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iPhone 6s vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Did Samsung Do Enough This Time?

Know Your Mobile logo Know Your Mobile 23-02-2016 Michael Grothaus
iPhone 6s vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Did Samsung Do Enough This Time?© iPhone 6s vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Did Samsung Do Enough This Time?

2016 just got really interesting in the battle between the biggest smartphone makers. At Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona Samsung, as expected, announced its latest flagship phones: the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. These phones, of course, are seen as the primary competitors to Apple’s flagship iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

But in actual fact it is likely LG's G5 that will be causing Apple more issues this year. LG has dominated proceedings at MWC, following the launch of its utterly unique LG G5. The Galaxy S7 was expected to be the show's big deal, but LG quietly swooped in and delivered an absolute knock-out punch to Samsung's hopes of being best in show. 

Still, the Galaxy S brand carries a lot of weight in the mobile space. And Samsung has made quite a few significant updates to the core Galaxy S experience. In this versus we’re going to look at just the smaller flagships, so the Galaxy S7 and the iPhone 6s. We’ll look at the Plus and the Edge in another versus coming shortly. Given that the Galaxy S7 is brand spanking new and the iPhone 6s is already almost 6 months old (Apple should be releasing its iPhone 7 flagship in September) it might be assumed that the Galaxy S7 is better in every way. But is that really the case? Let’s take a look to find out.

iPhone 6s vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Specs

Here’s the specs for the iPhone 6s:

Display: 4.7-inch display with a 1334x750-pixel resolution at 326ppi, 3DTouch enabled

Dimensions: 138.3mm  x 67.1 mm x 7.1 mm

Weight: 143 grams

Storage: 16, 64, or 128GB

Memory: 2 GB RAM

Processors: A9 chip with 64-bit architecture and M9 motion coprocessor

Front camera: 5 MP

Rear camera: 12 MP photos. ƒ/2.2 aperture. 4k video

Battery: 1715 mAh

Colors: Silver, Space Grey, Gold, or Rose Gold

And here’s the specs for the Galaxy S7:

Display: 5.1-inch display with a 2560×1440-pixel resolution at 577pp

Dimensions: 142.4mm  x 69.6 mm x 7.9 mm

Weight: 152 grams

Storage: 32 or 64, plus support for microSD cards up to 200GB

Memory: 4 GB RAM

Processors: Samsung Exynos 8890

Front camera: 5 MP

Rear camera: 12 MP, f/1.7 aperture, 4K video

Battery life: 3000 mAh

Colors: Dark Grey or Gold

Let’s just start by saying that Samsung got storage right with the S7. First, it starts at 32GB (and comes in a 64GB version too). Second, it’s expandable by another 200GBs thanks to its new microSD card slot. That compares to the iPhone 6s’ PATHETIC 16GB entry option. Although I do like that the iPhone 6s offers a 128GB option as well, which the S7 does not. Samsung also got the RAM right, doubling what the 6s has with 4GB total.

As for processors, the raw specs don’t tell an easy story. The iPhone gets that INSANELY powerful A9 chip, while the S7 gets Samsung’s own Exynos 8890. Of course, as Apple knows, raw specs don’t solely make a fast phone. It also depends how the software can utilize the RAM and processors. So we’re very interested in seeing real world benchmark tests between the two devices.

Early reports indicate Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 chipset is something of a monster. After a dismal year in 2015, the biggest Q in tech has come out guns blazing in 2016 with the 820 and the return of its own, custom KRYO cores -- the Snapdragon used ARM ones. 

Generally speaking, the Galaxy S7 has vastly superior specs to the iPhone 6s. But this was always going to be the case and no where is it more obvious than in the iPhone 6s' 750p display, which just isn't really good enough these days. Why no 1080p panel in the 6s, Apple? The short answer: the iPhone 7. 

iPhone 6s vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Design & Build

The S7 — as with the iPhone 6s — kept, mostly, the same look as its predecessor. Both feature metal bodies with glass screens. You get twice as many color options with the iPhone, however. One thing Samsung did manage to do though is reduce the size of the camera bump on the S7.

Samsung also was able to make the S7 IP68 dust and water proof—something the iPhone 6s is not. You can actually submerge the S7 for up to 20 minutes and it will work just fine when you take it out. The iPhone 6s isn’t waterproof, but it’s rumored the iPhone 7 could be—and it may even go further: allowing you to use the phone’s display with wet fingers.

As for size and weight the iPhone is still the thinner and lighter phone coming in at 7.1mm thin versus the S7’s 7.9mm thickness and 143 vs 152 grams.

iPhone 6s vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Display and Battery

As for displays, the S7 features a larger one at 5.1 inches versus the iPhone 6s’ 4.7 inch display. However, size isn’t the only difference. The S7 kills the iPhone in screen resolution. It features a 2560×1440 pixel display at 577 dpi versus the iPhone 6s’ 1334x750 pixel resolution at 326ppi. That being said, the S7 doesn’t have any kind of pressure-sensitive 3D Touch display like the 6s does.

But when we get to battery, the S7’s 3000 mAh battery trounces the iPhone’s 1715 mAh pack. However—just as with RAM and processors—how long a phone’s battery lasts has as much to do with the size of the pack as it does with how well the software works to conserve power.

iPhone 6s vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Cameras

We’ve already said Samsung was able to reduce the camera bump on the back of the S7 thanks to its new lens, but besides that, just based on specs, it looks like the cameras on each device are the same. Both have 5MP front and 12MP rear cameras. However, the S7 features a f/1.7 aperture versus the iPhone 6s’ f/2.2 aperture. This means the S7 can take much better night shots. So it wins, hands down. It’s also been reported that the S7’s camera finishes focusing in on a subject before the iPhone 6s’ camera is even close to doing so.

iPhone 6s vs Samsung Galaxy S7: Verdict

It goes without saying now that our phone choices are usually dictated by the software ecosystem we like best: Android or iOS. As with last time when I compared their previous flagships I don’t think the changes Samsung has made to the S7 series will be enough to make iPhone fans switch, but they again have definitely lit a fire under Apple’s ass to improve the hardware specs and add new features (like waterproofing) inside the iPhone 7. 

Apple has made a lot of money peddling old hardware, souped up inside nice looking phones. You can't get away with this in the Android space. Well, you could, but you'd be releasing sub-£150 phones. The Galaxy S7 is much superior to the iPhone 6s. It beats it in almost every regard. But as we all know: iPhone users are different to Android users; they aren't fussed about QHD panels and 4GB of RAM inside their phones. 

There is an element of this with Samsung's Galaxy S7 handset as well; sort of like it feels it did enough with the Galaxy S6 and now all it has to do is incremental refinements to certain specs and hardware and this is fine for a flagship handset in 2016. Personally, I don't think it's enough. Not with the LG G5 and certainly not with the iPhone 7 on the radar a bit farther down the line. 

Samsung needed the S7 to be a great converter, a phone that'd suck in iPhone users left, right and centre. But instead it came to the table with a handset that looks and feels like last year's flagship. For me, if I was in the market for an Android handset in 2016 I would be looking at either the LG G5 or waiting to see what Google's 2016 Nexus phones are like. 

Sorry, Samsung. 

Photos: 8 Best Smartphones Launched at MWC 2016

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge-1: Samsung Galaxy S7 edgeSamsung has improved its flagship edge phone over last year's model in a number of key areas. It is more curvy, with the rear now rounded to match the screen, and larger, with a 5.5-inch Quad HD screen. Water and dust proofing has been introduced to enable it to be submerged in up to 1.5 metres of water for 30 minutes.It also has a better camera than ever before that is a great performer in low light conditions, and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 octa-core processor ensures that it is lightning fast in operation.READ MORE Samsung Galaxy S7 edge preview: The best smartphone Samsung has ever made?

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