Samsung’s Galaxy S line has been the most popular Android flagship series ever since Google first unveiled the Linux-based operating system. Today we’ll be taking a detailed look at the latest addition to the family: the Galaxy S7.
Design and Build Quality
The Samsung Galaxy S7 is eerily similar to its predecessor, the Galaxy S6 which is why we won’t blame you if you mistake one for the other. It sports the same 5.1-inch, 577-pixels-per-inch screen too. The device, at 7.9 mm, is fairly slim. With scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass protecting its curved back and the screen in front, the S7 is well-protected and a joy to hold. Add water resistance to the mix and you’ve got a contender for the best phone design of the year.
Samsung decided to go the hardcore water resistance route with the S7 and got it IP68 certified, something that has been particular to top-of-the-line Sony phones. The S7 can withstand up to 1.5m in terms of depth of water for 30 minutes. Samsung programmed its flagship to prevent short circuits by detecting if there is water in its USB-C port and refusing to charge if any is found.
Beauty on its own cannot drive a phone to success. A good phone needs to have sufficient horsepower as well. And boy, does the Galaxy S7 have horsepower: Whether it’s two Kryo dual-core processors (2.15GHz and 1.6GHz) or a quad-core Mongoose(2.3GHz) paired with a quad-core Cortex-A53 (1.6GHz), the S7 is dripping with power. 4GB of RAM isn’t a bad either.
The GPU is either an Adreno 530, the very definition of muscle, or a Mali T880-MP12, which is quite capable in its own right.
As far as storage is concerned, the Galaxy S7 comes with 32 or 64GB of built-in storage with a microSD slot that supports cards of up to 200GB. Nothing special (or lacking, for that matter) here.
The camera is where things get interesting: the device packs a 12MP camera, a marked downgrade from the S6, but delivers noticeably better picture quality. The dual-pixel technology that Samsung decided to employ certainly plays a major part by speeding up autofocus. A slightly larger aperture means that low-light camera performance is top-notch.
Samsung also decided to add a fingerprint sensor on the home button, which means you can use Samsung Pay and all the other goodies that require biometric verification.
With great hardware comes great expectation. As ironic as it may sound, Samsung’s latest flagship quite predictably blew us away. To say that it is blazing fast would be an understatement.
AnTuTu reported back scores over 120,000 (yes, you read that right!). Gaming performance is on par with that of the Pixel C tablet by Google (Yes! The one with nVidia Maxwell graphics!). Despite everything, this comes as somewhat of a surprise. The Pixel C GPU was specifically designed by nVidia to maximize the whole Android experience.
That leads us to our next point:Android Marshmallow with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI is standard. A fairly useful feature that has been introduced with the S7 is the Game Launcher, a centralized portal where you can access all you installed games, take and post screenshots and do much more. Accompanying it is the Game Mode, which diverts all power away from the rest of the apps to the game you’re currently playing, giving you a leg up.
While games designed for the Vulkan API, which is behind the Launcher and the Game Mode, are still hard to find, the situation is improving and it’s improving fast. Regardless, the S7 already has an ace up its sleeve to deal with ageing in Vulkan’s shape.
Currently retailing for around US$700, the Samsung Galaxy S7 is a steal by all means. It’s good. In fact, it’s as close to perfect as you can get. LG and other competitors had better watch out.