Apple and Samsung are facing off once again, but which mobile titan has built the better phone this time around? We compare the Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7 design, specs and price to help you decide how to spend your money.
When Apple launched the iPhone 7 last year, we weren’t overly impressed. While the build quality and features seemed decent enough, battery life hampered the experience enough to warrant a 3.5/5 overall score. Still, the iPhone 7 remains one of the UK’s most popular smartphones, and it’ll be top of the list for many looking to upgrade.
Enter the Galaxy S8, Samsung’s latest flagship and the iPhone’s chief Android rival. Samsung has kitted its new phone with the latest and greatest mobile components, so we’ve got high hopes that’ll impress us in our full review. Until then, we can’t make a definitive call on whether the Galaxy S8 is better than the iPhone 7, but we can still detail all the key differences between the phone.
It’s easy to claim that smartphones all look the same these days, but the Samsung Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7 are world’s apart when it comes to design.
Apple hasn’t made any significant changes to the iPhone since the introduce of the iPhone 6 back in 2014. It’s still a slim (7.1mm), lightweight (138g) and mostly flat handset, with the exception of a small camera bump.
By comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is thicker at 8mm, heavier at 155g, and boasts a curvy ‘Edge’-style screen that wraps around the sides of the phone. So it certainly feels more hefty in the hand, which will suit some more than others.
But the main difference is Samsung’s ‘Infinity Display’, which is marketing jargon for a screen that occupies nearly the entire face of the phone. Compared to the iPhone’s lowly 65.6% screen-to-body ratio, most of the Galaxy S8’s front is display. This was made possible by shifting the fingerprint scanner to the back and jacking up the size of the display panel to 5.8 inches (from a previous 5.1 inches). As a result, the Samsung Galaxy S8 has a much bigger screen than the 4.7-inch iPhone 7.
The good news is the dimensions haven’t changed significantly from generation to generation with the Samsung flagship, so the Galaxy S8 measures a still-manageable 148.9 x 68.1 x 8mm, compared to the iPhone 7 at 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm.
Samsung Galaxy S8
Both phones are waterproof, although the Samsung Galaxy S8 has a better IP68 waterproof certification. This means it’s been tested at depths of 1.5 metres for 30 minutes. By contrast, the iPhone 7 is IP67-certified, which means it survived a more shallow one-metre dunk for 30 minutes.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 is available in, black, silver, and blue colour options, while the iPhone 7 is available in Jet Black, Black, Silver, Gold, Rose Gold and, most recently, (RED).
Here’s our Mobile Editor Max Parker’s take on the design:
“I like the iPhone 7; it’s slick and familiar. But after holding the S8 it feels like a relic. The overly big bezel is ugly and the screen feels crammed in its body. The iPhone 8 needs a drastic redesign to really offer Samsung some competition.”
SAMSUNG GALAXY S8 VS IPHONE 7 SPECS: WHICH PHONE IS MORE POWERFUL?
Until we’ve fully tested the Samsung Galaxy S8, we can’t give a definitive opinion on whether or not it’s more powerful than the iPhone 7. But we can still look at the raw hardware and see how the specs stack up.
For a start, the Samsung Galaxy S8 has a 5.8-inch display (or 6.2-inches with the Galaxy S8+). It uses a quirky 18.5:9 aspect ratio, which means you’ll get a seriously widescreen image. You’ll also benefit from a fairly generous QHD+ screen – that’s 2960 x 1440 pixels, giving you an overall pixel density of 567ppi.
See all: Best Galaxy S8 Plus Deals
By comparison, the iPhone 7 has a much smaller 4.7-inch display with a less impressive 750 x 1334 pixels, which works out at a pixel density of just 326ppi. That means the Galaxy S8 has a significantly sharper display, which means it should be sharper and more detailed. Add that to the fact that Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is using an AMOLED panel, which should have richer colours and better contrast than the LED-backlit LCD screen on the iPhone 7, and we’d expect that the Galaxy S8 screen will be far more impressive than the iPhone 7.
As far as computing heft goes, it’s impossible to say at this point. The iPhone 7 uses Apple’s custom-built A10 Fusion chip, which we’ve found to be sufficiently powerful to run iOS 10 smoothly. Samsung, meanwhile, has opted for different chips in different markets: you’ll either get Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 or Samsung’s custom-built Exynos 8895 chip.
In any case, both chips are built using a new 10nm manufacturing process. This means that the chips should – theoretically – be more powerful and less power-hungry than the Apple A10 chip, which is built using a much older and less efficient 16nm process. Of course, real-world performance will come down to many factors, including how well-optimised the relevant software and chips are.
Samsung Galaxy S8
It’s also too early for us to say whether Samsung will beat Apple on photography. The iPhone 7 has proved itself more than capable with a 12-megapixel camera that boasts a wide f/1.8 aperture and built-in optical image stabilisation (OIS). But Samsung’s Galaxy S8 also features a 12-megapixel shooter with OIS, and an even wider f1/.7 aperture, which means more light can reach the phone’s image sensor – that’s a good thing.
The iPhone 7’s front-facing camera turns out 7-megapixel shots, and has a respectable f/2.2 aperture. But Samsung appears to trump Apple on hardware again, offering higher resolution (8MP) selfies, and an exceptionally wide f/1.7 aperture. Still, there are plenty of factors that affect how good a photograph looks, so we’ll need to do a proper review to find the truth.
While the iPhone 7 may boast waterproofing and a fingerprint scanner, Samsung wins for features. The Galaxy S8 is waterproof and has a fingerprint scanner too, but unlike the iPhone 7, it can be wirelessly charged, unlocked using an iris scanner, and still has a 3.5mm headphone jack too. Better still, base storage starts at 64GB (compared to Apple’s 32GB), and there’s a Micro SD card slot to boot.
We’ll have to wait to properly measure the Galaxy S8’s battery life, but we were very unimpressed by the iPhone 7’s usage-per-charge. That’s likely thanks to the teeny 1,960mAh battery, which is a fair whack smaller than the 3,000mAh cell inside the Galaxy S8. We’re hoping that Samsung’s new flagship can match the Galaxy S7 in offering well over a day’s usage per charge.
For a full spec comparison, check out the table below:
|Samsung Galaxy S8||iPhone 7|
|Screen||5.8 inches (Super AMOLED)||4.7 inches (LED-backlit LCD)|
|Display Resolution||2960 x 1440 (567ppi)||1334 x 750 (326ppi)|
|Primary Camera||12 megapixels | f/1.7 | OIS||12 megapixels | f/1.8 | OIS|
|Secondary Camera||8 megapixels | f/1.7 | AF||7 megapixels | f/2.2|
|Chipset||Snapdragon 835 (10nm) or Exynos 8995 (10nm)||Apple A10 Fusion (16nm)|
|Waterproof?||Yes (IP68 certified)||Yes (IP67 certified)|
|Primary Port||USB Type C||Lightning|
|Micro SD Slot?||Yes||No|
|Dimensions||148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0mm||138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm|
|Weight||155 grams||138 grams|
|Software||Android 7.0 Nougat||iOS 10|
SAMSUNG GALAXY S8 VS IPHONE 7 PRICE: WHICH PHONE IS BETTER VALUE FOR MONEY?
The iPhone 7 saw Apple kick up the price of its smartphones, with the new handset retailing at a lofty £599 – much higher than the £529 iPhone 6S.
See all: Best iPhone 7 Deals
Samsung has confirmed that the Galaxy S8 will start from £689, which is far higher than Apple’s iPhone 7 – though the rumoured iPhone 8 may match that pricing.
Given the Samsung Galaxy S8 appears to be a better phone on paper, some Android fans may view that higher pricing as justified. But if you’re a die-hard Apple fan, shelling out such a significant amount more may not be appealing.
Samsung Galaxy S8
SAMSUNG GALAXY S8 VS IPHONE 7 SUMMARY: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Here’s a short breakdown of the key differences between the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Apple’s iPhone 7.
Design: The iPhone 7 is a classic Apple smartphone, and retains a relatively small body, flat screen, and minimalist design. Samsung has thrown caution to the wind, showing off an all-screen front, a curvy ‘Edge’-style display, and near-invisible bezels. That’s why the Galaxy S8 probably wins out in design.
Specs: On paper, the Samsung Galaxy S8 appears to have the edge in terms of hardware, boasting a more advanced processor, as well as better specs and features all round. But Apple is known for its slick optimisation, so we’ll have to fully review the Galaxy S8 before we can make a call here.
Price: Samsung says the Galaxy S8 will start from $288, while the Galaxy S8+ costs an even higher $312.
Value: The Samsung Galaxy S8 is far more expensive than the iPhone 7, but it seems – on paper, at least – to be the more attractive handset, both in terms of design and specs.