Apple iPhone 7 Plus Vs Samsung Galaxy S8+
So, the biggest Android flagship of the year was announced yesterday, 29th March 2017 at the Unpacked event. The Galaxy S8 will be the biggest selling android device this year and main rival to Apple’s iPhone 7 and future successor. Now the dust has settled and fanfare abated, it is time for a fun comparison!
Early days of course and the reviews aren’t out on final software, but here are our impressions, broken down by category with a summary at the end. We will take the iPhone 7 Plus and the Galaxy S8+ as they are the two top of the line models from each range
The iPhone does not come with the most pixel packed screen on the market, however it is still one of the best. Colours are accurate and bright, blacks are nice and deep and the screen get nice and bright. Apple didn’t go the route of 2 or 4K screens on the iPhone 7 Plus, rumours are abound the next Apple flagship will however. Nevertheless, the screen on the iPhone 7 Plus is big enough at 5.5” and quality will disappoint few.
Samsung has really raised the bar with their new ‘Infinity Display’ screens adorning the front of each new Galaxy S8+. Make no mistake, this screen is HUGE. 6.2” and 529 ppi make for eye bleeding viewing. This is all packed into a body only marginally taller than the biggest iPhone; an impressive feat indeed. The screen curves around at the edges beautifully and it really does look quite futuristic. Samsung has ensured there are zero bezels at the side of the screen now, not the first manufacturer to do so but this is implemented on the S8+ in an unapparelled manner.
Funnily enough though, such a curved, futuristic screen does not appeal to everyone. Many prefer the look and feel on a flat slab of glass, straightforward, classic design. This does not take away from the fact Samsung must be applauded for such a beautiful panel.
The iPhone 7 Plus looks like…. well, an iPhone! Looks almost the same as the 6 Plus and 6s Plus. Apple haven’t taken any bold design chances in years now, you can never confuse an iPhone with another device. That’s not to say it is dated looking. Quite the opposite, Apple has a talent for making their devices almost timeless in appearance, they are the kings of longevity when it comes to design language. The phone is weighted well and feels great in the hand. Body curves nicely making the iPhone 7 Plus comfortable to hold also. The front chin holds the new home ‘button’ (it is not a button at all), and the same size bezel remains at the top to add symmetry.
Samsung has an all-new design for the new Galaxy S8+. The infinity screen sits on top of a thin, curved body. By all accounts, the phone feels much smaller than it actually is and the curved edges make it more comfortable to hold than ever. No bezels at the sides and minimal top and bottom bezels make for a sexy looking device. Around back the new fingerprint sensor sits next to the camera, an odd position that will take some getting used to. Coupled with the height of the device being so tall, accessing by fingerprint is not a one-handed job. This seems careless design, very few of us have giant hands! Luckily Samsung have added iris and facial detection for unlocking the device without reaching around back.
All in all, it is classic design against futuristic.
Apple has added an upgraded dual camera setup to the iPhone 7 Plus. And what a camera. The main shooter is 12mp and can record 4k video with OIS. Apple has always been lauded for the cameras they put on their phones, and with good reason. The iPhone 7 Plus is one of the best shooters on the market and the dual sensor makes for beautiful ‘bokeh’ shots. Around front, a 7mp camera takes excellent selfies and is another great all-rounder.
The camera on the Galaxy 8+ appears to be unchanged from the Galaxy S7 Edge, with a fast shooting 12mp sensor. Great in low light, the camera could possibly have done with a slight upgrade, but this is still one of the best cameras around. Interestingly however, the new fingerprint sensor on the S8+ may impact the quality of shots from the camera. The sensor is right beside the camera lens and is bound to get smudged and covered in finger oil as the user searches to unlock the device. How irritating this will be remains to be seen, but it seems a poor choice of positioning by Samsung.
iPhone 7 Plus rocks and custom A10 chipset; and boy does it rock. The A10 performs great on benchmarks and even better in real world use. No phone on the market can compete with the processor in the iPhone 7 Plus and it is unlikely the S8+ will change this. iOS is perfectly optimized to get the most from the A10 with 3gb RAM and with each software update the speed seems to improve again. Apple’s legendary software & hardware integration really shine when they are coupled together and prove an unstoppable opponent.
The Galaxy S8+ is not slouch though. Sporting the new Snapdragon 835 and 4gb RAM, the S8+ will fly. Samsung has made their custom skin lighter in recent years, much to the relief of customers. The S8+ will likely react like every other flagship Samsung in recent years; start off strong and fast but the glitches and slight slowdown will surely come. We hope not; but history gives a good indication.
The iPhone comes with a 2900 mAh battery, not the biggest on the market but definitely one of the best. Many iPhone 7 Plus users can get 2 days from a full charge, with a full day of heavy use being no problem to Cupertino’s finest flagship. Software can be made improve battery life further with subsequent updates and the battery on the iPhone 7 Plus deserves all the praise it regularly gets.
The battery in the Galaxy S8 + is as of yet untested, but signs are it will be average at best. The battery size is 3500 mAh, not bad on paper really. The issue lies when you consider the screen it must power, however. That 6.2” amoled display will chew through battery and Android continues to struggle with optimising software to preserve battery life. Thankfully the S8+ comes with fast and wireless charging so a few extra percentage points are never far away.
Apple are infamous for their closed operating system, they control everything that happens and customers still flock to them. And why not? iOS provides and quick, familiar and easy to use os that just gets things done. You know exactly what you are getting when you purchase an iPhone 7 Plus; a user experience that is intuitive and secure, with regular software and security updates. The ecosystem as a whole works extremely well; couple the iPhone with a Mac, iPad or Apple Watch and see how seamlessly everything works together. It really is a joy to behold.
Android 7.0 is the os bundled with the Galaxy S8+, not 7.1 as many expected. Samsung have a new skin and design language with the S8+ and it is already dividing opinion. This shouldn’t prove a problem however as the flexibility of Android allows users to have a custom launcher and change many aspects of the os to suit their preferences. The software on the Galaxy S8+ will be fast, of that there is no doubt. It is extremely likely it will come close to the speed and reliability of iOS however, Samsung still bloats their software quite a bit. The new assistant ‘Bixbie’ looks clunky and a poor Google Assistant or even Siri clone. We feel many will deactivate this immediately upon purchase.
So where does that leave us? Which phone should you buy? Well, the phones change, but the reason doesn’t. Apple offers reliability, familiarity and the chance to enter a wonderful ecosystem of devices. Apple still JUST WORKS, and works very very well. The iPhone 7 Plus is a safe choice, and excellent all-rounder and few are disappointed from buying one.
The Samsung Galaxy S8+ looks like a device from the future, is feature packed and sleeker than anything on the market. A bold, sexy design coupled with excellent hardware and decent software will ensure a great mobile experience for most. The disjointed nature of the Google ecosystem coupled with Samsung’s own ecosystem can prove awkward and bloated at time, but the experience improves all the time.
The winner? Well, cheesy as it sounds, the consumer is the winner here. With such excellent mobile devices on offer to all, the difficult choice one must make choosing one of these phones to buy, is a nice problem to have.