A gem of a phone: Samsung’s Galaxy S7 reviewed

All eyes are on Samsung’s latest smartphones, and while the S7 Edge has most of the attention, the smaller standard S7 is just as stellar a smartphone as its brother.

Specs

The second of two models released in the Galaxy S7 range for the first half of 2015, the standard Galaxy S7 is one that will appeal to people looking for a modern take on the typical phone.

You may have heard about the edge screen coming to Samsung’s devices, but the standard Galaxy S7 eschews that, opting for a straight metal frame that holds the phone together as opposed to a slimline metal frame that barely touches the curved edge on the S7 Edge.

Some will prefer this style as they will the smaller size, and for those, the Galaxy S7 is ideal.

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Inside, though, Samsung has more or less kept things the same as its high-fashion brother, including an eight-core Samsung-made Exynos 8890 processor which has been paired with 4GB RAM and 32GB storage, the latter of which can be upgraded with a microSD slot as the upgradeable feature returns to the Samsung Galaxy range.

Google’s Android 6.0 “Marshmallow” is also here, running with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface on top, while your connections to the web are handled through either 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi or via Category 9 4G LTE capable of maxing out to 450Mbps.

Bluetooth 4.2 with A2DP rounds out the wireless features alongside GPS, A-GPS, and Near-Field Communication, while support for Samsung’s wireless payment feature “Samsung Pay” is here and will be rolled out eventually in Australia.

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Over on the camera side of things, you’ll find a 12 megapixel sensor on the back with an f/1.7 aperture lens while the front-facing camera relies on a 5 megapixel camera for selfies keeping the f/1.7 aperture glass around.

Video capture can be handled as high as 4K Ultra HD on that rear camera, and you’ll also find a flash on the back next to a heart-rate tracker.

And all of this sits under a 5.1 inch Super AMOLED display capable of showing the Quad HD resolution go 2560×1440, with protection provided by Corning’s scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 4. The back is treated in this material, too, with the metal side wrapping the Galaxy S7.

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Along the top, you’ll find a pin ejectable tray providing a microSD slot and nanoSIM slot, while the bottom holds a 3.5mm headset jack and a microUSB charge and data transfer port.

Buttons are about standard, with individual volume rocker buttons on the left edge while a power button sits on the right. The home button up front includes a fingerprint sensor underneath with soft buttons for multi-tasking and back flanking this on each side.

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Finally, the Samsung Galaxy S7 is rated for IP68 certification, meaning it is dust right and resistant to water down to one metre for up to 30 minutes, though this is fresh-water specific rating.

The battery inside Samsung’s Galaxy S7 is rated for 3000mAh and is not removable.

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Design

Last year, when Samsung released two variants of the S6, many expected the standard edition to be the most popular. It was less interesting, sure, because a curved screen was new, but it was also more expensive, commanding at least a hundred bucks more for a slightly curved display that did very, very little.

The style was also a little different, and while the S6 Edge tried to give off the impression of a display that wrapped around the body, the S6 was more like a phone you knew, with a lot of Samsung and a little Apple wrapped into basic block of a touchscreen device.

Interestingly, from what we know from Samsung, the Edge device was more popular, with many a customer choosing the curved variant over its straight-edged family member.

This year, much the same is expected, but that doesn’t mean that the standard variant of the Galaxy S series won’t have its fans, as some just prefer an edge they can hold, feel, and pick up without any problems.

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In the 2015 Galaxy flagship S7 (without the edge), that is precisely what you get, with Samsung bringing over some of the learnings from the Galaxy Note 5 over to an improved Galaxy S6 with a flat edge.

One of those learnings is with the bottom, where Samsung has curved the glass on the edges to help you hold the phone and pick it up, and it might sound minor, but it is easily one of the better aspects of the design improvements.

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The smaller size is also noticeable — obvious, actually, with the 5.1 inch Galaxy S7 in comparison to the 5.5 inch S6 Edge — and it is very comfortable in the hands, the softened back conforming nicely to the palm while the fingers grip the phone.

All up, it’s a lovely design, even if it can be a bit slippery, something you can thank a glass front and back for.

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