This week speculation about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone is winning the rumor wars. So, based on the rumors, how might it stack up against an iPhone 7?
For the uninitiated, the Galaxy S7 is expected to be Samsung’s next-generation flagship phone slated to roll out on Feb. 21. The iPhone 7 isn’t due until later this year, probably in the fall.
Battery: long battery life is at or near the top of the list as a must for a best-selling smartphone. With that in mind, Samsung may opt for a large battery on the S7 Edge, according to 9to5Google, which cites an FCC filing for the information in a recent report. The bigger battery would give the S7 Edge (the Edge variant of the phone sports the trademark curved-edge display), one of the highest battery capacities on the market. The current-generation Galaxy S6 has been criticized for lackluster battery life. This was underscored when Android Central asked readers what they wanted to “see most” on the Galaxy S7. The most-requested improvement was battery life.
Related: iPhone 7 rumored to wow with killer camera, reports say
Design: based on what could be leaked photos, cosmetic changes may be on tap. That includes adopting the curved back found on the Galaxy Note 5. Other possible tweaks include a camera that is nearly flush with the back of the device. Improved dust and water resistance may also be in the cards.
Other: cases that feature, for example, a battery and a wireless charging kit. A keyboard cover is possible as well, likely similar to the Galaxy Note 5.
Typical upgrades: Samsung’s smartphone cameras are among the best so it is highly likely – if not a certainty – that the Galaxy S7 will be a step up in image and/or video quality. Rumors right now point to an improved camera sensor that would, among other things, boost low-light shots. Other excepted upgrades include a new Samsung Exynos octa-core (8 core) processor, with some versions of the phone using a Qualcomm chip.
Variants: In addition to the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge there could also be an S7 Edge+ with a larger screen size. Currently, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge use a 5.1-inch display (2,560-by-1,440 pixel displays with 577 pixels per inch) and the S6 Edge+ has a 5.7-inch display.
Camera: reports point to an innovative new camera, possibly one with a dual-lens. Apple could tap technology from LinX Imaging, a company it acquired last year. LinX claims its dual-camera technology can boost image quality to match standalone digital cameras. Other improvements that could come with a dual-lens camera include optical zoom, another feature standard on standalone digital cameras but not currently offered on the iPhone.
Headphone jack jettisoned: this is another defining feature rumored for the iPhone 7. Getting rid of the 3.5mm headphone would open the door to all sorts of possibilities. Rumors point to an Apple Lightning connector or Apple could offer wireless headphones based on Beats technology it is developing now.
Typical upgrades: Like Samsung, Apple consistently upgrades the processor for every new version of the iPhone. Battery life could remain roughly the same but with a faster processor. Or battery life could improve more substantially -- but that would require sacrifices in other areas, which Apple may not be willing to do.
Conclusion: Apple and Samsung will continue to compete fiercely on camera tech, performance, battery life, and physical design. Over the last few years, most reviews give both phones high marks. We'll see if the balance of power shifts with the next generation of phones.