OnePlus 3 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

26 pictures

It's similar specs and a huge difference in price, as we compare the OnePlus 3 (left) and Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

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In the last few years, a few smartphone companies have forced us to question paying US$650 or more for a brand name flagship. When you can get a high-end, premium handset for hundreds of dollars less, at what point are you just paying for the brand recognition or (even sillier) social status that comes from an iPhone or Galaxy? Leading this charge has been OnePlus, with its new OnePlus 3 flagship. While not quite the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge's peer, it comes very close for a lot less. Let's compare their features and specs.

Size

Dimensions are very close, with the OnePlus 3 measuring a smidge taller and wider. The OnePlus 3 is also 4 percent thinner.

Weight

Weights are nearly identical.

Build

Somewhat surprising for the OnePlus 3's lower price, it gives you a premium unibody build (the knee-jerk, go-to smartphone design for today's flagship makers). Samsung switches it up a bit, with its glass back/aluminum frame design.

Colors

There's only one color option with the OnePlus 3, but you can customize it a bit with the company's own cases.

Display size

No differences here, as both have large (but not the largest) 5.5-inch screens.

Display resolution

This is one area where OnePlus compromised to keep cost down. While 1080p still makes for a sharp presentation on a 5.5-inch phone (something Apple agrees with), it doesn't give you that ultra-sharp extra something that QHD phones like the S7 edge provide.

Display type

Curved display

The Galaxy S7 edge has a dual-curved display that slopes off on either side, giving the screen another striking (but purely cosmetic) advantage.

Always-on display

Both phones give you the option of using an always-on display, that, when your handset is sitting on a desk or tablet, shows pertinent info on an otherwise black screen.

Fingerprint sensor

Now standard on every high-end flagship, both have fingerprint sensors – and both are below their screens, doubling as home buttons.

Battery

The Galaxy S7 edge impressed in our battery benchmark, but we won't have the OnePlus 3's results until we post our full review (stay tuned).

Fast charging

OnePlus' marketing is playing up the 3's "Dash Charge" feature, but expect only a negligible difference (if that) over the Qualcomm Quick Charge tech in the Galaxy S7 edge. All modern Android flagships are going to charge much faster than iPhones, especially from a nearly-dead state.

Wireless charging

Here's another area OnePlus didn't bother with, as you can grab a wireless charging pad or cradle to juice up the S7.

Charging/data port

OnePlus goes with the reversible USB Type C standard, while Samsung stuck with the old microUSB (likely to maintain compatibility with the current Gear VR).

Camera megapixels

Similar to battery life, we'll have more to say on the OnePlus 3's photo quality before long. The Galaxy S7 edge will be tough to beat, though, as it sits next to the HTC 10 as our current top smartphone camera picks.

Camera aperture (rear)

This could be a sign that OnePlus won't quite match the S7, as the OnePlus 3's narrower aperture will have trouble reproducing Samsung's awesome low-lit results.

OIS

Both rear cameras have Optical Image Stabilization.

Processor

Both phones have the 2016 standard, the blazing-fast Snapdragon 820, powering things under the hood.

RAM

OnePlus went with an insane 6 GB of RAM in its new flagship – one of the few areas (beyond pricing) where it clearly beats the S7 edge.

Storage

OnePlus is only offering one storage tier in the 3, but when that tier is 64 GB, that's a pretty sweet deal (by comparison, iPhones start at 1/4 of that, a paltry 16 GB).

MicroSD

You can play more with storage on the Galaxy, though, as it supports microSD cards (up to a whopping 2 TB).

Water resistance

Samsung is one of the few flagship makers putting strong water resistance in its phones. You can take a dip in a pool, bath or hot tub and bring your S7 with you (and it's also going to survive unfortunate spills into the toilet).

Software

Both run Android Marshmallow right now, with Android Nougat updates expected at ... some point, after it launches.

Samsung has by far the more in-your-face custom UI, though, with its TouchWiz skin. The OnePlus 3 uses OnePlus' own Oxygen OS, which, apart from a few extra features, looks and handles like stock Android.

Release

The Galaxy S7 pair has been around for around four months already, while the OnePlus 3 just launched a few weeks ago.

Starting price (full retail)

If you can do without the Galaxy S7 edge's QHD screen, low-lit photography prowess, water resistance, wireless charging or expandable storage, then you can get one hell of a deal on the OnePlus 3. With the same CPU, more RAM, a premium design and closer-to-stock Android, it holds its own (or beats the S7) in most other categories – for just about half the freakin' price.

Of course most people will buy the S7 edge either in installments or on contract, while the OnePlus 3 is only sold unlocked from the company's website. But it's still worth thinking about how much you'll be paying for the Samsung phone over the course of those two years. OnePlus hit a terrific sweet spot between specs and price point, while Samsung just made a terrific phone that sits in the usual carrier price points we've been conditioned to expect.

For more on these two you can revisit our full reviews of the OnePlus 3 and Galaxy S7 and S7 edge.

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