Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Introduction


In the “big-screen flagship” category, there is barely a comparison more important than that of the Apple and Samsung entrants, seeing as they are the top handset makers globally. There are also indications that Samsung is ramping up production of the larger Galaxy S8+, as it has seen demand to be higher than anticipated for it, that is why clashing it with the iPhone 7 Plus becomes even more important for an overview of what each top-shelf phablet can offer for your hard-earned cash. Read on to see what we found when we took the new Galaxy S8+ and the iPhone 7 Plus for one antagonistic spin...

Design

The narrow 6.2” S8+ is a looker, but its actual display area is not much higher than the 7 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Apple's iPhone 7 Plus design is getting a bit dated next to the shiny glass Galaxy S8+, as it's been around for three years already, while Samsung did a design overhaul this season, introducing trimmed bezels in addition to the curved display. Thus, the S8+ a bit taller than the 7 Plus, but much narrower, and so it's the easier _phone_ to hold and operate. You'd still need the fingers of Shaq to reach the top portion of the S8+ display though, and there is no easy way to, say, pull down the notification shade with one hand, other than swiping down the rear finger scanner of the S8+. Due to its unorthodox placement next to the camera, though, that is also a stretch if you have normal hands.

Moreover, the S8+ offers a very high 83% screen-to-body ratio, but since the 6.2” display comes with an elongated 18.5:9 aspect ratio, the actual screen area you get is that of a 5.54” _phone_ with the “old” 16:9 aspect ratio, or... about the screen area of the 7 Plus. To achieve this best-in-class 83% ratio, however, Samsung had to ditch its staple physical home button, and moved to on-screen keys. The virtual home now provides pressure-sensitive area to ease the transition, similar to the Touch ID home button feedback of the iPhone 7 Plus, but less pronounced. It's not really necessary, as most Androids with on-screen keys can vouch, but Samsung decided to check the “pressure-sensitive display area” box in the specs sheet anyway.

As for the physical keys around the sides of the handsets, they are all sturdy, easy to feel and press without looking, and with good tactile feedback. Apple has the venerable “mute switch” there, while Samsung outfitted the S8+ with a dedicated key to launch its new Bixby virtual assistant.

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Front view | Side view
Samsung Galaxy S8+
Samsung Galaxy S8+
6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches
159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm
6.10 oz (173 g)

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches
158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm
6.63 oz (188 g)

Apple iPhone 7 Plus




Display

All the pros and cons of AMOLED, now with HDR certificate and letterboxed gaming. iPhone: a tried and true IPS display

Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus

To achieve the new 2:1 aspect ratio trend, or thereabouts, Samsung outfitted the S8+ with “WQHD+” display. It's a 6.2-incher across when flat, and has 2960 x 1440 pixels of resolution, hence the plus sign. The iPhone 7 Plus has a more standard 5.5” 1080p display of the IPS-LCD variety, which offers good viewing angles, and credible sRGB color presentation, but is also “wide color” (DCI-P3 gamut) capable, so photos taken with the iPhone's camera which shoots in P3 as well, can be viewed in full bloom.

The S8+ has adjustable display resolution, and comes with 1080p set as default, though you can always move the slider all the way to the right in the display settings, and get to the screen's full-res potential if you need it for VR or something. The panel still has to light up more than 4 million pixels, though, and they all have to be managed by the graphics subsystem so don't expect any significant battery gains from those synthetic changes in resolution, even if you go all the way down to “HD+”. As for image quality, the Galaxy S8+ display is the typical AMOLED affair in the default Adaptive mode, with gaudy colors that extend way beyond the standard sRGB gamut, and cold, blueish whites. AMOLED Photo and Basic modes provide a more true-to-life image setting, though admittedly not as eye-catchy. Even slight viewing angles introduce noticeable color shift towards blue. The iPhone 7 Plus screen, on the other hand, exhibits more natural colors, and color temperature doesn't shift drastically at an angle, due to the IPS LCD panel.

The S8+ display is “Mobile HDR Premium” certified, so in Cinema mode you can be watching those new UHD movies shot in the DCI-P3 gamut as their creators intended. The catch, though, is that you have to preload HDR content, as neither Netflix, nor Amazon Video have the Galaxy S8+ as a compatible device for their wide-color streams. We checked with Netflix, and the rep said that they plan to include mobile compatibility in the future, but for now the S8+ display certification would be of limited practical use. In order to hit the HDR10 standard, however, Samsung pumped up the peak brightness abilities of the AMOLED panel, which, coupled with the low screen reflectance, bodes well for sunlight visibility in auto-brightness mode, and that's an arguably more useful development stemming out of the HDR certification. The iPhone 7 Plus screen is also very bright, at close to 700 nits, so it offers great outdoor visibility as well.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 565
(Excellent)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6936
(Excellent)
2.14
5.06
(Average)
4.91
(Average)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 672
(Excellent)
2
(Excellent)
1:1431
(Excellent)
6981
(Excellent)
2.2
3.11
(Good)
2.63
(Good)
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Introduction


In the “big-screen flagship” category, there is barely a comparison more important than that of the Apple and Samsung entrants, seeing as they are the top handset makers globally. There are also indications that Samsung is ramping up production of the larger Galaxy S8+, as it has seen demand to be higher than anticipated for it, that is why clashing it with the iPhone 7 Plus becomes even more important for an overview of what each top-shelf phablet can offer for your hard-earned cash. Read on to see what we found when we took the new Galaxy S8+ and the iPhone 7 Plus for one antagonistic spin...

Design

The narrow 6.2” S8+ is a looker, but its actual display area is not much higher than the 7 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Apple's iPhone 7 Plus design is getting a bit dated next to the shiny glass Galaxy S8+, as it's been around for three years already, while Samsung did a design overhaul this season, introducing trimmed bezels in addition to the curved display. Thus, the S8+ a bit taller than the 7 Plus, but much narrower, and so it's the easier phone to hold and operate. You'd still need the fingers of Shaq to reach the top portion of the S8+ display though, and there is no easy way to, say, pull down the notification shade with one hand, other than swiping down the rear finger scanner of the S8+. Due to its unorthodox placement next to the camera, though, that is also a stretch if you have normal hands.

Moreover, the S8+ offers a very high 83% screen-to-body ratio, but since the 6.2” display comes with an elongated 18.5:9 aspect ratio, the actual screen area you get is that of a 5.54” phone with the “old” 16:9 aspect ratio, or... about the screen area of the 7 Plus. To achieve this best-in-class 83% ratio, however, Samsung had to ditch its staple physical home button, and moved to on-screen keys. The virtual home now provides pressure-sensitive area to ease the transition, similar to the Touch ID home button feedback of the iPhone 7 Plus, but less pronounced. It's not really necessary, as most Androids with on-screen keys can vouch, but Samsung decided to check the “pressure-sensitive display area” box in the specs sheet anyway.

As for the physical keys around the sides of the handsets, they are all sturdy, easy to feel and press without looking, and with good tactile feedback. Apple has the venerable “mute switch” there, while Samsung outfitted the S8+ with a dedicated key to launch its new Bixby virtual assistant.


Front view | Side view
Samsung Galaxy S8+
Samsung Galaxy S8+
6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches
159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm
6.10 oz (173 g)

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches
158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm
6.63 oz (188 g)

Apple iPhone 7 Plus




Display

All the pros and cons of AMOLED, now with HDR certificate and letterboxed gaming. iPhone: a tried and true IPS display

Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus

To achieve the new 2:1 aspect ratio trend, or thereabouts, Samsung outfitted the S8+ with “WQHD+” display. It's a 6.2-incher across when flat, and has 2960 x 1440 pixels of resolution, hence the plus sign. The iPhone 7 Plus has a more standard 5.5” 1080p display of the IPS-LCD variety, which offers good viewing angles, and credible sRGB color presentation, but is also “wide color” (DCI-P3 gamut) capable, so photos taken with the iPhone's camera which shoots in P3 as well, can be viewed in full bloom.

The S8+ has adjustable display resolution, and comes with 1080p set as default, though you can always move the slider all the way to the right in the display settings, and get to the screen's full-res potential if you need it for VR or something. The panel still has to light up more than 4 million pixels, though, and they all have to be managed by the graphics subsystem so don't expect any significant battery gains from those synthetic changes in resolution, even if you go all the way down to “HD+”. As for image quality, the Galaxy S8+ display is the typical AMOLED affair in the default Adaptive mode, with gaudy colors that extend way beyond the standard sRGB gamut, and cold, blueish whites. AMOLED Photo and Basic modes provide a more true-to-life image setting, though admittedly not as eye-catchy. Even slight viewing angles introduce noticeable color shift towards blue. The iPhone 7 Plus screen, on the other hand, exhibits more natural colors, and color temperature doesn't shift drastically at an angle, due to the IPS LCD panel.

The S8+ display is “Mobile HDR Premium” certified, so in Cinema mode you can be watching those new UHD movies shot in the DCI-P3 gamut as their creators intended. The catch, though, is that you have to preload HDR content, as neither Netflix, nor Amazon Video have the Galaxy S8+ as a compatible device for their wide-color streams. We checked with Netflix, and the rep said that they plan to include mobile compatibility in the future, but for now the S8+ display certification would be of limited practical use. In order to hit the HDR10 standard, however, Samsung pumped up the peak brightness abilities of the AMOLED panel, which, coupled with the low screen reflectance, bodes well for sunlight visibility in auto-brightness mode, and that's an arguably more useful development stemming out of the HDR certification. The iPhone 7 Plus screen is also very bright, at close to 700 nits, so it offers great outdoor visibility as well.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 565
(Excellent)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6936
(Excellent)
2.14
5.06
(Average)
4.91
(Average)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 672
(Excellent)
2
(Excellent)
1:1431
(Excellent)
6981
(Excellent)
2.2
3.11
(Good)
2.63
(Good)
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface and Functionality

Tradeoffs, tradeoffs: the feature-rich S8+ interface slows the Galaxy down

Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus

We won't delve much into the iOS 10 vs Android 7 specifics here, as both the iPhone 7 Plus interface, and Samsung's UX are painfully familiar from our reviews, but would rather focus on added functionality, and dedicated modes that make using the big phablets easier with one hand. The S8+ does come with new iconography compared to, say, the S7 with the Nougat update – more uniform and minimalistic – but that beauty is skin-deep, as the settings and other menus are nearly identical. Not that they look bad.

Samsung has provided some wise new ways to call stuff on the big screen, and we aren't talking about the one-handed mode that shrinks the whole interface two sizes down for easier reach. You can, for example, slide up from the bottom of the screen to pull the app drawer now, then swipe in either direction to close it. Given how often you go to the app drawer, compared to pulling down the status bar with the connectivity toggles, though, it would have been wiser to include a swipe down gesture to unfurl the notification shade from any empty screen area, like on so many other Android interfaces. Now, if you want to turn off a radio, or read a notification preview, you have to hold the S8+ with both hands to pull down the shade safely. The alternatives are to do some dubious palm gymnastics to reach all the way to the top, or swipe on the faraway finger sensor which can be assigned as a touch pad of sorts for that action – both rather unsavory options.

Main UI of the Galaxy S8+ - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Main UI of the Galaxy S8+ - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Main UI of the Galaxy S8+ - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Main UI of the Galaxy S8+ - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Main UI of the Galaxy S8+


The iPhone 7 Plus is not much easier when it comes to bringing down its Notification Center shade with one hand, but it has a Reachability mode that can bring down the screen by double-tapping the Touch ID home key. Also, the connectivity switches and other oft-used controls are placed in the Command Center at the bottom, and it is much easier for your thumb to swipe or tap at the bottom than try to stretch all the way up.

iOS 10 on the Apple iPhone 7 Plus - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
iOS 10 on the Apple iPhone 7 Plus - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
iOS 10 on the Apple iPhone 7 Plus - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
iOS 10 on the Apple iPhone 7 Plus - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus

iOS 10 on the Apple iPhone 7 Plus


Samsung's interface overlay on top of Android 7.0 Nougat is, as usual, full to the brim with functions you may or may not use, like the iris recognition security that is in addition to the fingerprint and other authentication methods already on the phone. It may be cool for bragging purposes, or if you are in a secure corporate environment, but not that much faster or more convenient than finger scanning or keying in a PIN number. Not that Apple hasn't added features that haven't proved everyday necessities just yet (looking at you, 3D Touch screen Peek and Pop), but on Samsung's new Experience UX, just as with TouchWiz of yesteryear, these are much more numerous, and often redundant. The end result for Samsung handsets is that you get a more function-rich, but a tad slower to move and execute apps interface, compared to the iOS frenemy.

Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Some of these extra options, especially with Nougat, can be attributed to Android itself, like the split-screen multitasking, or the power management features, so Samsung doesn't really have a say here, but others are of its own making. The new Bixby virtual butler, for instance, thinks it will be better than Apple's Siri in terms of natural speech recognition and language support, but its full functionality will be coming at a later date, and for now it just duplicates Google Assistant.

Processor and memory


Galaxy S8+ is powered by the latest and greatest Snapdragon 835 and Exynos 8895, which blaze through benchmarks, and even encroach on Apple's scores achievable with the A10 chipset in the 7 Plus. Moreover, 4 GB of RAM are a pretty generous amount still, but, as we mentioned, the Samsung UX is heavier than iOS, and not as organically fused with the underlying operating system kernel, so this raw horse power doesn't translate into unequivocally better performance of the S8+ compared to the 7 Plus, and even falls behind in some demanding graphics tasks.

Samsung starts at 64 GB of internal storage this year, and provides a microSD slot for memory expansion, while Apple has 32-256 GB tiers to choose from.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 173945
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 179811
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 3223
Vellamo Browser
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 6881
JetStream
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 60.931
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 167.76
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 60
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 58.2
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 41
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 55.8
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 3256
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 3119
Geekbench 4 single-core
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 2006
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 3443
Geekbench 4 multi-core
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 6708
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 5619
View all

Connectivity

Top LTE dogs, but S8+ hits it out of the park in download speeds

These two are the handsets with the most LTE bands you can find (20+ on both), so if you are a globetrotter they are your best bets for local network compatibility. The S8+, however, has the upper hand in theoretical LTE speeds as it is the first phone to support Cat. 16 for up to 1Gbps downloads, if your carrier can provide those. T-Mobile already boasted that it can, in certain areas and conditions, so there's that – you can eat through your 30 GB “deprioritization” limit in no time now with the Un-carrier's unlimited plan.

The Galaxy S8+ and iPhone 7 Plus are chock full of almost every radio you can think of, and Samsung even throws in its MST standard for wireless payment authorizations that can mimic a swipe credit or debit card. As for wired connectivity, Samsung moved to USB-C at long last, while Apple has been doing Lightning for a good while – both are the best in speed and power transfers, so no complaints.

Camera

Win some, lose some: zoom and Portrait go for the iPhone, low-light and continuous focus for the S8+

Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Samsung gave the S8+ the same camera that is in the S7 edge, at least on paper – a 12 MP shooter with Dual Pixel focusing tech. The camera system uses new sensor models, though, and, in addition, the selfie snapper has been upgraded to an 8 MP autofocus affair, from a 5 MP fixed-focus unit. The iPhone 7 Plus has a more elaborate, dual-camera setup, combining wide-angle and telephoto lenses to enhance image quality, offer some real optical magnification, and support stylistic depth-of-field effects (like the new Portrait mode).

Samsung cleaned up its camera app interface significantly, with only the most used functions on the home screen, like with the iPhone, while the numerous shooting modes and color effects are tucked a gesture flick away. The front camera interface got richer, though, as it can now add bunny ears or funny sunglass stickers to your pics and vids, Snapchat and Apple Clips-style. As for speed of shooting, nothing beats these two, and yet the Galaxy S8+ feels slightly ahead, as the Dual Pixel tech is best in class when it comes to focus and refocusing times.

Camera UI of the Galaxy S8+ - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Camera UI of the Galaxy S8+ - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Camera UI of the Galaxy S8+ - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Camera UI of the Galaxy S8+ - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Camera UI of the Galaxy S8+

Camera UI of the Apple iPhone 7 Plus - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Camera UI of the Apple iPhone 7 Plus - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Camera UI of the Apple iPhone 7 Plus - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Camera UI of the Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Image quality


The iPhone 7 Plus has a much more sophisticated system to play with than the S8+, combining the output of the phone's two cameras to find the best parts of each. Granted, Samsung's Auto HDR mode also combines a few shots with different exposures to find the sweet spot, but they are all taken by the same sensor. With that premise out of the way, we found that the dual camera gives the iPhone a real advantage in two scenarios. That would be the Portrait mode, where the depth-of-field effect comes with a top-notch blur. The other one is zoom. Since the telephoto lens is protruding ahead of the wide-angle one, you can have a real 2x magnification effect without loss in quality like with the digital zoom of Samsung's phone. It's not a world of difference, but when you know you have superb zooming abilities, you end up using the option much more often than you would have had before.

The iPhone captures images in “wide color,” and these can be viewed as such on the handset's display immediately, which is pretty svelte, especially if you are swapping photos with other iPhone 7/7 Plus users. Oftentimes, especially in bright sunshine, the pictures from the iPhone 7 Plus come with a warmer color temperature than those from the S8+, but the roles are sometimes reversed. When they do, the pictures from the 7 Plus still come out much warmer than natural, though, of which we aren't particularly big fans. In those situations, the Galaxy S8+'s photos tend to look more authentic, though it's not perfect either, due to its oversharpening and sometimes zealous saturation – these make pictures stand out, but prolonged viewing reveals the somewhat artificial nature of the end results. 

Both phones can capture copious amounts of detail, and handle tricky dynamic range scenes in a superb manner. Needless to say, the fast processing times and auto HDR modes play a significant part in these stellar exposure adjustments that the iPhone 7 Plus and S8+ are capable of. In low-light, the Galaxy exhibits exposure advantages, emphasizing the shadows, and downplaying bright object a bit better than the iPhone.


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Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 1.2
1.3
730
622
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 1.33
2.01
No data
No data
View all

Video recording


All 4K video abilities aren't created equal, and Apple, while a late bloomer, used to do UHD recording the best of them all, with smooth footage, fast exposure adjustments, little artifacts, and no recording limitations. With the S8+, however, it now has a worthy competitor, as Samsung hits all the spots we mentioned, too, but the Dual Pixel tech that uses the whole sensor to focus, makes going from near to far objects, and vice versa, a seamless process. Not that the continuous autofocus of the 7 Plus is slow, but it is less fluid. Both the iPhone and the S8+ shoot slow-motion video with 240fps at HD definition, which can create some very eye-pleasing effects.

Video playback


Big-screen phones like these two really lend themselves towards video consumption, but the AMOLED display, while superior in terms of contrast and HDR certification (if the need arises), is a bit of an oddball on the S8+. Not only is video watching marred by the slightly curved display sides, but also the new aspect ratio is hit or miss. Go to the YouTube app, for instance, and you will find yourself with black bands on the sides of the screen to fit the standard 16:9 aspect, or with slightly cropped footage in compatibility mode. Even if you are streaming one of the new Netflix series, which are now shot in 2:1 Univisium format, they'd still show letterboxed, even if you download them for offline viewing, and there is no compatibility button for the Netflix app by default. You have to explicitly go to the Full Screen option in the Display settings menu to add an aspect ratio compatibility button for the Netflix app. Upon tapping said button, if the series is 2:1, then you lose nothing by making it stretch and fit the whole display, but if it's 16:9, tough luck, you got cropped. Ditto for gaming, as most titles are done with 16:9 in mind, and need updating to fit properly. Oh, well, “those ahead of their time will have to wait for it in the designated places” (scribble in prison).

Audio


Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus

A large, beautiful screen is just half of the equation, as how these devices sound is just as critical, and the iPhone 7 Plus really delivers. The Galaxy S8+ is capable of producing some decent audio from its sole on-board speaker, but the iPhone 7 Plus stereo sound really blows it away: there's a richer range of frequencies covered, and they sound cleaner, while the S8+ sounds flatter and weaker in comparison.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 0.74
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 0.992
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 80
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 77.4
View all


Call Quality


Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Voices in the Galaxy S8+ earpiece sound a tad stronger and clearer than on the iPhone 7 Plus at comparable volume settings, despite the one on the larger iPhone moonlighting as an amplified stereo speaker. The noise-canceling mics of the iPhone also made the timbre sound a bit more digitalized than those of the S8, but in general the differences were minimal, and both phones handle their talking bits pretty well, though not as exemplary as their price tag would suggest.

Battery Life

Both get you through the day, but the Galaxy is much faster to charge up

Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus

At 3500 mAh, the Galaxy S8+ has a larger battery than the iPhone 7 Plus' 2,900 mAh pack, but the high-res display hangs over the Galaxy's battery life like the sword of Damocles, so it mustered an hour shorter on-screen time during our grueling battery benchmark. Still, those eight hours or so mean that the S8+ will easily get you through the day, unless you are playing Pokemon Go all the time. A weekend away from the charger, however, will be problematic. Where the S8+ excels is charging speed, as it takes less than two hours to top it up, while the iPhone needs more than three hours. Wireless charging is also available on the S8+, and it is the fastest of its kind, taking about two hours from zero to a full charge with Samsung's official charging stands.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 8h (Excellent)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 9h 5 min (Excellent)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 99
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 197
View all

Conclusion


Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus

The iPhone 7 Plus design, in its third year, is getting a bit long in the tooth, and it shows next to that flashy bezel-buster, the Galaxy S8+, and all of its curves. The S8+ doesn't really offer more screen real estate, though, and letterboxes apps and videos made with 16:9 ratio in mind, so its elongated, narrow chassis serves mostly aesthetic and ergonomics purposes for now.

Since the 128 GB iPhone 7 Plus is $870, and the 64 GB S8+ blasts off at $850, but offers memory slot, pricing is roughly on par, so what does one offer before the other for this kind of dough? Well, the iPhone 7 Plus' advantages hover around its dual camera and dual speaker setups, which provide superior zooming and depth-of-field photography, as well as better sound output. The Galaxy S8+ hits back with faster focusing abilities and some low-light advances.

When it comes to software, the iOS 10 edition on the iPhone may not be as feature-rich, but feels faster, and has a dizzying amount of quality apps and services to tack on. The Galaxy S8+ feels newer and shinier, though, plus it offers much faster charging and download speeds, and a higher screen resolution if you are a VR nut. If you are firmly entrenched in the iOS universe, the iPhone 7 Plus and its zoom-y dual camera remain the best you can get there. If you get sold on the shimmering Infinity design of the new Galaxies, however, all bets are off, as the S8+ might be love at first sight, albeit for the novelty factor alone.

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Pros

  • Easier to handle beaut with top screen-to-body ratio
  • Fast recharging, both wired and wireless
  • 1Gbps LTE speeds support
  • High-res, HDR-certified display
  • Feature-rich interface
  • Autofocus front camera

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Pros

  • All games and videos fit the 16:9 display
  • Optical zoom and excellent Portrait mode
  • Richer app and entertainment services ecosystem
  • Stereo speakers
  • Better battery life