Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs. Nexus 6P
Last year we thought the Nexus 6P made for an enticing alternative to Samsung's more expensive Galaxy Note 5 and S6 edge+. But is the (still cheaper) Nexus a good choice next to the new Galaxy S7 edge? Let's line up their features and specs.
The Nexus 6P is 5 percent taller and 7 percent wider than the Galaxy S7 edge. The Nexus does give you a bigger screen (we'll get to that in a minute) but will also take up quite a bit more space in hand and pocket.
The Nexus is 5 percent thinner, but the Edge has a curved back (and curved front) so its thickness measurement is somewhat deceiving, only counting its thickest point.
The smaller Galaxy S7 edge is 23 percent lighter. The Nexus is still far from a heavy phone, but weight isn't one of its killer features.
You get a fully premium phone either way, either glass (back) and aluminum (frame) on the Galaxy, or an aluminum body with that unique glass bar on the Nexus.
Since we reviewed the Nexus 6P, Google and Huawei launched a new gold color option.
The Nexus 6P's screen is more than 7 percent bigger.
Both handsets have ultra-sharp Quad HD resolution, which gives the smaller Galaxy S7 edge a slight pixel density advantage.
The Galaxy and Nexus each use an AMOLED display panel.
Samsung gave its 2016 flagships always-on displays, so you'll see things like time, date and recent notifications even when the phone is sleeping.
Living up to its name, the Galaxy S7 edge has a dual-curved display that slops off along its horizontal edges.
The S7 edge's battery is slightly bigger (higher-capacity), but there are too many other factors involved in battery life to draw any conclusions from this alone. Stay tuned for our real-world benchmark.
You'll get quick-charging capabilities in both handsets.
Like last year's Samsung flagships, the S7 edge supports wireless charging.
You can't swap out either handset's battery.
You'd think this would be the other way around, with the 2015 phone using the older micro-USB and the 2016 phone the newer USB Type C. But Google and Huawei were quick to adopt the new standard and Samsung decided to hold off on USB-C this year (we're guessing to maintain compatibility with the next category).
Gear VR support
Sure, there are lots of (usually very low-end) Google Cardboard headsets you can use with the Nexus 6P, and after that initiative likely graduates into Google VR (or whatever it's called) later this year, the Nexus 6P will be a good candidate to use with those headsets.
But today far and away the best mobile VR – in terms of both hardware and software – is the Samsung Gear VR, which the new S7 edge plays nicely with. It's trailing a bit behind the best PC-based VR headsets, like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but still a great entry-level virtual reality machine.
Likely designed with the Gear VR in mind, the S7 series has a liquid cooling system inside, as Samsung further distances itself from the absurdly short playtimes (before overheating) in the first (2014) Gear VR Innovator Edition.
One of the Galaxy S7's marquee features is its improved low-light photography. Check back soon for hands-on impressions.
This is one factor (along with pixel size) playing into the low-light improvements in the new Galaxies.
Somewhat controversially (well, controversial if you're an Android nerd), Google and Huawei left Optical Image Stabilization out of the Nexus 6P. Jittery caffeine addicts, proceed with caution.
Physical camera shortcut
Samsung's double-tap camera launch shortcut is back with the GS7 edge. Similarly, you can launch the Nexus 6P's camera app by double-tapping its power button.
The S7 edge should be the faster phone (trust us, it's a screamer) with its one-generation-newer Snapdragon 820 CPU.
If you live somewhere other than the US, China or Japan, though, you'll get an octa core Samsung Exynos 8990 in its place.
The S7 edge also adds an extra GB of RAM.
If you live in the US, all you'll see for the S7 edge (and the smaller S7) is 32 GB internal storage. Thanks, US carriers, for deciding we didn't need those other two options. Who needs choice, when you have such wise and benevolent telecom companies to make decisions for you?
Fortunately the Edge has expandable storage, to make it much easier to get by with 32 GB (which is still double what Apple gives you in its entry-level iPhones).
The Galaxy S7 edge is water resistant, and it uses an internal seal so its charging port can stay open (unlike Samsung's 2014 flagship, which used a plastic port cover).
Both smartphones have fingerprint sensors, but the Galaxy's is in its home button (just like last year's models) while the Nexus' is on its backside, just below the camera.
While the Nexus supports the NFC-based Android Pay (which requires special equipment to be installed at a retailer, much like Apple Pay), the Galaxy uses Samsung Pay, which works with most standard credit card readers.
The Galaxy runs Android Marshmallow with a fat slice of Samsung's TouchWiz UI gooped on top, while the Nexus runs pure (stock, without any customizations) Marshmallow.
The Galaxy S7 edge is set to officially launch this week, while the Nexus has been around since October.
Starting price (full retail)
While the Galaxy should win on raw power, camera, that sexy curved display (if that's your thing) and extra bonuses like water resistance and wireless charging, the Nexus still makes a compelling case for some shoppers at nearly US$300 cheaper. And if you live, breathe and worship at the altar of stock Android, then it's probably going to be your pick no matter what categories it fell behind in.