Galaxy Note 7 vs. iPhone 7 Plus: features are more important than form

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Both Samsung and Apple prioritized camera quality, fast and accurate fingerprint scanner performance, and a look that is designed to increase brand awareness. But let's compare the devices in detail.

Hardware component


Apple and Samsung did their best in terms of appearance. Both phones have a sleek design, both rectangular with rounded corners, with a camera module on the back and a Home button on the front. The screen, as expected, occupies a significant part of the front side, and the color of your choice reigns at the back – in the absence of any significant additional elements.

Perhaps this looks in general terms, but nevertheless: the devices look similar as never before. When comparing the black iPhone 7 Plus and the Note 7 in Onyx Black, it is really difficult to distinguish them from a distance of the width of the room from the front. If it were an iPhone in Jet Black, the difference would be even less obvious. This phenomenon is interesting for two reasons. First, it is atypical for Apple to release a phone without the S prefix, which has not undergone any noticeable changes in its appearance. And second, Samsung is very successful in industrial design at the moment.

When you pick up the Note 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the difference becomes much more obvious. The matte black iPhone has a textured surface and is easier to hold in your hand, while the glass back of the Samsung device forces you to grip it tighter to prevent it from slipping out. This is important because iPhone 7 Plus is noticeably larger and its body does not allow you to reach with your finger anywhere on the screen. Apple did nothing to improve the screen-to-surface ratio of the 7 series, and this resulted in a device that is larger than the Note 7 despite its smaller display.




And this display is not just smaller, it has less resolution – 1080p versus 1440p – and the pixel density is as much as 118ppi less. As you can see, it is simply pointless to talk about competition on the part of the screen. Samsung offers more brightness, clearer text and a curved shape for its AMOLED bezel, which literally 'drips' images around the edges of the device. Both displays offer a new 26% wider DCI-P3 color space, which means you can see natural colors more familiar to the human eye. Reds are more red, yellows are sunnier, and so on.

The iPhone 7 Plus no longer has a physical button, just touch-sensitive glass and a fingerprint sensor. This is the Taptic Engine from Apple, similar to what we see in the Apple Watch or trackpad on a MacBook. In other creations from the company, the new vibration motor provides a unique feel that not only accurately simulates the press of a button, but also provides a pleasant, unobtrusive tactile response. In iPhone 7 Plus, this is not a clear imitation of pressing a button. You feel a click all over the body of the phone, which is a bit discouraging for the first couple of days. But this does not negatively affect the operation of Touch ID, which means that it is still one of the best fingerprint sensors today, that is, the experience can be compared with what the Galaxy Note 7 gives in this regard. As a result, the advantages of the new solution can be will be appreciated only after a while, when after a couple of years of active use you will not have to change the cumbersome 'Home' button.

The Note wouldn't be itself without the S Pen, and as in all the years, Samsung has improved its pressure sensitivity and made a number of small ergonomic changes. Maybe you will actively use the stylus every day and be glad that it is, or maybe just pull it out once to make sure that it is there, and then you will never take it out again. Both are fine, but the important thing is that this is a cool tool for its target audience and the company has invested a lot in its development.

Samsung also continues to equip its devices with a 3.5mm jack, memory card slot and wireless charging. None of these features are present in the latter iPhone, and the need for their presence continues to be one of the hottest debates.

Both devices look and feel chic – from the moment you first pick them up in the morning, to the moment you charge them overnight. The quality of both is exceptional, and these devices rightfully occupy a pedestal, rising above the rest of the devices due to their absolute premium.



It makes no sense to compare iOS and Android. Google and Apple are focused on fundamentally different things, you can give preference to both the polished lack of alternatives and the universal variety. Android brings together the different aspects of your applications as much as possible to create a holistic experience. At iOS, each app has its own vibe, and it condescends to communicate with others only in case of special need, even though this atmosphere is pleasant in itself. In general, let's leave the comparison of these systems to amateurs to argue useless.

Instead, give credit to Apple for a carefully calibrated user experience at iOS 10, not least thanks to its own processor Apple. Without going into details, iPhone 7 is the fastest phone today. Downloading apps from the App Store takes place in the blink of an eye and opens faster than ever. In terms of performance iPhone, the 7 outperforms the Note 7 in everything from the smooth transition from portrait to landscape to a split second to launch the camera. Impressive is not the right word, and you can feel it with any software.

For Apple, now is the time to add some required features. What's the point in launching the camera so quickly if the launch itself requires dancing with a tambourine. A double tap on the Samsung Home button is an opportunity to enter the camera application, barely taking the phone out of your pocket, not even deciding what exactly you will shoot. Something similar would not hurt Apple, so far this is not the case, the company has just realized that people need a button to delete all notifications.


While obvious functions are added too slowly in Apple, Samsung does not add to their version Android except perhaps the ability to brew coffee. It is not difficult to get confused in this diversity – there is every operator's garbage, and a retina scanner that works from time to time, and its own application store with its own rules. Some of the Samsung features are perfectly hidden, like the Virtual Reality platform, which is activated only when the phone is connected to the Samsung Gear VR, but not all of them are as respectful to the user.

Samsung and Apple have had interesting software challenges this year. Seeking Perfection Apple pushed herself into a corner when back buttons in the notification bar and design guides were topped with frequent accidental clicks. Samsung still lacks general optimization, but imposing functions, on the contrary, is overkill. No experience can be the only one true for everyone, but it is easy to see how much more people enjoy the approach Apple.



Few of the components of a smartphone get as much attention and controversy as the camera. Smartphone cameras Apple were considered the best for years, but over the past two years, Samsung and others have done well in this field. Apple responded by adding a second sensor and lens to the iPhone 7 Plus, which has a 2X optical zoom (focal length equivalent to 56mm), eliminating digital zoom.

Samsung is offering an excellent 12 MP camera with OIS and f / 1.7 aperture this year. On paper, this is almost the same as a 12MP sensor Apple and f / 1.8 or f / 2.8 lenses, depending on whether you are shooting with zoom. Both units are capable of reproducing a lot of detail and stunning colors, but the unit Apple also shoots in the extended DCI-P3 color space, the same as the display iPhone 7 Plus, which means more natural color rendering. The Note 7's sensor produces very 'colorful' images, but sometimes the colors appear artificially oversaturated.

iPhone 7 Plus

iPhone 7 Plus

iPhone 7 Plus, Galaxy Note 7. (top - bottom or right - left, depending on how you put it)

Galaxy Note 7

A small difference in aperture means a difference in photos taken in low light, the advantage here is usually on the side of Samsung. Night shots with the iPhone 7 Plus are very prettier than what the previous generation allowed, but they still come out noisy. Also, if you are shooting at night, you will have to give up the 2x zoom mode, which is not good. Despite the worst result in low light, the device from Apple does not lose anything in the transmission of motion in night shots, and this cannot be said about Samsung yet. Blurry footage in low light isn't a constant problem with the Note 7, but it can ruin a potential great shot at times.

Whichever camera you choose, you can't go wrong. For a smartphone camera, both are exceptionally good. And the difference in image quality is so small that you can hardly tell which frame was taken with which camera.

User experience


Despite the slight changes in appearance, iPhone 7 Plus is perceived somewhat strange: the 'Home' button does not feel like a button, which does not interfere with the habit of trying to press it. You can try to break the habit all day, you know that when you press you will feel a click with your fingertips, but that's okay. The entire back of the phone now becomes a button, oddly enough. With all the ability to tweak the recoil force, it will never feel the same as the button in the iPhone 6s Plus, much less the smartly crafted button in the Note 7.

The lack of a headphone jack in the new iPhone is as uncritical as the lack of one in the Moto Z, but it's great to see it in the Note 7, and here's why. Using the Gear VR with headphones is an amazing experience, and Bluetooth often means low latency audio, which isn't good for VR. Add to this the fact that the lower resolution and pixel density on the screen iPhone is also not particularly 'VR-friendly', and it turns out that you will not get a decent VR experience on iOS.

It is different with the speakers, here the fat plus goes to Apple. The iPhone 7 Plus has sound from the top and bottom, while the Note 7 only comes from the bottom. This does not affect the quality of music playback for the better, because the sound from the speakers Apple goes unevenly: partly straight in your direction from the earpiece, partly down from the bottom of the phone. In other scenarios, this top iPhone speaker is missing the Note 7, such as when you stick it in the glass holder in the car and run GPS navigation on it.


Nothing beats Samsung's display. Apple can boast of natural color reproduction as much as you want, but the Note 7 is brighter outdoors, darker in a dark room, and everything on this display looks amazing.

This gorgeous display means the Note 7 will outperform the iPhone 7 Plus in terms of battery life on a single charge. The 2,900mAh battery in the iPhone 7 Plus is noticeably smaller than the 3,500mAh in the Note 7, but the Apple manages to get it going an hour longer without straining. The Note 7 lives up to the end of a 15-hour day with a 20% charge or more. Most of this will be good enough. But iPhone 7 Plus at the end of the day still has 28-30%.

Many Note 7 users forget about the S Pen after a week of use, but there are those who adore it. The ability to quickly grab a stylus and write something down is great. Taking a screenshot and scribbling on it is great too. Samsung has gone to great lengths to expand the audience for this feature beyond the small circle of drawers, and it's entirely unique to the Note line. This is one of Samsung's strengths, and worth diving deeper into the stylus's capabilities. The same can be said for Edge's features, which are great if you often need to quickly launch apps or work with your calendar.

Once you find a place for these features in your workflow, then you cannot refuse them. There is nothing in iPhone that gives this feeling, although its overall polishness can itself be considered an argument.

What to buy?


The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is a collection of big ideas that you can customize to fit your needs, and that's what makes it unique. No feature is exceptional, but being able to combine individual ideas and get your phone without compromise and with its own set of features is amazing. And this same opportunity will strain you if all you need is just an 'app box' from which to write a post on Facebook.

The iPhone 7 Plus is more than just a new iteration of the device from Apple in terms of design and software. This is in the full sense of the new generation of appearance Apple. This is a machine that works great as long as you follow the company's vision of how to use it correctly. Apple 'bravely' focused on a concrete experience: powerful and beautiful, but incredibly limited and suddenly artificial in situations in which 'something goes wrong'.

What to buy? Well, if you need a phone to study, customize, know that some features will never come in handy, but always enjoy the overall experience, then the Note 7 is for you. If you need the most powerful device with the most realistic display of visual content, if you are not bothered that it has already been decided for you that no missing functions will be useful to you, then choose iPhone 7 Plus. And do not forget to share in the comments why you made this or that choice.

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