“A three-way among the premium offerings from the big daddies in the smartphone industry”
The holy trinity for the year 2016 is now complete with three of the most anticipated smartphones finally being made official. While Samsung’s flagship, the Galaxy S7 was unveiled in the first quarter of the year, the Apple iPhone 7 hogged all the limelight in the month of September. Now, the Mountain View giant has deployed its arsenal and it’s not a Nexus smartphone this time. Google, in its hardware launch fest, unveiled the Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, which despite being manufactured by HTC, are being marketed as ‘made by Google’. To find out how the Pixel stacks up against the competition, we put it in the bull pen with the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7. Let the battle begin.
Design and Display
For a change, we’re talking about three handsets which look starkly different. While the Galaxy S7 is a metal and glass adorned IP68-certified device with sexy curves, the Apple iPhone 7 continues with the design language its predecessors were bestowed with and offers an IP67-certified sleek metal body with rounded corners. The newly launched Google Pixel takes hints from both the aforementioned smartphones and sports a sleek metal and glass build with a two-toned back panel, which makes it instantly distinguishable. The Pixel does not come with any ingress resistance certification.
Coming to the screens, the Samsung flagship greets you with a bright, crisp 5.1-inch Super AMOLED 2K display that we can vouch for. The iPhone 7 resorts for a 4.7-inch Retina display which now offers richer colours. The Google Pixel gets a 5-inch full HD AMOLED display.
Performance and Software
An octa-core Exynos 8890 chip powers the Samsung Galaxy S7. The iPhone 7 gets an improved 64-bit A10 fusion chip. It’s a quad-core processor but its record breaking AnTuTu score should put any doubts to rest. The Google Pixel, however, gets the very best from Qualcomm currently in the form of Snapdragon 821 SoC.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 ships in two storage variants – 32GB and 64GB, both of which support memory cards of up to 2TB capacity. The new iPhone starts at 32 gigs built-in and goes up to 256GB (with no 64GB model in between). But, in case you’re a data hawk, there’s no way to expand the storage on the iPhone, which is the case with the Pixel as well, which comes in two storage models viz. 32 gigs and 128 gigs. There is good news for Pixel users though, because it comes with unlimited full resolution Google Photos storage for all your photos and videos, even those recorded in 4K.
You are familiar with iOS, Samsung’s TouchWiz UI and stock Android, aren’t you? Go for the iPhone 7 for an advanced virtual assistant, simple UI and seamless operation. Go for the Galaxy S7 if you want a host of interesting and useful features and customisation options developed by Samsung. For a clean interface pick the Pixel, which delivers a vanilla Android experience, and comes with Google Assistant for you to get things done like a boss.
Camera, Battery, and Connectivity
When it launched, the Samsung Galaxy S7 had the best smartphone camera. The Dual Pixel technology, smart optical image stabilisation, and the 12MP sensor worked together like a charm to deliver stunning images. Then Apple came in with its 12MP OIS shooter on the iPhone 7. The company is known for its capable cameras and the iPhone 7 are equipped with the same. The Google Pixel uses a PDAF 12.3 MP sensor on the back with HDR+, which the company claims can create HDR imagery whenever you use the camera, without needing you to switch to HDR mode specifically. While almost all the primary cameras in question should be equally impressive, the DXOMark score, which is a benchmark for cameras, is 89 for the Google Pixel, and three less than that for the iPhone 7. We’ll have to see the camera in action to verify this claim though.
Front cameras for the S7, iPhone 7 and Pixel are rated at 5MP, 7MP and 8MP, respectively.
We tested the battery of the Galaxy S7 and were please with the day-long battery life the phone offers on a single charge. The iPhone 7 gets improved battery life compared to its predecessor, but the reports coming in seem to indicate that it still falls short of the competition. The Pixel has been endowed with a 2,770mAh battery, which doesn’t look that impressive on paper.
All the phones, being high-end offer almost all the connectivity options you expect from them individually. The iPhone 7 does not have an audio jack, though. But you already knew that, didn’t you?
The Samsung Galaxy S7, Apple iPhone 7 and the new Google Pixel are priced at around Rs 43,000, Rs 60,000 and Rs 57,000 for base models respectively. While each smartphone has its own appeal, we’d suggest you go for iPhone 7 if you’re after a simple device which delivers an all round great experience. If you’re inclined towards Android, the Galaxy S7 is still a top-notch flagship. But if you still can’t bear TouchWiz, you might want to wait for our review of the Pixel before you make your choice.