Friday 28 April 2017

How Samsung's S7 compares to the rivals

Technology editor Adrian Weckler says Samsung has a tough sell against its top rivals

From left, The Huawei GXb; the Nexus 6p; Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge; Apple’s iPhone 6S and the Sony Xperia Z5
From left, The Huawei GXb; the Nexus 6p; Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge; Apple’s iPhone 6S and the Sony Xperia Z5
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Huawei GX8

Pros: Exceptional value

Cons: Currently tied to one network through subsidy

In a nutshell: Huawei's GX8 is probably the reason you'll think twice about Samsung's S7. It's not quite as sleek or as fast, but it looks fantastic, performs really well and is around half the price of the top-flight Samsung handset. In design, looks and feel, the GX8 feels every inch a premium phone. It's mostly metal, with rounded, contoured edges. The phone's 5.5-inch HD screen is bright and sharp, with a retina-class 401 pixels per inch. Its 13-inch camera is impressive too. It has a fingerprint reader on the back and its generous 32GB of storage is complimented by an additional memory card slot. It costs €350 from store.orange.com or is free on contract with Meteor.

Nexus 6P

Pros: Battery life, screen quality

Cons: A little big for some

In a nutshell: Nexus phones are a treat. They're powerful, reliable and cost a little less than premium rivals. The metal Nexus 6P is probably the best model ever made in the series, although its 5.7-inch screen might be just a little too expansive for some. (It's definitely a two-handed device.) It has an incredibly sharp 2.5k (518ppi) screen, 4K video recording, 3GB of Ram, fingerprint reader and a 64-bit octa-core processor. It 32GB of internal storage and its 12-megapixel camera are excellent, though just a twitch off the very best out there (from Sony, Samsung and Apple). It has superb, long-lasting 3,450mAh battery. Costs €650 from store.google.com.

iPhone 6S

Pros: Design-focused and business-friendly

Cons: Low storage for entry-level version

In a nutshell: For most people, the basic question in choosing a new phone comes down to how it compares with an iPhone. With the exception of on-board storage levels, the most recent iPhone 6S sets a very high bar. Almost all other high-end phones have copied its physical design (from metal rounded edges to speakers to fingerprint readers). But the iPhone has also become the de facto business phone, too: most companies now default to the phone if planning handset distribution or app development. If the 4.7-inch 6S has any weaknesses, it's that the basic 16GB storage level is a bit puny and its battery life is only average. It costs €759 from store.apple.com or from free on contract.

Samsung Galaxy S7

Pros: Very powerful

Cons: Lack of compelling differentiation

In a nutshell: Samsung's newest 5.1-inch phone looks almost very like its last one (the S6), with most of the differences contained under the hood. While the metal body is a huge improvement over previous incarnations (such as the S5 and S5), this is currently the least impressive superphone to look at and handle. It's a different story in the engine room, though. The S7 is bursting with computing power, flanked by the most powerful chip and memory combination on the market. It has added water resistance into the mix, while its camera has reduced the megapixel count from 16 to 12, citing 'bigger' pixels. It costs from €659 on prepay or from free on contract with operators.

Sony Xperia Z5

Pros: Best camera, good battery

Cons: Slow software updates

In a nutshell: Sony's Xperia Z5 is a solid Android alternative whose best points are its extraordinary 23-megapixel camera and its better-than-average battery life. It is nicely designed, going against the grain with a slightly more angular look and feel. The phone's 5.2-inch screen is a retina-standard 428 pixels per inch. This size may be a perfect midway option between the standard 5-inch handsets and 5.5-inch phablets that dominate the market. It has a generous 32GB of storage as standard, with a further memory card slot for up to 200GB of storage. The Z5 is also famously waterproof. It costs from free on contract with operators.

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