Skip to main content

Galaxy S7 gets reviewed! But is Samsung's best good enough?

My colleagues over at Android Central have your complete Samsung Galaxy S7 review and companion Samsung Galaxy S7 edge+ review ready and waiting for you.

On the GS7, editor-in-chief Phil Nickinson gives some prudent advice about security:

While we applaud the transparency, the truth remains that it's a crapshoot when (or whether) a carrier-branded Samsung phone will be updated. While it's not quite a deal-breaker for us, it's something to keep in mind when purchasing.

And the camera:

It's the end result that's ... well, it's a little confusing. We're gotten some great shots out of the Galaxy S7 in daylight, for sure. But we've also gotten some that have a good bit of yellow tinge to them. Or others with details that aren't as crisp as we expected. Or a beautiful blue sky that's noisy when viewed at 100 percent. Or sometimes the shot is simply blown out with any sort of direct sunlight. It's good, but maybe there's a little more tuning to be done? (When is there not, though.)Low light is supposed to be where the Galaxy S7 really excels. And, again, the answer is "it depends." Give it some light to work with and it does pretty well. Maybe it's not quite as magical as the GS6 and Note 5 seemed to be, or our expectations are that much higher now. It's good. It's really good. But it's not a miracle worker.

But overall he really likes it:

It's not all that often we can recommend a phone without any real hesitation. The Galaxy S7 is one of those. Samsung has improved on most of our complaints from the Galaxy S6 era. Battery life is improved. Not great, but adequate. The overall design is better and less slippery, and it takes a case well without becoming too large. The display size hits that 5.1-inch sweet spot. The fingerprint feature is excellent.

On the GS7 edge+, editor Andrew Martonik has some quibbles about carrier bloat-ware and the edge software itself not being super useful. Overall, he really likes it as well though:

Samsung is undeniably putting its marketing power behind the "edge" version of the Galaxy S7. It's bigger, flashier and more expensive than the standard phone, and it's for those who want to stand out from the crowd just a bit more. Compared to the compact Galaxy S7 the larger size of the GS7 edge is going to cause problems for some people, but if you want the boost in battery, head-turning curved screen and handful of extra software features, the Galaxy S7 edge is the one to get.

I'm sure some people will call it the Galaxy S6s — a joke based on Apple's iPhone 6 to iPhone 6s strategy — because it really is a better Galaxy S6, but I'm not sure it qualifies. iPhone 4s introduced Siri. iPhone 5s introduced Touch ID. iPhone 6s introduced 3D Touch. There's no equivalent user experience step here that I can find.

I've only had a short time to try out a few of the review units, so I can't form a real opinion of my own yet. I did dislike the finish almost immediately, though. Making it look like polished metal when it feels like glassy plastic creates cognitive dissonance, which just ends up making it seem undeservedly cheap. The non-faux-metallic ones don't feel anyone nearly as faux, obviously.

Some of the photos taken with the Galaxy S7 camera also looked worse to my eyes than the 6-month old iPhone 6s Plus camera, especially when it came to color accuracy (refer back to what Phil says, above). I applaud Samsung for not being afraid to drop megapixel count for pixel size, but I worry they may not have ended up with the best balance.

And yes, I still think the lack of care in the industrial design betrays a potential lack of care throughout. For example, I still can't find out how fingerprint data is kept safe, absent a secure enclave (SEP) like on Apple's A-series processors.

The water-resistance is legit cool. Apple has unofficially made the iPhones 6s far more water resistant as well, but having it up front and center, and at this level, is reassuring.

I'm sure some lazier reviewers will compare specs, including number of cores and size of memory, but iOS and Android are different beasts. It's like comparing the engine in Lambo to the engine in a tractor trailer. No spec in the world can fix software consistency or coherence. Or, apparently, prevent carrier bloatware from getting installed.

Overall though, while undeniably the best Galaxy S ever, I don't think it even rises to the level of an Apple S-year update, much less a full version update like we'll be getting this year. And, as a fan of competition, thats incredibly disappointing.

That said, and my personal tastes aside, if you don't want an iPhone, Samsung has certainly done enough to keep the Galaxy S7 as the most popular alternative. (Though you may want to investigate other options as well.)

My personal tastes not aside, if you're at all on the fence, and not in immediate need, wait for the iPhone 7, compare the two 2016 flagships, and decide which one best suits your needs.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

60 Comments
  • Bounced back and forth between Android and iOS for several years, mainly because I just simply like both platforms. But what has brought me back to stay on iOS is something mentioned above - updates. With any carrier branded android phone, it truly is a crapshoot for when, even "if", you'll get updates. With iOS I know as soon as an update is available from Apple it's mine. And being able to run the Public Betas is even better. My 5S, 6+, and current 6S all run better on betas than my Galaxy Note Edge did on Verizon's official Android 5.0 update.
  • Same here, I usually have an iPhone and an Android phone or two going back and forth. You are right on target on the updates (although I usually buy a Nexus phone). In the end for me the reason I would go IOS if I had only one choice are: Apple Stores for support - this computer is too important to wait for a repair
    Better Apps- IOS has much more polished apps
  • Yeah, I hear you. But being on Verizon, a Nexus hasn't always been an option. All things considered, much happier with my 6S right now. As an aside, at work 98% are on iOS so iMessage gets used heavily. So another good reason to stick with iOS.
  • I'm not sure why people (or imore) go nuts over a bloatware phone from Samsung that may or may not get android updates in the future. Same as it ever was... Nexus or iphone. Leave the bloatware specials to the ignorant masses.
  • Me neither;
    software whose usefulness is reduced because of the excessive disk space and memory it
    requires.
    "a nasty piece of cross-platform bloatware that's in serious need of a total overhaul"
    unwanted software included on a new computer or mobile device by the manufacturer.
    "users must initially contend with the usual bevy of bloatware (unnecessary toolbars, games of
    questionable value)” That means Stocks, Game Centre, etc. etc are all bloatware.
  • Anything but the native OS is bloatware. Sadly, Samsung doesn't make android or iOS. What you see of Samsung's is bloat, useless crap baked on to android. Let's not forget the carrier bloat samsung can't help but include either. Hard to keep that bloat afloat, so you don't see upgrades too often. Enjoy...
  • You are right, the S7 compared to S6 is not the same as the ridiculous and unimpressive S update of iphone which just adds one feature and calls it a new line of iphones. S7 is a far bigger upgrade. Compared to S6 has: More RAM
    Better CPU
    Better GPU
    Bigger battery
    better Camera
    SD card
    Water resistant Those are real upgrades that you would expect from a next gen phone. Btw, if you think S7 camera isn't clearly superior (especially in low light), you might actually crossed from your usual being drunk on the Koolaid into Koolaid poisoning. One thing We agree on is that comparing S7 to iphone is like comparing lambo with a tractor trailer.
  • It looks like Samesung took a step back compared to the S6 camera.
  • it doesn't look like that at all...it takes much better low light pictures than the S6.
  • Not according to Phil.
  • So far, the low light comparisons do show S7 doing better in low light.
    Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9olR5hYdKk And don't forget the instant auto-focus of S7 which is much better than S6 and vastly superior to that of iphone's.
  • Also, both Phil and Andrew said that the S6 takes better daylight photos. A step back.........
  • Takes better low-light pictures, has instant auto focus, Step forward........
  • Explain how iffy low-light and worse daylight photos are a "step forward".
  • Right after you explain how significantly better low-light and instant auto-focus and a comperable daylight is a "step backward": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9olR5hYdKk
  • Probably 95% of all pics taken are daylight-type photos, and both reviewers said that the S6 was better. How is that a step forward? You have no argument for that.
  • I suggest you look at the link that actually compares the two phones' cameras in both daylight and low-light. Break away from the isheep mentality and make your own mind based on evidence instead of forming your thoughs based on others' opinions. If you look at the link you'll see the daylights are comperable and S7 does much better in low-light and has a much better instant focus.
  • So, what is the difference in believing his opinion in that link, and Phil and Andrew's opinion? So, you're saying to believe whichever opinion that suits you?
  • Dude, You don't need to believe anyone's "opinions"....he has put the pictures side by side for you to see for yourself and judge for yourself instead of regurgitating others' opinions.
  • Why should I not believe two of the biggest names on one of the largest Android sites?
  • Man, iSheep at it's best. Because when you want to accept something as a fact, it should be evidence-based instead of just following and accepting whatever you're told. Phil and Andrew haven't provided comparison pictures that would support their opinions...when they do, we can have a more informed discussion about their opinions. However,from the comparison pictures that actually DO exist, you can judge for yourself without being dependent on anyone's personal opinion.
  • Amen!
  • Read verge review then. Overall the reviews are positive. Sent from the iMore App
  • No the camera is way better Sent from the iMore App
  • It doesn't have an IR blaster. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • "I'm sure some lazier reviewers will compare specs" If there is one thing Rene knows about, it's lazy reviewers
  • No kidding, he's always doing spec comparisoms Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • looking good for my next phone or the new Note when that arrives on the market
  • haha bgr, the 'reliable' news source of the isheep.
  • Ha ha, BGR didn't perform the tests.
    Plus, this is an Android site. http://www.cultofandroid.com/79302/79302/
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ8pTGCcW7A
  • Having both the Note 5 and iPhone 6s Plus, I can say the S7 is a very welcome addition, looking forward to what the Note 6 would bring. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • I like how Rene quibbles about industrial design. He's the ONLY one that does it as if he has magical eyes, or he's an expert in this area.
  • Samsung knows more about industrial design than Apple ever has! Samsung makes EVERYTHING Apple does and about 20,000 other products and they all have GREAT industrial design! I guess they lack the critical eye of a blog-writer though!
  • The S7 is a pretty nice improvement over the S6. I just cannot deal with the speed or lack thereof of updates. I know many do not care about that but I do. I really like my iPhone 6S+ but apple needs to incorporate quick charging. I get so impatient charging my iPhone when my androids charge so much faster! Posted via my Nexus 6P!
  • Use the iPad Charger
  • I only use the ipad charger. It is sloooooow! Posted via my Nexus 6P!
  • Lol. Posted by your Nexus and claiming to use iPhone.
  • Galaxy 6s? Really? Maybe Apple should call a spade a spade! Just call the iPhone 6s the iPhone 8 or whatever the **** number it is now! They sure want to differentiate it performance and cost-justification wise, but keep the same nomenclature for the last phone!
  • But yet, the iPhone 6S is still faster than the newest Galaxy with 72 gb of RAM and a 5ghz processor. Lol!
  • It would be different if Samsung was in a sandbox and had a neutered OS. Then it's a level playing field. Thankfully though it s not. Sent from the iMore App
  • Samesung must be neutered if it can't keep up with an iPhone, especially with all of the top-spec hardware.
  • Rene, I think that Samsung has made a deliberate choice to release their flagship phones as far away from Apple as possible to eliminate these types of comparisons. Of course the new Galaxy phones are going to have some better specs than the latest Apple phone because Apple's flagship phones are 6 months old. The same can be said in reverse when the new iPhones are released in another 6 months. At this point though I really think (IMHO) specs are less relevant than the OS platform.
  • True. Considering Samsung's platform consists of bloat on top of Google's OS, there's really not much to add here.
  • Please do tell me how I get rid of Apple bloatware. Seems you have it figured out. Sent from the iMore App
  • Apple doesn't have bloatware. They make the OS. Are you this stupid?
  • He's not very bright. Already said that his iPhone had carrier bloat, lol!
  • The Edge is sweet!, if I wasn't on board with Apple?, that is the phone to get.
  • "It's like comparing the engine in Lambo to the engine in a tractor trailer" Wow Renee, even for you that was a new low. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • nah, he's been far pettier than this
  • he means that iPhone is a tractor trailer
  • The galaxy s7 feels cheap? .. i think the author is seriously high.. when android central reviews a phone, they review it properly instead of salivating on everything made by a certain company like here ... when he critisizes the camera, he does it based on high standards set by the s6 which was regarded as the best overall camera.. the bias here is unreal .. i come here for apple news because i have an ipad but this is really getting out of hand..the s7 feels cheap ? I cant get over that statement.. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Welcome to the Rene's Apple wet-dreamland.
  • T-Mobile SGS7 has very little bloat. Much can be deleted. As far as comparing the S7 with the iPhone 7, it shouldn't, it is in the cycle of the iPhone 6S. I own both the iPhone 6S and the SGS7. Rene was complaining about the the S7, it's the best camera to date on any phone. Better than last year's S6 which was considered the best. Blows away the camera on any iPhone. This S7 should be compared to the iPhone 6s & 6S+ not the iPhone 7 coming out in September. I'm using the S7 as my daily phone, great battery life. When I go to sleep and it's at 100%, I wake up and the S7 is at 99 or 98%. Easily getting entire day out of battery. The phone is fast, very fast, did I say fast, very very very fast!!! Perfect size, great feel in your hand and that screen. BEST, Gorilla glass 5. Water & Dust Proof. Wireless Fast Charging. Has it all, it's the best device I've ever used.
  • Would go for the new Galaxy(s) because of superior ergonomics. However superior ergonomics loses advantage because of: diminutive internal memory (marshmallow adoptable storage unavailable) - I'm an app junkie!; inferior apps. Sent from the iMore App
  • Adoptable Storage can be easily activated by use of any computer. No, root is not needed. I have my 200gb sd-card incorporated as internal-storage, that gives me about 225gb or internal-storage. Love it. Just get a fast sd-card. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • #nexusmasterrace Posted from my Nexus 6P
  • Wow, Galaxy S7 really looks gorgeous, it makes the iPhone 6s look like a cheap phone. Rene, if you gonna write something bad about other phone, please at least provide some facts, the photo looks bad to your eyes compare to iPhone 6s, that's due to your bad eye sight problem. That's an opinion, not fact.
  • Man, all this Android reporting on an iPhone website makes me want to switch to the Googleverse! My mouth is watering! Sent from the iMore App
  • Oh rene always a good lol