It is finally that time when we pit the best phones of the year against each other. In 2016, Google launched the Pixel, Apple the iPhone 7, and Samsung released the Galaxy S7.
And if you’re either new to the smartphone game, or simply fancy changing brands, we’ll compare the three phones to see which one is best for you depending on its functions and the type of phone user you are. Whether you use the phone more for work, social media or gaming for instance, we’ll outline the advantages of each of them so you can make up your mind.
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In terms of design, the iPhone 7 has seen the most significant change from its previous version, although it isn’t particularly massive. The size remains the same as the iPhone 6, and it has retained the aluminium curved sides and castings. The one major difference is the removal of the antenna bands on the back of the phone, which many criticised for not being particularly aesthetically pleasing.
The Galaxy S7, too, hasn’t overseen a dramatic design change - although it is larger in size than previous versions. It has retained its sleek look from the S6 (with curved glass) and has a slightly less clumpy look and feel to it than the iPhone 7, but this is perhaps a personal view. One slight alteration to the S7 is the flattening of the camera lens so it sits smoothly on the back of the phone, which does help keep its balance when you’re using it on a desk.
The body of the Google Pixel is thinner than the S7, and whilst it lacks the natural aesthetic attractiveness of its Samsung counterpart, the Pixel still has an understated sense of style. A fingerprint sensor along with the camera is placed behind a glass panel on the back of the phone, meaning the camera has some protection, even if the rest of the phone does have a tendency to scratch more easily than its competitors.
Arguably the most notable feature between the specs of any of these 3 phones is the removal of the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. Instead, Apple has supplied what they have called AirPods, which are wireless earphones. Obviously, this may be a turn-off for some, but you are able to use traditional headphones through the lightning adaptor - although this means you can’t charge the phone whilst listening to audio. This may be a sway towards Samsung and Google’s offerings, but Apple does have other tricks up its sleeves.
One of those important tricks is the iPhone 7’s removal of the physical home button, replaced by the Taptic engine. This creates vibration feedback, meaning the user needs only tap the screen instead of actually clicking, which marginally increases practicality. Apple’s TouchID system remains in place, including a fingerprint sensor for plenty of security.
The S7 still has a physical home button, but it too has fingerprint technology within the button to add a customisable dimension. It retains the headphone jack, as does the Pixel, with Google deciding the to put back-facing speakers on their phone and the headphone jack at the top.
The Pixel only comes in 2 storage options: 32 and 128GB, so there’s no intermediate level such as 64GB for those who want that extra storage for added peace of mind without the need for a huge amount. Nonetheless, the Pixel has a very useful feature in regards to charging on the go: some phones suffer battery drainage if their storage is near capacity, but you don’t need to worry about this with the Pixel. The Pixel operates a charging-on-the-go specification, which provides up to 7 hours worth of power after just 15 minutes of charge.
When it comes to storage on the iPhone 7, there is a greater selection of possibilities. The basic level is 32GB, but the maximum is 256GB, with 64 and 128GB options sandwiched in-between, so Apple is utilising the possible gaps in the market left by the Pixel in terms of offering more storage options.
As for the Galaxy S7, 32GB is the only storage option, which on the face of it narrows their audience. However, it is the only phone of the 3 in question which has an SD card slot. This allows for up to 200GB worth of internal storage, and, despite requiring an extra investment, the SD card can be used as you please. You can pop it in if you suddenly need more space, without the panic of needing to upgrade your phone all together.
There isn’t too much difference in price between any of these smartphones. The 32GB iPhone 7 will cost you £599, the same price for the Google Pixel and the Galaxy S7 weighs in at £569 so slightly cheaper (although the money is made back if you choose to buy an SD card also). In terms of value for money it’s difficult to look beyond either the iPhone 7 or Galaxy S7. Especially considering their water-resistant nature. The Pixel is flashy and has style but maybe lacks the practicality of the other 2 phones, although it will still do the efficient and ‘smart’ job you’re looking for.