Samsung Galaxy S7 Quick Review
Since it was launched early 2 AM PST yesterday, we were able to spend some time with the Samsung Galaxy S7. As expected, initial impressions with the device are not refreshing since it’s basically a polished Galaxy S6 plus the request of consumers to bring back key features that are missing from the predecessor.
So here’s our quick review of the Samsung Galaxy S7.
First off, the design of the Galaxy S7 is still premium thanks to the elegant combination of glass and aluminum. If you’ve used an S6, holding the S7 will be a familiar encounter with the front and back glass panel, Corning Gorilla Glass 4 to be specific, but this time, the back glass has a curved edge. The 3D-like curved glass at back is a trait that the Note 5 cousin has and it’s no surprise to see it passed on the next Galaxy generation. Let’s not forget the cold and strong aluminum frame wrapping every side of the flagship smartphone.
We still have a usual design for a Galaxy smartphone with the front having a physical home button, which also acts as a finger scanner, sandwiched by the multitasking and the return key. Above the display are a couple of sensors, earpiece, and the front-facing camera. On the left side is the volume rocker while the right is where the power/lock button sits.
With this button layout, a right-handed person will be able to use his index finger for volume and the thumb for screen locking. If left-handed, it will be just the opposite. And everyone can easily use his thumb for as the primary fingerprint. Speaking of, although accurate and snappy, the print scanner doesn’t do quick unlocking compared to most Android smartphones wherein the scanner detects your print even when the screen is off.
Checking the top side of the S7 will reveal the hybrid SIM tray and a microphone pinhole leaving the bottom side occupied by the 3.5mm jack, microUSB port, and the loudspeaker grille. We’re not sure about the lack of USB Type-C port on a 2016 smartphone, but with the current popularity and demand, it’s not a big loss. Well, not yet though.
At the back of the device, we have a slight protruding rear camera module with an LED flash and heart rate sensor on its side while everything else is just a smooth glass back panel. Finally, it’s a joy to know about the return of the dust and waterproofed trait.
When powered up, the QHD (1440 x 2560 pixels) AMOLED display is glorious to gaze at. At 5.1 inches, we get a crisp 576ppi pixel density that guarantees detailed viewing experience, as long as the content permits. And thanks to AMOLED technology, you’ll get the deepest black on a display and a vibrant color saturation.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow on the Galaxy S7 is skinned with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. Some do like TouchWiz, some don’t. While TouchWiz is a known culprit among Galaxy smartphone to cause lag, everything about the S7 is buttery-smooth from transitions to the in-app performance of installed applications we’ve tried. TouchWiz takes advantage of the capability of the AMOLED panel to produce pleasant tones with a colorful UI running skin-deep. It’s nice to know that, as time progresses, TouchWiz UI from Samsung is getting better, both in performance and in features.
Inside the handset, we have a home-baked Exynos 8890 octa-core chipset (4 cores running at top speed of 2.6GHz and 4 more cores running at optimal speed of 1.6GHz for battery efficiency) paired with Mali-T880 graphics. Complimenting these silicon chips is the 4GB of RAM. One might think that the 32GB or 64GB of storage is not enough by today’s needs, but take note that the microSD slot has made a comeback with the Galaxy S7. The trade off? You either use two SIM cards or a SIM card with a microSD card (up to 200GB) in the hybrid SIM slot.
Benchmark tests with the chipset show that Samsung has done well with their new chipset. With a high score of 132,076 using Antutu 6.0, you’d already know what a beast the S7 can be. We also took the time to test the device more using these apps and here the results:
Quadrant Standard — 57,089
Vellamo — 7246 (Chrome), 3540 (Metal), 3396 (Multicore)
PCMark — 4669 (Work performance)
3DMark — 2123 (Sling Shot using ES 3.1)
Coming from a 16-megapixel sensor on the predecessor, we now have a lower-res 12-megapixel rear camera. But, lower numbers doesn’t constitute to lower image quality as the new camera on the S7 has an impressive f/1.7 aperture for brighter captures and a Dual Pixel sensor which makes autofocusing faster than before — no need for laser autofocus. And yes, optical image stabilization is still present, so with OIS plus the f/1.7, we’ll be able to see more in the dark. Moreover, the 5-megapixel front camera is gifted with an f/1.7 opening as well for better-looking selfies.
Just like before, stills taken with the current Galaxy king are detailed, bright, and properly processed. Samsung is taking mobile imaging seriously just like with Sony and Apple. Video recording is still at UHD or 2160p @ 30fps max and we’re not expecting it to go higher for now. Here’s a video sample, but taken at just 1080p full HD.
The rear camera is supplied by Sony, an IMX260, which is not surprising because it’s an improved sensor from the same Sony line-up used by the Galaxy S6.
And before we forget about the Galaxy S7 being a cellular phone, we are pleased to say that Samsung didn’t put this important feature behind as we were able to have quality calls on both ends.
UPDATE: We’re done with the PCMark battery test and initial test gives a score of 8 hours and 24 minutes. And, with our usual battery video loop test with zero volume, airplane mode, and half brightness, it was able to last for about 12 hours and 30 minutes.
That wraps up our quick review for the Samsung Galaxy S7. This year’s release of the Galaxy S7 is a testament to the confidence and solid performance of Samsung’s flagship handsets. They’re confident enough to retain the same design and incorporate a slew of improvements that will continue to solidify its position. It might look incremental but we think it’s definitely a step towards the right direction. It’s more evolutionary rather than revolutionary — and perhaps, that is a good thing.
|Samsung Galaxy S7|
|5.1-inch Super AMOLED Quad-HD display|
|2560 x 1440 resolution, 576ppi|
|Corning Gorilla Glass 4|
|Samsung Exynos 8890 64-bit octa-core CPU 2.6GHz|
|32GB internal storage|
|Expandable up to 200GB via microSD (uses SIM 2 slot)|
|12MP Dual Pixel rear camera dual-tone, dual LED flash, f/1.7 aperture|
|5 megapixel front-facing camera with f/1.7 aperture|
|Dual SIM (hybrid), dual LTE|
|Fast Wireless Charging,|
|Android 6.0 Marshmallow with TouchWiz|
|3,000mAh Li-Ion non-removable battery|
|Black and Gold|
Samsung Philippines is set to release the Galaxy S7 in the country by March 19. It has a suggested retail price of Php34,990 for the 32GB model. And though there are 4 colors available, only the black and gold variants will be shipped locally.
We’ll be taking the Galaxy S7 for a full spin through our review process in the coming week, so stay tuned if it’s going to be a smartphone that delivers and deserves your hard-earned money.