In an already competitive premium smartphone market, Samsung is constantly introducing new models to try and keep up with the customer expectations. With the influx of new players in the market offering the best and latest in terms of both technology and the overall package, Samsung has been compelled to re-invent its strategy to sustain its consumer interest and the market share. Samsung’s Galaxy flagship model launched earlier in the market – S6 had also met with some critical reviews owing to omissions of some of the desirable features that one would expect in a premium mobile device, like absence of removable battery, micro SD slot or water resistance etc. With the quick follow-on launch of Galaxy S7, Samsung attempts to take away the pain-points of its earlier model and up its offering with a brand new re-engineered device that even promises much more.
- Design and Display:
As usual, Samsung has not really invested in bringing in any major changes in the appearance. Galaxy S7 looks a lot like it’s antecedents with minor tweaks here and there. Infact the look is so similar to S6, it almost feels like a replacement, albeit with better upgrades. Galaxy S7 adorns of 5.1 inch screen with a sharp display of 1140 x 2560 pixels. This works out to a very high resolution of0 557 pixels per inch (PPI). Further, Samsung adds the super AMOLED touchscreen which is a delight to look at. The display is brighter, sharper giving better contrast in daylight, yet the reflective screen is a bit annoying. The ‘Always On’ display tries to mimic the Google Nexus by allowing to permanently show the time, date, calendar and images at all times. Although the screen is comparatively smaller against lot of other smartphones that brag of bigger and better screens even in lower segments, it makes the device easy-to-handle. The phone is available in Black Onyx, Classic White, Gold Platinum and Silver Titanium.
The phone is sleek, delicate and true to the signature contoured Samsung style etched in glass and metal. The glass is the key to wireless charging which allows doing away with charging port. A typical USB Type-C has been skipped altogether for Galaxy S7. The glossy exterior however ends up in smudges each time your reach for it. The welcome feature is the reinstated water- resistance which was done away with in the earlier Galaxy S6. The IP68 protects the phone from dust and water without any covers for open ports.
The overall design of Galaxy S7 is a quite an improvement compared to Galaxy S6 which looks like a straight bar. Even the Apple iPhone 6S loses out with the relative low screen-to-body ratio. Although comparatively iPhone 6S is lighter with aluminium back weighing only 143 grams with 7.1 mm thickness, yet you would probably enjoy holding Galaxy S7 more. Plus iPhone 6S provides only partial water resistance.
- Software and Performance
Samsung Galaxy S7 available in United States is powered with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820. However the version launched in India and elsewhere houses a 1.5GHz Exynos 8890 SoC with Samsung’s own UI riding over it. It operates Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. In either case, the S7 performance considerably exceeds the S6. The octa-core CPU combines a Quad-core 2.3 GHZ Mongoose and a Quad-core 1.6GHz Cortex-A53 to ensure faster processing and smooth execution of multiple tasks. The big help comes from 4 GB RAM in-built in Samsung Galaxy S7. This feature more than makes up for the lack of Snapdragon 820. The S7 model also features ARM Mali-T880 graphics with LTE Cat 12/13. The processing speed and the graphics enhance the gaming experience, especially in a high-end, fast-paced racing games or 2D strategy games. Galaxy S7 is available in two variants – one with 16GB and another with 32GB Internal memory which can be extended upto 200 GB with either a dedicated microSD slot in single-SIM model or using a second SIM slot in a dual-SIM model.
In a step to significantly improve the overall performance, Samsung has boosted the battery for S7 to 3000mAH from 2550mAH used in earlier model – Galaxy S6. The battery life is really great for a average regular user with an excellent stand-by time. Even with high usage which includes high on-screen time, you would still be left with a comfortable charge at the end of the day. Intense gaming with continuous 4G streaming can probably make you reach the charger faster. For e.g: Half-an-hour of any high-end games like Hitman Sniper can roughly drain your battery by 15-18%.
Few other things like ‘Always On’ Display mode or even Doze feature may strain the battery, but the impact of such features may not be as intensive as it would roughly take away less than 1% power per hour. You can always rely on ‘Power Saving Mode’ or ‘Ultra Power Saving Mode’ to fall back on in case of emergencies or go back to wireless charging for a quick power-up. But all said and done, the battery is huge improvement as compared to the past.
Samsung Galaxy S7 comes with a 12 mega-pixel front camera that supports face detection and Dual Pixels with f/1.7 aperture and LED Flash. While the megapixels are dropped from 16 to 12, the pixels are much larger with Dual Pixels which allows capturing sharper and cleaner images with easy and quick autofocus. The 1/2.6” sensor is quick to move focus from one point to another and avoid jarring the picture.
While the daylight shots carry good colour, contrast and exposure, even the low-light shots turn out good without the noise as f/1.7 allows more light into widened lens. The close-up Macro shots are real neat rendering a professional background blur to the images. Other features like Auto HDR, Panorama and Pro mode can make you feel like a photography expert. The 5MP front camera with a wide angle lens is also good for clicking good groupies or selfies. Video recording is smooth as well with sharp picture quality and good audio recording. Camera can be instantly activated with just a double click on Home Button.
iPhone 6S also has the same camera configuration with the 12MP back camera and 5MP front camera. But the low-light shots are comparatively marginalised with f/2.2 aperture and lack of a Pro Mode.
Samsung is definitely trying to re-invent itself to gain better hold in premium segment wherein Apple has a strong presence internationally so far and also to get over the marginal response its previous product received in the category. With Galaxy S7, Samsung has definitely succeeded to bring the best to the table. The Galaxy S7 aces in multiple aspect of design and performance, against the competitor, be it speedy processor, display, huge memory and a better camera. Added features of wire-less charging, water and dust proofing and other nuances also add to the premium feel. Anyone who is not strictly an iOS addict or clan-follower would choose Galaxy S7 any day over 6S.
What would probably be interesting is how Apple would tackle its new competition?
- Good battery life
- Sleek and polished look
- Impressive QHD display
- Great camera
- Water and dust resistant (IP68)
- Unimaginative / Non Innovative design
- Reflective screen
- Prone to smudges while handling
- No USB Type-C
- India misses out on Snapdragon 820 processor