The heavyweights of smartphone have placed their big-screen phone ante on the table. Samsung was first off the starting line with the Note 7. Its explosive start was, literally incendiary. In its haste to gain a few weeks’ head start in the heated run, the Note 7 suffered from a spate of exploding batteries.
Samsung has since issued a recall for about 2.5 million Note 7s and offered to replace them with a non-exploding version, in an exercise estimated by Bloomberg to cost US$1bn.
The iPhone 7 Plus was launched on Sept 7, riding smugly on Samsung’s woes. Apple reportedly sold out its pre-order stocks.
The Note 7 comes with 64GB internal storage and users can expand storage up to 256GB through a microSD slot (which occupies the same space as the second SIM slot). The iPhone 7 Plus offers 32G, 128GB and 256GB configurations and is not expandable.
The Note 7’s styling is similar to the Galaxy S7 Edge and has a curved glass rear, while the iPhone 7 Plus is similar to the iPhone 6 Plus. Its Jet Black variant looks sleek as the seam between the curved screen and the aluminium chassis can barely be seen, although there were reports of flaws – scratches, fingerprints – being glaringly obvious.
One of iPhone 7 Plus’ noticeable features is the dual rear cameras – a wide-angle lens and telephoto lens. With an improved image signal processor, users can use zoom between the two cameras’ focal lengths and digital zoom up to 10x for photos and 6x for videos.
The other noticeable feature is the now-famous absence of a headphone jack. Apple claimed it was to make room for a bigger Taptic Engine which gives a haptic feedback to touch commands. Another purported reason is to make the phone more water-resistant.
However, the resistance is only certified IP67 (it can survive under 1m of water for up to 30 minutes), whereas the Note 7 has an IP68 certification (it can take up to 1.5m) and still has a headphone jack. Therefore, that reason does not hold water.
The iPhone 7 Plus has a slightly smaller screen at 5.5 inches (1920×1080 resolution), compared to 5.7 inches (2560×1440) for the Note 7.
With the explosive issue sorted out, time will tell who gains the upper hand in the current round of battles.