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Galaxy S8 vs iPhone 7: Which is the better phone?

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IF YOU’RE TRYING to decide whether to wait for the Samsung Galaxy S8 before upgrading your phone, the good news is that between leaks, rumours and previous Samsung experience, we have a pretty clear picture of what to expect from the S8 when it officially launches on 29 March.

As with any long-awaited flagship, there have been S8 leaks galore – and while none of the specs below are official, we have them on pretty good authority (special thanks to Evan Blass). They should certainly provide enough of an idea to work out whether or not to wait. [Note: it’s not always clear which leaked specs refer to the S8 and which are for the S8 Plus. Some might be mixed up below.)

So, iPhone 7 or Galaxy S8: which flagship will be king in 2017? Let’s find out.

Design
iPhone 7: 138x67x7.1mm, 138g
Samsung Galaxy S8: 140.1 x 72.2 x 7.3mm

This one should be easy enough to judge based on past phones, and the newest leaks. Not only have we seen a video of the purported S8, there’s also a full-on press render:

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Whether you prefer the design of this or the iPhone will come down to your tastes, but personally, while I’ve always loved Samsung’s curvy Edge phones, it’s going to be a tough sell not having a physical home key. That’s something Samsungs have always had. In the last few phones it had a fingerprint sensor built in, yet still pushed in like a proper button, similar to the iPhone home key. It’s a real shame to lose this, and button fans might be put off.

Otherwise, the S8 has Samsung’s recognisable design language, with that shiny (read: fingerprinty) back panel, which now houses the fingerprint sensor after its ousting from the front. The iPhone similarly looks very much like an iPhone, and therefore like all the other phones trying to be an iPhone (*glances at HTC*) but they never pull it off with the panache of Apple’s original. It’s a slim, stylish, recognisable design, with the fingerprint sensor below the screen in the home button. Where it should be.

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I’m not hung up on the home key, okay?!

On the bright side, it does have a proper 3.5mm headphone port. You don’t get that on an iPhone – not anymore, anyway.

Display
Samsung Galaxy S8: 5.8 and 6.2ih (S8 Plus) Quad HD+ curved Super AMOLED, likely 500+ ppi (the S7 Edge had 534)
iPhone 7: 4.7in 1334×750 resolution at 326ppi

Well, there’s no contest here. Samsung, like Apple, is offering two sizes of the phone, though the S8 and S8 Plus are much bigger than the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. A 6.2inscreen?! That’s as big as my face.

Personally, I love a big phone, but not everyone does – that large size might prove divisive. There’s a reason Apple actually went backwards and released the smaller SE: they know people like pocket-sized phones you can use with one hand. The S8 won’t fall into that category, at least not without one-hand mode and clown-sized pockets.

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However, quality-wise, the Samsung is streets ahead. The curved displays of the Edge line have now become part of the standard Galaxy phones, and that’s a good thing. They’re goddamn beautiful. Not to mention the quad-HD resolution on this baby, and the fact that Samsung – who manufacture screens for pretty much everyone else, including Apple – keep the best panels for themselves. This is going to look incredible with the new Gear VR.

The AMOLED screen on the S8 includes Samsung’s always-on display option, which means you can see the time, calendar and so on without switching on the entire screen. It’s a real battery saver if you check the time on your phone a lot, plus it looks cool.

It seems the S8 will even manage to outstrip LG’s screen-to-body ratio on the G6, which they’ve been talking about relentlessly – the Galaxy S8’s minimal, curved bezels should see something like 84 per cent screen to LG’s 79 per cent. Zing.

If you like a roomy, radiant phone screen, the S8 is going to be the phone for you.

Next page: hardware, software and storage

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