It won’t be far fetched to say that Samsung pulled an ‘Apple-like’ move with its Galaxy S7 this year. The new phone has been substantially overhauled on the inside when stacked against the Galaxy S6, but on the outside, it looks more or less identical. The situation with the Galaxy S7 edge is a bit different, primarily because it has grown in size compared to the Galaxy S6 edge. This makes it a potentially fearsome competitor to the iPhone 6s Plus, which happens to be in the same display size category.
The iPhone 6s Plus is undoubtedly the most advanced iPhone Apple has ever made, pairing the good-ol’ design of the iPhone 6 Plus with overhauled hardware and exciting new functionality like 3D Touch. And even though it is six months old by now, we’re pretty sure that it will give the Galaxy S7 edge a run for its money. Let’s see how the two phones compare.
The Galaxy S7 edge won us over with its more compact size and slick aesthetics. And it is water-resistant!
It’s safe to say that the Galaxy S7 edge is the more attractive of the two phones. It’s not necessarily the more beautiful, as that’s a subjective matter, but Samsung’s new phone easily draws attention from afar. Large part of this is due to the dual-curved ‘edge’ display at the front – it not only looks fancy, but also gives the impression of having no side bezels due to the way the glass edge wraps around the sides. The glass-on-metal construction further contributes to the device’s sci-fi look. In contrast, the iPhone 6s Plus sticks to a more traditional design, revolving around pleasing aesthetics, symmetry, and coherency. Its no-frills aluminum unibody and curved sides are conservative in comparison, but the resulting looks and feel of the phone have their fair share of fans.
From a purely practical standpoint, we are struck by how bulkier the iPhone 6s Plus is in comparison with the much lighter and more compact Galaxy S7 edge – undeniably a win for Samsung’s new pride and joy. Samsung’s curvy phone is leaps and bounds ahead of the 6s Plus in terms of screen-to-body size distribution, as both phones have 5.5 inches of display up front, but the Galaxy S7 edge fits it into a smaller footprint. This is why the latter is a bit easier to handle and more comfortable to use.
Speaking of practicality, neither of the two designs is perfect; they both have their strengths and weaknesses. For example, being dust- and water-resistant is a key design advantage for the Galaxy S7 edge – even if you dip it in water or spill a drink all over it, the phone will live to tell the tale. Better yet, no ugly flaps cover any of the phone’s ports. The iPhone 6s Plus, on the other hand, has a lesser chance of surviving such an encounter. But we’re disappointed to see that fingerprints stick to the Galaxy S7 edge’s glass surface like paperclips to a magnet. On the other hand, the iPhone 6s Plus holds virtually no fingerprint smudges onto its metal surface.
Although it’s hard to discern a clear winner, the Galaxy S7 edge gets in the lead
At 5.5 inches, both the Galaxy S7 edge and the iPhone 6s Plus give an identical allowance of screen real estate. Where the two differ is in the number of pixels packed within their respective panels, with the Galaxy S7 edge winning the race with its 1440 x 2560 (vs 1080 x 1920) resolution. In the real world, however, this supposed advantage has more to do with bragging rights than actual user experience benefits – the screens are just too small for a regular Joe to appreciate the difference.
But how do the displays of the two compare in other areas? Well, the Galaxy S7 edge in its Basic display mode has the upper hand in the color accuracy department, meeting more targets on the sRGB color gamut chart. That’s mostly visible with the various cyan, blue, and purple hues. However, there’s a catch. Basic display mode, despite being more color-accurate, is not enabled by default. Out of the box, the Galaxy S7 edge is set to Adaptive screen mode, which trades color accuracy for vividness and saturation. Similar is the case with the AMOLED Cinema and AMOLED Photo modes. Whether you’ll be bothered by the color infidelity is another story, but that’s unlikely. We don’t have different display modes on the iPhone 6s Plus, but that’s hardly an issue, as its color reproduction is great as it is.
The iPhone is able to hit a greater peak brightness than the S7 edge, 593 vs 493 nits, with automatic brightness enabled. This should give the former the upper hand when it comes to outdoor visibility, although the Galaxy S7 edge also fares well in this respect. And when it comes to minimum brightness, both screens go pretty low – 2 nits for the Galaxy S7 edge and 5 nits for the iPhone 6s Plus – meaning that both will go easy on your eyes in the dark before bedtime. Viewing angles are excellent with both phones, in case you’re wondering.
Lastly, the iPhone is more consistent in its gamma reproduction. It exhibits excellent gamma values across all points of the grayscale, which are rather close to the perfect gamma reading of 2.2 at all times. On the contrary, the S7 edge tends to display the various shades of a tad more brightly than they have to be.