Samsung Galaxy S8 vs iPhone 7 head-to-head review

The battle is on to be the world's greatest smartphone

Once upon a time, Apple was the undisputed king of the smartphone world, taking the top spot both for performance and for style. Now, however, this is no longer the case; where the iPhone once reigned supreme, the Samsung Galaxy range has emerged to snatch its crown.

Rather than just offering a compelling iPhone 7 alternative, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is a fully-fledged rival for Apple's flagship, boasting comparable credentials - if not slightly better. In fact, with Samsung offering innovations like facial recognition technology, a curved screen and keyboard-and-mouse support, it now feels like it's Apple that's playing catch-up.

Design

iPhone 7Galaxy S8
Thickness7.1mm8mm
Weight138g155g

Straight off the bat, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is a much nicer-looking device than the iPhone 7. Samsung's curved and virtually edgeless Infinity Display is breathtaking to look at, creating a unique and alluring package that the iPhone just can't match. On top of that, there's no unsightly camera wart where the lens housing protrudes from the back.

On the other hand, the iPhone 7's matte-black and red colour schemes are much more attractive than any of the options for the S8, and the aluminium chassis will be much less prone to picking up greasy fingerprints than the the S8's glass backing.

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Overall, however, it's the S8 that takes the cake in terms of design and visual appearance. The iPhone 7 may be nice, but it's nothing that we haven't seen time and time again, whereas the Galaxy S8 feels different and exciting - it's impossible to mistake it for any other phone.

Winner: Galaxy S8

Display

iPhone 7Samsung Galaxy S8
Screen size4.7in5.8in
Display typeIPSAMOLED
Resolution750 x 1,3341,440 x 2,560
Pixel density326ppi570ppi
sRGB coverage95.8% sRGB99.9% sRGB
Max brightness540cd/m2416cd/m2

The Galaxy S8's screen knocks the iPhone 7 into a cocked hat in terms of resolution, with the QHD+ screen running rings around Apple's panel. It's much larger, too, measuring almost 6in across the diagonal compared to just 4.7in.

It's just as impressive when you get down to the nitty-gritty - although the iPhone 7's 95.8% sRGB coverage is nothing to be sniffed at, Samsung goes one better with a whopping 99.9% result. It's brighter than the iPhone 7 to boot, and thanks to the AMOLED panel, it's got rich, vivid colours and perfect contrast. As a final treat, the S8 is one of the very first HDR-enabled phones, which translates to brighter highlights and deeper shadows when viewing compatible content.

The Galaxy S8 takes the crown here, but not on resolution - at this level, the extra pixel density over the iPhone 7's display just doesn't make that much of a difference. Instead, it's the extra vibrancy, colour accuracy and contrast provided by that AMOLED screen that nets it the win. The fact that it's wrapped up in a gorgeous edgeless display doesn't exactly hurt, either.

Winner: Galaxy S8

Specs and hardware

iPhone 7Galaxy S8
CPUQuad-core A10 fusionOcta-core Exynos 8895
RAM2GB4GB
Single-core performance34891994
Multi-core performance56526629

Generally speaking, Apple's hardware is unparallelled when it comes to performance, but the Galaxy S8 comes closer than ever to closing that gap. According to our Geekbench 4 tests, it was more than 15% faster than the iPhone 7 at multi-core operations, and closer than any other phone we've tested to matching its single-core speed.

Under the hood, the S8 packs an Exynos 8895 octa-core CPU (or possibly a Snapdragon 835, depending what territory you're in), with 4GB of RAM. The iPhone, meanwhile, uses Apple's quad-core A10 Fusion processor paired with 2GB of memory.

In practice, both devices feel sufficiently nippy - you're unlikely to notice much of a difference between them unless you're pushing them to the absolute limit, and even then it'll be negligible at best. They really are very fast devices.

Winner: iPhone 7

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