Introduction


Now that Mobile World Congress 2016 is behind us, it’s almost unanimous what phone came out as the biggest winner of mobile’s biggest show. Samsung’s announcements have always been in grandeur style, almost in excess at times. This same observation got all the more reaffirmed with the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, which got unveiled to a crowd filled with anticipating journalists, industry experts, analysts, and much more. As before, the former is designed to be Samsung's mainstream flagship offering, and the latter is the more futuristic, curved-screen variation. It is the standard S7 edition that we'll explore in this review.

The Galaxy S line’s evolution is nearly at its utmost peak at the moment, with no other equal in the space besides Apple’s always relevant iPhone. In looking at the specs of the Galaxy S7, it doesn’t seem to indicate monumental leaps over its predecessor, but seeing that this is Sammy we’re talking about, you know that they don’t want to disappoint. While last year’s flagship signaled an entirely new era for the Korean-based company, ushering this new premium design language movement for them, they steered far from what they established with the S5. In particular, the expandable storage and water resistance features were suddenly omitted from the S6’s arsenal.

Always the one to please its fan base, however, Samsung has brought those two features back to the S7 – while subtly refining its design in the process. This is all fine and dandy, especially when it does nothing more than to exemplify the phone’s quantified arsenal. However, since it’s the first major flagship being released this year, it obviously needs to set the bar high. While we came out confident of that realization right after its official announcement, is it really going keep the competition at bay? For at least the first half of the year?

The package contains:

  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • Rapid wall charger
  • microUSB cable
  • SIM ejector tool
  • Stereo headphones
  • User guide

Design

A design that is both elegant and practical? Sure, it's possible! An enhanced S6 design meets microSD slot and water resistance.


One quick look at the S7, most people not familiar with the new phone might not realize any differences about it. Yes, it’s incredibly well built with its signature glass surfaces and metal trim body – just like the S6 before it. Our particular unit, a gold platinum one, exudes a distinctive gold color that shimmers in the light. However, it’s still a magnet for fingerprints and smudges, so know that you’ll probably need to constantly wipe it clean.

Upon closer inspection, Samsung has made some subtle alterations to the design of the S7 that makes it feel better in the hand – albeit, we wouldn’t go far to proclaim it’s like greatly better. Specifically, the glass surface on the front of the phone slopes downward around the sides to meet with the metal trim bezel, giving it a more seamless finish. Secondly, the S7 also adopts the curved back edges that we were first introduced to with the Note 5. This decision, a logical one at that, allows our hand to wrap a bit more naturally around the back of the phone. All of this, gives the S7 an extremely comfortable feel in the hand.

Looking around the phone, everything from before is in its familiar location. From the power button on the right edge, to the volume controls on the left, and the speaker grill, mic, microUSB port, and 3.5mm headphone jack all positioned on the bottom, nothing is out of order with its placements. The fingerprint sensor, which is incorporated into the home button, is still just as quick and responsive as before. Interestingly, though, the button itself doesn’t protrude as much – it's almost flush with the surface, in fact. Meanwhile, the camera lens on the back is not as protruding as before.

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

Dimensions

5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches

142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.36 oz (152 g)

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.78 x 0.27 inches

143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 g)

LG G5

LG G5

Dimensions

5.88 x 2.91 x 0.29 inches

149.4 x 73.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.61 oz (159 g)

Apple iPhone 6s

Apple iPhone 6s

Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches

138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

Dimensions

5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches

142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.36 oz (152 g)

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.78 x 0.27 inches

143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 g)

LG G5

LG G5

Dimensions

5.88 x 2.91 x 0.29 inches

149.4 x 73.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.61 oz (159 g)

Apple iPhone 6s

Apple iPhone 6s

Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches

138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page


One key thing to note that’s missing this time is the IR blaster, something that Samsung has decided to scale back with its devices. Say what you will about this decision, it’s something that we’ve been accustomed to seeing in many flagships, so to find it omitted is rather telling about its worth to consumers.

The return of water-resistance & microSD slot


While the changes to the S7’s design might be perceived as subtly refined, there are actually two notable changes that are worth mentioning. First and foremost, the nanoSIM slot on the top edge of the phone now doubles as a microSD slot as well, bringing back expandable storage to Sammy’s flagship. Another feature that went missing with last year’s S6, a water-resistant construction, makes its comeback in a stunning fashion.


With its IP68 rating, the Galaxy S7 ups its game by fashioning a water resistant construction to a premium looking smartphone. This means that it can be submerged in up to 5 feet of water for 30 minutes with no compromise, ensuring that minor accidents, such as spills, will no longer be of concern to this prized handset. Best of all, there’s no worry about having to close up ports and such, much like what you have to do with many of Sony’s Xperia phones, seeing that it’s been treated for water resistance.

Not only does the S7 look stunning and feel incredible in the hand, but the reintroduction of a water resistant package just completes its no-compromise stature. Many phones have impressive designs, but few go to the same length as to what Samsung achieves with the S7.



Display

Even with a couple of minor hiccups, it’s still one of the better looking screens out there.

By now, we’re accustomed to Samsung’s expertise when it comes to displays. Each successive device thus far has been equipped with a better display. For the S7, they’ve stuck to the same recipe, featuring a 5.1-inch 1440 x 2560 Super AMOLED display. Details are superb, thanks to its incredibly high resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 576 ppi.

While it seems like we’re reaching that threshold, especially when Quad-HD resolution is the standard amongst high-end phones, we have to look at some of the other aspects of the screen to distinguish its superiority. Most notably, when set to Basic screen mode, this AMOLED display exhibits colors that are very close to the standard sRGB colorspace, which is always a good thing. And, being AMOLED, contrast and brightness are remarkably preserved when viewing the display at an angle. The same doesn't go for color accuracy, though, as things get dramatically shifted depending on the angle you're viewing the screen from.

Color temperature appears to be just a tad higher than before, at around 6850K, which might actually help with the screen not looking as greenish as before. Another surprise relates to its luminance, which peaks out at a lower 484 nits this time around – versus the brighter 563 nit luminance produced by the S6’s screen.

The S7’s screen looks mighty impressive to the eye, and even though some of the qualities we've measured might indicate just a slight dip from before, they’re not deal breakers in any sort of way.



FEATURED VIDEO

71 Comments

2. tonyv

Posts: 54; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

been patiently waiting :D thanks guys!

22. MSi_GS70 unregistered

PA so S7 got only 9 ???? so still is worse than iphone 6s right which has 9.3 ??

31. adecvat

Posts: 659; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Pretty sure

36. uggman

Posts: 58; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

0.3 is not that much, besides this site uses critics, some of them like apple products, the video review for the iphone 6S was 15 minutes long, for the GS7 only 6 min, that should pretty much paint the image.

41. SayMobile

Posts: 157; Member since: Jan 29, 2014

No way can it get less points than the S6 , you have most definately made a mistake here PA., 9 is totally unacceptable ,considering the praises and rave reviews the S7's been getting from all over .

57. MaryPoopins

Posts: 324; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

It's a John V review of an android phone. Be thankful it's a 9 and didn't start with an 8 :D

59. mrochester

Posts: 1040; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

Of course. The S7 has Android, so it loses points for that. If the S7 had iOS, it would score much higher. Imagine an S7 with iOS?! Talk about a geeks ultimate wet dream!

63. flavius22

Posts: 218; Member since: Aug 23, 2015

Jay-sus man, iphone is one and a half year old, the score was given when it was reviewed, this would be like 19 if they would keep adding

3. der_damo

Posts: 213; Member since: Sep 16, 2014

this is a pretty good rating :x

4. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Friggin 9!

5. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Dear PA do something about camera gallery it's terribly slow to upload images and I have like 100Mb/s fast broadband. Other than that you are great guys!

9. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Technically, 100mbps is a bogus 99% of all time!

13. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Technically speaking I fall into 1% !

26. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Well, good for you mate!

42. ZetZet

Posts: 22; Member since: Apr 21, 2015

in europe it's correct 99% of the time.

23. MSi_GS70 unregistered

it is because they uploading unnecessary too high quality pictures which has 5-10MB .. pointless.. I would be happy with 2 to 3MB pictures

39. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

True, because given size they provide to view onnthe gallery there is no absolutly no gain . Full size image cold be provided optionally though.

53. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

they upload image straight from S7 (I've just checked EXIF of that image).. agree that they should resize it to 2-3MB, and store real image somewhere else just in case someone want to visit it

67. canner

Posts: 68; Member since: Feb 29, 2016

lol everyones a critic XD

6. johanbiff

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

and this is why im really lucky to get the exynos version of this phone! crappy browser speeds compaird to 8890 and crappy battery life!

7. der_damo

Posts: 213; Member since: Sep 16, 2014

Why is battery not a minus if it's worse than the last two phones?

12. Arschsalat

Posts: 158; Member since: Feb 29, 2016

Because it´s not true.

40. XaErO

Posts: 353; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

@PA : I think; something terribly may have gone wrong with the battery test .. or may be you can try different carrier branded S7 ..

51. bur60

Posts: 981; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

Only PA has this battery score... other (very reliable reviewers) get more than 9hours of SOT on the screentest

8. johanbiff

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

oh, and phone arena still can`t do benchmarks..could of atleast updated the friggin antutu scores for the older phones

10. shnibz

Posts: 517; Member since: Sep 18, 2011

After 5 days with mine, I'd give it a 9.7 it's seriously almost perfect IMO. My previous G4 seems like such junk and like a very poorly thought out design compared to the S7. Also with the same size battery the S7 lasts MUCH longer with the same amount of usage.

68. john_abraham

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 14, 2016

good to hear that, are you using s7 or s7 edge ?

14. pooma

Posts: 103; Member since: Oct 01, 2015

OMG, PA u guys r crazy fast to review the phone, i was expecting review of s7 in near future but not this much fast, BTW pleasant surprise..

15. Shocky unregistered

Don't think I'll bother with the Galaxy S7, fair rating imo. It's just a refined Galaxy S6 and I'm not convinced Exynos is best option this year.

16. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

Qualcomm batterylife doesn't look promising. Head over to Anandtech to check more detailed review.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Galaxy S7
  • Display 5.1" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(28h 3G talk time)

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