Review Roundup: Samsung Galaxy S7 & S7 Edge

As of 9th March (Australia time), there are a lot of early reviews coming out based on the very soon to be released Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

These were announced at a Samsung Unpacked event on February 21st in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress (MWC).

The main differences between the S7 and the S7 Edge is that the Edge variant has a larger screen, curved edges, extra software features for the curved edges and a larger battery.

Listed below are some of the reviews that have appeared on YouTube with a brief pros and cons list of what each reviewer has to say about the phones. Keep in mind that these are likely review based units so there may be some ever so slight differences when they are properly released.

The Verge:


S7 Written Review: http://www.theverge.com/2016/3/8/11172968/samsung-galaxy-s7-edge-review

S7 Score: 8.8/10

S7 Edge Score: 9.1/10

Pros:

  • Design hasn’t changed much but refinements are good. Softer and easier to hold compared to S6.
  • Back curve on the back of the S7 Edge makes it one of the best feeling phone.
  • Water Resistant.
  • microSD card.
  • Refinements for hardware is a good thing.
  • Battery gets you through a day but not 2. S7 Edge is best if you need the battery.
  • No performance issues on the S7 and no heat issues.
  • Camera bump is no where near as bad as before.

Cons:

  • Over sharpening on photos taken with the camera when you zoom in.
  • Software is better, but still lots of bloatware on Verizon variant.
  • Always On Display does not allow double tap to wake up.
  • Always On Display does not support 3rd party notifications.

Conclusion:

Not perfect but really great phones and best Android phones you can get right now. A new design and refinement the next is a great idea and great ideas make great phones.

TechnoBuffalo – S7:


Pros:

  • Rounded back.
  • Camera bump no longer a worry.
  • Display is good indoors.
  • Snapdragon 820 is fast and no slow down, no lag etc.
  • Battery is really good. Had 65-75% battery life left which is 10-20% more than other phones tested by Jon Rettinger over the past few years. Power users will love this phone!
  • Fast Charging and Wireless Charging.
  • Camera app can be really granular when it comes to controls.
  • TouchWiz is a lot better. But not confident he’ll keep it forever.

Cons:

  • Still a fingerprint magnet like the S6 and variants.
  • Everything looks washed out on the display when outside and on full brightness.
  • Device got a bit warm when playing games.
  • Wish the app drawer was not on the right.
  • Always On Displays not showing 3rd party notifications.
  • Disabled mountable storage software, but not having it is a good thing.

Conclusion:

Definite buy. Not worth upgrading from the S6 unless you absolutely need expandable storage or IP68 rating etc.

TechnoBuffalo – S7 Edge:


Pros:

  • Design is fantastic. One of the best designed phones ever, even though they are minor improvements. Phone is like a piece of jewellery.
  • Back curves from the Note 5 are a good addition.
  • Display is awesome and 4K resolution is not really needed on a smartphone.
  • One of the best if not the best smartphone camera Ron Parida has ever used. Can leave point and shoot at home now.
  • Ultra wide lens camera is great on the front facing camera.
  • Survived sand at the beach for its dust rating.
  • Battery will last more than a full day.
  • microSD card slot is good (but Ron prefers cloud storage).

Cons:

  • Edge screen makes it hard to pickup from time to time.
  • Fingerprint magnet.
  • Shooting video on front facing camera does not use ultra wide lens.
  • Fingerprint sensor is good enough, but not as quick as the iPhone 6s and Huawei Nexus 6P etc.
  • Edge software is more of a gimmick than anything else.

Conclusion:

If Ron was a buyer, he would use the opportunity to get an S6 Edge+ or S6 Edge at a cheaper price. Improvements are marginal but not too crazy.

CNET – S7:

S7 Written Review: http://www.cnet.com/products/samsung-galaxy-s7/

S7 Edge Written Review: http://www.cnet.com/products/samsung-galaxy-s7-edge/

S7 Score: 9.0/10

S7 Edge Score: 9.1/10

Pros:

  • Screen is small enough to pocket and curves on back are great.
  • Always On Display (which supports multiple timezones).
  • Photos are sharp and focused in windy conditions. Low Light shots get brighter and better.
  • Front flash from the screen brightening up is great (sounds like the iPhone 6s front flash).
  • Auto-focus on the camera is incredibly fast and new camera modes are fun to play with.
  • New gaming tools are great.
  • microSD card slot is a welcome re-addition.
  • IP68 rating is great.
  • Samsung has really cut down on the bloatware for software with new tweaks here and there.
  • Samsung Pay is great.
  • Battery life is better.

Cons:

  • Fingerprint magnet.
  • Selfie photos can look a little bit plastic.
  • Phone turns on when it touches her purse and other things.
  • Non-removable battery.

Conclusion:

Impressed with the S7 and is the best top all around phone to beat this year.

Engadget:


S7 & S7 Edge Review: http://www.engadget.com/2016/03/08/galaxy-s7-and-s7-edge-review/

S7 Score: 9.0/10

S7 Edge Score: 9.0/10

Pros:

  • Refinements can be valuable.
  • Curved backs make it feel nice in the hand.
  • Always On Display is good.
  • Performance is great, but not as noticeable over the S6 but no heat issues.
  • First phone to support the Vulkan API which will help with console type games in the future in terms of graphics.
  • No trouble getting through a day’s battery, and enough to have a bit for in the morning when you wake up. Video test is 13hrs on S7 and 14 hours on the S7 Edge.
  • General photo quality is really solid including auto focus, and is better than the iPhone 6s Plus.

Cons:

  • The green is very slightly greener on the S7 Edge.
  • The Edge just feels like a gimmick, but definitely improved compared to last year.

Conclusion:

Really great phone, but nothing to run out to get if you have a recent Samsung flagship. They are worth paying attention to if you pay on an instalment plan, but does feel like an S year.

DetroitBORG – S7 & S7 Edge:


Pros:

  • Sim ejector looks like it can be attached to your keychain.
  • Comes with a USB Connector to transfer data from existing smartphone to new smartphone.
  • Has palm rejection on the edge model which is good for grip.
  • Camera bump being less is a welcome addition.
  • Battery according to Geekbench is 1hr 23mins better on S7 vs. S6 and 2hr 5mins on S7 Edge vs S6 Edge, all on maximum brightness from 100% to 1% battery.
  • Fast charging and normal charging have different charging indicators.
  • USB port knows if it is wet to not charge the device when you plug a cable in.
  • Able to keep up to 6-7 apps if not more suspended without having to reload them, thanks to the 4GB of RAM.
  • Performance has been very stable.
  • Vulkan API which provides better performance over OpenGL.
  • Camera is really fast and accurate and one of the best Mike has tested.
  • Video recording is out standing including the best 4K video camera today.
  • Always On Display including its customization.
  • Edge software including all free downloadable edge screens, customization and option to turn it off.
  • Lock screen app shortcuts on left and right are editable. E.g. Email and Chrome instead of phone and camera by default.
  • Performance is very smooth with TouchWiz etc.
  • Be able to make folders in the app drawer.
  • ‘Hi Galaxy’ works when screen is locked.
  • Game tools are really great.
  • Really likes the software tweak that makes all app icons on the home screen have a shadow behind it if needed to be of an app icon shape.
  • Pro mode in camera.

Cons:

  • Can be some colour shifting on brighter videos on the edges of the S7 edge.
  • Speaker at the bottom sounds the same but a little quieter compared to the S6.
  • Missing the IR Blaster which is slowly disappearing from Samsung devices.
  • Single core performance not as good as the iPhone 6s A9 Chip.
  • Camera has a very shallow depth of field and you have to spend more time making sure you get the point you want to focus on.
  • S Voice voice has been changed but is not as good.

Conclusion:

Really outstanding phones that looks a lot better than previous generations. No real issues with TouchWiz as it is better than last year and would recommend going with the S7 Edge unless you want the smaller screen.

Android Central – S7:

Pros:

  • Lot more comfortable to hold and great feeling in the hand.
  • Display is excellent.
  • Fingerprint sensor supported in all apps on Android Marshmallow.
  • microSD card slot.
  • Phone is encrypted but you need to check what pin or password is setup to encrypt or decrypt the data.
  • Vulkan APIs should future proof the device for a while.
  • Samsung’s camera app for controls is excellent.
  • 12-15hrs of moderate use for battery life. Can get 45% charge in 30mins.

Cons:

  • Always On Display is not that useful beyond seeing what the time is.
  • Some images when taking with the camera can have a yellow tinge.
  • Bloatware still exists depending on carrier.
  • TouchWiz is not brilliant and reviewer will look to change the launcher.

Conclusion:

Excellent. Fits in pants pocket well and is just one hell of a phone.

Android Central – S7 Edge:

Pros:

  • Battery has the best longevity of any Samsung Galaxy S series phone to date.
  • Stunning to look at and is slightly smaller than the S6 Edge+.
  • microSD card slot for the fact that you can expand it.
  • TouchWiz is more whites, grays and blacks and is definitely improved.
  • Better low light performance on the camera.
  • 16hrs out of the battery.
  • Meets and exceeds expectations on performance.

Cons:

  • Bit of a hit in quality of photos in bright/day shots. When you zoom in, some areas are fuzzy.

Conclusion:

Don’t use for action shots of video recording etc., but water proofing is great. Does it stand up as a flagship? Yes.

Android Authority – S7:

Written Review: http://www.androidauthority.com/samsung-galaxy-s7-review-679482/

Score: 9.0/10

Pros:

  • They have perfected their design language.
  • Curves on the back of the phone makes all the difference.
  • Easy to use one handed.
  • Camera protruding less.
  • Always On Display is great with the calendar.
  • Exynos 8890 version provides no performance issues.
  • Device stays cool when playing games thanks to the water cooling.
  • microSD card.
  • 3000mAh provides screen on time of 3.5hrs for heavy days but 4.5-5.0hrs of screen on time on an average day without any problems. Moderate users could possibly stretch it to 2 days.
  • Front facing camera is really good for selfies, including Quad HD video (same resolution as the display on the S7).
  • Double press home button for camera.
  • IP68 protection.
  • Reliable Fingerprint sensor.

Cons:

  • Display requires a lot of management on the brightness. Needs to be on 40% when in doors to see it and near 100% when watching videos.
  • Always On Display is only half baked.
  • Below average speaker and sounds bad if water in it, until it all dries out.
  • 4K Video on rear camera does not take advantage of video stabilization.
  • Low Light Mode can have a yellow tinge etc. in auto mode for the rear camera.
  • S7 Edge is better suited to proper multitasking with split screen modes etc.
  • Camera has increased noise reduction.
  • Glass build is a fingerprint magnet.

Conclusion:

Addressing the issues from the S6, they created a phone that might be just about accessible to anyone. In the era of microUSB, we can get a better picture of what the perfect smartphone would be with USB-C.

This is one of the best and reliable phones currently available.

Android Authority – S7 Edge:

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ixc2E7W-ec

Written Review: http://www.androidauthority.com/samsung-galaxy-s7-edge-review-679143/

Score: 9.2/10

Pros:

  • Premium metal/glass build.
  • Comfortable to hold and easier to pickup from table compared to S6.
  • Sharp, vibrant screen.
  • microSD returns.
  • Wireless charging and fast charging.
  • Water/dust resistant.
  • Fantastic camera with ridiculously fast auto focus thanks to dual pixels and HDR makes the images look more natural.
  • Long battery life with 5.0hrs+ of screen on time consistently.
  • Improved edge functionality.
  • Fingerprint sensor is a lot faster and more accurate of the S6 or Note 5 but setup process takes a bit longer then latest Nexus smartphones.
  • Performance is great on the Snapdragon 820 but there is the occasional dropped frames on the home screen and usual Samsung lag.
  • Vulkan APIs.

Cons:

  • Always On Display needs more features including 3rd party notifications, and feel half baked currently.
  • Weak speaker and tinny at high volumes likely due to waterproofing.
  • Glass is still a fingerprint magnet.
  • Software has a lot of redundancies and duplicates. E.g. Chrome and Samsung Internet for web browsers.
  • You’ll be more conscious using the phone in terms of grip if you have no skin or case on it, but is not as slippery as a bar of soap.
  • Not a USB-C Connector but is understandable that it is microUSB due to being Gear VR and other accessories compatible.
  • Snapdragon 820 in S7 Edge on uses Quick Charge 2.0 instead of 3.0 which the later is a bit faster.
  • Lot of warping in video footage with video stabilization turned on.

Conclusion:

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge might not drastically change the formula started by its predecessor, but it certainly does perfect it.

There is no perfect smartphone but there is one that is ridiculously close, it is the Galaxy S7 Edge.

Marques Brownlee (MKBHD) – S7:

Pros:

  • Buttons on the side feel nice.
  • IP68 Rating.
  • microSD card slot.
  • Really quick and snappy phone and better RAM management (with the 4GB of RAM).
  • Favourite camera on any phone right now.
  • Dual pixels for auto-focus is crazy fast and best part of the camera.
  • 5.1inch QHD Super AMOLED Display that gets really bright.
  • Fast Charging and Wireless Charging.
  • Fingerprint sensor is 2nd best to Touch ID 2nd generation.
  • Get 5.0-5.5hrs of screen on time which is a significant improvement over S6 (3.5hrs SOT).
  • Always On Display but still image seems pointless.

Cons:

  • One of the slipperiest phones he has used.
  • Speakers are tinner and more distorted sounding, blamed by the waterproofing.
  • Phone gets a bit warm to the touch when playing games etc. despite the water cooling feature.
  • Low Light shots are a bit grainy.
  • Fingerprint magnet.

Conclusion:

Is it worth it over your current phone? 2015 smartphone is only worth upgrading from, if you go for the S7 Edge.

Otherwise, a well round experience.

9to5Google – S7 Edge:

Pros:

  • Design is fantastic and feels great.
  • Phone feels narrow for a 5.5inch screen phone.
  • Improved colouring, especially black model.
  • Display is eye-catching.
  • Pro Mode in the Camera app.
  • Exynos 8890 performs really well.
  • Get through 2 full days of medium to light usage, largely thanks to Android Marshmallow’s Doze.
  • Quick Charging, but disappointed no 3.0 standard.
  • Always On Display.
  • Customizable software for the edge panels.

Cons:

  • Colours do change a bit when looking at it on edges.
  • Content wraps around the edges are noticeable when watching video and playing games.
  • TouchWiz.

Conclusion:

Great all around phone in terms of design, waterproof, battery, performance and display. Shortcoming are negligible. One of the best phone available now.

Pocketnow – S7:

Pros:

  • Volume buttons have a good clicky action.
  • Metal and glass design, almost like a Galaxy Note 5 Mini if it had an S Pen.
  • Feel in the hand is great for someone with small hands.
  • Basic mode for the display looks really great.
  • Fingerprint sensor is faster than S6.
  • Theme Store in TouchWiz.
  • Excellent signal reception on AT&T in America.
  • Very good camera, but wish it had a few more options to control the video.
  • Slow-Mo at 240FPS in 720p is a lot better than on the S6.
  • Dual Pixels is incredible.
  • Battery is greatly improved with screen on time of over 4 hours and 30% remaining after dinner.

Cons:

  • Fingerprint magnet when in bright sunlight.
  • S7 will not automatically organizes apps in app drawer from A-Z.
  • Setting screen on the AT&T variant is separated into tabs instead of single list.
  • Still some bloatware, which most can’t be uninstalled but most can be disabled.
  • Phone will get warm when playing games or charging, but not too hot to the touch.
  • Fairly flat EQ and duller and quieter speaker compared to all other flagships.

Conclusion:

This is a damn fine phone. Every issue with the S6 has been addressed and not many faults.

The Galaxy S7 will be a top act to beat but is a damn good phone.

Pocketnow – S7 Edge:

Pros:

  • Taller, thicker and curvier design which feels smaller than it visually is.
  • Black onyx version looks bad-ass.
  • microSD card slot.
  • IP68 Water Resistance.
  • Fast & Wireless Charging.
  • Theme Store in TouchWiz.
  • Always-On Display.
  • Fluid animations and fast load times. Can load 14 apps before putting any to sleep thanks to 4GB RAM.
  • Gaming Controls.
  • Call Quality is rather deep through the earpiece.
  • First time any Galaxy phone has got 5hrs of screen on time reviewed by Pocketnow.
  • Really good camera including video stablization for video.

Cons:

  • Fingerprint magnet.
  • No replaceable battery.
  • Notifications is not as good on Always-On Display compared to recent Motorola phones.
  • Loud speaker for regular consumption but hate its on the bottom.
  • No USB-C or Quick Charge 3.0 support.

Conclusion:

Woke up to all the criticism but has delivered with this. Not the perfect smartphone, and curved screen is not necessary. Phone for people who want to stand out.

The Galaxy S7 Edge is one of the best experience Jaime has had with a smartphone and one he would highly recommend to try.

Soldier Knows Best – S7 Edge:

Pros:

  • More comfortable to hold in the hand but not as good of a grip.
  • Battery is great.
  • Fast Charging and Wireless Charging.
  • 5.5inch Quad-HD Display.
  • Edge Software is heavily improved compared to last year.
  • Water Resistant.
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
  • Always On Display.
  • One of the best cameras on a smartphone to date.
  • Dual Pixels for autofocus is ridiculously fast.
  • 4K Video with Image Stabilization is improved.

Cons:

  • Very slippery phone thanks to glass on front and back.
  • Speaker is not as good as it has been in the past.
  • TouchWiz is still getting better but still lots of Samsung duplicates from the included Google apps like Chrome.
  • Camera still images can be a little too bright but you can tone it down manually.
  • Lot more noise and grainy photos in low-light shots.

Conclusion:

Will recommend the phone as a whole package. S5 or below is a no-brainer for upgrade and should be at the top of the list if you are on a different ecosystem (iOS, Windows Phone or Blackberry).

Marques Brownlee (MKBHD) – S7 Edge:

Pros:

  • Simplified lineup being S7 and S7 Edge.
  • 5.5inch QHD Display with slightly lower pixel density which you won’t notice.
  • Curved glass and design.
  • Easier to pickup and hold even with thin sides.
  • Large battery at 3,600mAh which is about 10-15% longer battery compared to the S7 with 3,000mAh.

Cons:

  • Software is better than S6 and variants, but could be better.
  • Missing 3rd party app support for tasks edge.

Conclusion:

Better software, a little bit of a curvy glass, but the rest is the same as the regular S7.

Prefers the S7 Edge because a) bigger hands and b) power user and benefiting from the bigger battery.

Recommends the S7 Edge to more people than the S7.

Dom Esposito – S7 & S7 Edge:

Pros:

  • Design has subtle differences but is a great design.
  • Water Resistance with no flaps.
  • microSD card slot.
  • Larger screen on Edge model which is stunning.
  • Extra software features is a great way to add shortcuts and quick actions etc.
  • Camera is one of his favourites. Best on a smartphone today.
  • Battery is alright. 5-5.5hrs with S7 Edge for screen on time. About 30mins less on the S7.

Cons:

  • Fingerprint magnet. Recommends dBrand Skins.
  • Always On Display is not amazing.
  • Software is a lot better but not perfect.

Conclusion:

Glad Samsung made subtle changes. The things that matter to him most in a smartphone are knocked out of the park. Display, camera, design, battery, microSD and water resistance, but software could do with a bit of work.

LinusTechTips – S7:

Pros:

  • Extra weight in the S7 compared to the iPhone 6s is not an issue.
  • Lock and volume buttons are great and not opposing each other on the opposite side. Can feel in pocket without triggering them.
  • Wide angle lens selfie camera.
  • microSD Card slot.
  • Fast Wireless Charging.
  • Love’s the camera, including the app and how quick it loads and rearrangeable camera modes in the interface. Apple needs to respond.
  • TouchWiz is officially not an issue. Things it adds no longer hurts.
  • Performance is without fault.
  • Had 30% or more battery at the end of every day.
  • Samsung brought back water-proofing (but it’s water-resistance).

Cons:

  • microUSB Port instead of USB-C.
  • Speaker still on the bottom which can be covered by hand.
  • Pretty sure the selfie camera makes your face bigger.
  • No Adoptable Storage support.
  • Should provide the option to use on-screen buttons instead of off-screen buttons.
  • Should move the fingerprint sensor to the lock button like the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact.
  • Always On Display needs to be more interactive like the Motorola’s Ambient Display.

Conclusion:

7 generations in, you’ve finally got me Samsung, you’ve finally got me.

Final Conclusion:

It sounds like there is not very much that is wrong with this phone. Sure you could argue that the battery could always be better but compared to the S6 and variants, it seems to be a lot better in the S7 and S7 Edge.

All reviewers seem to believe that the display, camera and battery is great and that the software is definitely improved but not perfect.

The negatives that are common across all or majority reviews from what I’ve seen is the fact it is a fingerprint magnet (especially on the back), microUSB connector instead of USB-C and the Always On Display being only half baked.

I’d also be curious to know as to whether or not the USB Adapter that is used to move device information across from an iPhone, Blackberry or other Android phone can also be used as a USB-On The Go adapter so you can plug in USB sticks and accessories etc.

UPDATE: As it turns out the adapter can be used for these purposes. Great addition with the purchase but is easily a less than $10 purchase to get that functionality on just about any Android smartphones since the Galaxy S3.

But this all leaves me to the question for this post:

“Based off all of these reviews, are you tempted to buy the S7? And if not, why not?”

In my case, I do like everything that I am seeing with this device, I just can’t quite justify spending AU$1249 (or at least at the moment) for the S7 Edge unlocked and I’ll wait until all reviews are out and likely wait until May/June when I hope to see what Android N and iOS 10 will have as to whether or not it is worth the wait and buy then, they may be slightly cheaper if sales don’t pick up for Samsung.

UPDATE: Turns out Google has released the Android N Developer Preview in March with a few new features that do look promising including stock split-screen multitasking support, but will be interested in seeing all features announced in May/June this year.

I’ll be sure to add more reviews to this list as they become available, but if this has helped you to decide whether or not the S7 or S7 Edge is worth it for you, please give this post a like and follow me for more posts like this in the future.

 

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