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April 13, 2017

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs S8 Plus vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus: What’s the difference?

by John_A

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus were announced at the end of March, bringing two new fabulous flagships to the smartphone party. How do they compare to their competition though?

We’ve put them up against the LG G6, the Pixels and the iPhone 7 in previous features but here we are looking at how the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus compare to the Apple iPhone 7 Plus.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs S8 Plus vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Design

  • All offer premium, beautiful designs
  • All waterproof to some degree
  • iPhone 7 Plus slimmer, but heavier and wider than both S8 and S8 Plus

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus share the same beautiful design with an almost all-screen front, very slim bezels, a solid, premium metal build and a glass rear. Unlike previous Samsung devices, the home button is built into the display rather than a physical button beneath the display and the fingerprint sensor has been repositioned to the rear of both devices, next to the camera lens.

The S8 measures 148.9 x 68.1 x 8mm and weighs 155g, while the S8 Plus is the slightly larger and heavier of the two at 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm and 173g. Both are IP68 dust and water resistant and they both feature lovely curved edges and a dedicated button on their left for launching the Bixby personal assistant. 

The Apple iPhone 7 Plus also features a lovely design, though a little safer and more traditional than Samsung’s two latest. Apple opts for an all-aluminium slim build with curved edges, rounded corners and a the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and Home button on the front, beneath the display. There is a dual-rear camera setup on the rear in the top left corner, making for a little more subtlety than the S8 and S8 Plus array.

Offering a water and dust resistant rating of IP67, the iPhone 7 Plus measures 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm and weighs 188g. This means it is slimmer than both Samsung models, but it is also quite a bit wider and heavier than both and only slightly shorter in body than the S8 Plus, despite the Samsung models both offering larger displays.

  • Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs S8 Plus vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Display

  • S8 Plus has largest display, iPhone 7 Plus has smallest
  • S8 has sharpest display in terms of pixel density at 570ppi
  • S8 and S8 Plus have Mobile HDR, iPhone 7 Plus has 3D Touch

The Samsung Galaxy S8 has a 5.8-inch Super AMOLED Infinity display, while the Galaxy S8 Plus has a slightly larger 6.2-inch Super AMOLED Infinity display, meaning both have a dual-edged screen that pumps out rich and vibrant colours. Both take on a 18.5:9 ratio compared to the standard 16:9, allowing them gain the extra inches diagonally without needing the width, hence why they are narrower than the iPhone 7 Plus in terms of measurements.

The S8 and S8 Plus both opt for a Quad HD+ resolution, which translates to 2960 x 1440 pixels for pixel densities of 570ppi and 529ppi respectively, resulting in super sharp and crisp detail. Samsung also adds Mobile HDR Premium to the S8 and S8 Plus, meaning the two new flagships are compatible for viewing HDR content from the likes of Netflix and Amazon Video.

Meanwhile, the Apple iPhone 7 Plus has a 5.5-inch Retina HD display, which means an LED-backlit IPS LCD screen with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. The lower resolution means the iPhone 7 Plus has a lower pixel density at 401ppi, though we have never had any complaints with the iPhone’s display during our experience with it so it isn’t always about the numbers. 

It is a flat display, though it has 2.5D glass covering it meaning the display joins to the edges of the iPhone’s build seamlessly. The iPhone 7 Plus also has 3D Touch, which is Apple’s version of a pressure-sensitive display, allowing for extra features and functions based on the force with which you press. There is no Mobile HDR though and no Always-On display for any notifications at a glance without turning the full display on, something the S8 and S8 Plus do both offer.

  • Mobile HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10 and Mobile HDR Premium explained

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs S8 Plus vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Camera

  • Dual-camera setup on the iPhone 7 Plus with optical zoom
  • Wider aperture on S8 and S8 Plus for both cameras
  • Higher resolution front camera on S8 and S8 Plus

When it comes to smartphone cameras, the number of megapixels doesn’t directly translate to how good the results are so that’s always worth bearing in mind if you’re buying a new device with the camera as your top priority. A lot comes down to processing and both Samsung and Apple smash it out of the park, delivering excellent image results across their latest handsets.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus therefore have high expectations on their heads, though we would expect them to be met. There is a 12-megapixel Duo Pixel sensor on the rear of both devices, with an f/1.7 aperture, phase detection autofocus and optical image stabilisation. The S8 and S8 Plus offer up to eight times digital zoom.

On the front, you’ll find an 8-megapixel sensor, also with an f/1.7 aperture, along with autofocus over fixed focus and iris scanning capabilities.

The Apple iPhone 7 Plus has already proved it can deliver in terms of camera, featuring two 12-megapixel sensors on the back, one wide-angle with a f/1.8 aperture and the other telephoto with an aperture of f/2.8. It too offers optical image stabilisation and it can provide two times optical zoom and up to 10 times digital. In terms of the front, there is a 7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera with an aperture of f/2.2 and a Retina Flash but no iris scanner.

The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus and the iPhone 7 Plus are all capable of up to 4K video recording from their rear cameras, and up to 1080p from their front-facing snappers.

  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus review 

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs S8 Plus vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Hardware

  • Powerful hardware on both, more RAM on S8 and S8 Plus
  • iPhone 7 Plus and S8 Plus promise similar battery performance
  • microSD and 3.5mm headphone jack on S8 and S8 Plus

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus both come with the Exynos 8895 chip or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, depending on region, along with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. There is microSD support for storage expansion up to 256GB. The S8 has a battery capacity of 3000mAh, while the S8 Plus has a capacity of 3500mAh, both of which are charged via USB Type-C and both of which support fast charging and wireless charging.

According to Samsung, the S8 will offer up to 20 hours talk time or 14 hours Wi-Fi browsing, while the S8 Plus will offer up to 24 hours talk time or up to 15 hours Wi-Fi browsing. You’ll also find a 3.5mm headphone jack on the S8 and S8 Plus, allowing the AKG in-ear headphones bundled in the boxes to be plugged straight in.

The Apple iPhone 7 Plus runs on the A10 chip, with an embedded M10 motion compressor. There is 3GB of RAM and a choice of 32GB, 128GB or 256GB storage, none of which offer microSD for storage expansion. Apple claims the iPhone 7 Plus will offer up to 21 hours talk time or up to 15 hours Wi-Fi browsing, putting it in line with the S8 Plus.

Charging takes place via Lightning, as does everything else including headphone connection as there is no 3.5mm headphone jack. Apple does however provide a Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack adapter in the box so you’ll still be able to use your old headphones as long as you don’t lose the tiny adapter. 

  • Samsung Galaxy S8 preview 

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs S8 Plus vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Software

  • S8 and S8 Plus run on Android with TouchWiz
  • iPhone 7 Plus runs on iOS with quicker updates
  • Both have personal assistants

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus run on Android Nougat with Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface over the top, while the Apple iPhone 7 Plus runs on iOS 10. Different platforms and different experiences, but both are excellent.

Many of the same features are offered across both platforms, but things are packaged in a slightly different way, such as access to settings. Apple is better at updating devices with its latest software builds almost as soon as they are released, while Samsung users tend to wait a little longer following a new Android build so that’s worth bearing in mind if you like the latest features quickly.

Which you will prefer will come down to personal preference, as well as whether you have other Apple devices or you use Google services, but as we said, both platforms are great. You can read our iOS 10 tips and tricks and our S7 tips and tricks to get a better idea of what both platforms will allow you to do.

In terms of personal assistants, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus will eventually come with Bixby, Samsung’s new AI system, and Google Assistant, while Apple has the famous Siri.

  • What is Bixby? Samsung’s smart AI explained

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs S8 Plus vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Price

  • S8 and S8 Plus come in five colours, iPhone 7 Plus in six
  • iPhone 7 Plus starting price cheaper but less storage in base model

The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus costs £779 and it will be available in five colours, though not all will come to each country. The colours comprise Midnight Black, Orchid Grey, Coral Blue, Arctic Silver and Maple Gold.

The Apple iPhone 7 Plus starts at £719, increasing to £919 for the highest storage capacity. It is available in six colours including Jet Black, Black, Silver, Gold, Rose Gold and the special edition (PRODUCT) Red. The Jet Black and (PRODUCT) Red colours only come in 128GB or 256GB storage options though, meaning they start from £819.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs S8 Plus vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Which should you choose?

The million dollar question: Do you pick Samsung or do you go with Apple? Ultimately the answer will come down to which design you prefer and which platform suits you better.

The Samsung devices are all about their displays, offering big screens in a relatively small body, while the iPhone 7 Plus is a slightly bigger device overall, but the front has more than just a screen and even if this doesn’t follow the latest trend, its design will be preferable to some.

All three devices aren’t likely to disappoint though, no matter which you choose. They all offer, or have the potential to offer in Samsung’s case, good performance, great cameras, lovely designs and excellent hardware. We were big fans of the iPhone 7 Plus and while we have yet to review the S8 and S8 Plus, we are expecting great things based on our first impressions.

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