensor Touch ID Yes
Other sensors Barometer, 3-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor Barometer, gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, heart rate monitor
Water resistant Yes, IP67 rated Yes, IP68 rated
Battery 1,960mAh, 14 hours talk time on 3G 3,600mAh, 27 hours talk time on 3G
Ports Lightning micro USB, headphone
Marketplace Apple App Store Google Play Store
Color offerings Gold, rose gold, silver, black, jet black Black, white, gold, silver, pink gold
Availability AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile
Price $650 $780
DT review Pending 4/5 Stars

It’s always difficult to compare Apple products with others, largely because of the fact that Apple doesn’t use the same Snapdragon chips that others do. We can, however, look at things other than model number.

The iPhone 7 features Apple’s A10 Fusion processor, which is the company’s best mobile chip to date. The chip features four cores, making it the first Apple-made processor to be quad-core. Not all chip cores are the same, either — two of them are specially designed to handle more demanding tasks like gaming. The other two are low-powered and handle day-to-day tasks. The advantage to this is that these cores don’t require as much power, which maximizes battery life.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a method used all the time. In fact, both the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and the Samsung Exynos 8890 utilize the same concept, although the Exynos 8890 has eight cores and devotes four to each high and low power.

While the processors use similar concepts, however, that doesn’t mean they’re as powerful as one another — there are also benchmarks to look at. The iPhone 7 scored a whopping 178,397 on AnTuTu’s benchmarks, putting pretty much every other smartphone to shame. The Galaxy S7 Edge scored 134,599, which is a great score, to be sure, but nothing compared to the iPhone. In other words, the iPhone 7 is a far more powerful device than the Galaxy S7 Edge. That’s despite the fact that the iPhone 7 has half as much RAM as the Galaxy S7 Edge.

When it comes to storage, the iPhone 7 wins again. The device is available in 32, 128, and 256GB variants, while the Galaxy S7 Edge only comes in either a 32GB or 64GB build. Sure, the Galaxy S7 Edge has a MicroSD card slot, but why use the clunky, outdated MicroSD standard when you could have 256GB of onboard storage?

In the performance department, there’s a clear winner here, and it’s not the Galaxy S7 Edge.

Winner: Apple iPhone 7

Design

iphone-7-camera
iphone-7-camera

Apple has been crowned the design king over and over again, and for good reason. The company’s attention to detail and beautiful finishes all point to the best design team in the world, led by design guru Jony Ive. This year, the iPhone is available in two extra-stunning finishes — Jet Black and a matte black. You can also get the traditional gold, rose gold, and silver finishes.

Sure, looks are subjective, but not every aspect of design is. The iPhone 7 is around half a millimeter thinner than the Galaxy S7 Edge — a small amount, to be sure, but important to consider nonetheless. In fact, the iPhone 7 is smaller in every aspect, which is somewhat due to the smaller display. Because of that, it’s also lighter, coming in at 4.87 ounces compared to the Galaxy S7 Edge’s 5.54 ounces.

The Jet Black iPhone 7 will likely attract fingerprints like the Galaxy S7 Edge’s glass back does, so these two tie for oily smears. However, if you hate fingerprints, the matte color options for the iPhone 7 offer an alternative. With the S7 Edge, you are stuck with glass and fingerprints unless you buy a case. Glass is also much more fragile than metal, so the iPhone wins on the durability front. However, the curved edges on the Galaxy S7 Edge are undeniably beautiful and it is a slim phone for a device with a 5.5-inch screen.

The worst thing about the iPhone 7? The camera bump on the back, but the Galaxy S7 Edge has one of those too. The clear winner in the design department is the iPhone.

Winner: Apple iPhone 7

A word about the headphone jack

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

No, the iPhone 7 does not have a headphone jack. However, like it or not, the consumer audio world is going wireless (and for good reason). Bluetooth headphones — or headphones using Apple’s new wireless tech — are much more convenient, and their audio quality is, at this point, pretty astounding. For many consumers, there’s simply no reason to balk at the lack of wires.

Apple also included a 3.5mm headphone jack adapter in the box so you can use your old headphones. Lightning wired headphones also work with the iPhone 7, and Apple included a pair in the box with the iPhone. You will have to pay $160 more for the wireless Air Pods, though. Alternatively, there are many other wireless headphones that assuredly sound better than Apple’s default ones.

Still, there is something to say for wired headphones. The best headphones in the world are still generally wired — and normally use an external headphone amp — so if you’re a pure-bred audiophile and one that wants to listen to music through your phone, then you probably won’t want the iPhone. That’s despite the fact that if you’re a pure-bred audiophile, you probably won’t want to use your phone for music listening at all.

Despite the fact that the world is going wireless and Apple decided to adopt the futuristic standard moving forward, having the option of the headphone jack is nice, so we’re awarding this one to Samsung.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Display

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Apart from being smaller, the display on the iPhone is of lower quality for a number of reasons. First, the device uses an LCD panel instead of the Super AMOLED screen found on the Galaxy S7 Edge. OLED panels are known to generally produce deeper blacks and brighter colors. However, the iPhone 7’s screen is still gorgeous and it’s not like you’ll see an ugly pixelated screen. Some even prefer the iPhone’s natural color reproduction over Samsung’s saturated look.

However, the pixel density on the Galaxy S7 Edge is much better, sitting at 577 pixels per inch over the iPhone’s 326. Of course, these days, displays are used for more than just looking at stuff. Both phones have their own extra layer of functionality with the display — the Galaxy S7 Edge includes Samsung’s edges, while the iPhone 7 uses 3D Touch, which allows users to press down to access more controls.

Still, with the better display type and a higher pixel density, we’re awarding this one to Samsung.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Camera

iphone-7-camera
iphone-7-camera

The iPhone has long been hailed as the phone to get if you want a great camera, but Samsung has seriously stepped up its game in the past few years.

The iPhone 7’s rear-facing camera features a 12-megapixel sensor, along with a f/1.8 aperture, phase detection autofocus, and — a first for the standard model of the iPhone — optical image stabilization. The Galaxy S7 Edge’s camera has almost exactly the same specs except for the fact that it has an f/1.7 aperture, meaning that it may be able to handle low-light situations a little better. Samsung is known for oversaturated images, though, so if you’re into natural color reproduction, the iPhone 7’s photos may be more up your alley.

The iPhone, however, shines in the front-facing camera department. The camera has a 7-megapixel sensor with a f/2.2 aperture, while the Galaxy S7 Edge has a 5-megapixel sensor with a f/1.7 aperture. In other words, the iPhone’s photos will be of a higher resolution, but in low-light situations, the Galaxy S7 Edge may fair slightly better. We’ll hold a shootout between the two to determine a winner. For now, it’s a tie.

Winner: Tie

Durability

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Apple has really stepped up its game when it comes to durability. The device is now water-resistant with an IP rating of IP67, which essentially means that it should be able to handle being in up to a meter of water for up to 30 minutes. You don’t want to intentionally take it swimming, but if you happen to drop it in the bath, you should be fine.

While Apple has stepped up its game, the iPhone 7 still doesn’t beat the Galaxy S7 Edge’s durability. The S7 Edge has an IP rating of IP68, meaning that it can handle being immersed in up to 3 meters of water. Neither phone should be purposefully immersed in water, but if accidentally dropped in liquid, the Galaxy S7 Edge is more likely to survive a long plunge.

However, Apple’s aluminum iPhone 7 is more durable than the Galaxy S7 Edge in terms of drops, because the S7 Edge is made out of fragile glass. You don’t want to drop the S7 Edge because that special curved glass is going to be expensive to replace. We’re calling this one a tie because Samsung wins in water, but Apple wins with drops.

Winner: Tie

Software

ios-10-iphone-7
ios-10-iphone-7

We’re not going to make this article an “iOS vs. Android” article — it’s totally subjective, and most of you have probably already decided which one you prefer. There are a few things to note, however.

Android is generally the more customizable operating system, while iOS is typically considered easier to use. For that reason, if you want to be able to simply turn on your phone and have it do what you need — make calls, texts, use apps, and so on — then the iPhone is the way to go.

Of course, that’s not to say that Android isn’t easy to use — it just takes a little more work to learn. Of course, the Galaxy S7 Edge doesn’t use stock Android. Instead, it uses Samsung’s self-built Android skin, called TouchWiz. TouchWiz brings a slightly different look to Android, but it also brings some of Samsung’s services to the forefront.

Another thing to consider is app availability, though you’ll have apps aplenty on both of these phones. While some apps come to the Apple App Store first, they normally eventually make their way to Android.

Basically, if you want an easy-to-use phone, choose an iPhone. If you want something you can customize, go for the Galaxy S7 Edge.

The other huge points to consider are security and software updates. Samsung is notoriously bad at getting timely Android updates to its phones. That means vital security patches may take months to arrive if they ever do. That’s not a good thing when you consider how many major hacks are targeted at Android. In contrast, iOS users get software updates immediately and Apple’s devices are more secure because of it. You’ll always have the latest software if you own an iPhone 7 and that makes it a winner for us.

Winner: iPhone 7

Price and availability

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Both devices are available to purchase or pre-order now, and they’re both available on all four major carriers in the United States. The iPhone 7 starts at $650 unlocked, however, you’ll need to shell out an extra $100 for the Jet Black version. The Galaxy S7 Edge, on the other hand, starts at $780, which is $130 more than the iPhone 7. Below a rundown of the two devices availability on the four major carriers.

iPhone 7 Galaxy S7 Edge
AT&T $650 or $21.67 per month for 30 months $795 or $26.50 per month for 30 months
Sprint $650 or $27.09 per month for 24 months $750 or $31.25 per month for 24 months
T-Mobile $650 or $27.09 per month for 24 months $780 or $32.50 per month for 24 months
Verizon $650 or $27.08 per month for 24 months $792 or $33.00 per month for 24 months

As the cheaper device, the iPhone 7 is the winner here.

Winner:  iPhone 7

Conclusion

It’s always a tight race between the iPhone and the Galaxy S line. The iPhone 7 is more powerful, better designed, and cheaper, however, the Galaxy S7 Edge has a headphone jack and offers a better display. It really comes down to personal preference as to which one you will buy. If you’re an Android user, the Galaxy S7 Edge will hold more appeal for you. If you need a headphone jack and you’re pissed off that Apple removed it, then you’ll want the S7 Edge.

However, if you’re open to iOS and you want a powerful, durable phone that’s easy to use and very secure, the iPhone 7 is calling your name. The iPhone 7 won the most categories in this battle, so it’s technically the winner.