Samsung latest flagship phones arrive on Friday, but we’ve already spent some time with the Galaxy S7, and its time to share my thoughts.
Samsung have refined what was already a great device, there’s a lot that’s familiar when it comes to the hardware, but some welcome changes that’ll keep hardcore users happy. The fact the S7 is running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, will absolutely be a draw-card for those that chase the latest software.
The updates S7 now comes in 2 simple to explain models, the S7 with a 5.1″ screen and S7 edge with a 5.5″ display features curves edges. The S7 adds back important functionality that were fan favourites, including expandable storage with a MicroSD card slot that supports up to 200GB cards, as well as dust and water resistance.
After spending time with the GearVR using the S6 Edge+, I was keen to see how the smaller display of the S7 compared. Thankfully I can report that there is no downside or consequence to stepping down in size to the S7, the adjustable mounts accommodate for the new phone and when strapped to your head, the 2560×1440 pixels look fine. That said, there does seem to be better performance when loading VR apps, which I’d attribute to the new 2.3GHz Octa-core processor and 4GB RAM.
Its far too early to tell the differences in battery life, but with Samsung stuffing the largest battery into the S7 Edge (3,600mAh) it’s going to outperform the phone in your pocket. For the S7 model that I have for review, the battery is a a very decent 3,000 mAh which is up from the 2550mAh found in the S6 and the same as the S6 Edge+.
In terms of design, the S7 in black onyx is a stunner and the work the Samsung engineers have done to dramatically reduce the size of the camera bump is seriously impressive. It’s almost non-existent now. The decision to reduce a spec value on a phone was no doubt a contentious one inside their organisation, but early photos suggest it was the right move. A new focus on the overall performance of the camera and quality of a photo, rather than continue a never-ending megapixel race is absolutely the right path to take.
The camera in the S7 is fast, like stupid fast, especially in burst mode. I can’t promise every photo will be crystal clear, but if you’ve got the shutter sound still on, holding down the shutter sounds like an automatic nerf gun. The key to the camera now is not only just speed to launch and fire and be ready to fire again, but to move closer to capturing what we see from human eyes. The f/1.7 lens is proving to be brilliant in low-light, blacks are black, not 50 shades of grey.
There’s plenty of other features to like about the S7 and depending on the current phone in your pocket these will either be checkbox features or something that impresses.
There’s fast charging, support for a wireless charger (not included), NFC (Samsung pay is launching in Aus soon, tap and pay is already available from NAB and Commonwealth).
To connect to devices easily, there’s built-in Wi-Fi Direct and the S7 even supports Bluetooth v4.2 and 802.11AC WiFi. The only spec that really stands out as sub-standard by today’s standards is the USB 2.0 connection, but that’s likely a result of supporting the GearVR.
What Samsung have done with the S7 is listen to fans and respond accordingly, a decision that would serve them well to do more often. Of course there’s always a healthy need for innovation above what customers will every think of and ask for, but if you have lots of people telling you the reasons they aren’t buying your product, its a great business move to address them.
The S7 is a welcome refinement to what was already a great offering from Samsung. I do think the S7 Edge would be my pick of the two models, as the curved display gives the most personal device in your life, something special, its distinctive and stands apart from all other phones on the market.
Samsung actually do a great job of providing a mobile plan comparison site with whistleout. This provides users with the ability to set filters to narrow down the large provider options.