Camera

It’s a true low-light master!

Oh man, this is where things get really juicy for the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge! In true fashion, the Galaxy line has always been relevant when it comes to camera performance – so there’s no treading away from that distinguished fact. While it’s certainly no surprise to us that a camera’s performance isn’t indicative solely on how many pixels are crammed into it, many people are led to believe otherwise, crazy as it may seem. Based on its track record, you’d think that Samsung would be reluctant to change that trend, since each successive device since the beginning kept on upping the amount of megapixels. That, though, changes here with the S7 edge.


Going from a 16-megapixel sensor last year with the S6 edge, Samsung has decided to go down a notch, and instead, focus on the size of the pixels themselves – while also being more attentive where cameras struggle the most – low light. With that in mind, the S7 edge features a fresh 12-megapixel 1/2.5” sensor with large, 1.4 micron pixels, which, in combination with the very wide aperture of f/1.7, are able to collect 95% more photons than the previous generation Samsung camera. All of this indicates an improvement in picture quality with low-light scenarios.

Not only that, but the new sensor also employs a Dual Pixel technology for faster and more accurate autofocus – the type of technology that could only be found in some premium DSLRs so far. This is made possible thanks to the fact that now each pixel of the camera sensor features two diodes that assist with the camera's focusing process. The previous generation Galaxy S smartphone also had focus pixels for phase-detection AF, but those were way fewer – less than 5% of its camera pixels were used for focusing. Now, a total of 100% of the sensor pixels are used for focusing, which makes the process much faster. Meanwhile, the front-facing camera seems to have been left out of the specs love because it’s still a 5-megapixel snapper.

Funny we mention that, just because the camera interface doesn’t see a dramatic facelift in how it operates. That’s not a terrible thing per se, since it’s rich with various shooting modes that consist of selective focus, panorama, video collage, a live YouTube broadcast (first introduced by the Note 5), slow motion, virtual shot, food, and hyperlapse. And not surprisingly, there’s the Pro mode that hardcore shutter bugs will be delighted to find once again. However, the ability to customize advanced parameters is still only available to snapshots – there’s no true video manual mode yet for the Galaxy line.

The beauty about the S7 edge’s camera is that it works exceptionally well on the automatic – the way that most people go. There’s never a missed opportunity, especially considering how unbelievably fast it is at running the camera app via the quick launch camera feature, to pressing the on-screen shutter button to take the shot.

Sometimes, though, our fingers rest closely to the small portion of the display that gently slope around its dual-curved edges – causing some registration issues with hitting the on-screen shutter key. It’s not a rampant issue, but we need to remind ourselves to just move our fingers a bit away.

Image Quality


Absolutely breathtaking! That’s the consensus we have after combining over the samples we’ve captured using the S7 edge’s brand new 12-megapixel camera. Everywhere we look, there’s no shortage of beautiful compositions filled with plenty of fine details, bold looking colors, and a nice handling of dynamic range. The S7 edge lives up to its purported claim of being a stellar performer.

First, let’s talk about the samples taken under the ideal conditions – you know, those with plenty of sun outdoors. Compositions appear crisp and attentive, but there’s still an adequate amount of fine details that permit cropping later on without a huge loss in quality. It even does a bang up job in dealing with exposure, as highlights and shadows are properly compensated to deliver well-exposed shots. Cementing its superiority, colors come out vibrant and radiant – though, compositions tend to exude a greenish hue.

While it’s a fantastic performer on the automatic, the other modes definitely diversify its portfolio, which has a deep appeal to a wide array of users. Just as before, it’s quick and effective at panning for panoramic shots – stitching them together almost seamlessly. HDR shots, thankfully, aren’t too artificialized as we’ve seen in the past, seeing that the contrast boost isn’t as overworked.

The biggest focus for Samsung, however, relates to the camera’s much hyped low-light performance. Thanks to its larger, 1.4-micron sensor pixels and wide, f/1.7 aperture, the Galaxy S7 is set to leave quite the mark when it comes to low-light photography, as these characteristics alone allow it to come up with brighter shots. Well, being brighter is one thing, but it’s another when most devices under low light tend to be compromised by the amount of noise, graininess, and splotchy details in their shots. For the Galaxy S7 edge, though, Samsung has effectively kept those usual suspects at bay – wherein it’s able to command a high level of crispness. Accompanying the appealing details, colors retain their sense of vibrancy when the lighting is minimal. If more is needed, the phone’s LED flash casts a potent punch, even at a far distance, without overexposing or distorting colors.



Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 1.5
1.6
283
261
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ 2.1
2.7
791
No data
Apple iPhone 6s Plus 1.6
1.9
485
285

Video Quality


A top-performer with its still shot quality, the Galaxy S7 edge also does nicely with video recording on the automatic. Just as before, there are plenty of shooting resolutions to choose from. Whether it’s the pixel crunching 4K UHD mode, or standard 1080p at 30 FPS, there are plenty of good qualities to ogle over. Now, if details are your thing, 4K UHD is the natural choice because it captures the absolute greatest amount of details in the scene – without a whole lot of sharpening layered to the video post-process. Continuous focus is incredibly adept in adjusting on the fly, almost being too fast at times. Our only annoyance, though, relates to the noticeable rolling shutter effect, or wobble, that persists when the phone is abruptly panning left and right.

The other resolutions look pretty darn nice as well, so there’s no shortage of eye candy with them. If you love that over-motion effect, the 1080p 60 FPS is going to suit you well. Oppositely, the 240 FPS slow motion mode at 720p does even better to isolate a short period of time to produce a slick looking slow motion video. And of course, there’s the standard 1080p mode at 30 FPS, which actually produces the most natural, true-to-life results. Movement is pretty steady, as well as the stabilization, but there’s still an effective mixture of sharp details, bold colors, and crisp audio recording to round out its awesome bite.
Again, it’s the kind of phone that works on the automatic. The only thing missing in our opinion that would complete the package, is true manual controls for video recording – much like what the LG V10 offers. We were hoping for Samsung to finally bring that into the mix, but alas, that’s just not in the books.


Multimedia

A bigger screen makes for an even better watching experience.

The gallery app has all the necessities in viewing and editing stored content on the go. Arranged in layouts such as albums and events, there are still other options to make slideshows and collages with the stored content. Editing, too, is pretty much unchanged from what we were given with its predecessor – boasting the usual basic editing tools, in addition to the various filters it offers.

Gone is the TouchWiz music player that’s been a staple of the Galaxy line, replaced instead by the Google Play Music app for local play, and Samsung’s Milk Music for those who prefer that streaming radio format. Whichever one you go with, there’s one thing that becomes a bit alarming. And that, folks, is the slightly weaker output of the internal speaker than before.

Despite the weaker loudness, there’s no adverse effect to how it actually sounds. Clean and crisp, without too much of that affinity for the lower audio range, there’s a pleasant degree of neutrality – so that not one particular audio range is isolated more than others. Of course, its quality can further be enhanced by tinkering around with some of the equalizer settings that are available.

We’re not overly critical about the weaker internal speaker, because quite frankly, the 3.5mm headphone jacks sees a significant improvement because it now achieves an output of 0.707 V. That’s a big improvement over last year’s reach of 0.54 V, which means that the overall punch is stronger – made better by the fact that audio sounds delightfully clean and crisp.

Continuing to be a great thing for video watching, the S7 doesn’t disappoint mainly due to how its iridescent screen, combined with its fantastic viewing angles and saturation, keeps our eyes glued to what videos are being played. Choosing to go with the adaptive display mode, the screen’s contrast and saturation are automatically adjusted by the phone to reach those ideal viewing levels. And boy is it stunning! Not surprisingly, too, there’s still that multi-tasking aspect with its pop out play mode. It might be regarded as a minor feature for some, but nonetheless, the option to do this is something we appreciate.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 0.707
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ 0.766
Apple iPhone 6s Plus 0.986
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 72.9
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ 73.1
Apple iPhone 6s Plus 69.1

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96 Comments

1. Rafishant

Posts: 402; Member since: Oct 13, 2015

Where are the people who used to call this site iPhonearena? So the highest score is not 7 anymore, and it is not only 9 for the iPhone!

2. letosaw

Posts: 135; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

iphone 6s got 9.3 and is far inferior in many ways :3

6. Rafishant

Posts: 402; Member since: Oct 13, 2015

I don't know why the battery test result was that disappointed? I expected a battery life higher than the S6 Active? Is the reason probably related to the SD820?

8. Arschsalat

Posts: 158; Member since: Feb 29, 2016

Thats fake.

15. johanbiff

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

they should benchmark the international version also.. the exynos will get much better battery life. but I don`t think this is a valid battery test because even if the SD820 is powerhungry it won`t fail against the 6S+, PA in a nutshell...

44. hellhr

Posts: 41; Member since: Feb 25, 2016

Samsung S6 edge, geekbench battery test, 7.5h. S7, non edge, exynos, same test, 10h20m. Just measeured...

57. Galen20K

Posts: 579; Member since: Dec 26, 2008

PhoneArena battery life tests are inaccurate. I'm getting 8 hours Screen 0n time on almost two days 0ff the charger on my SD820 GS7Edge, I'm very satisfied.

48. belovedson

Posts: 1061; Member since: Nov 30, 2010

Im pretty sure if a flash away from improvement. probably a rogue app consuming battery life for no reason.

74. ph00ny

Posts: 2067; Member since: May 26, 2011

It looks like large portion of the other reviewers are getting higher battery life

7. NonFanBoy

Posts: 180; Member since: May 28, 2015

S6 Edge had a rating of 9.3 and the only con that PA stated was the lack of micro SD card. S7 Edge is an upgrade in every department and has a micro SD card slot and is rated 9.0. There is no consistency in PA's rating.

13. Good-Is-Better

Posts: 105; Member since: Nov 12, 2015

I don't even care about their reviews, the have no parameter for it and so, they are just filling the space on this web meant for reviews.

45. xocomaox

Posts: 201; Member since: Dec 14, 2015

Mostly because of the battery test that they ran incorrectly which skewed their perception of the phone. Once they update this review (test), I think they will change the review to a 9.4 or something.

52. iLovesarcasm

Posts: 589; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

They guy who made this review is a caveman, Android Authority says the battery life is great.

23. MSi_GS70 unregistered

ONly 9 .. god.. how u want to see PA mobile phone that will receive 10 ??? how can this get 9 and pathetic iphone 9.3 with rubbish battery ?

25. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

How the helloes can itchave less battery life albeit having 600mah. IMA read my review elsewhere thx.

3. Arschsalat

Posts: 158; Member since: Feb 29, 2016

the battery is better as the iPhone 6s. Fake Arena

4. lovro

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 08, 2016

I think this battery test is very bad. On xda you have a bunch of screenshots of SOT time and battery usage. All of users are more satisfied than with NOTE 5 and S6 battery. :)

10. johanbiff

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

im getting the exynos version..this just sucks in browsing and battery life! Also PA, please quit with the on-screen benchmarks compairing with phones that have half the screen resolution.. off-screen is the way to go.

11. Chuck007

Posts: 1412; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

The Snapdragon model gets around 10hrs battery life. I don't know... but the Exynos can't possibly be that power hungry. Either way, I can't be anymore happier I pre-ordered the S7 Edge. Really looking forward to picking it up this Friday. :)

12. johanbiff

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

They are reviewing the SD820....

14. Chuck007

Posts: 1412; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

Check out the specs overview. They clearly listed the Exynos 8890.

16. johanbiff

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

it`s wrong. it`s the SD820 read the text and look at the bench scores "For US-bound Galaxy S7 edge devices, like the Verizon one in our possession, they’re being powered by Qualcomm’s latest and greatest in the Snapdragon 820."

17. Chuck007

Posts: 1412; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

You're absolutely right. Sorry about the confusion. I still don't know though... their results seem to be way off here. Others reviewers (Notebookreview, Android Authority, etc..) seem to be real impressed about its battery life.

18. johanbiff

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

yeah don`t care much for PA`s score system, they really suck at all the benchmarks..take this with a grinch of salt :)

30. Shocky unregistered

Can't believe they're still using Antutu. :(

33. MSi_GS70 unregistered

so why ppl been talking how SD820 is super awesome how it is best .. and yet it only brings negatives to the phone ? they should stay with 810 or same as in S6 edge then..

29. Shocky unregistered

It lists both actually, the model they're reviewing which they refer to throughout the review is using Snapdragon 820.

31. Chuck007

Posts: 1412; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

Think they changed it. ;)

19. Lauticol

Posts: 404; Member since: Jun 25, 2011

Phonearena should use international variant for their reviews. At least not a Verizon phone.

21. Clars123

Posts: 1078; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

Phonearena...... Are you actually content with the quality of the review y'all just put out...because you don't have to be a genius to see that the battery life test is flawed...I got my S7 edge yesterday and the battery life is bloody outstanding started with a full charge yesterday at 8pm and it's 9am now and I have 69% and trust me I played with it all through the night

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

Galaxy S7 edge
  • Display 5.5" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3600 mAh(36h 3G talk time)

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