Well, as you guys probably know by now, I pretty much dislike everything by Samsung. For every good thing they did, I felt they did two things wrong. Well, this year they beat me. Not only did they craft an excellent phone that floored me, but they pretty much made the best phone of the year. Unless Apple releases something truly mind-blowing in September, the Samsung Galaxy S7 has pretty much claimed the title of Best Phone 2016. Though it still stretches that price, the phone backs it up with stellar specs, killer battery life, and a near flawless design.
Samsung Galaxy S7 – Design and Features
A few years ago, I would have blasted the Samsung phones for their standard design. That’s something they tried to remedy with the Galaxy S6, and the Galaxy S7 has refined it. The body is made of metal and glass, and its slightly curved design makes it easy to hold without feeling like it will slip from your hand. Its 5.1″ display is incredibly sharp with 577 ppi, though that’s not something you can honestly tell the difference on a phone to phone basis. Still, the screen looks amazing by any standard. Samsung also made a wise decision in making the Galaxy S7 water-resistant. This was a feature that set the Galaxy S5 apart and left us wanting more on the Galaxy S6. It’s still not something I would personally push to the limit, but the phone will at least survive a temporary dip in the bath tub. The only real downside to the design is the phone’s glass back. It picks up fingerprints really bad, and its next to impossible to clean. That probably isn’t a big deal though if you’re a sensible person and slap a case on the phone.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is slightly larger than the Galaxy S7, but unless you have small hands, it shouldn’t be too big of a difference. The Edge’s extended screens are also a lot more useful this time around. New features have been added to make it an essential part of the phone, though it still lacks a lot of developer support to make it useful.
Both phones run Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Google’s latest OS. While there are still some Samsung specific apps on the phone, the bloatware has been significantly reduced. If anything, it has added some more features that mainly appeal to mobile gamers, such as the ability to easily record your game as you are playing it.
Specs, Camera, and Battery
While the design is pretty amazing, its the tech under the hood where Samsung has always shined, and that’s no different with the Samsung Galaxy S7. This year, Samsung went back to Qualcomm, rocking the latest and fastest Qualcomm Snapdragon 820. The processor blows everything out of the water, which makes it ideal for GPU-intensive games.
[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”20″ bg_color=”#455eed” txt_color=”#ffffff”]The Samsung Galaxy S7 is no doubt the fastest and most powerful smartphone on the market right now. [/mks_pullquote]
The base model also comes with 32 GB of internal storage and 4GB of RAM, or for $100 more you can get 64 GB of internal storage. The base model may be all you need though since the Galaxy S7 reintroduces expandable storage up to 200 GB. That may not be as much as the 2 TB of expandable storage on the LG G5, but it is still a solid amount for anyone looking to save all of their photos and apps.
The camera is also outstanding on the Galaxy S7. It has taken a slight “technical” downgrade from the Galaxy S6, going from 16 MP to 12 MP, but the images are just as good, if not better. The images you capture on the Galaxy S7 look a little more true-to-life and less saturated, and they still look great on bigger displays despite the lower resolution. The camera is also stellar in low-light situations, beating even the Apple iPhone 6S. There is still some noise and the usual affair with low-light, but the quality is noticeably better.
The battery is truly where it is at with the Galaxy S7, though. Even though it is non-removable (which is a bummer to die-hard phone junkies), it should get you through pretty well for the whole time you have it. The Galaxy S7’s 3,000 mAh battery lasted 16 hours in CNET’s battery test, making it one of the best battery tests ever. That’s nearly four hours more than the Galaxy S5, and almost 7 hours longer than the Galaxy S6. And the S7 Edge does even better, topping off at 20 hours in a single use. So you can leave your chargers at home because the Galaxy S7 can more than get you through the day.
Needless to say, I am beyond impressed with the Samsung Galaxy S7. At last, Samsung has made a phone that wasn’t just trying to compete with Apple. Instead, they went above and beyond, creating a powerful, versatile phone that looks as good as it operates. The price is a bit stiff at $617 here in the US, but now I feel like Samsung is beginning to justify that premium price tag. The Galaxy S7 Edge is a bit more at $729, but that bigger battery and enhanced Edge display nearly makes it worth it. In the end, the Galaxy S7 is the best of the best for 2016, just be prepared to pay for it.