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Samsung’s hot new Galaxy Note 7 still isn’t as fast as last year’s iPhone 6s

Published Aug 22nd, 2016 9:51AM EDT
Galaxy Note 7 vs. iPhone 6 Speed Test
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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Yes, the Galaxy Note 7 is gorgeous, and it’s the phablet to beat this year. Check out our in-depth Galaxy Note 7 review if you want to learn about all of the fantastic features that make Samsung’s new phone so great. But the smartphone isn’t the fastest handset around, despite all its cutting-edge tech. It may very well do better in benchmark tests than its Android peers, but when it comes to finally taking down last year’s iPhone in real-world speed tests – something no flagship has been able to do – the Galaxy Note 7 fails miserably.

DON’T MISS: Samsung made different Galaxy Note 7s for US and global markets – which is faster?

At this point, it’s not really unexpected to see Apple’s iPhones beat Samsung’s best phones in real-world testing. We’ve seen it time and again. And it’s certainly not a surprise with the Galaxy Note 7, since it features the same hardware used in the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge.

Even so, it is a bit troubling to see the iPhone 6s dominate its rivals almost a year after it was launched. PhoneBuff put the handsets through a simple test: opening a set of apps on each phone in the same order, and then reopening them from memory, again in the same order. The iPhone 6s stormed past the Galaxy Note 7 in the test, which appears to have much more powerful hardware on paper.

Sure, there are some caveats here. The Galaxy Note 7 isn’t running the latest Android version available, although Android 7.0 Nougat isn’t out yet, so it couldn’t be. Also, I would have liked to see the comparison between the Galaxy Note 7 and the iPhone 6s Plus since they’re both phablets, but that would have probably had roughly the same results.

If that’s not enough, then xda-developers has an even deeper performance review of the handset. In a post titled “With the Note 7, Samsung still delivers embarrassing real-world performance,” the site explains everything that doesn’t go according to plan with the new smartphone.

This isn’t a regular quick video comparison. Instead, xda dives deep into what makes the Galaxy Note 7 tick and finds that the phone isn’t able to keep up with rivals. The Galaxy Note 7 is “trailing behind not just other Snapdragon 820 phones like the OnePlus 3 and HTC 10, but also the year-old Nexus 6P running on Android’s latest preview.”

The conclusion appears to be as follows: “Considering that Samsung packs the cream of today’s processing power with its UFS 2.0 storage, LPDDR4 RAM and the Snapdragon 820, we can begin to entertain the notion that something went wrong with Samsung’s implementation.”

Even worse, there appears to be extra heat coming off the phone when you least expect it. “Not only have we found issues in real-world performance, but some of our writers also came across uncomfortable heat (close to 40° Celsius) while doing mundane tasks such as listening to music or watching YouTube videos on LTE,” the site also noted.

Of course, some of these issues can be ironed out in future updates. But it’s certainly disconcerting to see the Galaxy Note 7 perform far worse in head-to-head performance tests than we would expect for a brand new flagship phone. Read the entire xda review at this link.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.