Samsung, which needed a major smartphone innovation to click, released the flagship Galaxy S7 in 2016. A major USP of the Galaxy S7 handset is its metallic body and the provision of a microSD card slot apart from the Android 6.0 operating system.
The smartphone, was also touted by loyalists as a “classy” smartphone, and the handset in fact seemingly lived up to its pre-launch hype with even non-loyalists (of Samsung) talking highly about the Galaxy S7. All these got us excited about the phone, so we decided to personally check the device out. Check out, below, to see how the device performed:
Design and Display
The Samsung Galaxy S7 features an outer body made entirely of metal. The outer metallic form factor has led to flattened edges and a curved rear. These aspects helped assisted in our bid to hold the Galaxy S7 firmly in the hand. A newer Gorilla Glass 4, at both the front and the rear, protects the phone from scratches and cracks.
There are buttons, to both the left and the right of the Samsung Galaxy S7, and these are the keys to control the volume and the power respectively. You can insert the microSD card and the SIM-card at the top, which should do a world of good for first-time users. There is a, microUSB port as well as the provision of a 3.5mm audio jack, at the bottom of the device. There is also the Home key below the display. You can choose to activate the fingerprint scanner, integrated with the Home button.
The Galaxy S7 features a “comparatively” small 5.1-inch Super AMOLED screen which has resolutions of 1440 x 2560 pixels along with pixel density of 577 ppi. Images rendered were crystal clear and relatively sharp. If you lay your hands on a Samsung Galaxy S7, do check out the Always on Display feature with which you are alerted about essential aspects such as missed calls, text messages and of course the date and time. These are highlighted even when the phone is in standby or not in use.
During our testing, by running movies within the smartphone, we felt that movie-watching was a pleasure in even “smaller” display smartphones. [Ideally phones with 5.5-inch displays and more are generally preferred for viewing, but the Galaxy S7 stunned us with its near-perfect video and image rendition].
However, while testing out the AMOLED display in total sunlit conditions, we found it a tad difficult to read the text and had to move to a place where there was shade to read the contents displayed on the screen. Even with maximum brightness set, we had to haggle to make out the contents on the screen. Another aspect is that, the Blue and White backgrounds do not get mixed up and are clearly differentiating to the eye. You can also get a feel of the Galaxy S7’s viewing angles that ably assist in viewing the screen.
Processor and Memory
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 is available in two SoC variants which are the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and an Exynos 8890 editions depending on the geographical region. We were able to procure he Snapdragon 820 variant for our testing. Under-the-hood, there is a 4GB RAM (in both the variants). High-end games can be played, glitch-free, within the Galaxy S7 with its quad-core processor and the 4GB RAM. Multitasking, in a multi-app scenario seemed a breeze as we could not notice any performance lags.
New purchasers of the Galaxy S7 can choose between a 32/64 GB internal storage variants (based on geographical regions), along with being able to expand the default storage up to 200 GB with an external microSD card.
Samsung’s 12MP rear camera features improved pixels that have seemingly improved the autofocus functionality compared to predecessor versions such as the Galaxy S5 and the S6. The primary camera, delightfully rendered shots captured in the daylight. Low-light images/photos were also fairly good but not great. Videos rendered via the 4K recording are also fair enough. The smartphone also features a 5MP front camera for the selfie generation. This snapper incorporates a 22mm lens having f/1.7 aperture.
Software and apps
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 runs the recent Google Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) operating system with the TouchWiz UI on top. Users of the smartphone will observe unconventional icons, apart from the fact that there are two browsers and multimedia players.
Overall, the user interface (UI) is colorful, but feels a bit over-colored.
Android Marshmallow looks intuitive. We could not detect any UI lags, on-screen navigation is smooth, switching between apps is not slow like on the Galaxy S5, the UI responds to you relatively quickly. With respect to apps, a notable element is the Game launcher that stores all the games and even lets you capture in-game screenshots along with storing these. Yet another aspect to notice while gaming (within the Galaxy S7), is the fact that Samsung has tweaked the battery settings to supply more battery juice to high-end games, by toning down other tasks thereby magnifying the gaming experience.
However, in terms of apps, Samsung could irritate you with bloatware such as the S-Health, S-Voice, Amazon, Amazon Music, Amazon Kindle, Facebook, Samsung Milk Music and more. The bloatware count increases if you have subscribed to wireless carriers. Even the Microsoft Office Mobile suite comes installed. The total memory occupied by bloatware could reach up to 8GB depending on your geographical region.
The Galaxy S7 derives its juice from a 3,000 mAh Lithium-Ion battery. During our testing, the battery offered backup lasting for nearly a whole day, however resorting to half-an-hour of gaming killed the battery life and it dropped down to not even half a day. Watching movies within the phone deteriorated the battery life even further, and we were left with almost nil battery life after one and a half hours (of watching an HD movie).
The Galaxy S7 comes with two power saving modes, which are the regular and an ultra-mode. However, even with these on, we could get only a couple of hours of extra backup time (for general everyday tasks). Finally, the battery within the Galaxy S7 incorporates the Qualcomm Quick Charging feature that adds more than basic battery life to the phone within just an hour of plugging in to charge. Users can also tap the handset’s wireless charging capabilities via an external wireless charging accessory.
The Samsung Galaxy S7, with all its flagship capabilities, seems custom-made for the business class preferring not to fret over the basic necessities. We did not encounter performance lags either in the UI or during the multi-application scenario. The smartphone delivers performs worthy of a modern flagship, it fights over-heating via the Liquid Cooling technology. However, you will be able to feel a slight warmth during wireless charging and when you open-up multiple apps; these are minimal and deserve ignorance. Calling (even with hands-free where the mic gets rid of background noise) is a pleasure, so is the internet usability. The Galaxy S7 becomes a perfect “work phone” upon installation of third-party work apps which do well to harness its flagship nature to the maximum.
The Galaxy S7 is a perfect flagship, with a business touch. The smartphone has the potential to impress both loyalists and non-loyalists. The device is a pleasure to use as well. However, the Galaxy S7’s near AED 2,000 price-rag could serve as a deterrent for first-time flagship buyers.