The launch of the Samsung Galaxy S7 is just days away, and we already have a really good idea of what it’ll be offering. So how does it compare to Google’s current phablet flagship, the Nexus 6P? There’s only one way to find out: a dance-off! And by dance-off, we mean our Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Nexus 6P comparison.
Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Nexus 6P: design and build quality
From the leaks we’ve seen so far, the Galaxy S7 looks a lot like the Galaxy S6: the bezels are marginally thinner, the home button is a little larger and the camera bump is smaller, but otherwise the design sticks closely to what we’ve already seen in the S6. The S7 will be dust- and waterproof.
The Nexus 6P is the first all-metal Nexus, which is why there’s a big glass section on the back: that’s for the antennas and NFC as well as the camera. It’s not particularly innovative in terms of design but it’s well screwed together and feels premium in the hand.
The standard Galaxy S7 is expected to have a 5.1-inch QHD screen with a 1,440p resolution. It may have Turtle Glass, which is Samsung’s alternative to the ubiquitous Gorilla Glass. Samsung is also expected to integrate Synaptics’ ClearForce technology to make its own equivalent of Apple’s 3D Touch, which adds extra interface elements when you press harder on the screen. For example, a normal press might type a lowercase letter and a harder press might give you a capital.
The Nexus 6P screen is bright and crisp with QHD resolution (2,560 x 1,440 pixels and 518 ppi). The 5.7-inch AMOLED display is nicely saturated, highly detailed and provides great brightness and contrast. It’s covered with Gorilla Glass 4.
Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Nexus 6P: processor and storage
SamMobile reported that Samsung is planning to use three different chips for the S7: its own Exynos 7422 chip for the Samsung Galaxy S7 in India; the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 for China and the US; and the Exynos 8890 for Korea, Japan and Europe. At least one of the devices comes with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage, and there’s a hybrid dual-SIM slot that marks the return of microSD expansion in the Galaxy S range.
The Nexus is powered by a Snapdragon 810, which may be cause for concern: that’s the processor responsible for the recent rash of overheating and performance throttling stories you’ve seen, and the Nexus hasn’t underclocked the processor to avoid such issues. It does slow down a little under stress, but the metal case means it shouldn’t suffer from the overheating problems of plastic phones. The processor is matched with 3 GB of RAM and 32, 64 or 128 GB of internal storage. There’s no microSD card slot.
Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Nexus 6P: camera
In an unexpected move, Samsung appears to be offering fewer megapixels in its camera than in the S6, but it isn’t a backward step. While the resolution drops from 16 MP to 12 MP in the Galaxy S7, the sensor has an exceptionally good aperture of f/1.7, which should do great things in poor light.
The sensor is larger and uses dual-photodiode technology for better imaging, and Samsung has apparently developed its own alternative to Apple’s Live Photos, which appeared in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, although unlike Apple, Samsung’s version won’t capture audio.
The camera in the Nexus is the best Nexus camera yet, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best Android camera: it’s 12.3 MP and there’s no optical image stabilization. It’s pretty good but prone to overexposure in HDR+ mode. We’ll be interested to see how its sensor compares with the new Samsung one.
Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Nexus 6P: software
As you’d expect, the Nexus 6P runs Android Marshmallow, and so does the Galaxy. We’d expect the usual Samsung TouchWiz tweakery on the S7, albeit not to the extent that it spoils the Android Marshmallow experience.
Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Nexus 6P: battery life
The S7 is reported to have a 3,000 mAh battery, which is 450 mAh more than in the S6. As before it isn’t removable.
The Nexus 6P battery is bigger still at 3,450 mAh, but it’s got half an inch more screen to drive too and that’s going to limit the benefits of a bigger battery. You can also charge other devices from the Nexus’s USB-C port.
Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Nexus 6P: early verdict
We haven’t had the opportunity to test the devices against each other yet, but we’re excited by the new Samsung: we’d happily trade a few megapixels for a better camera sensor and the leaked benchmarks we’ve seen so far suggest that it’s going to be a powerful performer. The return of microSD support is a big plus too.
That said, there’s one key bit of information we don’t know, and that’s how much the Galaxy S7 will cost. The Nexus 6P is going for US$590 on Amazon at the time of writing; does the S7 do enough to justify what we expect will be a higher price tag? We’ll find out soon enough.