Now that Samsung has taken the wraps off Galaxy S7, and also made it available for pre-order, many of you will be wondering how the new device stacks up against Apple’s iPhone 6s. Both are flagships with impressive hardware and top-notch software, and both are offered in the same price range. But, which one is best for you?
With Galaxy S7, Samsung has refined last year’s recipe, giving prospective buyers pretty much everything they could hope for. Meanwhile, iPhone 6s, while not all that different to its predecessor in most areas, feels like a bolder step forward for Apple. Choosing between the two will not be easy.
Let’s start with the display. With Galaxy S7, you are getting a 5.1-inch screen with a resolution of 1,440 by 2,560. In this regard, it is virtually unchanged from last year’s model. Apple, on the other hand, which has also opted for the same screen size and resolution as with the previous version, has given iPhone 6s a 4.7-inch panel with a resolution of 750 by 1,334, but has also added a neat feature into the mix, namely 3D Touch.
Obviously, Galaxy S7 has the more impressive screen of the two, thanks to that high resolution alone. That resolution also makes it a better choice if you are interested in virtual reality headsets, because content displayed on the screen will look much crisper than if you are to use an iPhone 6s.
However, thanks to 3D Touch, Apple’s flagship lets you interact with apps in a different manner, due to contextual menus which are revealed when you hard press on the screen. Samsung’s device also has a trick up its sleeve, namely an active display which can show information during standby.
At the end of the day, however, it is hard to compete with a (slightly) larger screen with a much, much higher resolution. Galaxy S7 is the winner here.
When it comes to imaging, both Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6s have 12 MP cameras on the back and 5 MP shooters on the front. But that is where the similarities end. Samsung has given its flagship wider aperture lenses (F/1.7), on the front and rear, while Apple has stuck with smaller ones (F/2.2). Samsung has also given its flagship optical image stabilization, while Apple only offers this feature on the bigger iPhone 6s Plus. Both can, of course, shoot 4K video, if that is your cup of tea, but also 1080p at a higher frame rate.
Both devices are capable of great photos in well lit conditions, of course, seeing as they have top of the line cameras. But the real benefit of a wider aperture lens coupled with optical image stabilization is improved image quality in low-light, not to mention more stable video footage.
This is an area where smartphones typically leave something to be desired, but Galaxy S7 might just alleviate any concerns here. Meanwhile, with iPhone 6s, Apple has not done anything to impress. Again, Galaxy S7 is the winner.
Build and Design
This is one area where there is no clear winner. Both smartphones look great, and both offer a premium experience. Galaxy S7 has glass on the back, while iPhone 6s sticks to a metal back. Both, however, have curved edges, which makes them nice to hold in the hand. Ultimately it depends on whether you prefer glass or metal.
In terms of exterior features, Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6s have fingerprint readers embedded in the home button, and physical controls for the volume. Apple’s device adds a mute switch, which is something that can prove useful at times.
And both flagships share the same design flaw: their main camera sticks out a little. This is more of a concern with Apple’s device, since its camera is positioned off-center; in either case, a discreet case will take of this problem.
Crowning a winner here is going to prove impossible. Samsung will offer Galaxy S7 with two different processors, and which one you get depends largely on where you will buy it from. One version has an Exynos 8890 Octa processor, while the other has Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 on board. Meanwhile, iPhone 6s only ships with Apple’s A9 chip.
There is no doubt that both will perform similarly, delivering top of the line performance as we have come to expect. There may be slight differences in benchmark results, but in real life you will be hard pressed to tell the difference at this point.
Battery performance makes for an easier comparison, however. Galaxy S7 has a 3,000 mAh battery, that is non-removable. It supports fast charging, when using a wall charger or a wireless charger, which is a huge plus.
Apple has given iPhone 6s a tinier battery in comparison, and there is no support for wireless charging here, let alone fast wireless charging. As a result, you might struggle here if you are a heavy user, unless you go for an external battery.
Galaxy S7 is better positioned to deliver longer battery life, and because it supports wireless charging and fast charging it is the clear winner.
Storage is an area that is worth paying attention to, because you will likely have the device for a year or two. This is less of an issue with Galaxy S7, because this year Samsung brought back the microSD card slot. There will be two storage versions, but no matter which one — 32 GB or 64 GB, though the latter will likely be harder to find — you get, you can easily expand the capacity by up to 200 GB.
In iPhone 6s land, things are trickier. There are three storage tiers, 16 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB, but no expandable storage. The mid-range option makes most sense for most consumers; the base model should be avoided, while the top-tier version is only for those who need to store a lot of content offline.
Galaxy S7 is much more flexible in this regard. This matters because if you get the base model Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6s, you first of all get more storage capacity with the former and the option to expand it easily for much less than the difference in price to the 64 GB iPhone 6s, if you were to get an iPhone 6s that is.
Cost-wise, Galaxy S7 is the winner here, but you should not dismiss iPhone 6s. The latter makes more sense if you want more storage without messing around with microSD cards, which aren’t as fast as the internal storage is. Ultimately, however, for most people Galaxy S7 is better equipped in terms of storage.
This is probably the most important difference between Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6s, but it all boils down to what you prefer. Is it Android or is it iOS?
With Galaxy S7, Samsung offers Android 6.0 Marshmallow, the latest Android release, with its own TouchWiz skin on top. It looks to be a lighter and more pleasant affair this year, which retains the strengths users have come to appreciate.
With iOS 9, iPhone 6s offers a predictable user experience. Apple is in full control, so there are no surprises here. If you have used iOS 9 on another Apple device, it will be pretty much the same experience on iPhone 6s.
But, when Google unveils Android N later this year, you likely will be stuck on Marshmallow for at least a couple of months. Android 6.0 only started to roll out earlier this month, even though it was introduced in early-October last year. Meanwhile, with iPhone 6s, you get immediate access to the new iOS release Apple will introduce this fall, so there is also this benefit to consider.
Android fans will obviously prefer Galaxy S7, while iOS enthusiasts will find iPhone 6s to be a better choice.
If you are interested in paying with your phone, iPhone 6s is the better choice. Apple Pay has been adopted by many financial institutions in a number of major markets, so there should be no issues here. Apple has the momentum working in its advantage.
Samsung Pay, however, does not enjoy the same level of adoption among financial institutions, but Galaxy S7 does offer support for magnetic cards. Perhaps this flagship will change things, but until that happens iPhone 6s makes more sense.
There are other hardware differences that could be mentioned, but for the most part these are the things that most of you will want to know. Ultimately, which one is best depends largely on what platform you prefer or whether you care about having the most impressive specs sheet with your new smartphone.
If you want an iPhone, I think that iPhone 6s Plus is a better choice because it has a higher resolution screen, better battery life, and a better camera. Of course, if do not want the larger screen, iPhone 6s remains a great device.
It is just not as impressive as Galaxy S7 is. Samsung has managed to make a flagship that is truly impressive on all counts that matter so, if you are not too invested in iOS, getting a Galaxy S7 should be the obvious choice for you.