Samsung Galaxy S7 – 3 Month Review
I’ve had a Samsung Galaxy S7 for three months now, and yes, I was one of those guys that had it on pre-order. After two years of using the Galaxy S5, I figured it was about time for an upgrade, and when they offered a free virtual reality headset for pre-ordering I’d have been silly not to take them up on it.
There are some things that you don’t really need me to go into; if you buy any of the top-tier smartphones now, you’re going to get some features that you just expect; a vast app store (now that Android has caught up to iTunes), a good processor that will do everything with ample speed, a high-resolution screen – you get the idea. I’d rather talk about the things that, for me at least, really separate the S7 from any of its competitors at the moment and which I really like about the phone.
Camera – This is the clincher for me. The camera on this phone is truly fantastic. I’ve had a Nikon DSLR camera for a couple of years that I would try and take with me on most holidays to get really good pictures, because realistically the picture quality on phones is generally substandard, although they make up for it in terms of convenience. My GoPro offers some increase in quality, but that’s not something I’m packing on a day trip to London, for example. With the S7, this genuinely is no longer a problem as it provides incredible photos on the move and all but negates any use for my SLR, because for my non-photographer needs the quality is practically indistinguishable.
The S7 has a 12MP Dual Pixel sensor camera, and for the eagled eyed of you, that is fewer pixels than Samsung’s prior model; the S6. However, it’s not all about the pixels at this point, because it has fewer than its competitors, but still creates by far the best quality photos, so how is this? The key is the “dual pixel sensor” part. Basically this means that each pixel has two different sensors, and that’s what helps the camera adjust and focus much more effectively and faster. It’s always tricky trying to decide the quality of a camera from a review, because you know that all the photos included are just ones that the reviewer has taken to highlight the camera’s capability. However, there have been a couple of times that I have taken a picture and been genuinely staggered at the quality, they were just general pictures I would have taken anyway, and not meant for this review, so take a look and judge for yourself. Both of these photos are straight from the phone without any editing or “filters” whatsoever!
Something else you will see brandished across the S7 advertising campaign is the low light capabilities, as you can see in my picture of Piccadilly Circus above, they’re not overselling it. This is all due to the f/1.7 aperture, which basically allows the camera to take in far more light than before, which highlights those spots that your eye notices, but often don’t come out on camera.
Waterproofing – Technically the phone is described as being water-resistant, but either way it’s a huge selling point, and it’s all over their ad campaigns because it’s another feature that separates it from Apple models. The thing with waterproofing is that it’s a lot like phone insurance; there’s always that little internal battle as to whether it’s really going to happen to you, and then one day it does and you thank your lucky stars you have it… or kick yourself if you don’t. So far I haven’t needed to rely on this feature as my phone hasn’t gone for a swim or been flushed, but it has been in my pocket at a festival during a torrential downpour, and the peace of mind I got from knowing that my phone would still work when the sun comes out isn’t something to be underestimated. I never needed to worry about it while I was out.
Interface – The Android operating system obviously isn’t unique to Samsung, but is a definite point in the S7’s favour. Here it is going to be hard not to draw comparisons, direct or indirect to the iPhone, because Apple are the only company to not have any kind of open platform, and I simply love having control over my own device. If I’m going to shell out £700, or £40 per month on a phone, then I don’t expect to be told when, where, or what I can do with it by the manufacturer. With the S7, if there’s an issue with the phone then you can just get an app or a patch to fix it. For example, the multi-window “tool” is not for me, at all. As I’m left-handed, I kept inadvertently long-pressing the button which would spring my phone into a two-window setup, with no clear way to quickly go back. That really didn’t sit well with me, and to make matters worse there isn’t a setting to turn it off. But not to worry, Android to the rescue, as I was then able to get online and download a tiny little 10mb app that then gives me that setting. Sorted!
Now, I wanted to write a balanced article where I make a couple of points and then offer some contrasting views, but the reality is that I can’t. Other than the multi-window debacle, which was easily fixed, I honestly haven’t had a bad word to say about this phone in the three months I’ve owned it. In my opinion, the ease of use, the incredible camera, and the security that comes with its waterproofing all make the S7 the top smartphone to own right now. You’d be hard pressed to find anything that will surpass it for a while. So, if you’re looking to get a phone in the near future and the S7 is on your radar, then I really urge you to go for it – you won’t be disappointed.