Just like every year, there's going to be a good bit of gnashing of teeth over the two biggest players in the smartphone space. That'd be the new Samsung Galaxy S7, of course, and the iPhone 6s. We're going to take a brief look at them here. Well, some of them. The iPhone 6s Plus, in particular, alongside the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge.
Consider this a preview of sorts. We'll have a greater look at the Galaxy S7 alongside the iPhone 6s, and certainly again later this year when the iPhone 7 rolls around, as it's almost certain to do.
And with that, on to the Galaxy S7-iPhone teaser.
There once was a time when Samsung's Galaxy line potentially could have been mistaken for the iPhone. That hasn't so much been a problem the past few years, and it's certainly not an issue with the Galaxy S7 — especially when you consider just how much bigger the iPhone 6s Plus is. Above we've got the three phones in question. GS7 on the left, GS7 edge on the right, and the iPhone 6s Plus in the middle. With the iPhone's camera lens tucked up in the top left corner, there's almost zero chance of someone in their right mind will get one mixed up for the other.
And that point is driven home even further by the difference in finishes. The Galaxy S7 phones are beautiful, glossy fingerprint magnets. The iPhone 6s Plus is a matte-finish smudge magnet. Pick your poison, I suppose. But the difference couldn't be more stark.
The iPhone's camera lens got a bit of a bad rap for sticking out all of 1mm or so. We've certainly seen worse over the years, but ever millimeter does count. And that's certainly why Samsung is quick to tell us that the camera on the Galaxy S7 protrudes all of 0.46 mm. That's not to say you can't see it — you can — and it's certainly not flush. But it's also about half that of the iPhone, and close counts in this case.
The front of the phones also are an exercise in contrast. While the iPhone gets a little more glossy thanks to the glass screen, the colors — particularly the gold and silver — of the Galaxy S7 give the phones some depth. Samsung's earpieces certainly stand out more as well — Apple's slit looks positively tiny — and the side-by-side sensors look to be a little less haphazard than the 90-degree offset camera-sensor getup on the iPhone.
The bottom of the Galaxy S7 and iPhone — well, they look like the bottoms of phones. Certainly the iPhone crowd will find something to gripe about here, as they have in the past. But for me it's a place for a charging port and headphone jack and minimally useful speaker. (Whether Apple gets rid of the headphone jack with the iPhone 7 remains to be seen. Fifty-fifty shot, I say.)
These two design languages have certainly diverged over the years.
The tops of the phone definitely contrast as well. The iPhone's is far cleaner, with no antenna breaks, no pinhole mic and no SIM card slot. And that the mic and SIM tray holes don't line up is sure to make some folks twitch.
Then there's the matter of the buttons. The iPhone remains round as the day is long. Samsung's back with the rounded rectangle. Both serve as fingerprint scanners, and both generally work really well. Samsung, of course, has capacitive buttons on either side of the home button. Samsung definitely has the edge when it comes to launching the camera with the home button, though. It's quick and easy and negates needing a camera icon on the home screen. (Though there's still one there, of course.) Apple reserves its double-press for Apple Pay. Samsung Pay, meanwhile, lives as a tab-like widget at the bottom of the screen.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the Galaxy S7 and the iPhone 6s (Plus or minus) comes to when you're using the edge model. Samsung's curved "edge" screen brings some additional functionality to the curved edge of the phone — either the left or right side, your call. But along with that it brings a larger display than the GS7 (prime) — 5.5 inches, same as the iPhone 6s Plus, only in a much smaller body — and a pretty massive 3,600 mAh battery, which has about 30 percent more capacity than the Plus-model iPhone, and about 20 percent more than the GS7.
So let the fanboys loose. This is the Samsung Galaxy S7 and GS7 edge alongside the iPhone 6s Plus.