Comparing Android vs iPhone Graphics

Between software, storage, security, and more, there are lots of important factors to weigh when deciding to go Android or iPhone for your latest smartphone purchase.

But with all else being equal (or least the pros and cons of each balancing one another out), who wins solely in the graphics department?

What They Have In Common

Before doing an eye test, there’s always one caveat to keep in mind: what you see on your screen largely depends on the resources (and effort) of the app developers themselves. Even the best graphics chips (GPUs) won’t make a poorly-designed game look great, which is why you can see even simple slot games on iPhones that sometimes look as visually stunning as those freemium real-time-strategy games for Android you see advertised everywhere.

On paper, the graphics capabilities between the iPhone 7 and the latest Android smartphones (particularly the Samsung Galaxy S8) are negligible. In both, the GPUs are more than capable of running and displaying graphics that would have been thought unthinkable just a few years ago.

Test Results

In a series of seven performance tests by ArsTechnica, the Galaxy S8 edged the iPhone 7 just slightly in GPU performance. Android games generally have lower hardware requirements than iOS ones, however, this slightly higher frame rate can make a big difference if you are using your device as a VR headset.

The Galaxy S8’s graphics chip has just a slight edge over the competition in performance tests. source – Youtube.com/PhoneGeek

The iPhone 7 is generally lauded for its graphics, but usually by less-tech-savvy crowds. However, despite Apple’s claims that the PowerVR GT7600 GPU (the same chip used in the 6 and 6S Plus) is 50% faster, other tests have shown that speed is unsustainable for much longer than just a few minutes.

Future Battles

Android owners know all too well the pain of feeling like their hardware goes out-of-date sooner than their iPhone-wielding brethren, but that soon may no longer be the case (at least in regards to graphics). Announced last week was the ability for Android O-based phones to soon be able to update their own graphics driver through the Play store.

Last month Apple revealed big news of their own, announcing they would no longer use chip designer PowerVR’s technology in two years time, opting instead to design their own GPUs. They’ll surely have an all-star team on the new initiative and it will be exciting to see what they can bring to the graphics arms race.

The Verdict

Like arguing over any other factor of the great iPhone vs. Android wars, the winner is ultimately based on personal preference.

In terms of raw graphics potential, it is indeed iPhone that takes the checkered flag for now. For more practical, sustainable visuals (particularly in VR games), Android is your winner. In terms of the future, we are equally excited by the both companies’ strategies to further push our phones’ visual limitations.

Whoever wins, we’re sure the future will look beautiful.

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