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Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6S: Is there a new flagship king?



iPhone 6S vs Galaxy S7: Apple vs Samsung battle it out for mobile domination

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is now on the market, heralding the next round in the ongoing Samsung vs Apple smartphone grudge match.

Now that our review is in, we can confirm that the Galaxy S7 is a serious contender for the top smartphone crown. It might pack a familiar design, but a faster CPU, improved battery, and a stunning-looking camera could well be giving Apple more cold sweats than the FBI.

Of course, it wasn't too long ago that Apple released its iPhone 6S flagship. Many saw that phone as one of Apple's best ever 'S' devices, so it's not like Samsung has the market all sown up right up until the launch of the iPhone 7.

Here's a step-by-step breakdown of Samsung's new handset and how it stacks up against Apple's current iPhone.

Watch our Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6S comparison video

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6S: Design

Samsung Galaxy S7: 7.9mm thick, 152g, metal alloy, glass front and back, IP68 certified, Black/Gold

iPhone 6S: 7.1mm thick, 143g, Series 7000 anodised aluminium back, Space Gray/Silver/Gold/Rose Gold

The Galaxy S6 was the prettiest phone Samsung's ever made by quite some margin. It ditched the horrid plastic backs seen on past Galaxy phones, replacing them with a wonderfully luxurious mix of glass and metal. The design made the Galaxy S6 look and feel premium.

Buy Now: Samsung S7 on Three (30GB) - £0 upfront, £29/month

However, its design still didn't completely beat Apple's. While the iPhone 6S's design doesn't radically differ from its predecessor, the iPhone 6, it remains one of, if not the best put together phones on the market. true, it may not be as iconic as the iPhone 4 or iPhone 5, but it's a much more pleasant phone to use day-to-day.

It's curvier and somehow warmer than previous iPhones. What's more, with Apple's use of Series 7000 aluminium, it's also tougher than before.

Related: Best Amazon Black Friday deals UK

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However, picking between it and the Galaxy S7 is tricky, as Samsung's made a number of small but important design changes to its latest flagship. The camera sensor bump is gone and Samsung's added a few millimetres to the thickness by adding a slight curvature to the back, reminiscent of the Galaxy Note 5.

This thickening is actually a considerable improvement, making it much more comfortable to hold and less prone to slipping out of your hand. It also means that the Galaxy S7 is a lot easier to pick up from a flat surface, which is an important attribute.

What's more, Samsung somehow managed to make the gorgeous looking Galaxy S7 IP68 certified. This means that, unlike the iPhone 6S, the Galaxy S7 can survive an accidental aquatic encounter unscathed. That this has been achieved with no external signs of 'ruggedisation' - flaps, a thicker display etc. - is impressive.

Samsung's design hasn't really gotten any prettier this year, then, but it has become a lot more practically sound. That's just as important as aesthetic considerations, if not more so, and it's enough to give the Galaxy S7 a win over the iPhone 6S in this area.

Read also: iPhone 7 specs

Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6S: Display

Samsung Galaxy S7: 5.1-inch Super AMOLED, 2,560 x 1,440, 577ppi

iPhone 6S: 4.7-inch IPS LCD, 1334 x 750, 326ppi, 3D Touch

The Samsung Galaxy S7's display is very similar indeed to the S6's. This means that once again it is radically sharper than the iPhone 6S's screen, and once again displays deeper blacks thanks to its Super AMOLED tech.

For those that don't know, AMOLED screens display deeper and richer blacks by electrically charging each individual pixel when generating colours, letting them create blacks simply by turning off the relevant pixels. LCD technology lights up all pixels, even when they're displaying black, making for a slightly washed out grey look. This means that the Galaxy S7, like the S6, has a more vibrant and sharp display than the iPhone 6S.

Of course, some will argue that AMOLED screens tend to be oversaturated, making films and pictures look false and other worldly. But Samsung, as always, offers a number of screen tone options so that you can attain a more naturalistic picture if you so wish.

Related: Galaxy S7 problems

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That Galaxy S7 screen also has a cool new always-on feature. The feature is a low power screen mode that activates when the phone is put to sleep. It offers peek views of incoming notifications and alerts from certain services, meaning you can check who's messaged you without having to fully power up the display.

However, we felt that this always-on feature was a little half-baked, with limited functionality and poor app support. It's a nice idea, but it isn't truly useful yet.

The Galaxy S7's screen also doesn't feature a competitor to Apple’s 3D Touch tech. 3D Touch is a nifty feature that lets the iPhone's screen detect varying amounts of pressure. It can be used to enact a variety of tasks, like previewing emails and websites. For iPhone 6S owners familiar with 3D Touch, the lack of an equivalent feature on the Galaxy S7 could be a sticking point.

Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6S: Performance

Samsung Galaxy S7: Exynos 8890 octa-core/Snapdragon 820 quad-core CPU, Adreno 530/Mali-T880 MP12 GPU, 4GB RAM

iPhone 6S: Apple A9 64-bit dual-core CPU, 2GB RAM

The Galaxy S7 is powered by Samsung's own Exynos 8890 processor in most territories, including here in the UK. Our US cousins get the more general, off-the-shelf (but still highly capable) Snapdragon 820.

Whichever chip you get, it will offer radically better performance than the Galaxy S6. Samsung claims that both will offer 30% better performance than the Galaxy S6's Exynos 7420 64-bit octa-core CPU. The phone's also got a memory upgrade, with Samsung having loaded the Galaxy S7 with a staggering 4GB of RAM.

Related: Galaxy S7 vs S7 Edge

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Our own extensive hands-on time with the Galaxy S7 bears this performance boost out. Games in particular absolutely fly on this phone, whether it's the fast-paced 3D racing thrills of Asphalt or the detailed 2D puzzling of Lara Croft Go.

The iPhone, meanwhile, has the dual-core A9 chip and 2GB of RAM. That combo matched the S6, and even exceeded it in general usage, but Samsung holds the advantage - at least until the iPhone 7 arrives.

Our multicore CPU benchmark tests showed that the Galaxy S7 had a clear lead over the iPhone 6S for high-end tasks.

Related: Best Samsung S7 deals

Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6S: Camera

Samsung Galaxy S7: 12-megapixel, phase detection, Dual Pixels, OIS, f/1.7 lens, 1/2.6" sensor, 1.4 µm pixel, 4K video, 5-megapixel front camera

iPhone 6S: 12-megapixel rear camera, f/2.2 aperture, dual LED flash, 4K video recording, 5-megapixel front camera

The iPhone 6S is no slow poke when it comes to snapping photos. The phone's automatic mode is one of the best we've seen on a smartphone and makes it quicker and easier to take great photos without having to get bogged down in complex settings.

It's only drawback is its lack of optical image stabilisation (OIS), a factor that, combined with its lower f/2.2 aperture meant it struggled to compete with the Galaxy S6 in low light.

The Galaxy S7 widens the gulf in that respect, employing a number of techniques to help boost its low light performance.

For starters Samsung's loaded the Galaxy S7 with a new 12-megapixel sensor - actually less than its predecessor - that's been designed to capture bigger pixels, and as a consequence more light.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S7 tips and tricks

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The lens aperture has also been widened to f/1.7, meaning that much more light can physically enter the lens than with the iPhone 6S. Samsung claims the combination of factors mean the Galaxy S7 can capture 95 percent more light than its predecessor - which much equate to a whole heap more than the iPhone 6S.

Our own snaps seem to confirm this, with significantly better results in dark conditions for the Samsung phone.

But it's not just in low-light performance that the Galaxy S7 camera betters the iPhone 6S. It also has the best autofocus system we've ever seen in a smartphone. It's ridiculously quick and accurate.

The iPhone 6S camera remains one of the best in the business for general snaps in good lighting, in which the colour accuracy and general look is often preferable to the Galaxy S7 equivalent. But overall, the Galaxy S7 is the better photographic tool - especially when you factor in its handy home button shortcut and tweakable Pro mode.

Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6S: Storage

Samsung Galaxy S7: 32GB, microSD

iPhone 6S: 16GB / 64GB / 128GB

Samsung's only loaded the Galaxy S7 with 32GB of internal storage. By comparison the iPhone 6S is currently available with 16GB, 64GB or 128GB of internal space.

So, a win to the iPhone, right? Not quite.

While the additional options are nice, and we wish Samsung had followed suit and offered more, the entry-level Apple offering is pretty much hopeless. 16GB is completely inadequate for a modern flagship phone.

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Also, unlike last year's Galaxy S6, the Galaxy S7 allows you to bolster its fixed storage with a microSD slot. Unfortunately, Samsung has shot itself in the foot somewhat by refusing to take up Google's Adoptable Storage facility.

This feature effectively turns any inserted microSD card as part of the core system storage. As it is, you can shift photos, files, and some apps to the microSD card on the Galaxy S7, but you're otherwise much more limited as to its usage.

Buy Now: iPhone 6S on Three (30GB) – £0 upfront, £32/month

Galaxy S7 vs iPhone 6S: Software

Samsung Galaxy S7: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, TouchWiz UI

iPhone 6S: iOS 9.3

Traditionally Samsung's insistence on loading Android smartphones with Touchwiz has been a key issue hampering their ability to compete with Apple iPhones.

As well as making Android's UI feel a little cluttered, the skin loaded past Galaxies with more bloatware than could easily be counted. What's more, the skin also radically delayed how quickly Samsung's phones could be upgraded to new versions of Android. This is because Samsung needs to tweak Touchwiz to work with Google's code with every new release.

To this day many Galaxy S6 smartphones have not been upgraded to Google's latest Android Marshmallow operating system.

Sadly (but predictably), Samsung doesn't seem to have learned its lesson with the Galaxy S7. It's better than before, but it still has TouchWiz and a stack of unnecessary extra apps. You still get two browsers and two music players, for example.

Some of Samsung's additions are quite nifty, such as the new Game Launcher that organises your games and lets you record footage of your exploits. But they're rarely essential additions to the core Android experience.

Say way you like about Apple's closed management of iOS, but it has let the company ensure device owners are always able to get software updates - so long as the iPhone, or iPad's hardware is able to run it. It also makes for a much cleaner, smoother, more consistent experience than Samsung can achieve with TouchWiz on the S7.

Samsung's managed to do great work fixing the bloatware issue on the Galaxy S7 and should be applauded for preloading it with Android Marshmallow. However, we're certain the upgrade issues will persist. From a pure software perspective, the iPhone 6S remains the better phone.

Related: Best iPhone 6S deals

Samsung Galaxy S7 VS iPhone 6S: Pricing

Samsung Galaxy S7: £569

iPhone 6S: £539 - £699

At first glance, it looks like the iPhone 6S is cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S7, which plays against expectations somewhat. Prices for Apple's phone start from £539, while Samsung's latest will start from £569.

Buy Now: iPhone 6S on EE (1GB) – £75 upfront, £25.49/month

Buy Now: iPhone 6S on O2 (3GB) – £5 upfront, £29/month

Buy Now: iPhone 6S on Three (30GB) – £0 upfront, £32/month

Look a little closer, though, and you'll see that the entry-level iPhone 6S in question comes with a piddly 16GB of storage. Combined with a lack of expansion potential, it's a bit of a lame duck. Samsung starts off with a much more reasonable 32GB of storage, not to mention a microSD slot of expansion.

The next phone up in the iPhone 6S range comes with 64GB of storage, and that costs a hefty £619.

Buy Now: Samsung S7 on EE (2GB) - £50 upfront, £22.99/month

Buy Now: Samsung S7 on EE (5GB) - £25 upfront, £27.99/month

Buy Now: Samsung S7 on Three (30GB) - £0 upfront, £29/month

Of course, at least Apple provides you with such fixed storage options, as we've mentioned above. But you'll pay a hefty premium for the top model at £699.


The Galaxy S7 is an absolute beast of a smartphone that aces the smartphone holy trinity of design, performance, and camera. As such, it's a more than worthy rival to the iPhone 6S.

Samsung's phone features a much better display, a generally more capable processor, twice the memory, and a better camera. We'd still take iOS over Samsung's fussy TouchWiz UI any day of the week, but in most other respects we'd have to give the nod to the Galaxy S7.

However, this isn't really a surprise. Apple's iPhone 6S is already over halfway through its lifecycle as a flagship smartphone. Samsung's real competition awaits six months down the line.

Thanks to Three for lending us the iPhone 6S used in this piece

Let us know how you think the Galaxy S7 compares to Apple’s iPhone 6S in the comments section below.


January 22, 2016, 4:02 pm

Live photo was an Apple innovation? If that is the case, did HTC go to the future copy Apple and then released it years ahead of Apple in the form of HTC Zoe? Why is Apple always allowed to copy what others have done before, and then receive credit for inventing it?

There are other ridiculous things in the article like Samsung copying Apple with two sizes of both phones. Really? Apple owns that too? Also, I have an iPhone 6, and I have a lot of friends with the galaxy s6 (some have regular s6 and some the s6 edge), and the only way I will mistake my iPhone 6 for the galaxy s6 is if it is completely dark to the point I cannot see. I cannot believe that adults are writing some of these things I am reading.

By the way, didn't Samsung have a similar feature to 3D touch through an air gesture in the galaxy s4? If I recall, it was labelled a gimmick by the tech media, and it wasn't because of the method of implementation. I can still recall reading articles about no one will use that and many other things in that s4. But Apple has implemented it now, so it is revolutionary, and everyone that does something similar will be accused of copying Apple. I enjoy a few Apple products, but this thing is getting really silly and childish.

Harvey Wilson

January 25, 2016, 3:07 am

Why would one even want Live Photo, seems like a stupid idea which will just clog up your storage. While on that, will the S7 bring back the SD card. Its a simple way to one-up Apple. For me, No SD card, no purchase...ever.


February 23, 2016, 10:57 am

I do not know how this site can be called Trusted Reviews, this is a very biased and full of mis-information review. Just take design as an example. The iPhones are much bigger and heavier in comparison to both the S6 and S7 series in comparison to the screen size and the power of the internals, like superior and higher resolution screens and bigger batteries. The back of the iPhones are not great with plastic lines and a large protruding camera, not to mention the large bezels. The S7 absolutely kills the iPhone on design packing even more into less. I could, go, through the whole article and pick out similar misleading comments, but hopefully readers can see through the unprofessional review.


February 24, 2016, 8:39 pm

Samsung all the way!


March 4, 2016, 6:09 pm

I'm sorry but pretending that Live Photos is some type of Apple innovation just makes your cred go through the floor. It's Apple's version of HTC Zoe. Live Touch or whatever is just another take on Android's system-wide long press, and Samsung's "gimmicky" Air Touch from YEARS AGO!! Tool


March 5, 2016, 9:15 pm

Besides HTC, Samsung has been offering this feature since Galaxy S4 (May 2013) as well. The only thing that has been changed is its name: peviously Animated GIF, now Vivid Photo.

Anna Lund

March 9, 2016, 12:41 pm

are you high?


March 9, 2016, 2:00 pm

Perfectly level headed thank you. Just look at the facts.

Anna Lund

March 9, 2016, 3:23 pm

I did. and I still think you are high.


March 10, 2016, 12:53 am

You may think you looked at facts but here they are, you must be looking at the wrong place.

iPhone 6s Plus - 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm 192g
Galaxy S6 Edge+ 154.4 x 75.8 x 6.9 mm 153g

Just to explain the Samsung is slimmer, thinner, shorter and significantly lighter.

Just to add, its superior design packs in a bigger screen, bigger battery, better, higher resolution screen, more RAM and base storage, wireless and fast charging.



March 11, 2016, 1:53 pm

this article is not comparing those 2 phones...

this is about the iphone 6s and the galaxy S7...

so yeah, you're the high one


March 11, 2016, 2:27 pm

Actually if you read what I wrote i referred to the S6 and S7 series and iPhones not iPhone. The same principle applies to both the latest iPhones compared to their equivalent Samsung. The iPhones both are heavy and terrible screen to body ratios, especially as the hardware is far more limited or absent. I used tbe larger phones as they have the same screen size, so it is easy to see the point.

Bury your head in the sand all you want, it does not change the facts I clearly and correctly laid out.


March 11, 2016, 2:39 pm

This is literally what you wrote...
"iPhone 6s Plus - 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm 192g
Galaxy S6 Edge+ 154.4 x 75.8 x 6.9 mm 153g"

read what you wrote first then reply. Also the s6 is both lighter and
thinner than the galaxy s7 so idk what you're talking about. Hardware is
also not limited, the specs are built to perform optimally with the
operating system. iOS doesn't need as much RAM as android does.

These are the facts, not whatever you're making up


March 12, 2016, 1:34 am

The original post which Anne referred to stated iPhoneS and S6 and S7 SERIES clearly indicating both Apples and All Samsung Phones in the S series.

The iPhone 6s has a much smaller screen to body ratio than the S7 and screen to body ratio is an important measure of a phones design, especially when you compare what is built in to each phone.

Screen to body ratio S7 to 6S - 70.63% vs 65.71%
Screen to body ratio S7E to 6+ - 76.09% vs 67.91%

The amount of tech squeezed into the Samsungs is a lot more than in the iPhones. Can you understand now, or are you saying the data have quoted here is wrong?


March 12, 2016, 1:41 am

Well i told you what I was referring to which shows how the iPhone is smaller and weights less. Also, yeah maybe there are more internals, which is impressive sure, but that's because android Needs those extras to function on the same level as the iPhone.

what is really impressive is how Apple was able to do so much with so little. iOS and the iPhone hardware are integrated together beautifully.

Both phones have their pros and cons


March 12, 2016, 12:51 pm

Yes the iPhone 6 is smaller and lighter, but its screen is much smaller too, that is why I use the screen to body ratio. The S7 is far more compact for its screen size.

You are joking. Why does the S7 need a significantly better screen to be as functional as an iPhone? It does not of course, it is to give its users a much better experience. Same with wireless and fast charging, waterproofing, removablem storage and stabliisation of the camera to name only a few. The old model already matched and bettered the iPhone in battery life, so a bigger one just makes it better. The fact is the 6s cannot match the S7 in features and functionality, it is nowhere near, neither is it faster or smoother. To sum up you are getting a far better package, in a more compact and modern design for the same cost as an iPhone. Hence my valid criticism of the review in question.


March 12, 2016, 5:24 pm

Why is everyone so butt hurt about comments that don't fully support Samsung here. Bigger issues in the world peeps. Anyway I recently had a go on the Samsung s7 and it is an attractive phone to say the least. Also tried the VR, and that was impressive. Although only for a few minutes as started feeling queesy. Might get one next gen though. Also as an visual effects hobbyist I use the 240fps camera loads which is really cool. Not for everyone's everyday use though. Peace people :)

Bradley Smith

March 12, 2016, 7:33 pm

I have my feet in both camps and I own both an S7 and a 6s Plus, at the end of the day which one is the best phone is a matter of choice for the user or owner of the said phone. My 6s be it 5 months old is the phone I pick up and use first. The phones seem as fast as each other in real world applications and neither one stands out more in terms of speed.

I use both my phones naked and the S7 is very slippery and size wise my old iphone 6 wasn't as slippery so practicality always prevails.

The worst android phone I have owned is an LG 3d Thrill, the best android an HTC M7 until the Zoe feature burnt out the camera module and went purple. The best apple phone is my 6s plus.


March 20, 2016, 3:28 am

it's an APPLE, what did you expect?
others do, gimmick. apple do, INNOVATION!


March 20, 2016, 4:41 pm

Great to see a commenter that has and works with both because I need help! I have an iPhone 6s Plus and am wondering if I made a mistake in switching back lol I do allot of my work through my phone which is dependent on taking pictures! Therefore I need a good camera. I was so highly disappointed in the Samsung S5 camera that I quickly switched back to iPhone as soon as the 6s Plus came out... now I am seriously rethinking it. It takes horrible pictures (mind you my subjects move) and I swear my iPhone 5s took way better pictures! But after trying out Samsung again with the S5 and how horrible it was period not just the camera I'm a bit wary. So I guess what I'm trying to ask is which do you feel has the better camera?


March 20, 2016, 6:25 pm

I own both phones and while the Samsung does have a slighter brighter display the battery life is horrendous. I will be selling the Galaxy and staying with my iPhone 6s Plus which is the better phone overall. I like the feel of it better and iOS is just a smoother os overall. I have also found Marshmallow, like every other version of Android to be buggy and has even shut itself down on a couple of occasions. Sure the Galaxy is a nice phone but I'm sorry it just doesn't stack up to my iPhone, comparing the two is like comparing a GM to a BMW, the GM has some cool features but just doesn't compare to the BMW, same with these two phones, the 6s wins in my books.


March 22, 2016, 11:39 pm

sammy, btw check out the youtube shootouts cuz damn the s7 smokes it


March 22, 2016, 11:41 pm

The S7 is better man.

Bradley Smith

March 25, 2016, 12:51 am

Hi Marsha funny you shoukd say that my wife is a keen photgrapher she has a Canon 5d mkIII camera for her photography and she commented that the photos looked better on the 5s than my 6s plus. These were low light photos but I have taken some amazing photos of nice sunny days in Queenstown New Zealand. Look me up om facebook. Search: secondevidence@hotmail.com Just PM me and i will take a photo on the 6s plus and the S7 of the same you suggest a subject can take a photo of one of my children or landscape just let me know. I enjoy My 6s plus more still thoughit doesnt seem as fiddly as the S7. Hope this helps. Brad


March 29, 2016, 3:02 pm

Just out of curiosity, what possesses a person who already has a current iPhone to simultaneously tinker with owning a Samsung? I'm mystefied by the whole "two phones" thing anyway, let alone that they are from different ecosystems.

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