Galaxy S8 Plus vs. Galaxy S7 Edge: Which Samsung Smartphone has the Edge?

If Samsung’s stylish curves have seduced you and you like big screens, then you’ll be looking at the new Galaxy S8 Plus with longing in your eyes. If you’re due for an upgrade it may just tempt you to bite, but what if your budget is a bit more limited, or you snagged an S7 Edge last year? Is the new S8 Plus worth the extra cash? After all, the S7 Edge isn’t exactly hard to look at, and it’s no slouch under the hood, either. If this is proving to be a dilemma for you right now, then join us for a closer look at the specs, as we pit Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus vs. Galaxy S7 Edge in a battle for your affections.

MoreSamsung Galaxy S8 rumors and news leaks

Specs

The world of smartphones is always moving forward, and newer is generally better in the performance department. That’s certainly the case with the Galaxy S8 Plus, which sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor in the U.S. or Samsung’s octa-core Exynos 8895 in some international markets. The Galaxy S7 Edge has the older Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 or the Exynos 8890. The newer Snapdragon 835 chipset is smaller, faster, and less demanding in terms of power. It also enables faster charging and better download speeds. In short: The new processor is significantly better than the old one. Both phones sport 4GB of RAM, so there’s nothing else to separate them here.

Winner: Galaxy S8 Plus

Design, display, and durability

Galaxy S8 Plus

Galaxy S8 Plus

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Clearly, the S8 Plus represents the pinnacle of Samsung’s design journey over the last few years. It’s a beautifully curved wonder of glass and metal with an impressively big screen. The South Korean manufacturer has been consistently producing some of the best-looking phones on the planet. We fell in love with the S7 Edge, but by squeezing down the bezels and losing the home button on the front, Samsung has managed to turn out something even more gorgeous.

From behind, there isn’t much to separate them, but from the front, the S8 Plus wins all day long. We have some usability concerns about the fingerprint sensor on the back of the S8 Plus, right next to the camera module, but Samsung has mitigated that issue by including iris scanning and facial recognition as alternative unlock methods.

If you’ve been hankering for an all-screen design, the S8 Plus and its smaller sibling look to be about as close as anyone has gotten. The S8 Plus packs a 6.2-inch screen into an impossibly svelte body. Sure, it’s a touch taller, wider, and thicker than the S7 Edge, but look at the extra real estate you get. The S7 Edge screen is just 5.5 inches. Don’t get us wrong: The S7 Edge is one of the best smartphone designs we’ve ever seen and both employ the same vibrant, Super AMOLED technology, with very little difference in terms of resolution, but the S8 Plus is more refined.

Because of the curves and the glass back, both the S8 Plus and the S7 Edge are easy to damage if dropped and expensive to fix. Neither phone is likely to survive a drop unscathed (the S8 Plus even more so), but they can cope with water. The IP68 rating means they can be submerged in up to 5 feet for water for half an hour without sustaining damage.

Winner: Galaxy S8 Plus

Battery life and charging

There isn’t much to choose between the S8 Plus and S7 Edge when it comes to battery size. Somewhat surprisingly, the S8 Plus has a slightly smaller 3,500mAh battery, compared to the S7 Edge’s 3,600mAh, but the newer processor should make it more efficient. On the other hand, the S8 Plus does have a bigger screen to power and that’s always the main drain on battery life. We’ll have to test the new phone out as a daily driver for a few days before we can make a proper call on battery life, but it doesn’t look like there will be a great deal of difference between these two. Our S7 Edge needs a charge every day and we expect the S8 Plus to be the same.

Both support a choice of fast wired charging or wireless charging via the Qi and PMA standards. The S8 Plus is capable of charging slightly faster than the S7 Edge, especially thanks to the USB Type-C port, but again we’ll have to test and see which is better to claim a winner  here.

Winner: Draw

Camera

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Jessica Lee Star/Digital Trends

The main cameras in the S7 Edge and S8 Plus appear to be identical. They’re both rated at 12-megapixels and excel at taking low light photos. All the extras you’d expect are here, including optical image stabilization, phase detection autofocus, and 4K video recording support. The S8 Plus features a few software improvements, but there really doesn’t appear to be much between these rear cameras. The obvious difference is the front-facing or selfie camera. The S7 Edge has a decent 5-megapixel selfie camera, but the S8 Plus has a superior 8-megapixel camera with a larger sensor size, which will help you capture great selfies, even at night.

Winner: Galaxy S8 Plus

Software

Galaxy S8 Plus

Galaxy S8 Plus

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Since they’re from the same manufacturer you might expect the S8 Plus and S7 Edge to offer a very similar user experience, but Samsung has added some extras to the newer smartphone. The S8 Plus will ship with Android 7.0 Nougat and Samsung’s TouchWiz UI on top. The S7 Edge was released with Android 6.0 Marshmallow with TouchWiz on top, but it’s now upgradable to Nougat.

Nougat offers Google Assistant on board, but Samsung has developed its own artificial intelligence called Bixby, which even has a dedicated hardware key. We’ll need to get a closer look at that before we can say whether it’s a killer feature, but it’s something the S7 Edge doesn’t have. We would also expect the S8 Plus to continue to receive updates for a little longer than the S7 Edge, so it scores a win here.

Winner: Galaxy S8 Plus

Price and availability

You can buy the Galaxy S7 Edge from all major carriers and a range of retailers. Since it has been available for a year now, the price of the S7 Edge has started to fall. You can pick one up unlocked for around $500 to $700 depending where you shop. If you’re willing to sign up to a two-year contract, then you can snag one for less than $30 per month with no money down. The S8 Plus is available to pre-order now and will be released on April 21 in the U.S. It’s going to cost you $850 unlocked or around $35 per month on a two-year contract with no money down.

Galaxy S8 Plus

Galaxy S7 Edge

samsung-galaxy-s7-edge

Size  159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm (6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 in) 149 x 72 x 7.62 mm (5.85 x 2.85 x 0.30 in)
Weight  6.1 ounces (173 grams) 5.54 ounces (157 grams)
Screen  6.2-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED 5.5-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED
Resolution  2,960 x 1,440 pixels (529ppi) 2,560×1,440 pixels (534ppi)
OS Android 7.0 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat
Storage  64GB 32/64GB
SD Card Slot Yes Yes
NFC support Yes Yes
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (U.S.)
Samsung Exynos 8895 (International)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (U.S.)
Samsung Exynos 8890 (International)
RAM  4GB 4GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+ Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+
Camera  Front 8MP, Rear 12MP with OIS Front 5MP, Rear 12MP with OIS
Video  2,160p 4K HDR 2,160p 4K UHD
Bluetooth Yes, version 5.0 Yes, version 4.2
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Other sensors Barometer, gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, heart rate, proximity sensor, iris scanner Barometer, gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, heart rate, proximity sensor
Water Resistant Yes, IP68 Yes, IP68
Battery  3,500mAh 3,600mAh
Charger  USB Type-C Micro USB
Quick Charging Yes Yes
Wireless Charging Yes, Qi and PMA Yes, Qi and PMA
Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Color offerings Black, silver, orchid gray, coral blue (international), gold (international) Black, white, gold, silver
Availability AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile
DT Review First take 4 out of 5 stars
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
AT&T $850 or $28.34 per month for 30 months $695 or $20.63 per month for 30 months
Sprint $850 or $35.42 per month for 24 months $695 or $28.96 per month for 24 months
T-Mobile $850 or $30 per month for 24 months with a $130 down payment $600 or $25 per month for 24 months
Verizon $840 or $35 per month for 24 months $696 or $29 per month for 24 months

The S7 Edge is quite a bit cheaper and more widely available for the moment, so it wins this round.

Winner: Galaxy S7 Edge

Overall winner: Galaxy S8 Plus

You are always going to pay a premium for the latest and greatest tech, but there’s little doubt that the S8 Plus improves on the S7 Edge in a few ways. Most prominent is the new design, the faster processor, and the improved front-facing camera. However, the differences are far from major and the S7 Edge is still an excellent phone that’s now significantly cheaper. If you already have an S7 Edge, it’s going to be tough to justify an upgrade to the S8 Plus. But, if you’re buying right now, and you just want the best phone, then it has to be the S8 Plus.

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