T3 Smackdown: Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs iPhone 7 Plus, Google Pixel XL and Huawei P10 Plus

Samsung's latest and greatest smartphones are here, and we're going to weigh up the S8+ against its main rivals.

As you've probably noticed by now, Samsung has taken the wrappers off its newest smartphones, the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+. It's going to be a few weeks before you can actually get your hands on them, but in the meantime here are the specs that matter.

For this article we're going to compare the larger of the two Samsung handsets - the Galaxy S8+ - against the other over-sized phones on the market, specifically the iPhone 7 Plus, the Google Pixel XL, and another new kid on the block, the Huawei P10 Plus.

Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs the rest: size and design

Samsung is really pushing the boundary between phone and phablet with the Galaxy S8+ handset - this 6.2-inch monster has very little in the way of bezels, an unusual aspect ratio of 18.5:9, and a sharp 2,960 x 1,440 pixel resolution.

That size blows our other phones here out of the water, though they have more conventional aspect ratios. The 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus has a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, and the 5.5-inch Google Pixel XL offers a 2,560 x 1,440 screen, an exact match with the Huawei P10 Plus.

For the biggest screen and the most pixels then, the Galaxy S8+ is out in front.

In terms of overall weight and size, meanwhile, it's somewhere in the middle. At 173g it's heavier than both the Pixel and the P10 Plus, while the iPhone 7 Plus and P10 Plus are thinner than Samsung's handset.

Smartphone beauty is in the eye of the smartphone beholder, but the Samsung Galaxy S8+ is certainly on a par with its rivals from Apple, Google and Huawei as far as looks go, with that distinctive curved screen and minimal use of bezels maybe just giving it the edge.

Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs the rest: hardware specs

Locked inside the Samsung Galaxy S8+ is a Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895 processor, depending on where you are in the world, and that's coupled with 4GB of RAM.

Smartphone performance is down to more than just raw CPU speed, but that processor is faster than the Snapdragon 821 inside Google's phone. It's difficult to compare it against the chips from the Apple and Huawei phones, but the iPhone has 3GB of RAM, while the Huawei P10 Plus has a whopping 6GB installed.

Around the back of the phone is the same 12MP camera installed in the Galaxy S8. Samsung is making big promises about this snapper, but it's tricky to put cameras up against each other without testing them - on paper at least, Samsung has something to rival what Apple (dual 12MP),  Google (12.3MP) and Huawei (dual 20+12MP) are offering.

Battery-wise there's a beefy 3,500mAh pack installed, which compares with 2,900mAh inside the iPhone 7 Plus, 3,450mAh inside the Google Pixel XL, and 3,750mAh inside the Huawei P10 Plus. We'll have to wait and see how many hours of use this gives, with that huge screen to power.

Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs the rest: features and software

There's plenty more on offer with the Galaxy S8+, including a microSD card slot - only the Huawei P10 Plus also has this, though the iPhone 7 Plus and the Google Pixel XL are available in a wider range of configurations. For the Galaxy S8+, there's just a 64GB model, and the rest is up to you.

Like the Galaxy S8, the S8+ has an iris scanner for getting into the phone and unlocking various other features, and this is something yet to find its way into phones by Apple, Google and Huawei (though as always, watch this space).

Another advantage is the IP68 rating for the Galaxy S8+, the same dust and waterproofing that the Galaxy S7 phones had. Apple gets very close with an IP67 rating for its own handset, but Google and Huawei are well behind here, and probably won't survive an extended dunk into any kind of liquid.

As with any Galaxy phone, living with Samsung's take on Android is part of the bargain, and this time around that includes the smart assistant Bixby, which may or may not eventually give Siri and Google Assistant something to worry about.

If you're interested in mobile VR, meanwhile, remember that the Galaxy S8+ works with the latest Gear VR kit, and it's only really Google - with its own Daydream platform - that can compete with Samsung here.

Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs the rest: the verdict

If you're after a huge, big-screen phone with attractive looks and an unusual aspect ratio, then the Samsung Galaxy S8+ is pretty much the best choice now - perhaps that's to be expecting, considering the flagships from Google and Apple are several months old.

Price-wise, the Galaxy S8+ will set you back a hefty £779 unlocked, significantly cheaper than the 128GB Google Pixel XL and the 128GB iPhone 7 Plus  but with half the on-board storage. Meanwhile pricing for the Huawei P10 Plus has yet to be finalised.

With cutting-edge internals, an impressive display, and that new-look, bezel-free design, the Samsung Galaxy S8+ should certainly be near the top of your shortlist if you're in the market for a premium phone heading into phablet territory. The Note 7 aside, Samsung has been on a roll in recent years, which this phone and its smaller sibling continue.

We'll reveal more with our full review of the handset, but based on our first impressions, Google and Apple have got some catching up to do when they release their own updated flagships later in the year.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.