With the imminent release of the brand new Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, you may be thinking about investing in one of the many new, powerful smartphones the market currently has to offer. Apple’s iPhone has been one of the most popular smartphone choices for almost 10 years, with millions sold over 7 different generations.
Whilst it’s been the phone of choice for many, other technology companies have been also been building a lineup technologically advanced and highly desirable phones. Samsung’s recent Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are perfect examples of this, providing some of the most enjoyable smartphone experiences available.
There’s no doubt that both the iPhone 7 and the Samsung Galaxy S7 are impressive devices, but which should you buy? Our guide will help you decide which of these high-end phones is right for you.
The iPhone 7’s design has been carefully constructed to be both sleek and usable. Made with a mixture of glass and aluminium, the iPhone 7 has a curved look that allows the screen to almost curve around the device, giving a soft look with rounded edges. Much of this design has been lifted directly from the iPhone 6, which won’t be a problem for those who enjoyed the previous model but may be a turnoff for those who were looking for something a little revolutionary.
One of the best new functions of the iPhone 7 is the waterproofing that’s been built into the phone. This is the first time an iPhone’s been waterproof, with previous models being susceptible to water damage. Because of this, the home button has also changed to become a sunken point on the front that responds to your touch due to Taptic technology, allowing for now areas where water can get it.
The iPhone 7 has also added a number of new colours to choose from. Black and glossy Jet Black have been added to the standard White, Gold and Rose Gold, giving you a real variety of colours that cater to every style. Unlike previous iPhone models, the colours run throughout the phone fully rather than just at the front, making the style more consistent.
The iPhone 7 also now features a dual-speaker system, giving you stereo sound even without headphones. This is something that’s missing from the Samsung Galaxy S7, so it’s important to consider if sound fidelity really matters to you.
Samsung Galaxy S7
The design of the Galaxy S7 takes what was popular about the S6 model and improves it, giving a reliable but stylish blend of metal and strong plastic. The plastic backing is framed by metal, with the screen being moulded with super-strong Gorilla Glass. This allows the phone to be sleek and modern, but also gives it enough to protection to ensure that a case is not essential.
The Galaxy S7 Edge is unique compared to the standard S7 for a number of reasons. The first is that it’s much larger, boasting a 5.5-inch display and making it more of a phablet device. Secondly, the display features a curved edge, which allows the screen to essentially wrap itself around the sides of the phone. As well as looking unique, the Edge screen offers special functions that you won’t find on any other smartphone. Users can swipe to find their favourite contacts, apps and services, making it useful as well as stylish.
Colour-wise, the S7 and S7 Edge are slightly more limited than the iPhone, but still offer enough variety for the majority of users. As well as the standard Black and White colours, users can also choose from Gold, Silver and Pink Gold, Samsung’s version of Rose Gold. Whilst these are functionally similar to the iPhone, the lack of bezels on the sides of the display mean that the colour isn’t really shown off on the front, so if you use a case with your phone it’ll matter little what colour you go for.
Whilst it may seem too obvious to note this as feature, the S7 has a standard 3.5mm headphone port, something that is now missing in the new variation of iPhone.
The iPhone’s camera has seen a dramatic improvement over the 6 and 6S. On the standard iPhone, users will have 12 megapixels to play with, a whole 4MP more than the previous models. Apple has designed its camera to be more user-friendly this time round, with the Optical Image Stabilisation meaning you can use your camera on the go with better results than before, with the phone able to detect when it’s moving.
The iPhone 7 Plus is where the camera on this generation truly shines, however. Apple has added a dual-camera system to the Plus model, giving you plenty of advantages over the standard 7. Both cameras are 12 megapixels, giving you truly high-quality photos at any angle or distance you want to shoot. This also improves zooming greatly, with users able to take quality photos at greater zooms than before, with the phone even able to go up to 10x zoom. All-in-all, the camera is a great reason to go for the Plus if you’re getting a new iPhone and are into mobile photography.
The front camera has also been improved to 7MP, meaning your selfies and group shots will look better than ever. As well as improving the resolution, Apple has given it a wider colour capture, meaning you can take photos with improved colours and black as well as in lower lighting than before. The flash has also been enhanced to work with your skin-tone, making selfies look more natural and vibrant.
Samsung Galaxy S7
Whilst Apple has improved the raw power of the camera on its iPhone, Samsung has actually decreased the megapixel count from 16 to 12. If this sounds like the camera is weaker than before, don’t worry, as Samsung has added a number of new features that make the camera just as good as it's ever been.
The camera works on the Dual Pixel system, meaning that there’s double the amount of pixels are there would be in a standard 12MP camera. This gives a huge advantage to focusing, with the camera able to focus on a subject much faster than before. Dual pixels also allow for more light to be let in, meaning you can say goodbye to blurry or murky photos.
Colours are where the Samsung has the edge over the iPhone, with colours and blacks appearing more vibrant and bold on the screen. This is obviously helped with Samsung’s Super AMOLED display, but the camera in general will take photos with more detail than the iPhone 7. The 7 Plus shortens the gap somewhat, but photos will a lot of the time still look washed out compared to those taken on the S7.
Apple’s new A10 Fusion Chip is the most powerful ever found inside an iPhone. This is the first quad-core chip for the iPhone, meaning that the phone can work faster than ever before. Two of the cores are used for high-power functions, such as graphic-intensive games or streaming, whilst the other 2 focus on simpler tasks such as texting or calls. This means that the phone can do everything you want at any time, with little slowdown or wasted power.
The battery life on the new iPhone has also been improved, making it the longest battery life featured in an iPhone. The iPhone 7 will, on average, get an hour of extra power compared to the 6, with the 7 Plus going up to an extra 2 hours. This means that you’ll go longer without charging your phone - great news for anyone who often finds themselves having to charge in the middle of the day.
The iPhone 7 has finally ditched the near-useless 16GB memory, instead featuring 32GB as the minimum model. Users can go up to a huge 256GB of memory for the first time, giving you plenty of room to fill your phone with apps, photos, videos and games.
Samsung Galaxy S7
Samsung has continued its trend of creating phones that are market leaders when it comes to power. The S7 features a huge 4GB of RAM, which has been increased from the 3 used in the S6 model. The GPU is also 64% faster than the 6, with the CPU 30% faster. This adds up to a very fast and powerful phone, one that is able to deal with some hefty processing power. This means your games and apps will run better than ever before.
The huge 3000mAh battery found inside the S7 and 3600mAh inside the Edge give a battery life that dwarfs the iPhone, even when comparing to the 7 Plus. The battery works with the processor so that you get the maximum amount of battery with every charge. Charging in the middle of the day is extremely rare with the S7, with the majority of users probably finding that they’ll end the day with around 50% left.
The Fast Charging feature also ensures that you won’t be tethered to a plug for too long when you do have to charge. The standard S7 can complete a full charge in just 90 minutes from 0% battery, with the larger S7 Edge taking just 10 minutes longer. Truly the best thing you can say about the Galaxy S7 is that it makes you forget about battery issues entirely - no small feat for a phone so powerful.
The Retina display on the iPhone range has always been impressive, with Apple taking it to new heights with the latest model. The display is on average 25% brighter than before, giving you a more vibrant experience when texting, watching videos or viewing images. Apple boasts that the iPhone uses the same technology as the digital cinema industry, which if true makes for a display that really stands out when you compare it to other brands.
The wider colour gamut used in the iPhone 7 also serves to make the phone more vibrant and noticeable when using. This technology allows for a greater colour spectrum, so colours are accurate to the subject of the picture or video you’re viewing. The resolution of the new iPhone gives you overall a brighter and better experience, with the iPhone 7 features a 1334x750 resolution and the 7 Plus boasting 1920x1080.
3D touch was something introduced with the 6S model, but it’s been enhanced for iPhone 7. 3D Touch changes the way you interact with your phone, with users able to give commands with just a swipe of their finger. The phone responds to your touches with small vibrates, giving you feedback when you reply to texts, add appointments to your calendar and send emails.
Samsung Galaxy S7
The Samsung Galaxy S7’s Quad HD Super AMOLED display offers some of the best views you’ll find on a phone. This technology ensures that you’ll never see a pixel due to density of offer. Super AMOLED is the same technology that Samsung uses in its TVs, so using the S7 and S7 Edge feels like you're using a smaller version of the latest HD screen. Colours have never been more vibrant and blacks and whites have never stood out more, making anything you view on the S7 a treat for the eyes.
The new Always-On display feature allows you to reduce the amount of time you spend on your phone when it’s locked. The AMOLED display allows for individual pixels to turn on and off, meaning that the time and date can always be displayed, even if the phone is locked and on standby. Users can also check the remaining battery and see any missed calls or texts using this feature, with minimal battery life used.
The S7 Edge offers a unique display that curves around the sides of the phone. This is useful as well as looking interesting, as you can set a number of features that are accessible just from swiping the side of the display. This Edge Screen allows you to store contacts, favourite apps and information such as weather, giving it a real function for the busy user. This, combined with the fact that the display is made with super-strong Gorilla Glass, means there’s little reason to not choose the Edge over the standard S7.
Apple’s iOS operating system will be familiar to anyone who’s ever used an iPhone or an iPad. The iPhone 7 brings with it the latest version - iOS 10. With iOS 10, Apple has continued the clean and easy to use look and feel of the OS whilst also adding features that improve customisation and usability.
The look of iOS has always been one of the main selling points, but Apple has improved this even further. iOS 10 makes notifications easier to read and respond to from the lock screen, with the 3D Touch mechanics giving you feedback as you type. Apple has also made its iMessage service even more customisable. As well as the familiar Emojis, users can also add different colours and stickers to their messages, injecting them with more personality than ever before.
Apple has also made iOS 10 more usable and responsive than ever before, to the point where you’ll even forget it's there. iOS 10 is faster and more powerful, giving you the best iPhone experience you’ve ever had. Features such as Apple Pay have been enhanced to work even better and Apple’s advanced AI, Siri, is more responsive than he has been before, learning how you speak in order to respond to your every whim.
Samsung Galaxy S7
The Samsung Galaxy S7 runs on Android, the world’s most popular mobile OS. Android is seen as much more open than iOS, giving you a greater freedom of customisation and what you can store on your phone.
If you’re coming from an iPhone to the S7, you may find Android harder to use than iOS, but both are very similar once you get used to them. Android favours utility over design, so your apps are front and centre, accessible from the app tray as well as the home screen. The best part of Android is the uniformity, so you’ll always be sure of the best way to access your favourite apps via a tap of the app tray.
Android gives you the option of changing your home screen to suit your needs in a variety of ways. The standard Google Search Bar allows you search Google without having to open an app, and can be moved around the screen or gotten rid of completely. The majority of Android apps feature Widgets such as this, which allows you to get as much or as little of your important information on your home screen as you want. Whilst Android is less simple than the iPhone’s iOS, it’s not complicated so much as tailored to those who want to be in control over how their phone runs. If you like your smartphone experience to be a little deeper, Android is definitely recommended.
iPhone users have exclusive access to the Apple App Store. This is only available on Apple devices and is one of the best stocked digital storefronts available today. Using the App Store, you’ll be able to choose from thousands of different apps, no matter what your preferences are.
The App Store is arguably the best known of the major digital stores, therefore giving it an edge when it comes to exclusive content. Quite often, apps will hit the App Store before they do anywhere else, so if you’re the sort of users who wants to play the newest mobile games first, the iPhone is generally the way to go. Games are one of the best features of the App Store, with many coming first to the platform and a huge variety to choose from.
If you’re less interested in mobile gaming, the App Store is still a storefront to be explored. Apple’s exclusive apps are one of the highlights here, with many apps specially made to work for iPhone and as part of your Apple ecosystem. This includes work apps such as Pages, Keynote and Numbers as well as fun multimedia apps like iMovie and GarageBand. You’ll also be able to use your iPhone to control your other Apple devices with the help of apps such as iTunes Remote, Apple TV Remote and Watch.
One of the reasons the App Store is used by millions is how simple it is to navigate. Using the bar at the bottom, users can easily browse different categories of apps, see the apps they’ve already downloaded, have a look at recommendations and more. Finding an app you want to download is also made simple with the search bar, giving you an overall fluid experience.
Samsung Galaxy S7
As the S7 runs on Android, the app store of choice here is the Google Play Store. Google is integral to Android, with Google services making up the bulk of what’s to offer. As you’ll tie your Google account to the phone, buying and downloading apps on the Google Play Store is easy, not requiring you to start a separate account just for purchases.
In terms of variety, the Google Play Store offers just as much as the App Store. Users can browse and download thousands of apps for every sort of user, from high-powered games to apps that help you with everyday life as well as both work and play. Whilst it’s true that some apps come to Apple first, you shouldn’t be too put off by this, as the vast majority make their way to Android at some point.
If you’re interested in smartphone gaming, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are ideal. Whilst there’s the occasional game that makes its way to the platform later than iOS, games that are on Google Play Store will run better on the Galaxy due to the superior processing power. This means that graphically-intensive games such as Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes and Marvel: Contest of Champions are more likely to run at optimum speed, giving you the best performance possible. The better screen on the S7 also means you can enjoy games that are more colourful and brighter.
The Google Play Store also offers apps that can change the way your phone works due to the open nature of Android. These include apps that change the colour of your notification light, that make the screen wake up when you get a text and that can make your torch light even brighter. This is not something you’ll find on the iPhone because of its “closed wall” approach to its hardware.
Apple offers a number of accessories for the iPhone 7 that are purchasable from its website as well as Apple Stores. Apple features the standard range of cases it releases for all its iPhones, with the Leather Case coming in a number of colours. Users can also choose from gel and mesh cases to keep their phone safe from droppages and scrapes. Apple also offers its own-brand battery case, which will charge the phone when you need it to without having to connect it. One of the biggest problems with Apple brand accessories is the price, with many items demanding a premium price compared to third-party cases, of which there are plenty decent options.
Since Apple has removed the standard headphone port from the iPhone 7, Apple has created its own set of earphones that connect via the Lightning Port. These come with the phone as standard, but can also be bought separately. Apple’s big announcement this year was that of the new AirPods - wireless versions of the standard earphones. These are available at a staggering £159, which is bound to be out of most users’ price range if you’ve just forked out for a brand new smartphone.
With the iPhone, it’s best to branch out to third-party companies for your accessories, as you’ll be able to find something that does the same job or better for a much lower price.
Samsung Galaxy S7
The Galaxy S7 also has a good variety of accessories that you can use to make your phone more protected and usable. Samsung offers its own range of cases, from standard clear plastic to smart black leather. Samsung’s best offering case-wise is probably the LED View Cover, a flip-style case that shows the time whilst the lid’s closed via LED lights. This is reasonably expensive but justifies the cost by being something only available from Samsung.
The best accessory Samsung offers is the wireless charging plate. Despite this being expensive at £45, it gives you a truly better charging experience that makes use of the wireless charging capabilities in the S7 and S7 Edge. Users can charge their phone just by putting it on top of the plate, allowing for completely wireless charging. This is an essential purchase for the S7, especially if you’re a heavy user who charges their phone throughout the day.
One of the more interesting accessories available for the S7 is the Gear VR headset. This turns your phone into your very own portable VR device that works on the Oculus system. Users will be able to choose from a number of games and experiences, with highlights including Temple Run VR and Netflix. Gear VR works surprisingly well, giving you an authentic VR experience due to the fidelity of the S7’s screen.
There’s no denying that both the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the iPhone 7 are hugely capable smartphones. Both feature incredibly crisp displays, powerful processors and stylish designs, but which one is the best one to buy? The answer to this changes depending on what you’re looking for in a smartphone.
If your main priority is raw power, the Samsung Galaxy S7 is the phone you should go for. With a faster processor and much more impressive screen, the S7 and S7 Edge pack in much more power than the iPhone 7, despite that phone being no slouch itself. Battery life is another advantage the S7 has over the iPhone 7, so if that’s another one of your priority for you, the S7 is the phone to go for.
The iPhone 7 is still a very capable smartphone in its own right, however, and you could do little better than get one. If you’re already in the Apple ecosystem by owning an iPad or Mac computer, the iPhone is easier to recommend because you’ll be able to link the devices much easier than you would with an Android phone. You’ll also have to consider the phones your friends own, as if they’re all iPhone users, you won’t be able to iMessage them without an iPhone yourself.
Overall, The Samsung Galaxy S7 is the better phone for overall power, making it the superior all-round smartphone. Users may find the iPhone easier to navigate, but if you’re more tech savvy and are already familiar with Android, the S7 comes highly recommended.