With Its New S7 Phone, Samsung Looks Even More Like Apple

Apple and Samsung phones, which have been looking more and more alike over the past few years, are much closer to virtual twins with Samsung's latest Galaxy S7.

The convergence began two years ago when iPhones got larger, mimicking Samsung's once-innovative, plus-sized "phablets." Last spring, Samsung started emphasizing higher quality materials and sophisticated design, just as Apple had for years. And last fall, Apple boosted the resolution on the iPhone camera, narrowing one of the major gaps it had with Samsung.

With the S7 [pictured above, left], Samsung is lowering its camera's resolution -- you read that right -- to match the iPhone's 12 megapixels.

To be sure, there are key differences. Only the latest iPhones have special features you activate by pressing harder on an icon or link, while Samsung is among the biggest boosters of virtual reality.

It's too early to say which phone is better. Though Samsung announced the S7 on Sunday at a wireless show in Barcelona, Spain, the phone isn't coming out until March 11. My hands-on time has been limited to controlled settings.

And for most users it may end up being a draw -- Samsung leads the pack among Android phones, while Apple has its own self-contained ecosystem, iOS. For many, a choice between the two could come down to preference for one system or another -- and the apps available for each.

For now, here's how Apple and Samsung phones stack up:

Camera

For both, the rear cameras are now at 12 megapixels -- up from 8 for iPhones and down from 18 for Samsung. That doesn't mean Samsung photos are getting worse, though.

In making the change, Samsung adopted the iPhone's 4-by-3 dimension, ditching the widescreen format it had long used. Widescreen produces vertical shots that are awkwardly tall, such that I've had to crop them to 4-by-3 anyway. The...

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