Samsung Galaxy S7 Review
Vastly improved over its predecessor, there’s a ton of emphasis on clarity.
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Adopting yet another feature first presented to us by the Note 5, the S7 now offers an ‘extra volume’ mode for those times when it’s noisy around. Without it enabled, the volume is still plenty loud for our liking, more than capable of accentuating every word and syllable uttered by our caller. Appropriately so, the addition of the ‘extra volume’ mode is there if you’re somehow hard of hearing.
Voices thankfully pack a lot of substance through the earpiece, clean and without any distortion. It’s actually an improvement over last year’s quality with the S6, so we’re elated by this. The good fortune extends to the other end of the line as well, where the microphones in the phone help to produce voices to our callers that are audible and distinctive.
Moving onto the final piece of the puzzle, the speakerphone’s quality is that proverbial chink in the armor. Sure, the ‘extra’ volume’ is at our disposal even with the speakerphone, but it doesn’t seem to do a whole lot to amplify the speaker’s initially weak output. Voice are discernible nonetheless, however, it only becomes problematic when there’s a ton of ambient background noise – where it then starts to fade.
A bigger battery still isn’t enough to deliver marked improvements.
In the time since the S6’s release, the engineers over at Samsung have somehow managed to stuff an even beefier sized battery into the S7’s chassis. This year’s flagship is now endowed with a moderate 3000 mAh battery, up from last year’s 2550 mAh capacity. We’ll applaud to that reality, right?
Well, not so fast! The phone powers us through the usual one day of normal use in our experience thus far, which is an average result for most things nowadays. What's more, its performance in our custom battery benchmark test is also about average. Resulting with an on-screen time of 6 hours and 37 minutes, it’s almost a full 30 minutes down from its predecessor’s tally – and a good one hour less than the S5’s mark.
On one hand, we’re concerned by all of this, but it'd have been worse if its real-world performance reflected such a drop. Luckily, it doesn't. And that’s what matters more to us. While it might lean towards the S7 requiring frequent charging, especially for power users, Samsung has successfully improved the handset’s charging efficiency. Requiring only 88 minutes to get back to full capacity, it’s actually more efficient than the S6 – so even for a short period, it’ll give the phone a solid chunk of charge. That’s something good if you can spare something like 15 or 30 minutes.
And lastly, the S7 continues to be understood as the Swiss Army knife of smartphones because it continues to offer the convenience of wireless charging – something you won’t find with many of its competitors.
Battery life (hours) Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S7 6h 37 min (Average)
Samsung Galaxy S6 7h 14 min (Good)
Apple iPhone 6s 8h 15 min (Excellent)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S7 88
Samsung Galaxy S6 78
Apple iPhone 6s 150
It’s rather tough to say where the Galaxy S7 is positioned in Samsung’s fabled history. Without a doubt, last year brought a stunning (and surging) change to the series that wasn’t felt prior to the S6. In one fell swoop, Samsung completely altered its reputation with the introduction of a new, premium design language established with the S6 line. In doing so, however, they did something unusual in the process by stripping off some of the S5’s notable features.
Galaxy S7, Samsung has us once again pondering its placement. We certainly applaud the fact that they’re able to once again bring back a water-resistant construction and expandable storage to the phone, but at the same time, it really makes us wonder if the S7 is what the S6 should’ve been from the onset. When we look at the new phone, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that it’s an iterative move on Samsung’s part.
Each and every year, consumers demand to be blown away, which is fine and dandy, but not totally realistic. But even though that’s not plausible all the time, the Samsung Galaxy S7 shows us what a proper successive smartphone should be like. Sure, not every aspect of the phone is entirely improved per se, but when we factor in how there’s more good than bad here, it’s a no-brainer deduction that the S7 is an excellent phone.
Naturally, there’s always the matter of pricing, which for the Galaxy S7 is hovering roughly around $700 for most of the major domestic wireless carriers. That’s definitely on the pricey side and whatnot, but how many phones out there can say that they offer nearly the same arsenal packed by the S7 – there are none in fact! There are plenty of water-resistant phones out there, but how many are blessed with premium designs? Or how about expandable storage? Or how about built-in wireless charging?
None, so that’s exactly why the Samsung Galaxy S7 is so highly acclaimed and unique. And as we look ahead, the Galaxy S7 is the first true flagship to beat in 2016 – there’s just no hiding that prestigious title.
Always a relevant player in the space, Samsung has yet another formidable offering that sets the benchmark high for all other phones coming out this year. The specs might not be a tremendous upgrade, but at the end of the day, when you want a phone that just works, the Galaxy S7 fits the bill. When we think of a flagship, we envision something that just works flawlessly and without much hassle. This is exactly that!
- Water resistant construction with a premium design
- Always On Display takes the hassle out of checking out the time
- Outstanding low-light performance with the camera
- Substantial improvement to its call quality
- Body is fingerprint magnet
- Display brightness could be higher
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- 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)