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Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs. iPhone 6S Plus: Which flagship is best?

Both Apple and Samsung have deviated from their standard phones in the past few years, Apple by offering a larger version of the iPhone, Samsung by releasing an “Edge” phone alongside each device in the Galaxy S series. If you want some good reading, check out our full reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the iPhone 6S Plus. But if you want the quick lowdown on which one you should buy, stick with us: We’ve laid the devices out side to side to help you out.

Related: Galaxy S7 Edge vs. Galaxy S6 Edge: Which edgy phone is for you?

Apple is the well-respected design king, but Samsung’s designers has upped their game over the past few years. But perhaps you don’t care about design, and would rather opt for the phone with the most robust hardware under the hood. Both devices are at the top of their game; read on to find out which one is better for you.

Specs

iPhone 6S Plus

iPhone 6S Plus

Galaxy S7 Edge

samsung-galaxy-s7-edge

Size 158.2 × 77.9 × 7.3 mm (6.23 × 3.07 × 0.29 in) 149 × 72 × 7.62 mm (5.85 × 2.85 × 0.30 in)
Weight 6.77 ounces 5.54 ounces
Screen 5.5-inch LCD Dual-edge, 5.5-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED
Resolution 1,080 × 1,920 pixels, 401ppi 1,440 × 2,560 pixels, 534ppi
OS iOS 9 Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Storage 16/64/128GB 32/64GB
SD Card Slot No Yes
NFC support Yes, but only for Apple Pay Yes
Processor 64-bit Apple A9 processor,
M9 Motion coprocessor
Qualcomm MSM8996, Snapdragon 820 (U.S.)
/ Exynos 8890 Octa (Int’l.)
RAM 2GB 4GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi, GSM, CDMA, HSPA, EVDO, LTE-A Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, HSPA+
Camera Front 5MP, Rear 12MP Front 5MP, Rear 12MP
Video 2,160p 4K UHD 2,160p 4K UHD
Bluetooth Yes, version 4.2 Yes, version 4.2
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Water Resistant No Yes
Battery 2,750 mAh 3,600 mAh
Charger Lightning Micro USB
Quick Charging No Yes
Wireless Charging No Yes, Qi and PMA
Marketplace Apple App Store Google Play Store
Color offerings Silver, gold, space gray, rose gold Black, white, silver, gold
Availability AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile
DT Review 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

When it comes to specs, the iPhone 6S Plus and the Galaxy S7 Edge are very much neck and neck, yet it’s hard to compare them in many cases. For example, while the Samsung device comes with either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 or Exynos 8890 processor depending on the region, the iPhone includes Apple’s self-designed A9 processor. They aren’t directly comparable, but we can look at benchmark tests. And sadly, even that doesn’t really help, at least according to AnTuTu v6.0 benchmarks. On these tests, the Snapdragon 820 beat out the Apple A9, and the A9 beat out the Exynos 8890 — so it really depends on your region. For the sake of argument, let’s just say that the two devices are equal.

As far as storage goes, the Galaxy S7 Edge starts with 32GB versus the measly 16GB in the iPhone 6S Plus, which is really too low for anyone. Samsung’s 32GB of storage is much more reasonable. If you choose the iPhone, you’ll have to pay $100 more for 64GB. The Galaxy wins in that regard, but the iPhone 6S Plus offers a higher maximum internal storage — boasting 128GB compared to the S7 Edge’s 64GB. Samsung’s phone also has a MicroSD card slot, meaning you can expand the device to well beyond 128GB. Internal storage does tends to perform better than MicroSD storage, but you’ll pay a high price for it on the iPhone.

Samsung dominates in the RAM department with 4GB compared to the iPhone 6S Plus’s 2GB of RAM. When you pit the two phones against each other, however, their performance is more or less equal.

As far as overall specs go, it’s a tie, with each device showcasing its own strengths and weaknesses.

Winner: Tie

Camera

The cameras on the two devices may look the same at first glance, but Apple has long been hailed for the image quality of its cameras. Not only that, but megapixels aren’t the only thing to compare.

Both of the devices offer rear-facing cameras with 12MP sensors — Samsung actually scaled back from the 16MP sensor in the Galaxy S6 Edge. There’s a good reason for doing this: Samsung has actually made its pixels larger, which, combined with an f/1.7 lens, boosts the brightness of the sensor, producing much better lit photos. This is especially important in low-light situations. Thanks to the device’s Dual Pixel technology, the Galaxy S7 Edge has been praised for its ability to quickly autofocus on a subject.

The camera in the iPhone 6S Plus is no slouch, of course. But it has a smaller pixel size than the Samsung device, as well as an f/2.2 lens, meaning it won’t let in as much light and consequently won’t be the best for low-light situations.

Despite the fact that Apple devices traditionally offer great image quality, we’re going to hand this one to Samsung. The Galaxy S7 Edge is just able to navigate different situations than the iPhone 6S Plus.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Battery life and charging

On paper, the Galaxy S7 Edge is the clear winner here. After all, it has a battery capacity of 3,600mAh, which is a bit more than the iPhone’s 2,915mAh capacity. In reality, however, battery life is a lot more complex, and depends heavily on the display, operating system, usage, and more. Still, most tests put the Galaxy S7 Edge well ahead of the iPhone 6S Plus when it comes to battery life, despite the fact that there’s more to a battery than its innate capacity. Apple has long been at war with device thickness at the cost of battery size, and while you could probably squeeze enough juice out of the iPhone 6S Plus for a full day’s use, Samsung seems more concerned with getting its users through the day than offering the slimmest device possible.

Throw in the additional technologies Samsung includes in its devices and you’ve got a clear winner. The Galaxy comes with support for the two leading wireless charging standard, Qi and PMA (a standard from the Power Matters Alliance). Either enables you to plunk a phone down on a charging station and immediately juice up, without fumbling for a power cable. Then there’s quick charging, which zips most of the power you’ll need to your phone in seconds. These are solid features that clearly push Samsung ahead.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Display

iPhone 6S Plus

iPhone 6S Plus

Once upon a time, Apple was the king of the smartphone display. When it first introduced the “Retina Display,” the tech world was abuzz with excitement. However, Apple really has backed itself into a corner as of late. The company either has to improve its battery capacity to support better displays — which would likely increase the thickness of its devices — or admit that it has lost its throne when it comes to display quality.

Both devices technically offer a 5.5-inch display, although the Samsung does so only because it curves around the edge. The iPhone’s display is larger when it comes to practical use. As you’ll see, that’s the only reason to choose the iPhone 6S Plus display over the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge’s.

The Galaxy S7 Edge offers a display with a hefty 1,440 × 2,560-pixel resolution, which is impressive on its own, let alone compared to the 1,080 × 1,920-pixel resolution of the iPhone 6S Plus. If pixels alone aren’t enough to convince you, let pixel density do the job. The Galaxy S7 Edge crams 534 pixels into each inch, which demolishes the 401 ppi on the iPhone 6S Plus. Moreover, the S7 Edge features a Super AMOLED panel, which offers deeper colors than the LCD on the iPhone. Regardless, both phones have beautiful screens with sharp colors and crisp detail. The Galaxy is also known to oversaturate colors, which can irritate some people.

The extra edge on the Galaxy S7 Edge is what really gives it a boost over the iPhone 6S Plus. While 3D Touch can give shortcuts to apps, the edge is even more useful with its quick launch apps, contact shortcuts, and other content. Plus it’s kinda cool.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Software and usability

This one’s clearly a matter of personal preference. There’s no point in getting into the whole Android vs. iOS debate here, but we’ll run through the highlights. If you’re more into OS customization and personalization, the Galaxy S7 Edge is probably your pick. The Galaxy S7 Edge deviates slightly from Google’s “stock Android,” offering its own TouchWiz user interface over the top of it, but all that really does is give the phone a different look and bring some Samsung services to the forefront. If you’re like most people and just need your smartphone to act like a smartphone, the iPhone 6S Plus will be great for you.

That touches on an important point — usability. Apple’s iOS is generally considered the more usable operating system, and for good reason. It’s simple, easy to look at, and overall beautiful. That’s not to say Android isn’t a great-looking operating system, but it’s perhaps not as much of a work of art compared to iOS.

One of the most important things you should consider is apps — and fortunately, neither of these two platforms really offers anything over the other. Apple is a lot more restrictive when it comes to the apps it allows onto the App Store, and while that could be perceived as a good thing that keep the junk out, it also means the Google Play Store generally offers a more expansive collection of apps, even if you have to wade through the trash to get to the gold. However, developers write for the App Store first, and new stuff tends to appear there before it shows up on Android, even with those Apple restrictions.

An important thing to note when it comes to apps is that Android phones open you up to software beyond the Google Play Store. While on an iPhone, you can only get apps from the Apple App Store; on an Android Phone you can search the web for apps to download and use too.

We’re not going to give one or the other the winning vote here.

Winner: Tie

Design and durability

Although the Galaxy S7 Edge is a very sexy looking device, the iPhone 6S Plus is an object of understated beauty. The two have very different looks, and your preference is likely to rest on whether you prefer glass- or metal-backed smartphones. Glass is more fragile and picks up fingerprints like crazy, which will annoy germaphobes.

The curved glass on both the front and back of the Galaxy S7 Edge would be expensive to replace if you broke it. Metal phones tend to be more durable, which is something to consider. However, the metal build of the iPhone prevents it from handling wireless charging, a feature that Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge proudly boasts. The Galaxy S7 Edge is also water resistant, thanks to its IP68 rating. The iPhone, on the other hand, doesn’t play nice with water.

The iPhone 6S Plus is a simple phone. It has rounded edges and a plain back with a few antenna lines, a camera module, and the all-important Apple logo. The iPhone stresses symmetry, and symmetry is beautiful. The 6S Plus is no exception to that rule. Perhaps the only drawback to the iPhone’s design is the protruding camera — an unwelcome bump in the midst of design genius.

The Galaxy S7 Edge screams class with its sleek curved edge, and it shows just how much Samsung has evolved over the years. No longer are Samsung devices strictly reserved for the Android nerd. The Galaxy S7 Edge is ideal for the businessman and tech geek alike. It’s also much smaller and comfortable to hold than the iPhone 6S Plus, due to its slimmed down bezels and slightly curved back edges. The iPhone 6S Plus looks like a giant next to the Galaxy S7 Edge — even though they have the same screen size.

When it comes down to it, both of these devices are gorgeous in their own way. The iPhone 6S Plus is more elegant and simple with its durable metal unibody. The Galaxy S7 Edge is sexy, and it can handle water, but the fragile glass can crack more easily. It’s also a fingerprint magnet, which knocks it down a notch in our book.

Winner: Tie

Price

Both devices are currently available for purchase, and the iPhone 6S Plus comes in four color choices (silver, gold, space gray, and rose gold). The unlocked, 16GB version starts at $750.

You’re going to be paying a little extra for that Edge technology if you opt for the Galaxy S7 Edge, with prices starting at around $720 for an unlocked device unlocked. Below are the prices for each of the main carrier networks.

Winner: Apple iPhone 6S Plus

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Overall, the winner is the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. The device may not beat the iPhone 6S Plus when it comes to design, but it still has a great look — one that’s far more durable than the iPhone. There’s also the fact that the S7 Edge offers something that the iPhone 6S Plus doesn’t: an Edge. It may not be the most useful feature for you personally, but it’s a innovative idea nonetheless. If price isn’t really a big obstacle for you, and you’re fine being locked within the Android ecosystem, then the Galaxy S7 Edge is the phone for you. Those stuck in Apple’s ecosystem will find they can’t go wrong with the iPhone 6S Plus, either.