For the past 10 years, Apple has been king of the smartphone space. Since the original iPhone dropped way back in 2017, the iPod and Mac maker has faced growing competition, but always managed to edge just ahead of the rest.
With today's unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy S8, however, all that's just changed. The Samsung Galaxy S8 is the new benchmark for smartphone abilities, a phone that's as powerful as it is beautiful and innovative as it is desirable.
Yes, the iPhone 7 is still a stunning bit of kit, but it's no longer the most exciting phone in the world. Actually, compared to the Samsung Galaxy S8, it all looks a bit, well, normal. Here's why.
1. Its simply beautiful design
Design has always been Apple's wheelhouse. They've long made the most desirable gadgets, and the iPhone 7 is an effortlessly beautiful bit of kit. Compared with the Galaxy S8, however, it all looks a bit bland.
The S8 looks like a piece of the future, with its metal frame and glass back hosting a screen that dominates the front of the device.
By slimming down the surrounding frame and removing the physical home button, Samsung has managed to squeeze a huge 5.8-inch display into a device not much bigger than the 4.7-inch iPhone 7. The 6.2-inch S8+ actually has a smaller overall footprint than the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, and that's just crazy.
The iPhone 7 might be slimmer (7.1mm to 8.0mm thick) and have its new, stunning Product Red colour scheme going for it, but the S8's black, silver and 'Orchid Grey' colour options aren't too shabby either, and its curved edges still give it a unique finish that effortless impresses.
2. That belter of a screen
Again, the iPhone 7's screen isn't bad. In fact it's bright, sharp and bang on when it comes to colours. It's just that like with design, the S8's screen is something special.
Not only is the 5.8-inch panel huge, but it's easy on the eye too, with a stunningly sharp 2960 x 1440 pixel QHD+ resolution that not only makes the iPhone 7's 4.7-inch panel seem positively tiny, but puts its 1334 x 750 pixel effort to shame.
In terms of image density, the S8 is far sharper, with its 570 pixels-per-inch screen far outstripping the iPhone's 326ppi effort.
But it's about more than just the numbers game. The S8 has moved to a new movie viewing friendly 18.5:9 aspect ratio and added in HDR support that, combined with the right content, will bring deep, more immersive blacks and sharper, richer, more true to life colours during your next Netflix and Chill session.
3. Its impressive facial recognition skills
Fingerprint scanners are great, and the iPhone 7's Touch ID sensor is about as good as it gets. Still lining up on the front of the device, it's more accessible than Samsung's rear-mounted offering on the S8 too. Thanks to the new Samsung phone, however, biometric security is moving beyond the tips of your fingers.
That's because the S8 boasts new facial recognition technology, with the front-facing camera able to address the unique features of your face and unlock the device when it sees that you, and only you, are holding the device.
In practice it's effortless, quick and creates a seamless experience that sees the phone unlock as soon as you lift it within your eye line.
There is still a need for inbuilt fingerprint scanners – such as for NFC mobile payments like Apple Pay and Android Pay – and here the iPhone 7 is still king. In terms of general security and easy of use, however, the S8's new face-friendly feature has it beat.
4. It's a phone for selfie lovers
It's fine, you can admit it, you're a selfie addict. So are we, and there's nothing wrong with that. Well, so long as the phone you've got pointing at your face is worthy of that grade-A trout pout you're pulling.
The iPhone 7 is no slouch when it comes to selfies. The phone's 7-megapixel FaceTime camera is perfectly adept at filling your Facebook feed with endless poses. The S8, however is taking things a step further.
It's not the phone's 8-megapixel selfie sensor that's the big deal here though, rather its wide aperture f/1.7 lens that gets the jump on the iPhone's admittedly solid f/2.2 offering. Why does this number matter? Well, the wider the aperture, the more light the camera allows in, and the more light that comes in, the brighter, sharper and deeper the resulting shot.
This is especially key when your selfie sessions are at a club, on a night out or anywhere that's generally a bit gloomy. The wider aperture will transform those once blurry snaps into a gallery of memorable snapshots.
Further appeasing all our selfie-loving ways, the S8's camera app comes with a range of filters, stickers and effects built in. It's not quite Snapchat levels of support, but there's enough to transform your snaps from yet another vanity shot to something truly shareable.
5. Its enhanced customisation options
The Android vs iOS debate is one that will rage long into the night and comes into sharper focus than ever with the S8 and iPhone 7. Like design, Apple has long had the jump on the competition when it comes to certain software elements.
While it remains untouched when it comes to speedy update rollouts, the Galaxy S8's new Android-skinning Samsung UX has the iPhone 7's iOS 10 efforts matched for simplicity, elegance and ease of use.
Where the S8, like so many Android handsets, has the iPhone 7 beat, however, are with its customisation updates. With Apple's phone you can change your wallpaper and... well, not much else.
But the S8 lets you turn this into a phone that's truly yours, with customisable widgets able to be added at will and bespoke shortcuts giving you unique control of your device. What's more, Samsung's new voice assistant, Bixby, is able to offer a deeper feature dive than Apple's Siri.
6. Its versatility
The iPhone 7 is a phenomenal phone. A device that won't leave you wanting while on the move. The Samsung Galaxy S8, however, is more than that. Yes, it's a brilliant phone first and foremost, but it's also a device with variety to its skills.
Paired with the new Samsung DeX computer dock, the S8 can completely replace your PC. Plug the phone into the stylish, pebble-shaped dock, and your phone will sync up with a monitor as well as a wireless keyboard and mouse. Thanks to some clever software skills that see the S8 feature a desktop mode, the phone can now double as a home computer.
As well as giving you big-screen access to all of your smartphone-hosted apps, DeX gives you PC-level access to some of your services, such as Microsoft Word, Google Chrome and your email client. What's more, thanks to Amazon Services, you can even run a virtual desktop through your phone, giving you access to, say, your office's Windows 10 machine while at home.
As an added bonus, out of dock mode, the phone can also use screen mirroring to show 4K videos on the biggest screens in your home. There's also wireless charging skills. That's not particularly versatile, but it is another kick in the teeth for iPhone owners.
You Might Also Like