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

Let’s touch on speed first because it definitely has that. You’ll find the camera shortcuts in Android waiting for you, or if you don’t feel like looking for the shortcut or just opening the camera from standby, double tapping the home button does this, too, launching the camera super quickly.

New to phones is a technology called “Dual Pixel AF” which provides super speedy autofocus, and it even works a treat when you’ve turned that camera on from nothing to fire a shot you’d normally otherwise miss with another camera.


The on-screen camera software is a little faster to operate — certainly faster than it ever has been for a Samsung phone — and you’ll even find a few modes for you to work with, including a “food” mode and one sort of made for the professionals with shutter speed and ISO control, among other things.

Taking the photos, though, is generally quite fast and an on-camera button will take care of that for you, storing a 12 megapixel image on your phone’s storage.

Test image from Samsung's Galaxy S7
Test image from Samsung’s Galaxy S7

Over to image quality, and that is one area Samsung has literally nailed.

The 12 megapixel sensor might seem smaller than what we saw in the last generation of Samsung phones — and it technically is, down from 16 megapixels in the Galaxy S6 — but the sensor appears more capable, with better low light imagery that doesn’t generally require a flash as well as some very sharp details in daylight.

Test image from Samsung's Galaxy S7 (100 percent crop)
Test image from Samsung’s Galaxy S7 (100 percent crop)

To say we’re impressed by the development of the S7’s camera is an understatement: we are stoked that Samsung has reached this point in smartphone camera development.

Great work, team.

Test image from Samsung's Galaxy S7
Test image from Samsung’s Galaxy S7


We shouldn’t be surprised by the battery life, either, as the S7 has been built from the same hardware design as its S7 Edge brother.

Granted, there’s a difference in battery size, with a good 600mAh between them, but there’s also a different screen with a different screen size, with 5.1 inches on the Galaxy S7 compared to the curved 5.5 inch screen on the Galaxy S7 Edge.

Over on the S7 Edge, we found that Samsung had not only found the right balance to achieve a full 24 hours, but had literally nailed it, getting that full day without any problems whatsoever.

And here on the Galaxy S7, Samsung has nailed that balance again, with the 3000mAh battery working with the 5.1 inch Quad HD display to pull another full day of battery life.

Not bad, Samsung. Not bad at all.

Battery life with wired headphones is practically spot on to what we experienced on the S7 Edge.
Battery life with wired headphones is practically spot on to what we experienced on the S7 Edge.


…and then some

But the great battery and the great camera and the great feeling that you’re getting a well-thought out device aren’t the only things you get with the S7, because like its S7 Edge brother, this phone is loaded with fix-ins.

For starters, there’s the expandable memory, new to glass and metal backed Samsung phones, because it was there on the S5, but disappeared on the S6.

It’s back, and that means you can throw in a microSD and bring that storage up to an amount you’d be happy with. Every Galaxy S7 phone comes with 32GB in Australia, but depending on the size of a memory card you have, you can increase this, meaning more storage for movies, music, pictures, files, and VR videos.