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Samsung Galaxy S7 Up Close: One Step Forward

News by Micah Bartos on Tuesday February 23, 2016.

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Galaxy S7
Galaxy S7

We have already seen LG's new G5 flagship, a smartphone that aims for innovation. Samsung was never going to produce something as fresh with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, and so it proves with the two flagships revealed at MWC. Sure, fresh innovation may be missing from these handsets, but instead Samsung has set about perfecting devices that were already among the very best on the market anyway.

Here we will focus on the Galaxy S7, the new core flagship that updates enough to keep pace with rivals.


The Galaxy S line as a whole went through a radical overhaul last year, ushering a sexy metal build for the first time. It was unlikely that Samsung would change too much with the Galaxy S7 then, and that is the case. The S7 is almost identical to its earlier sibling, but up close there are some very minor changes such as a slightly curved body heading into the metal edges, making for a more comfortable hold.

We admittedly do not love the new curved back and see it as a step backward, but there is no doubting that the Galaxy S7 is now extremely comfortable in hand. Samsung has also done a good job keeping the premium look and feel, the metal side frame sandwiched in glass is sumptuous and the company is so much better since it looked to premium materials.

Last year's Galaxy S6 lost the water and scratch proofing found on the Galaxy S5, but Samsung has reintroduced it with this model, with a rating of IP68. Samsung is avoiding saying this is actually water resistant, but with that rating you should be able to submerge the handset with no problem.

Other subtle changes include the home button (which doubles as the fingerprint scanner) is flatter than it was last year, while the camera lens doesn?t protrude quite so much. One of the biggest casualties of Samsung's design overhaul last year was the omission of a removable battery, and that has not changed with the Galaxy S7. Luckily the company has sort of made up for it with a huge 3600mAh battery, but we would still prefer a removable juicer.


We were among those who thought the original Galaxy S6/Galaxy S6 Edge was among the best ever smartphone screens on the market. So, the company did not have to change too much in terms of quality. It is still a Super AMOLED panel with 2560 x 1440 Quad HD resolution, and is typically bright, as we have come to expect from Samsung.


Opinion time. We think Samsung's TouchWiz UI is the single worst thing about the company's devices and we wish the Samsung would ditch it or just improve it vastly. That will irk some who will cite Sammy's admittedly upward curve in the quality of its software in recent years. Yet, we still find TouchWiz too boggy and clumsy.

We will have to wait for a full review to say whether new upgrades to the TouchWiz interface meet our desires, but first impressions are solid. Samsung has admittedly done a great job in toning down its UI, making TouchWiz simpler, and just more elegant. The UI is nowhere near as obtrusive as it used to be, so hopefully the famous lag found on Samsung flagships is now gone for good.

Processor Memory

After ditching Qualcomm entirely last year in the wake of the Snapdragon 810 overheating problem, Samsung has returned to a two iteration model for its flagship devices. That means the United States variant of the Galaxy S7 will get Qualcomm's quad core Snapdragon 820 chipset and other regions will get the handset that packs Samsung's own Exynos CPU.

Benchmarks are currently pushing in favor of the Snapdragon 820 as the superior silicon, but then benchmarks are not everything, so we will wait for a full review to test day to day performance. As for RAM, the Galaxy S7 comes with the now standard 4GB that is found in most flagship smartphones at the moment.

32GB of native storage is also a standard these days, but Samsung has won back a lot of people by reintroducing micro SD card support, so you can now expand the storage memory.


Samsung has developed into one of the premier mobile camera providers, but then again this is a hugely competitive field at the moment and most companies are thriving in this department. However, the Galaxy S7 certainly doesn?t fall behind the pack, even though the company has decreased the megapixel amount to a 12MP lens.

Of course, megapixels are not everything, as Apple has been proving for years, and Samsung seems to be aiming for the less is more approach too. It is a dual sensor f/1.7 aperture lens that comes with all the features (both hardware and software) we have become used to, such as optical image stabilization.

Wrap Up

Samsung has done what it needed to do, updated the Galaxy S7 slightly. The company did not need to do anything other than improve on what it already had, in terms of design, hardware, and features. The S7 still stands out as an all-round wonder, while it keeps pace with its numerous rivals in terms of everything else.

We can argue that those already rocking the Galaxy S6 have very little reason to upgrade.

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