The Samsung Galaxy S7 May Be The Best Smartphone of 2016

It’s only March, but Samsung has already packed a lot into their flagship phone with the introduction of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The iPhone 7 is rumoured to be released later this year (as it wasn’t introduced at their event earlier this month), but Apple is going to have to seriously step up their game if they want to take down the S7 and reclaim some of that market share. Read on for specs and details of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.

 

Specs

Galaxy S7

Galaxy S7 Edge

Dimensions 142.4 x 69.9 x 7.9mm
(5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 in)
150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm
(5.84 x 2.86 x 0.30 in)
Screen Size 5.1 inches 5.5 inches
Screen Resolution Quad HD: 1440 x 2560 (577 ppi)* Quad HD: 1440 x 2560 pixels (534 ppi)*
Battery Capacity 3000 mAh 3500 mAh
Weight 152 g 157 g
Camera 12 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera 12 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
Colours Black, White, Gold, Silver Black, White, Gold, Silver
Price $900 (no term) $1000 (no term)

* If the resolution is the same, why is the pixel density different between the S7 and the S7 edge?

This is because the physical screen size is larger on the S7 edge as compared to the S7. The same amount of pixels are required to cover a wider area, therefore marginally reducing the amount of ppi.

Overview

Samsung was definitely not playing around when they were building their S7 and S7 Edge. This phone has got some serious juice and without even having the opportunity to tinker around with it, it certainly puts my iPhone 6 to shame.

*Note: unless otherwise specified, and just to make this easier on everyone, any mention of the “S7” will refer to both the S7 and S7 Edge.

Design

galaxy-s7-edge-three-colors-back

To be completely honest, I do miss the days of removable batteries. Instead of having to carry around cables, a bulky battery case, or just being completely SOL when you’re nowhere near an electrical source, having the option to pop in a freshly charged battery and keep going with minimal downtime has always appealed to me. But clearly, that’s not the way that technology is moving forward, so maybe it’s time to put that dream to bed. That being said, the S7 is a gorgeous phone. The unibody design and the curved glass that makes the screen go from edge-to-edge is a beautiful feature, and I hope more manufacturers start adopting similar construction soon. The curved glass is also meant to be more ergonomic, so instead of us adapting to awkward, boxy phones, the S7 has adapted to humans. This phone is meant to be in your hand, and it’s a beautiful thing.

The entire phone is built with Corning Gorilla Glass, which means this thing can take a bit of a beating and scratches without too much visible damage. Even though this premium glass is gorgeous, it will be covered in fingerprints. All the time. Best to invest in a case and maybe a screen protector and save yourself the frustration.

If you’re upgrading from an S6, you’ll definitely notice one difference on the body; Samsung has removed that silver rim that lined the home button. I think this gives the phone a much more fluid and high-end appearance, and these little touches truly make this a premium phone.

Under the Hood

Samsung-Galaxy-S7-teardown

Samsung built a custom CPU and use a powerful GPU in the S7. It’s also got 4 GB of RAM. Let’s put that into perspective, shall we? The 2015 MacBook Air starts a 4 GB of RAM. The S6 has 3 GB of RAM. The iPhone 6S, 6S Plus and SE have 2 GB of RAM. That means that the S7 isn’t just a smartphone, it’s a superphone for people who like and/or need to get shit done. Again, Samsung is really raising the bar in the mobile phone game. With this amount of RAM packed into a phone, performance is noticeably increased, and slowdowns will happen a lot less often.

Hallelujah, Samsung brought back expandable memory on the S7. Why they thought it needed to go on the S6 in the first is beyond me, but I’m so very glad it’s back. Internal memory on the S7 starts at 32 GB (not including the software and firmware installs), and the micro SD slot supports up to 128 GB. I can only hope Apple will follow suit with the iPhone 7 and kill off the 16 GB storage capacity (having to clear out my phone every week is becoming a serious pain in the ass).

Durability

galaxy-s7-waterproof-ip68-4

Carrying on from the S5 and S6, the S7 is water and dust resistant. According to Samsung, it has an IP rating of 68 and can be immersed in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes without any damage. Unlike the S5, the S7 does not have flaps covering the ports. Instead, the charging port has been waterproofed. So if the phone recognizes that there’s water in there, it won’t accept an electrical current to charge the phone.

Camera

samsung-galaxy-s7-edge-camera-19

It’s nice to see that manufacturers like Apple and Samsung are finally realizing that probably no one takes photos with their phone in broad daylight with sunny skies and ample lighting every single time. The camera on the S7 is built to perform well in low light, and the F1.7 aperture is greater than that of the F1.9 of the S6, meaning that more light can hit the sensor along with less noise and grain on photos that are taken in low light. Pair the 12 MP rear camera with the 1.4 mm pixels that are super close together, and the result is some of the best mobile phone photography that’s out there today. The pixels on the image sensor have 2 photodiodes instead of one, and is technology that was previously only seen on high-end DSLRs. According to Samsung, this dual pixel sensor focuses and quickly and accurately as our eyes, providing less washout and more accurate photos in pictures. And if that wasn’t enough, the S7 has got some crazy fast autofocus. So much so that you won’t miss snapping that moment because sudden movements are recognized and refocused; even in low light. After complaints of the giant camera bump on the S6, Samsung managed to pair down the outer frame of rear camera even more, so that it’s raised just 0.46 mm from the body of the phone.

Camera: Bonus Features

Motion-panorama-head

We’ve all seen those awesome panorama shots from atop buildings or of breathtaking landscapes. The S7 introduces Motion Panorama which captures both photo and video at the same time while in panorama mode. There’s also Motion Photo which captures images 3 seconds before you actually hit the shutter, so in case you were a little slow on the draw, you can choose whether you’d like the Motion Photo or regular photo saved. This is particularly useful for preventing those terrible photos when you ask strangers to take photos while on vacation. And if becoming the next Spielberg was on your list of #lifegoals, the S7 includes a Hyperlapse video mode. It’s a professional grade time lapse that recognizes the clearest frames and stitches them together to deliver quality footage every time. For the selfie takers (so basically everyone), there’s the option to Spotlight while in Beauty Mode. This feature allows users to highlight certain parts of the face to make certain facial features stand out a little more than others. Quite possibly my favourite bonus feature on the S7 is 5 MP front camera with front-facing flash. Being a woman of colour, I really hope that this is now a standard feature on every device from now on. The front-facing flash uses the sAMOLED screen to display a soft flash that evenly diffuses light (which means no more eyes & teeth night selfies for me). The last bonus feature on the S7’s camera is the Wide Selfie. It enables the camera to take a 120° photo, which means you can fit a lot more people in your group selfies, and less partial faces. One can only hope that this could mean the end of the selfie stick as we know it.

Gaming

galaxy_s7_edge_0021

I’m not a huge gamer (I still happily play the original Super Mario Brothers on my see-through Game Boy Colour), but as portable gaming devices are becoming a lot less popular as compared to 10 or even 5 years ago (seriously, when was the last time you saw someone over the age of 10 carrying a dedicated gaming device?), I know that there are lots of people who will appreciate the time Samsung took to make this a serious contender in the mobile gaming sphere. According to Samsung, their GPU is 64% faster than that of the S6, and it’s great for heavy, graphics-intensive gaming. They’ve also said that the new CPU is 30% faster than that of the S6, so there’s less lag, less battery drain and that the phone won’t heat up as much or as quickly with these upgrades. The S7 also supports the Vulkan API, so 3D-gaming will be pretty sweet on this device. The Vulkan API is still super new though, so there are few mobile-games that actually have the API, but if you’re a serious gamer, you’ll appreciate the S7 being ahead of the curve as more games start supporting Vulkan.

There’s a huge market for Game Play Recordings, and Samsung as definitely taken that factor into consideration with the release of the S7. Users have the option to record and share their game plays, tips and tricks with their fan base.

For the more everyday gamers, Samsung has included a Control Centre that works as a Game Launcher on the S7. All of your games are in one place, plus you can mute or hide alerts so that text won’t ruin your chances at hitting that high score. You also have the option to modify game settings beforehand to save power during gameplay.

Battery

galaxy-s7-edge-fast-charging

The S7 and S7 Edge blow the iPhone 6S out of the water. Both phones have incredible battery life almost doubling that of last year’s iPhones. The S7’s battery comes in at 3000 mAh and the S7 Edge at 3500 mAh, while the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus have 1810 mAH and 2750 mAh respectively. Samsung also brought back wireless charging from the S6 to the S7, and one can only hope that wireless charging will become the new norm.

Always On Display (AOD)

Samsung-Galaxy-S7-1-1280x853

Do you frequently find yourself checking your phone for notifications or to check the time? Then the Always On Display is definitely for you. According to Samsung, the AOD doesn’t add a whole lot to battery drain, and generally just makes things more convenient. The AOD doesn’t wake up the phone, rather just displays minimal information like a clock or calendar for a quick glance. If you need more detailed information, then you would need to wake up the phone to retrieve it. The AOD is also a smart feature added in by Samsung. Smart in the sense that it measures the light and determines whether or not the AOD actually needs to be on. So if it’s on your desk or night table, a quick glance should provide you with all the information you need. But if it’s in your bag, pocket, flipped over or on low battery, the display will automatically turn off until it determines that there’s enough light for it to turn back on. To prevent burn-in, the graphics are rotated every so often.

SHealth

samsung-s-health

I actually really enjoy this feature and wish I had gotten more out of it when I had my S5. SHealth is the native health tracking app built into the Galaxy devices. On the back of the phone under the flash is a heart-rate monitor which I found to actually be pretty accurate when I used it. SHealth also includes a pedometer to measure steps, food and caloric intake, sleep and water intake. With the introduction of the S7, Samsung updated the app to also include measurements for stress levels and oxygen saturation levels.

Edge Only Features

Tasks: use the Edge screen to customize your S7. Include shortcuts or specific functions to access apps, messages or contacts.

Utilities: user the Edge screen as a ruler, flashlight or compass.

Accessories

galaxynote5galaxys6edgeplusevent-003

Last but not least, Samsung has created some beautiful cases for this phone, but one of particular interest is the keyboard cover. This case attaches to your S7, resizes the screen so you can use the physical keyboard and then neatly stores in the back, out of the way when you don’t need it.

Other accessories include the clear cover, leather cover, flip wallet, S-View cover, clear view cover and LED cover.

TL;DR

Apple has the bar set high for their Fall event, because as of right now, I would say that Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are the best phones of 2016. With its high dust and water resistance, the S7 is a great option for people who may have bricked their phones in the past after dropping it in the toilet, in a puddle, or in a pool. The low light camera is an awesome new feature than I’m sure would make my life a lot easier. Motion panorama is awesome for catching wide angle videos and motion photo helps you to capture the best moment every time. If you’re a heavy mobile gamer, the upgraded CPU, GPU and Vulkan API support will definitely be a draw for you. Lastly, the crazy battery life on the S7 and the wireless charging support are things I hope to see only approved upon in the future.

You Should Buy This Phone If

  • You’re prone to dropping phones in water
  • You want a larger screen
  • You have an iPhone 6/Galaxy S5 or older
  • You want a phone that can last a day or more on a single charge

You Should Not Buy This Phone If

  • You don’t want to drop up to $1000 on a new phone
  • You don’t want a large screen
  • You only use your phone to send texts and make phone calls

*Disclosure: My evaluation of the Samsung Galaxy S7 is based on personal knowledge and specs gathered from the Samsung website. This post has not been supported or sponsored by Samsung in any way.

 

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