With the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, Samsung has a more direct alternative to the Apple iPhone 6S Plus, as both have 5.5-inch displays. The S6 edge+ is larger, while the Note5 has its S Pen, and we already compared the Note5 to the iPhone 6S Plus.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge is the newer device, and that’s given the South Korean giant enough time to surpass Apple’s flagship in many respects. It’s simply the more sensible choice for those coming in fresh. And Apple will have to give up on its stubborn avoidance of features in its next iPhone if it hopes to compete.
But each device has its strengths and weaknesses, and much of what defines the better option comes down to personal user preference.
Build and Design
Despite its elegant and modern design, Apple’s iPhone 6S Plus is too heavy for a 5.5-inch device. Weighing 192 grams (6.77 ounces), it’s almost 25% heavier than Samsung’s Galaxy S7 edge, which weighs 157 grams (5.54 ounces), and it is both taller and wider as well. Both devices use premium class materials: iPhone comes with an aluminum unibody ‘cut’ with two plastic bands in the back, intended for antenna signals, while the Samsung phone as a glass rear and a metal rim. Both are robust and credible. However, the Galaxy S7 edge’s rounded display edge looks more modern and appealing that the iPhone’s relatively thick screen edge.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge has a microUSB input, while the Apple iPhone 6S Plus has Apple’s Lightning connector. While USB Type-C is the current standard, Samsung went with the older microUSB port, likely to extend Samsung Gear VR support.
All that aside, Samsung’s biggest advantage here is its IP68 certificate. It’s dust and waterproof up to 1.5 meters and 30 minutes. If durability is a deciding factor, this is all you need to know.
Samsung wins handily. The S7 edge looks better and is more durable thanks to its IP68 certification.
Apart from their display sizes (5.5 inches), all other characteristics are different. The Galaxy S7 edge’s biggest advantage is its QHD resolution (2560 x 1440 pixels), resulting in 534 pixels per inch. This is considerably more than iPhone 6S Plus and its Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels), which results in 401 ppi.
In real use, both devices provide exceptionally sharp imaging. Nobody will complain about the iPhone 6S Plus display. Samsung’s advantage is evident only when both devices are placed next to each other.
Samsung’s second advantage is its Super AMOLED, which secures clearly more saturated colors than iPhone, and a more punchy contrast.
The iPhone 6S Plus display has one important advantage here: better contrast sustainability. Even though black tones are darker on the Samsung model and white tones are equally bright on both phones, the iPhone offers better visibility and has a slightly wider viewing angle when exposed to direct sunlight.
Both devices have their display gimmicks. The iPhone 6S Plus has 3D Touch, while the S7 edge has rounded display edges. 3D Touch is a bit more useful as of this writing, and has plenty of potential.
The Apple iPhone 6S Plus performs better in sunlight, but the S7 edge is a tad more impressive overall. In fact, it’s the best display on the market as of this writing.
Both devices offer exceptionally fluid performance and sport the best chipsets from both camps. Depending on the territory, Samsung Galaxy S7 edge has Qualcomm’s flagship SoC Snapdragon 820 or Samsung’s homemade CPU, the Exynos 8890. It has 4GB of RAM. Both chipsets dominate current benchmarks, and the phone ships with either 32 or 64GB of memory storage, which can be expanded via microSD cards.
The Apple phone comes with Apple’s 64-bit A9 processor and PowerVR GT76000 GPU, and performs well in everyday use, as well as on benchmarks. However, it is equipped with just 2GB of RAM. Luckily, this is not noticeable in practice, and might only be a future issue when developers start creating more demanding mobile applications and games.
The cheapest iPhone 6S Plus comes with exceptionally low 16GB of memory storage, with 64GB or 128GB of storage available on more expensive units. The iPhone does not have a microSD card slot, which means no memory expansion.
Samsung reintroduced microSD card support with the S7 and S7 edge to great applause, and it’s time Apple embrace it. The S7 edge wins again, thanks to memory expansion and its larger RAM.
Although Samsung Galaxy S7 edge has a 3600mAh battery, and iPhone 6S Plus has a 2750mAh battery, the Apple device offers better autonomy in everyday use. The Samsung flagship will just about see the end of the day, with regular use, and Apple’s will last a day and a half, sometime two.
It largely boils down to iPhone’s exceptional power management in stand-by mode. But even when streaming full HD videos at maximum display brightness, the Galaxy S7 edge lasted 7 hours and 45 minutes, while iPhone lasted an hour more.
On the other hand, Samsung’s smartphone supports wireless charging, and its battery takes less time to recharge thanks to quick-charge technology. The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge will reach a full charge in about a 100 minutes, while it takes an hour more for the iPhone’s battery to 100 percent recharge.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge charges faster, but the iPhone 6S Plus lasts longer. Apple wins this round.
Camera quality matters. The iPhone 6S Plus has the best camera of all the Apple smartphones, and it’s a top-5 in the overall market. The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge has the best rear camera on the market (as does the Samsung Galaxy S7 with its identical image sensor) and it provides the same or better results in all conditions.
Both cameras have the maximum resolution of 12 megapixels, which is less than what the previous model offered in Samsung’s case. But this resolution reduction occurred in order to fit larger pixels in the senor, which now measure 1.4 micrometers. This results in better light sensitivity and low-light performance. With f/1.7 aperture lens, Samsung’s phone captures details and colors, even in low light, with minimal noise. The iPhone pixels are 1.22 micrometers, with an f/2.2 lens. The numbers matter here, and Samsung’s is just plain better.
Furthermore, the Galaxy S7 edge offers the best auto focus system among all available smartphones, thanks to the Dual Pixel technology. It’s faster and more precise than all other smartphone cameras, the iPhone 6S Plus included. The front cameras have 5 megapixels on both devices, but again, the Samsung smartphone takes better selfies.
The iPhone 6S Plus camera is good and will please users. But the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge camera is just better. In fact, it’s the best.
Software and Features
The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge ships with Android 6.o Marshmallow along with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. The Apple iPhone 6S Plus ships with iOS 9, but has already been updated to iOS 9.3.1.
Android OS is now polished enough that TouchWiz is a burden. On the other hand, iOS has its gimmicks, but it’s a complete operating system. The application ecosystem is still tidier and better with Apple as well.
Once again, the unique features are incorporated into the display. The S7 edge has its display edge and various edge panels, while the iPhone has 3D Touch. This pressure sensitivity is innovative, but Apple has still not found a way to take full advantage of it and make it useful. Same can be said for the edge panels. It’s a solid idea, which needs to be fleshed out and further refined.
This comes down to iOS vs Android. The winner there comes down to personal preference. It’s a tie.
Samsung has the best 5.5-inch smartphone on the market with the Galaxy S7 edge. Its fantastic design, finish, superior back-facing camera, and microSD card support make it a better choice than the 6-month old iPhone 6S Plus. The iPhone has a better battery, but the Galaxy S7 edge has a better everything else. And its battery is still great compared with the rest of the market.
This is to take nothing away from the Apple iPhone 6S Plus. It’s still a great device, and users who prefer iOS to Android would be wise to go with it.