Samsung Galaxy S7 Review – EFTM
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Samsung Galaxy S7 Review

The Return of the Features

Today the phone you carry says something about you, it is an extension of yourself and in some cases can dictate what you can and can’t do. The phone is the hub of our social life, it is becoming more and more the controller of our homes and is the entry point for our daily entertainment. We depend on these devices more and more and cannot imagine living a day without a phone.

In the world of 2016 the two biggest mobile devices on the planet are from Apple in the iPhone and from Samsung with their Galaxy S range. Today we take a look at the Galaxy S7 as it prepares to take on the existing iPhone 6S and the eventual iPhone 7.

Galaxy S7

What are the S7 highlights?

The Galaxy S7 has a few features that the iPhone could only dream about. On the outside we know and have tested that the S7 is water resistant and dust proof. Spill your water on your S7? No problem. Submerge it in your glass of water? Still no problem.

The battery life on the S7 is rather impressive, we can happily take it off charge at 5am and not return until 11pm with charge remaining. If you’re desperate to extend the life then there are power saving modes which extend all the way to turning your phone into phone only. One feature around the battery that we like is the quick charge. In 15 minutes you can take your phone from 0-60%, very handy when you’re about to head out for after work drinks.

Galaxy S7 Rear

The camera on the Galaxy S7 is something you cannot judge on paper. Many will look at the lower than iPhone megapixel count and think this is an issue, not so. The aperture range on the Galaxy S7 means that low light photography will embarrass your iPhone wielding friends. We’ve done side by side comparisons in full auto mode with obvious results. More photos can be seen here too.

Lowlight camera test

The Galaxy S7 produces a cleaner and more vibrant image, especially when zoomed in.

Indoor camera test

The Galaxy S7 produces a better real life colour representation to the iPhone

One feature from the camera we particularly like is Selective Focus mode. This allows you to take a photo and later on shift the focus of the shot. For example shifting the focus to the fore ground or back ground. Fantastic for scenery or portraits.

Galaxy S7 outdoor test

Select an area on the image and the S7 would adjust your focus accordingly

A new feature this year is an always-on clock display. We spend countless seconds turning our phones on and off throughout the day just to check the time, just to check if we missed any calls, just to check if an SMS has arrived. These checks wake up the entire phone screen, consume battery and hurt us at the end of the day. The S7 uses a low powered and simple method to display the date, time, battery status, some notifications and more. It can be configured for different things and will display for you all day and all night. Typing this out right now we glance to our S7 and see the time without touching it and while it is simple, it’s a joy.

Always on display

One last feature, while also simple yet completely missing from the iPhone, is expandable storage. The Galaxy S7 ships with 32GB of storage out of the box however can accept a microSD card so a very small investment can add 64GB or even a further 128GB to the device if storage becomes a concern. Bless.

What are the lowlights?

This may be a short part of the article and we’re going to be picking at straws here. The Galaxy S7 upon delivery comes conveniently or not conveniently with a large amount of apps which Samsung has partnered with. Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive and Skype is one example. Some will be glad to see it while some will be quick to remove it and conserve space.

Galaxy S7 Rear

The Galaxy S7 is a very similar size to the iPhone 6, they’re big phones. The iPhone uses a soft double-tap on the home button to lower the screen so you can use the phone with one hand and one thumb. The S7 doesn’t make accomodations for single handed use in that way, this is a little disappointing as it would be easy to implement. The fingerprint scanner on the S7 is good but not great having a lower success rate to the iPhone or even the Huawei Mate 8. The soft buttons for application selection or back arrow either side of the home button seem to be sensitive to the edge of the display. This can be bothersome while typing and we were regularly interrupted while texting, this may just take time to get used to.

The last thing that could be seen as a lowlight on the S7 is not entirely Samsung’s fault. Android is still the land of the free and an overload of features and options. Coming from an iPhone you may find this overwhelming, choosing to share an image will result in 20 options or more. There is a learning curve involved for anyone making the switch and for many it may present a challenge to understand where to find the features you normally use. The jury is out on which is better – Android or iOS – however not everyone likes Vegemite either.

From an app store perspective you can rest assured that your top 100 apps on your iPhone are available for Android and you won’t be feeling left out at all.

Camera test

Image captured, zoomed and cropped only. Mmmm whitebait.

Who’s buying one?

Let’s get straight to the point here. If you own a Galaxy S6, smile and wait for the S8 as you won’t appreciate the differences, S5 owners however will be hugging and kissing the S7 as though, it’s a fantastic upgrade after your two year contract is due. Samsung are also providing an adapter to enable you to plug your old Android phone into your new S7 and transfer everything (contacts, images, music, apps etc) you need with ease, no computer required. This new feature is going to take the stress out of migration.

Camera Test

Image cropped and zoomed only, full auto capture.

If you own an iPhone, should you change? Well, it comes down to a few things, are you open to learning a new phone operating system? Will you be patient for the two week learning curve? Are you crying out for more storage but don’t want to take out a mortgage for a 128GB iPhone? Do you want the best camera on a phone to date? If you answered yes to these then it is time to move to Samsung.

Galaxy S7

Final Statement

The Samsung Galaxy S6 was impressive with new features but lost some great ones from the S5. The S7 has brought the best of both together AND added more innovation. The wish list for phone users is being ticked and things we didn’t know we needed are now here. The expandable storage, the amazing camera, the water resistance, the long battery life with fast recharge, the always-on display, the list goes on. The Galaxy S7 has taken the fight to Apple in a big big way and demands attention. It is the centre of your day to day life and will only become so more and more. The introduction of the Gear VR takes your phone and places you in a virtual world, the soon to arrive Gear 360 will help you capture and share 360 degree video straight from the Galaxy S7 and the Samsung line of entertainment devices (TV, speakers, home theatre) are ready to be controlled with this phone. It could be the key to a whole new world, if you’re ready.

 

Take a look at all the Samsung Galaxy S7 plans and options here

 

 

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You may have seen Geoff on YouTube where his tech videos saw millions of views or heard him while he co-hosts the Gadget Grill on Radio 2RDJ. In his day job though he is an IT manager, a lover of Formula 1, great food and wine and obviously; technology.
2 Comments on this post.
  • Simran
    9 March 2016 at 11:09 am
    Leave a Reply

    0-60% in 15 minutes? Wow that is super impressive since I’m upgrading from the Galaxy S4. This is the Exynos Octa Core version we’re talking about right? Also a question regarding battery life, how did you use the phone (sparingly, moderately etc) to get such long battery life (from 5AM to 11PM with some juice to spare)? Thanks for a great review, Geoff.

    • Geoff Quattromani
      9 March 2016 at 11:31 am
      Leave a Reply

      Hi Simran, yes this is the Octa core version. I’m a fairly heavy user of apps more than calls. I check Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and SnapChat very often. I run three email accounts on the device and at work I don’t use a desk phone so it is my only phone 24/7. The battery life is just able to handle it better than others. Going from the S4 to S7 will blow your mind.

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