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iPhone 7 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 7: Which one is the king of the phablet?

The phablets go head-to-head as Apple's new iPhone 7 Plus goes up against Samsung's reigning king of smartphones, the Galaxy Note 7

Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus has one win over Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7: it doesn’t explode. Of course, I jest, Samsung has jumped on its exploding phone problem faster than Usain Bolt on a sprint track and is in the midst of recalling all previously-released phones. However, that doesn’t mean that the iPhone 7 Plus and the Galaxy Note 7 aren’t comparable phones, Samsung’s flagship phablet has been designed to be the best phone on the market right now and that’s the same exact slot Apple wants to claim with the iPhone 7 Plus.

For you, the consumer, what does that really translate to? Which phone is really going to be the device you want to have in your oversized pockets? Well, worry not as I dive into the depths of phablet rivalry, eeking out all the facts you need to know to make an informed purchasing decision between the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. I’d call it the battle of the seven armies, but The Hobbit beat me to it.

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iPhone 7 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 7: Design

Samsung’s Galaxy Note range is renowned for its pocket-busting size and wonderfully large screens. The same can be said of the Galaxy Note 7, but thanks to its edge-to-edge screen, it’s 5.7in display is more than pocketable for a phablet. It also continues with the sumptuous glass and metal design that Samsung has employed since the Galaxy S6, this time leaving enough space for a pleasingly clicky slot for the S Pen stylus to slide into. It may be a big slab of a phone, but up-close this is one real looker.

As with a new generation of iPhone, you’d expect Apple to overhaul the iPhone 7 Plus’ design but no, Apple has decided to stick to the same all-metal flattened pill design that the iPhone 6 and 6s used. Beyond a now Force Touch-enabled home button, a new glossy Jet Black colour option and repositioned antenna lines, there’s really not that much different about how the iPhone 7 Plus looks.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 7

iPhone 7 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 7: Display

Samsung’s edge-to-edge AMOLED display is, on paper, nothing overly special for a Galaxy device. It’s 5.7in across but sports the same resolution as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge’s 2,560 x 1,440-pixel 5.5in display. It also uses the same flexible screen tech, meaning the Note 7 has soft, subtle and lovely curves adorning its two longer edges. It’s also incredibly colour accurate, with perfect contrast.

Apple’s iPhone range has recently fallen behind on display technology compared to Samsung’s devices. The iPhone 7 Plus, however, closes that gap somewhat. It may still the same 5.5in 1,920 x 1,080 resolution Retina Display found in the iPhone 6s Plus, but Apple has injected it with a wide colour gamut support and increased its brightness by 25%.

Obviously we can’t say for certain which display is best until we’ve given the iPhone 7 a thorough going over, but for now we think that Samsung still holds an edge over Apple here.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 7

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iPhone 7 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 7: Features

Okay, so, this could get long if I delve into every single feature both phones offer, so I’m not going to do that. Instead, all you really need to know is that the S Pen has been improved upon from the Note 6’s, Samsung has added iris recognition alongside its fingerprint scanner for secure login, its ditched micro USB for the first time in favour of USB Type-C and it has dual ambient light sensors to automatically adjust display brightness more accurately than any other smartphone on the market.

On the flip side, Apple has finally added waterproofing to its phones – although it’s IP67 rating isn’t as good as the Note 7’s IP68 rating meaning. This means that Apple’s phone can be immersed up to 1m, while Samsung’s can go to 1.5m for up to 30 minutes. Apple has also ditched the mechanical home button for a Force Touch-enabled one and it now has stereo speakers instead of a piddly mono one.

Apple has also decided to drop the stupidly small 16GB model of its phone in favour of a 32GB base model. That’s not the only thing it’s decided to ditch, either, removing the 3.5mm headphone jack from its phone in favour of Lightning Port-connected ones or wireless earbuds.

The iPhone 7 Plus’ new features represent a welcome upgrade for existing iPhone users, but anyone who’s been using an Android phone for the last couple of years, they’re not all that groundbreaking. Aside from dropping the headphone port, all Apple has done here is pull its smartphone into line with the competition.

Winner: Close, but Samsung Galaxy Note 7

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