Can the iPhone withstand Samsung’s latest smartphone salvo?
Apple and Samsung have waged a battle across many years and many devices, but over the last couple years, the Galaxy flagships have emerged as true smartphone leaders – no longer pretenders to the crown.
And the Galaxy S8 takes that trend to the next level. It’s a strong evolution of the Galaxy aesthetic, the kind that Apple has evaded the last couple of years, and is packed with cutting-edge tech and dazzling looks alike.
The iPhone 7 is undoubtedly Apple’s best version to date, but can it hold off the threat of the Galaxy S8 until the iPhone 8 releases this autumn? Here’s how Samsung’s new flagship fares against Apple’s latest.
Design: Fresh or familiar
There’s a pressure-sensitive home button behind the glass near the bottom (it’s shown when on standby), but cutting the physical space needed for the real thing helps sell the stunning impression of this seamless front. On the back you’ll find the fingerprint sensor next to the main camera, and otherwise that side looks a lot like that of the dearly departed Galaxy Note 7.
We’re impressed. We thought the LG G6‘s screen-dominated design was a delight – and it still is, truly – but the curved approach here has it beat. It’s the most beautiful phone we’ve ever put eyes on.
Contrast that to the iPhone 7’s design, which is fine. We’ve seen three versions of this handset now, dating back to the iPhone 6, and the minimal, rounded shape is solid but uninspiring at this point. This edition’s matte black and glossy Jet Black styles – along with the new Product (Red) special edition – are great, as are the tweaked antenna lines on the back, but we’re craving something fresh.
The Galaxy S8 is absolutely fresh and fabulous. Also, it has a headphone port. Win!
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8
Screen: No contest at all
As mentioned above, the Galaxy S8 follows the LG G6’s lead with a taller display, eschewing the typical 16:9 widescreen dimensions when it’s held sideways.
Here, the 5.8in display has an 18.5:9 aspect ratio, which means you get more screen real estate without the bulking up the phone’s width. It’s quite the opposite, actually, as the Galaxy S8 cuts 4.5mm off the width of the 5.5in-screened Galaxy S7 Edge. That’s impressive.
And it’s a Quad HD AMOLED display like the last two core Galaxy models, although the changed screen dimensions mean you’re now getting a resolution of 2,960×1,440. It looks absolutely amazing, which again continues Samsung’s trend of having the best phone displays on the market the last couple years – and now it has mobile HDR support as well for dazzling colours. Also, the rounded corners are a nice touch, just like on the LG G6.
What can we say about the standard iPhone 7 screen? It’s behind the times. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad screen at all: at 4.7in, the LCD display provides a nicely crisp 326 ppi (pixels per inch), and it’s plenty bright and colourful. However, it’s a 750p panel in a time of 1080p or 2K screens on every other flagship. Apple doesn’t always beat its chest about having the best specs, but even so, the Retina standard is aging.
The iPhone 7 does have the benefit of 3D Touch, however, as pressure sensitivity allows developers to enrich their games and add extra functionality. It’s a “nice to have” perk rather than a device-seller, however, especially since it hasn’t been a massive game-changer since being introduced with the iPhone 6s.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8