Galaxy S7 edge versus OnePlus 2

Mobile World Congress

OnePlus billed its flagship phone to be a "2016 Flagship Killer," and now that we're in that year and the big names are announcing their latest phones it's time to take it up on its assertion. The Galaxy S7 edge offers a lot in terms of specs and features, and is undeniably the flagship phone for Samsung — so let's see how these two compare at a glance.

Looking at these phones together, you notice two things: They've almost the same size, and they're on divergent hardware design paths. With 5.5-inch screens and a pretty traditional button layout they each take up a decent amount of space in your hand and pocket, but the smooth curves of the Galaxy S7 edge are in contrast to the sharper lines of the OnePlus 2. All around the phones you'll see examples of smoothly-rounded edges (including the screen itself) on the GS7 edge where materials meet, while the OnePlus 2 has a flatter approach on its sides, back and front glass.

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The Galaxy S7 edge has us worried about usability with its copious amounts of curved glass and little other substance to wrap your hand around, and while the OnePlus 2 is definitely angular — and just a touch larger in each dimension — it's saved by the extra grip of its "Sandstone" back (if you choose it over a wood one). Both have the same placement of a good one-touch fingerprint sensor, and we can't have any discussion about the OnePlus 2's hardware without mentioning the wonderful Alert Slider on the left edge.

When you look at these phones from the front, you're immediately drawn to the brilliance of the Galaxy S7 edge's display. Curves aside, the QHD Super AMOLED panel is just fantastic, whether you're talking colors, brightness, viewing angles or pixel density. While the OnePlus 2 has a very solid display in its own right, the 1080p panel doesn't offer what Samsung does — and while that's a downer for the Flagship Killer, it's understandable that it doesn't meet the quality of the best display on the market right now.

While we're here, it's worth a head-to-head specs comparison to know what we're dealing with internally. The Galaxy S7 edge comes out ahead with a higher-resolution display, newer processor, an SD card slot, better camera specs and a few other niceties like NFC, quick charging and waterproofing. On the other side, the OnePlus 2 offers more internal storage, forward-looking USB-C port and hardware customization with swappable back covers. Here's the full breakdown:

Category Galaxy S7 edge OnePlus 2
Operating System Android 6.0 Android 5.1.1
Display 5.5-inch 2560x1440
Dual edge screen
Gorilla Glass 4
5.5-inch 1920x1080
In-cell touch
Gorilla Glass
Processor Quad-core Snapdragon 820
or Octa-core Samsung Exynos
Octa-core Snapdragon 810
Storage 32GB 16 or 64GB
Expandable microSD up to 200GB No
RAM 4GB 3 or 4GB
Rear Camera 12MP f/1.7
1.4-micron pixels
OIS, Dual Pixel PDAF, LED flash
13MP f/2.0
6 lenses, OIS, laser focus, dual-LED flash
Front Camera 5MP f/1.7 5MP
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 ac MIMO
Bluetooth v4.2 LE
ANT+, USB 2.0, NFC
Wi-Fi 802.11ac MIMO
Bluetooth v4.1, USB 2.0
Charging micro-USB
Fast charging
Qi wireless
Powermat wireless
Battery 3600 mAh
3300 mAh
Water resistance IP68 rating No
Security One-touch fingerprint sensor
Samsung KNOX
One-touch fingerprint sensor
Dimensions 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm 151.8 x 74.9 x 9.85 mm
Weight 157g 175 g

(Editor's note: This post initially incorrectly listed the Galaxy S7 edge's battery as 3000, not 3600, mAh. The error has been fixed.)

Of course this isn't all a hardware show, there's software involved here too. The Galaxy S7 edge is the first in Samsung's lineup to launch with Marshmallow, though we've previously seen looks at what was in store for us via updates to its previous phones. This is very much still Samsung software, though once again we have a few new features and further progression away from the bright and bold software of yesteryear. You also now have the inherent improvements of the latest version of Android.

Though the update is on its way by the end of March, Marshmallow for the OnePlus 2 hasn't rolled out to the masses just yet and we're sitting on Android 5.1.1 still. That being said, there's a lot to like about what OnePlus calls OxygenOS — you get a roughly stock experience here, with just a handful of good improvements that definitely add to the experience and won't ever get in the way. But things just aren't as polished here as we'd like, and the software shortcomings are perhaps most evidenced in areas like camera performance.

Galaxy S7 edge versus OnePlus 2

So which one of these phones takes the cake, and kills off the other flagship? Well, we'll have to spend more time with the Galaxy S7 edge to know the answer to that question definitively. Right now the latest curvy phone from Samsung looks to have the lead on the device from OnePlus launched last year with very lofty standards.