If you’re considering one of the Samsung Galaxy S8 series flagships versus one of the latest iPhones, you’ll want to examine all your options. Here, we compare the specs and features of the top-of-the-line Samsung Galaxy S8+with the iPhone 7.
The S8+ is the larger of Samsung’s recent flagships, so it makes sense that it’s bigger than the iPhone 7, the smaller of Apple’s most recent offerings. Still, the S8+ is significantly larger in every dimension, despite its taller and narrower overall proportions. It’s nearly 14-percent taller, 8-percent wider and 12-percent thicker.
The S8+ is 20-percent heavier than the iPhone 7.
The S8 series phones have glass backs that curve into a low-profile aluminum frame. The iPhone has a familiar aluminum unibody.
Both phones have a number of color variants, though not all them are available in all markets. In the US, the S8+ is only currently available in black, silver and orchid gray, and the red iPhone is a special edition.
The Galaxy S8+ has a slightly higher water resistance rating than the iPhone 7, but either should be able to withstand splashes or a brief dip.
The S8+’s 6.2-inch Infinity Display stretches from edge to edge, and packs in significantly more screen space than the 4.7-inch display on the iPhone 7.
Resolution-wise, the S8+ also packs in 38-percent more pixels, so it has significantly sharper resolution. While the Infinity Display has earned accolades from display experts, the iPhone display does have qualities like high color accuracy and contrast, so it does provide a better viewing experience than resolution specs alone might suggest.
Samsung has long used AMOLED displays; Apple sticks with IPS.
The S8 series flagships are the first to receive the UHD Alliance’s Mobile HDR Premium certification. Among other things, that means it can support HDR content.
It can be difficult to tell from straight-on pictures, but the Galaxy S8+ preserves the curved displays found on previous generations’ “edge”devices (though not quite as pronounced here). The screen has rounded edges that gently slope off around the sides of the phone.
There is one display trick up the iPhone’s sleeve that the S8+ doesn’t have – pressure sensitivity. The iPhone 7 display includes Apple’s 3D Touchtechnology, which lets you navigate differently based on how long and hard you press the display.
Since the S8+ display covers so much area, it makes sense that its home button has been moved onscreen. The onscreen home button contains some pressure sensitivity, which comes in handy when in full screen mode where the virtual buttons are faded out. (Long pressing in the invisible home button spot will take you home, without having to activate the navigation bar.)
The iPhone 7 has a solid-state physical home button below the display. The capacitive button provides haptic feedback that makes it feel like you’re pushing a physical button.
Samsung has moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phone, to the right of the camera lens. Apple keeps its sensor embedded in the home button.
The S8+ includes face recognition technology that lets you quickly unlock your phone. However, keep in mind that it’s not the most secure biometric measure. Samsung’s face recognition seems closer to the Trusted Face feature in Android than the super-protected facial scanning seen on Windows Hello products like the Microsoft Surface Book.
The S8+ also has iris scanning for secure biometric access. It’s much more convenient to use than the first instance of this technology which we saw on the Note 7.
Samsung uses the latest Snapdragon 835 processor in the US and other markets. Elsewhere, it uses its own Exynos-branded processor which has slightly higher clock speeds. The iPhone 7 contains Apple’s similarly capable A10 chipset.
The S8+ has twice the RAM of the iPhone 7, but to be fair, the two operating systems use memory differently.
The S8+ has one 64 GB storage size, while the iPhone 7 is available in three sizes ranging from 32 GB to 256 GB (though the glossy jet black color isn’t available in the 32 GB size).
If you’re worried about storage, however, Samsung still has you covered. The S8+ has a microSD slot for expandable storage; no such luck on the iPhone 7.
Apple infamously axed the headphone jack, but it sticks around on the Samsung flagships.
Both makers bundle headphones with their flagships. The S8+ comes with a pair of wired AKG headphones that retail on their own for US$99. The iPhone 7 comes with a wired pair of Apple’s Lightning port earbuds as well as a headphone-jack-to-Lightning adapter if you want to keep using an older pair.
The Galaxy S8+ has a significantly larger battery, but many factors go into overall battery life. We’ll investigate the S8+’s staying power in our full-length review.
The S8+ supports Qualcomm Quick Charge, but there’s no similar technology on the iPhone 7.
The S8+ also supports wireless charging and even fast wireless charging (with a Samsung-made charging pad).
In terms of pixel count, the two cameras are neck-and-neck, though the S8+ has a one-megapixel advantage in its front camera for slightly higher-resolution selfies (though that alone is far from a “true” measure of photo quality).
Camera aperture (rear)
The S8+ also has a slightly larger camera aperture, which could spell out some advantages like better low-light shooting.
To be clear, neither of these flagships have a dual-lens rear camera (the iPhone 7 Plus has one, but not the iPhone 7).
Optical image stabilization (OIS)
Both cameras have OIS technology to minimize image blur.
The S8+’s Samsung Pay could be more convenient than Apple Pay for most US customers. Samsung Pay can work with both NFC and MST terminals, so you can use it at merchants where magnetic strip cards are accepted.
The S8+ includes Samsung’s all-new Bixby virtual assistant (with a dedicated Bixby activation button on the side) as well as Google Assistant. The iPhone 7 has Siri.
At launch, though, Bixby’s voice control component isn’t yet ready or enabled, which goes a long way in explaining why the phone also includes Google Assistant.
Beyond basic Google Cardboard functionality, the iPhone 7 does not support the major mobile VR headsets. The S8+ is compatible with the Samsung Gear VR.
Desktop PC dock
With the (sold separately) Samsung DeX dock and a keyboard, monitor and mouse, you can use the S8+ to power a desktop PC-like computing experience.
Apple released the iPhone 7 last September, while the S8+ has just begun to hit shelves.
Starting price (full retail)
Prices for the Samsung Galaxy S8+ vary depending on carrier and payment plan, but it’s one of the most expensive phones on the market. Count on paying around US$200 more than you would for the iPhone 7 (or $100 more than an iPhone 7 Plus).
Stay tuned – New Atlas will post a full-length review of the Samsung Galaxy S8 series in the near future. In the meantime, you can check out our initial impressions of the S8+ and revisit our iPhone 7 review.