iPhone 6s vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Which flagship is right for you?

Apple and Samsung are on very different release schedules for their flagships, roughly six months apart. The S6 came out last April, and the Samsung Galaxy S7 has just followed. By contrast, the last iPhone came out in September, and we probably won’t see the iPhone 7 for a good seven months or so.

iPhone 6s vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Which flagship is right for you?

That means that each has regular opportunities to one-up the other, but has Samsung taken the golden chance with the Galaxy S7? Let’s find out.

First, a little reminder of what’s in the Samsung Galaxy S7:

Samsung Galaxy S7 at a glance

  • 5.1in Super AMOLED display, Quad HD resolution
  • Octa-core Samsung Exynos 8890 processor
  • Android 6.01 Marshmallow
  • microSD slot supporting cards up to 200GB
  • IP68 dust- and water-resistant
  • 12-megapixel rear camera with f/1.7 aperture, dual-sensor phase-detect autofocus
  • 3,000mAh battery

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6s: Displayiphone_6s_vs_galaxy_s7

The Galaxy S7 is a clear winner here, and this should come as no surprise to anybody. When we put the Galaxy S6 head-to-head with the iPhone 6s, the Galaxy S6 won, and it would be very unlikely for Samsung to take a step backwards with their screen technology – not to the degree that would be required for an iPhone win, in any case.

Let’s look at the numbers: the iPhone 6s packs a 4.7in IPC LCD display with a resolution of 750 x 1,334. That’s a pixel density of 326ppi. The Galaxy S7 on the other hand, has a 5.1in Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1,440 x 2,560, meaning a pixel density of 576ppi.

If those numbers sound extremely familiar, they should. Those are the same specifications as the Galaxy S6, and Jon Bray speculated in our hands-on review that the screen is probably from the very same production line. That shouldn’t be a problem, given the S6’s screen was amongst the very best in the business – and it still is.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6s: Featuresgalaxy_s7_vs_iphone_6s_2

Last time out, we called this one for Apple based on two things: Apple Pay and 3D Touch.

Well, you can scratch one of those right off the bat: Samsung Pay has been out in the USA since last year, and it’s finally coming to Britain. Indeed, our colleagues at Expert Reviews explain that, because Samsung Pay supports magnetic secure transmission, it might just be more compatible than Apple Pay, thanks to its wider compatibility with the UK’s contactless infrastructure, which is a big plus.

Better still is the news that Samsung has listened to tech journalists (maybe) and consumers (definitely) and brought back a couple of features of flagships past, namely water-resistance and expandable memory.

The water-resistance is something that’s definitely nice to have, if not exactly a dealbreaker unless you’re hugely clumsy. The expandable memory is quite a big deal – especially given the way that handset costs skyrocket with more storage. The Galaxy S7 will support up to 200GB microSD cards, and given Android M has the option of treating microSDs as internal memory, that’s a huge advantage.

Galaxy S7 users can also buy the Gear VR headset for a taste of virtual reality – something I was very impressed by when I reviewed it with the Galaxy S6.

Are any of these better than 3D Touch? Possibly not, but in terms of sheer quantity of improvements on a battle that was pretty close last time around, you have to call it for Samsung. That’s the advantage you get by going second!

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6s: Specificationsapple_iphone_6s_vs_samsung_galaxy_s7

This is another point where things get muddy, thanks to Apple not providing specifications where we can neatly compare like for like.

The iPhone 6s has a dual-core A9 processor, which is said to perform twice as fast as that used in its predecessor. All we can say is that this isn’t hyperbole from Apple: our gaming tests show the 6s blowing most other phones away, achieving a speed of 40fps for Manhattan offscreen at 1080p and 55fps for Manhattan onscreen. By contrast, the Galaxy S7 managed 38fps and 27fps respectively – although it does have considerably more pixels to push. In the 1080p catagory, they were pracrtically neck and neck.

In Geekbench 3, things were equally tight. The Samsung Galaxy S7 narrowly lost in the single-core tests – 2,115 to 2,532, but then won the multi-core contest by a significant margin: 6,437 to 4,417.

It’s pretty tight overall, therefore. In terms of day-to-day use, there isn’t much between the pair.

Winner: Draw

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6s: Battery life

Samsung Galaxy S7 review: Bottom edge, microUSB port

The iPhone 6s has a 1,715 mAh battery, which in our tests conducted at 170cd/m2 resulted in 11 hours and 18 minutes of battery life. That’s not bad, but Apple has all but conceded it could be better by releasing a pretty ugly life-extending battery case for the handset. 

The Samsung Galaxy S7 smashes that.

The 3,000 mAh battery provides incredible longievity. In the same test we put all our phones through, the Samsung Galaxy S7 went a whopping 17 hours and 48 minutes. This category is a no-brainer.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6s: Early verdictgalaxy_s7_samsung_vs_apple_iphone_6s

It’s complicated. I did just call three wins out of four for Samsung, but there are a couple of things to remember.

First of all, as with so much in the world of tech, personal preference plays a huge role. If you’re not a fan of Android, the Samsung Galaxy S7 may not grab you, no matter how powerful and feature packed it is.

Secondly, there’s the sticky issue of pricing. Samsung hasn’t revealed costs yet, but the S6 was hugely expensive when it first launched, and there’s nothing here to suggest a change in the company’s thinking on that score. Apple products have their own high price, of course, but given the iPhone 6s has been in shops for nearly six months now, the prospect of getting it cheaper are better – especially as the Galaxy S6 started at £60 more than the iPhone 6s when it launched (although those prices plummeted pretty quickly).

READ NEXT: What will the iPhone 7 be like then?

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