The Samsung Galaxy S8 isn’t official yet, but it will be soon, and there have been so many leaks that we have a very good idea of what to expect. And one thing we know for sure is that it will be one of the most popular phones on the market, rivalling the iPhone 7… well, among the Android fans at least.
That begs the question which is better? We won’t know for certain until Samsung reveals all on March 29 (and even then we’ll need to put some time in with the new phone), but based on the expected specs and features of the Galaxy S8, here’s how we reckon it will stack up to Apple’s flagship.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 is almost certainly going to have a glass back and a metal frame, with the glass on both sides gently curving, to give it a symmetrical look and hopefully make it comfortable in the hand.
The iPhone 7 has a quite different but similarly premium design, with a metal unibody that’s slim and compact at 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm, while the Galaxy S8 is rumored to be 148.9 x 68 x 8mm.
That makes Samsung’s phone quite a lot bigger, so you won’t be able to use it as comfortably with one hand, but if anything there seems to be less wasted space on the S8, with hardly any bezel around the screen – it’s just that the screen is a lot bigger, as you’ll see below.
Still, the iPhone 7 will still be a more compact phone. It’s also one of the best-looking phones around – but the Galaxy S8 is likely to rival it there.
The S8 is also expected to be IP68 certified, making it slightly more water-resistant than the IP67 certified iPhone 7.
Most rumors agree that the Samsung Galaxy S8 will have a 5.8-inch screen, which would make it absolutely massive and leave it dwarfing the 4.7-inch iPhone 7.
And it’s not just the sizes that will differ. The Samsung Galaxy S8 will almost certainly use Super AMOLED, where the iPhone 7’s screen is LCD – meaning Samsung’s phone is likely to offer more vivid, high-contrast colors.
The Galaxy S8 should also have an incredibly sharp screen, with rumors pegging the resolution at 1440 x 2960, where the iPhone 7 is limited to 750 x 1334.
Plus, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is expected to have a curved screen at the edges, while the iPhone 7’s is flat, and the S8 is likely to support HDR content, which the iPhone 7 doesn’t.
It will probably also be a different aspect ratio, at a very widescreen 18.5:9, with the iPhone 7 a more standard 16:9.
In short then, the screen will be one of the biggest differences between the two phones, and one where the Samsung Galaxy S8 has the much higher spec in nearly every department (apart from the more subjective display technology).
But the iPhone 7 still has a high quality display, and not everyone is going to want a huge 5.8-inch option.
OS and power
The operating system is where the battle lines are drawn between these two phones, with the Samsung Galaxy S8 running Android (almost certainly Android Nougat) and the iPhone 7 using iOS 10.2.
Both phones should be tremendously powerful though. We know for a fact that the iPhone 7 is the most grunt-worthy handset from Apple yet, with its Apple A10 Fusion chip and 2GB of RAM.
The Galaxy S8, meanwhile, is rumored to ship with 4GB of RAM and either a Snapdragon 835 chipset (in the US) or an Exynos 8895 one (in most other places).
Those are both top-end chips, so we expect silky smooth performance in both and perhaps Samsung to at least match the iPhone in terms of screen response under the finger.
We’re not as certain about the Samsung Galaxy S8’s camera as some aspects of it, but most recent rumors point to it being a 12MP single-lens one.
In fact, it sounds like it might be the same camera as the Samsung Galaxy S7 has, which is a good sensor but might not hold up against the best in 2017.
The iPhone 7’s camera is no slouch either. It’s a 12MP one too, and benefits from optical image stabilization, which we’d expect the Samsung Galaxy S8 will as well.
The S8 may be more capable at slow motion shooting though, with one rumor suggesting it will be able to shoot in slow motion at 1000fps (frames per second), where the iPhone 7 can only manage 240fps.
The Galaxy S8’s front-facing camera might also be slightly more capable, with rumors suggesting it will be 8MP, where the iPhone 7’s is 7MP.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 will probably have a 3,000mAh battery. That would make it a lot bigger than the iPhone 7’s 1,960mAh battery, but then the S8 is sure to be a much bigger phone with a high-intensity screen, so it will need more juice.
We can’t predict exactly how long-lasting it will be, but the iPhone 7 requires a daily charge, and sometimes doesn’t even make it through until bedtime, so the Samsung Galaxy S8 has a good chance of going further daily.
The S8 is also sure to support fast charging. The iPhone 7 can also charge quickly, but only if you plug it in to a 2.1A iPad charger, rather than the plug that comes with the phone.
We don’t yet know what the Samsung Galaxy S8 will cost, but rumors put it at around $845/£695/AU$1,115.
The iPhone 7 meanwhile starts at $649/£599/AU$1,079. That would make the Samsung Galaxy S8 significantly more expensive than Apple’s flagship, but then again it’s rumored that there might be 64GB of storage in the base model, while the iPhone 7 starts with 32GB of storage.
There is no 64GB iPhone 7 model, but even the 128GB one comes in at $749/£699/AU$1,229, which is comparable in the UK and still cheaper than the rumored S8 price in the US.
The iPhone 7 is one of the best phones on the planet, and we have little doubt that the Samsung Galaxy S8 will be too, but they’re very different propositions.
Beyond the obvious operating system differences, the Galaxy S8 is likely to have a larger, sharper and probably better screen, a very different – but similarly premium – design, and a probably higher price tag.
Differences in the camera and performance may be harder to spot, and battery life remains something of an unknown until we run it through our full… ahem… battery of tests.
Going purely by specs the Samsung Galaxy S8 looks to be the slightly more powerful phone – but the spec list isn’t everything, and you may have to pay an eye-watering price to get it.