When it comes to smartphones, two names stick out more than any other, Apple & Samsung. In fact, to some these two names represent the battle of the mobile phone industry and whenever Apple or Samsung release a new device, it is big news across the mobile spectrum with flagship devices from both often being seen as direct competitors and instantly drawing very clear comparisons, much is the case here.
Although Apple has now introduced their latest smartphone, the iPhone SE, this is a smartphone which adopts the specs of its larger counterpart, the iPhone 6s. As a result, the newest arrival does not represent the best that Apple has to offer and instead is a more compact version of what remains their current iOS flagship, the iPhone 6s. In contrast, back in February Samsung took to the stage during MWC and unveiled their latest handset, the Galaxy S7 Edge. Samsung did actually unveil two models, the Galaxy S7 Edge and a standard Galaxy S7. However, pre-order figures and general consumer opinion seems to be that the Galaxy S7 Edge is the company’s flagship device. Here we will be taking a much closer look at the state of the mobile market and what is essentially the battle of two current smartphone champions, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs the Apple iPhone 6S.
Of course, the specs listed above are just the core numbers and details and both smartphones make the best of all of their listed features. For a much greater level of understanding of what is on offer with these two champion devices, below is some further detailing of each of the compared points. Before you get started though – which smartphone do you think is the best? Share the infographic with those you know and see if they agree with your choice… or with ours.
For many, buying a new smartphone is often largely determined by the specs alone. While the design and manufacturer do play a role in the decision-making, a number of smartphone users also want the best in class specs and especially when opting for a premium-positioned and priced smartphone such as the iPhone 6s or Galaxy S7 Edge. This includes the level of RAM on offer, the processor used, battery capabilities, operating system and much more. While both the iPhone 6s and Galaxy S7 Edge do offer significantly better specs than their predecessors, there are some notable differences between the two.
With processors largely being thought of as the brains of a smartphone, having a processor which can deliver in a wide range of aspects is becoming an essential part of the makeup of a smartphone. In terms of the iPhone 6s, this is a smartphone which comes powered by Apple’s own 64-bit A9 Dual-Core processor along with a PowerVR GT7600 GPU taking care of graphics. In contrast, the Galaxy S7 Edge makes use of two different processors depending on where in the world the smartphone is purchased. On the one hand, the Galaxy S7 Edge comes powered by Samsung’s own 64-bit Exynos 8890 Octa-Core processor, with a Mali-T880 GPU for graphics. While in other instances, the Galaxy S7 Edge comes powered by Qualcomm’s 64-bit Snapdragon 820 Quad-Core processor, along with an Adreno 530 GPU processing the graphics.
Generally speaking, Apple’s A9 is an excellent processor for single-core performance, however, it fails to live up to the multi-core performance of either the Snapdragon 820 or the Exynos 8890 processors, which both make use of a higher clock speed and are two of the most-praise and best-performing processors. If it was a battle of one processor vs the A9, then this could be a more debatable topic. However, with the two leading processors both available, it is hard to argue against the processing prowess of the Galaxy S7 Edge.
By now, everyone knows how important battery life is on a smartphone. Not having a large enough battery can be the difference between a working phone and a non-functioning phone at the end of the day. When it comes to the iPhone 6s, this is a smartphone which employs a non-removable 1,715 mAh capacity battery. As this is a non-removable battery, that is all the consumer has to work with and by most Android smartphone standards, 1,715 mAh is fairly low these days. In stark contrast, the Galaxy S7 Edge is a smartphone which comes with a non-removable 3,600 mAh capacity battery. This is a significant increase on the previous model which came with a much reduced 2,600 mAh battery. Of course, in spite of the Galaxy S6 Edge coming equipped with a far lower battery than the Galaxy S7 Edge, the battery on the Galaxy S6 Edge eclipses the iPhone 6s. So while the Galaxy S6 Edge on its own can best the iPhone 6s on battery life, there is simply no comparison between the iPhone 6s and Galaxy S7 Edge in terms of battery capacity or longevity.
In their own rights, the displays on both of these phones have their selling points and best each other on minor aspects. For instance, in terms of straight up size and resolution, the Galaxy S7 Edge wins out with its 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display which makes use of a 2560 x 1440 resolution and a PPI of 534. In stark contrast, the iPhone 6s comes equipped with a much smaller 4.7-inch touchscreen display and makes use of a reduced 1334 x 750 resolution and a lower PPI of 326. In fact, across the industry reviews including from the likes of DisplayMate have awarded the Galaxy S7 Edge with the best display on any smartphone ever. So regardless of whether it is compared to the iPhone 6s or any other smartphone, the Galaxy S7 Edge is quickly establishing itself as the benchmark for displays going forward.
However, the Galaxy S7 Edge offers more than just a prettier viewing experience or a higher resolution, as this is also a smartphone which offers a greater level of functionality on its display. Due to its now famous dual edges, owners are able to make use of various other Edge-only features and more unique forms of notifications. That said, where the iPhone 6s display excels is through the use of its 3D Touch functionality, which allows for additional features to be activated by applying different degrees of pressure to points on the display. This is a great feature and one which seems to be increasingly making its way to some Android smartphones. However, 3D Touch alone is not enough to win out against a smartphone that offers its own unique functionality and consistent raving reviews. When it comes to displays, the Galaxy S7 Edge is the clear winner.
One of the main benefits of RAM is that it offers devices a quicker route to data recall. While there is some debate as to how much RAM is needed on a smartphone, with these devices becoming infinitely more capable at multitasking and completing complex tasks, the amount of RAM is becoming more important with each generation of smartphones. In terms of these two smartphones, there is very little to compare. Apple has always avoided RAM-spec wars with Android devices as they have for a long time been significantly more RAM-powerful than their iOS counterparts and this is largely the case here. The iPhone 6s is a smartphone which packs 2GB LPDDR4 RAM. In stark contrast, the Galaxy S7 Edge essentially doubles the RAM capabilities of the iPhone 6s with 4GB LPDDR4 RAM on offer.
Storage is another aspect which seems to be playing an increasingly important role for smartphones. In spite of a greater ability to make use of cloud-based storage solutions, the internal and external amounts of storage are as important as ever. In terms of the iPhone 6s, this is a device which is available in various internal storage options including 16GB, 64GB and 128GB models. Meaning consumers do have the ability to choose the storage amounts that best suit their needs. Although they are paying for the privilege with as much as $200 difference between the highest and lowest storage options. In contrast, the Galaxy S7 Edge does not offer as wide of a selection as the iPhone 6s with only two internal storage options available, consisting of 32GB and 64GB. In fact, of the two storage options available, the 64GB option is one which is not available in all regions, so depending on where you are you might only have the option for the 32GB model.
So while the iPhone 6s is available in more storage variants and offers a higher top level of storage, there is one aspect which changes the game completely; the expandable storage in the Galaxy S7 Edge. In fact, with the previous Galaxy S model, Samsung did offer three storage variants just like the iPhone 6s. However, both the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6s lack the ability to expand the storage. In contrast, the Galaxy S7 Edge returned to form by including a microSD card slot. With the level of storage on offer with the Galaxy S7 Edge being as much as 200GB, this is a smartphone which towers over the top levels of both the Galaxy S6 Edge and the iPhone 6s. With an expansion level like this available, not only does it eclipse the storage capabilities of the iPhone 6s, but it also helps to explain why there is no 128GB Galaxy S7 Edge and quite likely, why the 64GB model is not available everywhere – you simply do not need those extra models. Picking up the Galaxy S7 Edge in its lowest storage option (32GB) means you have access to as much as 232GB of storage. Not forgetting, that if you just take the lowest storage level of each device, the Galaxy S7 Edge offers twice as much internal storage (excluding the microSD support) as the iphone 6s. For those customers who are looking for the most affordable way to pick up one of these smartphones, that base amount storage option will be of importance and when combined with the expandable storage capacity, it becomes quickly apparent the Galaxy S7 Edge as the winning smartphone in storage terms.
For a long time the physical dimensions of a smartphone have been a driving force for the industry. The trend being one which leaned towards phones that are thinner and lighter. However, more recently the momentum behind that trend has slowed down and for two notable reasons. The first being that at the same time as the thinner trend was developing, another developing trend was for smartphones to come with more screen real estate. The second reason (which in many ways is an extension of the first) is what has affectionately been dubbed ‘bendgate’. As smartphones continued to get lighter and thinner and while also increasing in their display size, they started to become more vulnerable to bending, none more so than with the iPhone 6s when it was first released. Therefore, the physical dimensions have lost some of their immediate importance. That said, in terms of these two phones, the iPhone 6s measures 138.3 mm in height, 67.1 mm in width and is 7.1 mm thin. In contrast, the Galaxy S7 Edge measures 150.9 mm in height, 72.6 mm in width and is 7.7 mm thin. So while the iPhone is technically smaller and thinner than the Galaxy S7 Edge, when you factor in the issues of bendgate and also the fact that the Galaxy S7 Edge does come with a much larger display which effectively would result in a better weight-to-size ratio, it seems fair to award this as a tie as the iPhone 6s is thinner but also much smaller device. Not to mention, both devices are thicker than their predecessors were.
Again, weight is another area where its importance as a selling point can be offset against other aspects and while this could be combined in with the physical dimensions, there is quite the noticeable difference between the two devices and one which is enough to decide a winner from. The iPhone 6s is a much thinner device than the Galaxy S7, although it is also a much smaller device overall. A combination which does mean that the iPhone 6s weighs only 143 grams. In contrast, the Galaxy S7 Edge with its thicker form factor and larger display results in the Samsung weighing a much heavily 157 grams. If weight is a concern for you, then by all accounts the iPhone 6s is the clear winner being smaller, thinner and lighter.
While flagship smartphones are now devices which look to offer a more premium appearance, build quality and come sporting various combinations of metal, glass and otherwise, it is important that smartphones remain able to stand up to the wears and tears of daily usage. While both the Galaxy S7 Edge and the iPhone 6s come equipped with excellent build qualities, the Galaxy S7 Edge does prove to be the winning design. On general appearance, its combination of metal and glass is far more eye-catching and although it has the appearance of a more delicate and brittle build, it actually holds up extremely well under pressure and has been shown through various video comparisons to be stronger and certainly less prone to bending than the iPhone 6s.
However, while the build quality and design is superior on the Galaxy S7 Edge, this combination of high-quality design elements does have one particular flaw. The dreaded drop tests. Although, the Galaxy S7 Edge does hold up as well as many other smartphone options, it certainly has proved to be less durable than the iPhone 6s when dropped from various heights. The outer casing proves problematic on initial drops which can quickly result in cracking or shattering. While further drops do seem to end the functionality of the Galaxy S7 Edge much quicker and more detrimentally than with the iPhone 6s. Making the iPhone 6s the winner when it comes to drop tests.
As these devices make use of the two leading operating systems, it is often the case that that many note how different the two are. However, in many ways there are a number of similarities and especially in these latest editions. Besides both having large numbers of users, both look to provide a level of simplicity to the overall operating system, while also keenly leaning towards a more secure and tighter OS experience. On the iPhone 6s, this comes in the form of iOS 9, while the Galaxy S7 Edge makes use of the latest commercial release of Android, 6.0 (Marshmallow). In many ways, neither iOS 9 or Marshmallow venture too far away from their predecessors, iOS 8 and Lollipop. However, with Lollipop came a massive change which looked to visually and functionally unify the experience across devices and form factors. An aspect which iOS had for a long time led the way in. As a result, that advantage that iOS had is now gone. However, one advantage that Android always has had and still does, it the level of customization that is available. For both good and bad reasons, the Android OS is one which comes in a wide variety of flavors and is able to be customized to meet different consumer needs. A level of customization that not only varies the experience but also has led to many feature developments and improvements that might not have been offered if Android was a more one-dimensional affair. As a result, when you take into consideration the advances it is made recently with its Material Design look, greater security and still maintaining a highly customizable level, Android in its current guise, Marshmallow, does remain the better operating system when compared to iOS 9.0.
Apps & Ecosystem
As an extension of the operating system, the wider ecosystem and availability of apps is an extremely important feature for smartphone owners. For a long time this used to be an area which has been cornered by Apple and iOS. However, times are changing and although from the developer point of view – iOS is still the better option due its significantly larger levels of revenue that the iOS ecosystem generates, from the consumer perspective, it is a different story. Android and the Google Play Store have grown enormously over the last few years and now the number of apps available for Android smartphones greatly outnumbers those available in Apple’s App Store. Not to mention, if the level of expansion expected to take place over the next few years pans out, this is likely to be an area where the difference between the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store grows even more. When it comes to sheer number of apps, features, choices and general across device usability, the apps and Android ecosystem eclipses iOS and the App Store and as a result, owners of the Galaxy S7 Edge are able to make use of an even greater availability of apps and features than the iPhone 6s. And this is without even factoring in Samsung’s own App store offerings, Gear VR compatibility and so on.
As smartphones have evolved, one of the clear winning formulas is the inclusion of their improved cameras. An aspect which not only ties in with the rise in social media use, but an aspect which is further fuelled by the likes of the ‘selfie’. Having the best camera on a flagship smartphone is now an aspect which has changed from a selling point to a must-have.
While the cameras on the Galaxy S7 Edge and the iPhone 6s are arguably two of the best cameras on smartphones nowadays, it is quickly becoming clear that the Galaxy S7 Edge is the camera winner overall. This is not just based on a one-on-one between the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6s but more to do with the Galaxy S7 Edge continually being accredited with having the best camera on any smartphone, ever. Tests from the likes of DxOMark are increasingly coming through and added to an ever-expanding portfolio of evidence that the cameras on the Galaxy S7 Edge offer a greater overall experience, better images, better focusing ability, greater sensor quality and software tweaks. As of right now, the Galaxy S7 Edge wins out in the camera department compared to the iPhone 6s or any other smartphone.
For a long time it seemed smartphone manufacturers had been in a numbers race when it comes to megapixels. However, that now seems to have changed as the higher the megapixel does not automatically equate to the better camera. Apple has always understood this and their smartphones have generally come with lower megapixel counts than their Android counterparts, and the iPhone 6s is no exception as it comes sporting a 12-megapixel rear (primary) camera, which is coupled with a 5-megapixel front-facing (selfie) camera. When it comes to Samsung, they opted to lower the megapixels of the Galaxy S7 Edge compared to last year’s model, but still increase the overall camera capabilities and experience. A result which means that like the iPhone 6s, the Galaxy S7 Edge is a smartphone which comes packing a 12-megapixel rear (primary) camera which is coupled with a 5-megapixel front-facing (selfie) camera.
As discussed, the megapixel count alone is not an indicator of how good a camera is or the pictures they will likely take. One aspect which is of high importance is the aperture and unlike other specs, this is one of those where the lower f-stop value of an aperture equates to being better. So while both the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6s make use of a 12/5 megapixel camera combo, the Galaxy S7 Edge comes with an f/1.7 aperture compared to the f/2.2 aperture on the iPhone 6s. An aspect which means the actual aperture on the Galaxy S7 Edge is larger than on the iPhone 6s, allowing for a greater level and use of light when taking pictures.
Whether you are looking at a single aspect in a crowded scene or a scene as a whole, the ability to focus correctly and quickly is the difference between a photograph that emphasizes what you want and a photograph which is far less revealing. In spite of only being on the market for a few weeks, this is one area where the Galaxy S7 Edge is quickly making its mark as a smartphone camera which is able to focus extremely quickly, needing absolutely minimal time to calibrate and also one which can as quickly change the focal point from close to further away. In contrast the iPhone 6s, while good, is unable to compete with the Galaxy S7 Edge’s focal adjustment or calibration times.
Optical Image stabilization
There is little arguing with the camera capabilities of either of these smartphones. Both do come with superior camera experiences and generally speaking, owners of either devices will likely be happy with the images they take. However, in spite of the iPhone 6s coming with some notably improvements in the camera department over its predecessors, it was surprising that Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) was left out on the iPhone 6s. For a number of consumers, this is a camera must-have feature as it helps to mitigate against the effects of shaking. Whether this is during night time shots where the camera requires longer exposure times or during moving shots, OIS can be an image life-saver. While the iPhone 6s does not offer this feature, this is a feature you will find on the Galaxy S7 Edge. In fairness to Apple, this is a feature which is available on the iPhone 6s Plus, just not one on the iPhone 6s.
Smartphone features is an area where smartphone manufacturers can really differentiate themselves from the competition. After all, most flagship smartphones nowadays do offer a similar level of specs and performance. Therefore, including such features allows for unique selling points for a handset in what is a very crowded smartphone market and this is an area that both Apple and Samsung have looked to help differentiate their latest flagship devices with.
Water resistance is not something every smartphone owner needs to worry about on a daily basis. However, the times when it is needed, it literally can be a smartphone life-saver. Samsung received much criticism on last year’s Galaxy S model and the fact that it was missing this particular feature. However, that is not the case this year with the Galaxy S7 Edge coming sporting an IP68 water and dust resistance certification. In contrast, the iPhone 6s does not boast any water protective features.
Always On Display
Always On functionality seems to be one of the in-crowd features right now and a number of high-profile smartphone manufacturers are likely to be using this feature going forward. The Galaxy S7 Edge is no exception and is one of the most high-profile smartphones to come boasting the feature along with the LG G5. In Samsung’s case though, the use of Always On functionality, while included is not a feature which drains battery life quicker, due to the display technology in use. In contrast, the iPhone 6s is a smartphone which doesn’t feature any sort of Always On functionality.
Mobile Payments is another very high-profile feature now with many of the big names looking to be the company who processes a large number of smartphone purchases. Both the Galaxy S7 Edge and the iPhone 6s come sporting some form of mobile payment solution, although they are quite different. On the one hand we have the iPhone 6s which supports Apple Pay and is proving to be a mobile payment solution that is gaining in its retailer, user and banking support. On the other hand we have the Galaxy S7 Edge which is able to make use of both Android and Samsung Pay. While a substantial number of handsets are able to use Android Pay, only select Samsung smartphones are able to use Samsung Pay. Which by the way, is easily the most widely accepted mobile payment solution thanks to its ability to work with newer and already established payment terminals.
There seems to be two clear routes to combating the smartphone battery problem. The first is to include bigger batteries and the second is to make charging smartphones quicker. Samsung already wins the first battle as the Galaxy S7 Edge comes with a significantly higher mAh capacity battery than the iPhone 6s. However, it also easily wins out the charging battle as well as the Galaxy S7, like many Android smartphones now, comes equipped with the ability to receive a much quicker level of charging, unlike the iPhone 6s which does not support fast charge. Not to mention, the Galaxy S7 is also able to be charged wirelessly and even fast charged wirelessly.
One of the downsides of including such high processing abilities in smartphones is the fact that they can get quite hot after sustained levels of usage. Some processors and smartphones have even been known to get too hot after brief levels of intense usage. Instead of dumbing down the internal components, Samsung opted to include a liquid cooling system in the Galaxy S7 Edge. One which helps to maintain a lower device temperature when the device is put through more demanding use cases, such as playing games or watching HD video. Unfortunately, the iPhone range of devices have yet to embrace the use of liquid cooling.
Heart Rate Sensor
Another notable trend of late is to combine health-related fitness features in with smartphones and limiting the need for additional health-focused devices. One of the ways this has been achieved is by smartphone manufacturers including aspects like heart rate sensors on their phones and more often than not, embedded within the fingerprint sensor. While the iPhone 6s does have a fingerprint sensor, it does not have the means to measure heart rates. Apps can be downloaded for this purpose, but it is not a feature which comes ‘as standard’ or without requiring third-party installation. In contrast, the Galaxy S7 Edge does come boasting a fingerprint sensor and the ability to record your heart rate. In fact, the Galaxy S7 Edge features a whole host of health-related features thanks to the inclusion of Samsung’s own S Health app which comes pre-installed on the device.
Voice Activated Digital Assistant
Like the difference in operating systems, the difference in voice activated digital assistants could not be any clearer between these two phones. The iPhone 6s makes use of Siri while the Galaxy S7 Edge makes use of the Android industry standard Google Now. While both of these digital assistants offer unique features, it is becoming clearer that Google Now is the more useful option. Being powered by the search abilities of Google Search and consistently growing in its accuracy and abilities, makes Google Now a significantly more powerful option than Siri and by association, the Galaxy S7 Edge more capable than the iPhone 6s.
Virtual Reality Headset
Tuning to any technology news feed this year will highlight just how important virtual reality is becoming. This is a part of the mobile industry which is growing significantly and many smartphone manufacturers are now turning to virtual reality to help cement their position in this emerging market. Few more so than Samsung. Not only were they one of the first to bring a fully functional VR headset to the market, but also one of the first to bring an affordable option in the form of the consumer version of the Gear VR. A device which is only compatible with a very select few Samsung handsets including the Galaxy S7 Edge. In contrast, the iPhone 6s has yet to really embrace this technology in any meaningful manner, let alone to the degree that the Galaxy S7 Edge currently offers.
In talking about the health-related benefits of these smartphones, it has already been established that both the Galaxy S7 Edge and the iPhone 6s come with fingerprint sensors and identification features in place. This is quickly becoming the industry standard across smartphones and it is probably not that surprising that both of these handsets do boast the technology. With security becoming an increasingly important issue, this is great for the industry at large, as well as consumers of both the Galaxy S7 Edge and the iPhone 6s.
Pressure Sensitive Display
In spite of the Galaxy S7 Edge coming with a greater resolution and larger display and one which offers additional Edge functionality and Always On support, there is one display-oriented feature that the iPhone 6s has that the Galaxy S7 Edge does not. This is 3D Touch functionality. This is a feature which does seem to be growing in the Android world, although it is one which did not make its way to the latest Galaxy handset. The iPhone 6s however, is a smartphone which comes equipped with this feature and offers the user the ability to make use of additional features from the same icon or screen point and simply by applying different levels of pressure.
Price is always going to be a big issue for smartphones and especially for the higher-end models and this is more important today than ever. While the leading smartphones have always tended to be on the pricier side, the rise of more affordable smartphones has changed the game over the last couple of years as consumers no longer need to spend as much as before to get the best specs or best performance. In terms of these two rival handsets, the Apple iPhone 6s is available in four different colors including Silver, Gold, Space Gray and Rose Gold. In terms of its price, the iPhone 6s starts from $649.99 and rises up in $100 increments before hitting $849.99 for the 128GB model. In contrast and with Samsung only making one storage option largely available, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is available in Black Onyx, Gold Platinum and Silver Titanium and sits around the $799 marker. So if you take into consideration the Galaxy S7 Edge does not need additional storage variants, at the higher end it is the better value option with the 128GB iPhone 6s model offering less storage capabilities overall and costing $50 more. However, the benefit of the smaller variants does mean that the 16GB model significantly undercuts the Galaxy S7 Edge and can be picked up for $649.99. Although there are no means for expandable storage and the internal storage is less than the Galaxy S7, for those looking for an entry level price for these costly phones, the iPhone 6s is the cheapest of the two. Making it the winner overall on price.
On first impressions, it would seem that the fight between the iPhone 6s and the Galaxy S7 Edge is a close one. Both of these devices are hot property and both come with good specs, good levels of performance and overall excellent build quality. However, as we have now seen, the closely we compare and contrast these two smartphones, the greater the difference between them becomes evident. While the iPhone 6s is the most popular and current best smartphone from Apple, it is beaten in nearly every category by the latest handset from Samsung, the Galaxy S7 Edge. The iPhone 6s does win out in some specific areas as it is more affordable as a baseline option, is lighter and thinner and does hold up better during drop tests. But in contrast, the Galaxy S7 Edge is easily the better phone when it comes to the specs, the level and degree of features on offer, the camera capabilities and general user experience. When all’s said and done, the Galaxy S7 Edge is easily the better smartphone.