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Samsung Galaxy S7 - A hands on review

prophet

 

 

 

Yesterday (March 11th 2016) was the day the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge were released and you can bet thousands were excited for it. Especially after the Mobile World Congress event revealed the phones but is it actually any better than the Galaxy S6, is it worth an upgrade, how does it compare to other smartphones in the market and should you buy it? I’ve had first hand experience with the S7 for the last few days so if you’re wondering if it’s good enough to upgrade or just interested in its features then read on.

 

IN THE BOX

 

The box is very nice and has a premium look and feel to it, an improvement Samsung have made for sure. The contents inside however reminded me exactly how Apple do it. The way the sim pin is stored and how the manuals are all placed in a mini card-type folder is presented in the exact same way Apple do it with their iPhones. Samsung must have had some inspiration but that’s OK, I just thought I’d mention it because the packaging was so familiar to me as a primary iPhone user it was almost like I was unboxing an iPhone.

 

 

 

Inside the box you get:

 

  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • Quick Start Guide / Regional Lock Guide / How to transfer content via the USB Connector / Warranty Card
  • Sim Pin
  • Power Adapter
  • USB Cable
  • USB connector (used to connect another device to your S7 for file transfer purposes)
  • Headphones

 

TECH SPECS

 

  • 64 Bit Octa Core Processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB Internal Memory
  • 5.1” Quad HD sAMOLED Display
  • Dual Pixel Camera (5MP Front / 12MP Rear)
  • IP68 Water & Dust Resistant
  • Supports Wireless Charging (charging pad required and sold separately)
  • KNOX Protected

 

DESIGN

 

If you think the Samsung S7 looks exactly like the S6 then you’re perfectly right because it is. The design has remained the same, with the premium glass and metal finish being reused. However, there is a difference that is very subtle but really does make the phone look better; the home key no longer has a metal rim around it, allowing the button to blend in with the rest of the phone quite nicely. It certainly looks cleaner even if it is a very small difference.

 

 

 

The size of the S7 is also identical to its predecessor at 5.1”. However, a small amount of the bezel that surrounds the screen has been removed, making it less wide and reducing its height to 142.4mm x 69.6mm. Again, this isn’t too noticeable but makes a difference to the feel of the phone nonetheless. The thickness of the S7 is 7.9mm whilst the S6 has a thickness of 6.8. It’s only a mere 1.1mm difference and it’s barely noticeable when the phone is in your hand. So whilst it looks the same, it is ever so slightly different.

 

Holding it in my hand felt nice and comfortable. It has a good grip and can be used one handed very easily, without feeling like it’s going to slip (unlike with the iPhone 6s which can feel quite slippery at times). However, it attracts so much fingerprints to the point where I found myself wiping the screen very often. Glass is great but it has its downfalls quite clearly.  

 

RETURN OF THE SD CARD

 

 

The S6 did not support the use of a microSD Card but you’d be glad to know that Samsung bought back the ability to expand your phone’s memory. At the top of the phone is a slot for the microSD Card and Sim card. Both of these are connected through a sim/card tray that pulls out using the sim pin provided, as seen on the photo above. 

 

ALWAYS-ON DISPLAY

 

Although the S7 was not changed much aesthetically, Samsung made the display even better by making the screen around 25% brighter and enhancing the contrast ratios, despite it still offering a 2560 X 1440 resolution (577ppi pixel density). The colours on screen appear to be much more natural and less saturated.

 

 

 

 

They also introduced a new feature that means the screen is never off. When it’s lying idle, the S7 shows the date, battery percentage and level indicator as well as the time by default. If you have any notifications, a count of those will also be displayed. You aren’t restricted to this view on Idle though, you can choose to show a one-month calendar in addition to the defaults or choose to display an image. I chose to turn the Always-On Display feature off as I personally don’t think it’s a satisfactory feature (it takes one button click to view the time. Technology hasn’t made us that lazy has it? Smiley Tongue) and uses up the battery unnecessarily. Samsung claim that it’s only about 1% per hour but in a complete day that’s almost a quarter of the battery level. Samsung have provided developers with the API for this feature, so it could potentially be made better or more useful. However, as it stands I don’t see no excitement for it.

 

CAMERA

 

Amazing! I think that’s all I really need to say. No, but seriously the camera on the S7 is epic and that’s, both, the front facing and rear cameras. The S7 / S7 Edge are the first Smartphones to have a dual-pixel sensor, a technology originally made to serve DSLR cameras. So it’s no surprise why the camera is so great, with fast autofocus, brightness enhancement and satisfying quality. I was so impressed the second I clicked open the Camera app; the lighting and quality is just so great, even in super low lighting. I compared both cameras side by side with my iPhone 6s but I have got to say the Samsung camera wins, without a doubt.

 

Many people look at the megapixels but there is more to cameras than the number of pixels, it is the technology behind it. To compare, both the iPhone 6s and Samsung S7 have a 5MP front facing camera and a 12MP rear facing camera but the results are completely different. See the image below for an example. The S7 quality is beyond the iPhone’s capability and it also offers a much wider angle so you can capture more in a single image. See the difference below. 

 

 

 

Samsung S7 resolution: 4032 X 3024 Pixels

 

MOTION PHOTO

 

In September last year, Apple introduced Live Photos to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus and Samsung’s Motion photo is essentially that. It captures 3 seconds before you press the shutter but with the S7 you can capture the still you prefer when playing back the motion photo. So if you prefer the still 1 second before the main one then you can simply hit capture at that precise moment, it’s as simple as that and a pretty awesome feature.

 

BATTERY

 

The S7 comes with a bigger battery: 3000mAh compared to 2550mAh on the Galaxy S6 with charging times given a boost. The S7 offers a ‘Fast Cable Charging’ option, which needs to be enabled or disabled prior to connecting the charger. It cannot be turned on/off whilst it’s plugged in. The difference isn’t major but it’s still an increase. For example, at 40% battery level the charge time to full stated 1 hour 2 minutes. However, with Fast Cable Charging enabled the charging time was 54 minutes. To put that into perspective, after 10 minutes it had charged to 60% (20% increase) and 40 minutes later the battery had refuelled to 100%. Essentially, that’s less than an hour for a 60% charge. A full charge takes around 1.5 hours.

 

You’re probably wondering how long the battery lasts and I can tell you that it can go a whole day, which is quite the norm with smartphones. Two days would be pushing it but you could probably get a day and a half out of it but of course this depends on how you use it. If you charge it at night before bed, you’re guaranteed to not require the charger during the day for sure. It’s not a massive improvement but it’s an improvement nevertheless.

The S7 can be charged wirelessly, but a wireless charging pad is required. I’m sure this will come as no surprise to you guys but you have to buy this separately if you want to (£39.99 directly from Samsung). Although it’s comforting to know that it’s capable in doing so.

  

PRICE

 

The Galaxy S7 is available in Black Onyx or Gold and retails at £569. The Galaxy S7 Edge, on the other hand, retails at £639, a difference of £70. Both models hold 32GB Internal memory, expandable with an optional SD card.

 

If you’re looking to purchase either the S7 or S7 Edge then you can register your interest and giffgaff will keep you posted Smiley Wink

 

THE PROS

 

  • Camera is fantastic
  • A much improved interface
  • Beautiful display, looks sharp, feels smooth on the fingertips
  • Good performance all round
  • Expandable memory

 

THE CONS

 

  • Prone to fingerprints
  • Battery is not removable, in comparison to previous models, a big disappointment for continuous Samsung users

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

All in all, I’m very impressed with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and pleased to say it is definitely the best Samsung yet. The interface is miles better than it used to be, it has nicely rounded icons much like the iPhone has. Although the S7’s are slightly more rounded but still side-by-side they look pretty identical. I’m most impressed with the Galaxy’s camera, especially in low light. Amazing is an understatement! Samsung definitely outdone the other smartphone makers this time.

 

The phone runs smoothly, feels great in the hands and is aesthetically pleasing. The battery life is satisfactory, charging time is good and the phone’s functionality and features, all-in-all, are fantastic.

 

Is it worth an upgrade? If you’ve got a Pre-S6 model then definitely. However, if you’re an owner of the S6 or S6 Edge then you could probably give it a miss although the improved battery life, camera and other minor enhancements make the S7 better all-round. It’s down to you if the cost price is worth it. For iPhone users, I’d only switch to the S7 if a) you want to switch to Android over iOS and b) if you’re really after that perfect photo capturing camera. Otherwise, the iPhone 6s is worth keeping.

 

What do you guys think? Have you bought or intend to buy the Samsung S7 or S7 Edge? Let me know your thoughts below and feel free to ask any questions if you have any.

 

Since this blog went out, I have created a video review too. Check it out here:

 

 

Thanks for reading Smiley Happy

Sadia

29 Comments
ace of spades
Nice review, well done.
Would love on, but the price makes it beyond my means.
Still one can dream.
governor
Nice. I did notice that the camera was much better on the S7 edge. Just difficult to find a cover for it but overall I too am impressed with this phone.
mad scientist

£639!, who pays this sort of money?  These days you can get a comparison phone for hundreds of pounds less.  Obviously it's made for someone who has more money than sense and there are a lot of them around.

chaperon

Nice review 

 

Is the S7 going to come to UK market with Qualcomm snapdragon  820 or it'll be shipped with exynos (downgrade in my opinion)? 

supporter

Nice review, I had the chance to attend the lunch yesterday at the samsung shop, oxford street.The phone is actually lovely to hold and very quick to respond to commands. Sad there is no edge plus version since i love BIG screens. Good to see the SDcard slot back, really don't mind non-removeable battery as long as the battery life is very good.

enigma
Shame no replaceable battery, specs are quite impressive with a generous amount of 4gb RAM. NICE blog @shadylady. 😊
beginner

I'm a Windows phone user at the moment. I was considering the S7, however there are some things I want to know.

 

I love the always on display for email notifications etc. I missed that when I went Android before. On the Windows Phone, that display switches off if the proximity sensor detects that it is in a bag/face down etc. Consequently it doesn't seem to have much impact on battery life. I can also have it set so the clock etc turns dark blue after say 10pm so the always on display doesn't disturb me if it's on my bedside. Does the S7 do this?

 

The most important feature for me is the ability to set groups so that only certain people can call me. Right now I'm in the office and my phone will ring if my daughter, my mother, my partner or my best friend rings me. Otherwise it will not ring. Likewise I will hear text notifications from the aforementioned people and no-one else. I like to have the ability to be contacted in an emergency but not have my phone ring for everyone. Is this something that can be done? That one is a deal-breaker if not.

 

I also noticed that I didn't see mention of a flash when talking about the camera, does it have one?

 

Has anyone tested the GPS?

 

Currently I'm quite a fan of Cortana, whether it be to turn on quiet hours or play a particular piece of music. Sometimes even to ask what time a local restaurant closes. What's the voice command facility like?

 

 

guide

Nice review. What's not to like? (Apart from the price of course!)

Looks a great phone. Thanks for the review.

tutor

i feel like this is the phone of the year favourite from samsung with htc and apple yet to release their flagship phones; but i don't see how anyone else can topple off samsung galaxy s7 edge from the top spot 

The S7 is pretty cool and I was happy that Samsung brought back the SD card and waterproof features. Samsung is never going back to removable batteries in my opinion, so LG is the last option for the established handset makers with this feature. 

 

One of the additional S7 features is its compatibility with Samsung Gear VR, which for £80 isn't a bad deal.