Samsung Galaxy S7 Review
  Stephen
Tech Pulse
March 2017

It’s shocking how easily trends are adopted and even adjusted to. In 2017, a 5-inch phone feels “small”. That was my first impression when I held the S7: the fact that the same screen size (as compared with the S6) somehow feels smaller and ridiculously comfortable to hold. This was no accident: Samsung’s iterated design brought a curved back, which fits the shape of your hand nicely.

Design

There are little physical changes from the S6 besides the curve previously mentioned, and this is by no means a bad thing. There was no need for an overhauled design since the S6 and Edge were handsome devices. Don’t be worried though, since Samsung added some new treats to an already good device. The S7 now comes fully water resistant, IP68 certified to be exact, which means it’s dust proof and water resistant over 1.5 metres and 30 minutes. You can comfortably carry the S7 to Harry’s or even Maracas and rest assured that the H2O won’t do your precious device any harm.

However, this addition comes at a cost and it’s not the price (which stays the same). As usual, this device will leave a dent in your savings, especially in this recession, but this is the case with any premium or high-end device. The speaker is awful, and I do mean awful. While most smartphones at this price point have okay speakers at worst, the S7’s is just terrible. If you love media consumption on your mobile device, especially without headphones, you should definitely look elsewhere. There are many other Android flagships available with much better and even front facing stereo speakers.

Camera

The camera has technically been upgraded. While the actual mega pixel count is down from 16 to 12, almost every other specification of the camera has been upgraded.

The mega pixel count on a camera does not necessarily dictate its overall performance but a high count does have its benefits. The reduction in mega pixel was meant to be counter balanced by the larger pixel size which in turn should return better low light results. Therefore, those late night shots at the Boardwalk or on the Avenue should look great, in theory. Unfortunately, something went very wrong and low light shots look oddly noisy. It’s disappointing given the trade off. However, the Samsung engineers clearly had a different end game in mind since the S7’s daylight shots look awesome, producing stunning shots in well lit environments. Additionally, focusing is insanely fast, unlike anything available on a smartphone to date. The camera focuses quickly when you’re taking a picture or even manually when shooting a video. I was pleasantly surprised because Samsung was never one to innovate in the camera space.

Software

Touch wiz is toned down on this build. It runs on top of Android Marshmallow and looks a lot closer to the material deign user interface. It’s still no way close to vanilla but this is expected since Samsung has some nice software features that are not otherwise available on vanilla Android. In fact, google has now started “borrowing “these features for stock droids. Samsung is definitely doing some cleaning under the hood and hopefully this trend continues and future updates bring an even better user experience and performance.

Performance and Battery

Where you buy the S7 will determine which chip you get, with the US and UK the only two to get the Snapdragon and the rest of the world getting the Exynos. In day to day use you wouldn’t notice a difference. However, you may be able to squeeze a little more battery life out of the Exynos. This shouldn’t be a surprise considering that Samsung manufactures the Exynos chips.

The S7 edge has a larger screen but also a larger battery, which compensates and even gives a slightly longer battery life. The S7 looks great and so too does the Edge, but some simply aren’t fans of the Edge design. Personally I think the Edge looks awesome and in some ways even futuristic.  Ultimately the choice is purely personal preference and either should leave you satisfied, except for the speaker of course.

 

Conclusion

Samsung has once again created a desirable flagship smartphone with an ecosystem that makes recommending this device to most persons a no brainer. While there are many other solid devices available, some which are even more value for money, they cannot provide the same support as Samsung, especially locally. Samsung has established official stores locally, which even offer technical support, and this in itself lends to the stability of their product. All in all, it’s no wonder that this device has been such a success for Samsung. With prices having come down due to the rumoured impending release of the S8, the S7 is a great buy.

By: Stephen | Tech Pulse | March 2017


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