Let us free our minds to think of where we are in the smartphone world and how we got here, and more importantly, where are we headed?
Well, Blackberry did give us a glimpse of the future with its Priv. Who do we expect to rewrite the rulebook? Will it be Apple or Samsung or some other manufacturer?
The point that is being made here is that, we as users and reviewers have arrived at such a juncture that it no longer is enough to see the small upgrades and improved tech. As soon as a Samsung or an Apple device hits the market, we search for what is new and what’s changed. Is it remarkable?
Holding onto that thought, lets process the information released via Samsung’s announcement of its latest flagship device, the Samsung Galaxy S7. So does it rewrite the rulebook? The straight forward answer to this would be – no it does not.
But I would ask you to consider this device as a ‘Greatest Hits of Samsung’ device – think of everything you have loved about Samsung phones over the years, and you will find all of them consolidated to make the Galaxy S7.
For example, the Galaxy S6 saw the departure of a lot of things. Some of them like the cheap plastic finish was very much appreciated but the disappearance of things like the expandable storage did raise a lot of eyebrows.
Expandable storage, a bigger battery, no protruding camera and an easier-to-hold design were my biggest requests after using the Galaxy S6 – and they’re all here.
Yes, the S7 doesn’t rewrite the smartphone rulebook, but when it looks and promises to be this good, I don’t think it needs to. Galaxy
The Galaxy S7 triumphs in the display arena. It is by far the brightest display in an Android device, ever! On the highest settings this display is quite frankly something else, with excellent colours and vibrancy.
It is a 5.1-inch Quad HD screen with a 2,560×1,440 pixel resolution and it really is a beast. The colour representation is excellent with deep blacks and natural whites.
It is yet to be seen how the display will perform in outdoor lighting conditions and while viewing different media, but from what we have seen, we can expect not to be disappointed.
There is one feature that is new in the display for a Samsung device, and that is the Always On feature.
Similar to LG, Samsung has integrated an Always On display into its latest flagship smartphone, which leave part of the display always active and displaying your choice of information – calendar, clock, notifications or any thing else.
The impact on the battery is expected to be minimal, as only a small number of pixels are powered to create the effect.
Not much has changed in terms of design with the Galaxy S7 – it is essentially the same as the Galaxy S6, albeit with a few changes. It retains the screen size, aluminum sides and Gorilla Glass 4-coating on the face and rear.
The Silver colour variant has a metallic finish under the glass back and it looks spectacular. Also, shimmering with gold and silver tones under the conference center lights, and feels more luxurious than the S6.
There are some subtle improvements in the design of the Galaxy S7 – the back edges are curved towards the frame as are the corners. This quite significantly improves the hold on the phone and makes it feel smooth. Looking at it lying at my desk too, it evokes a much classier and wholesome aura.
The other notable change here is that the rear camera now does not protrude out of the body as much as it did in the Galaxy S6. Infact, the protrusion is a mere 0.46mm. While it sounds trivial, in hand and in sub-conscience, it’s actually quite a noticeable niggle to let go of.
On the front of the device are proximity sensors, a front-facing camera, call speaker, and the home button/fingerprint scanner. Samsung didn’t suggest that the fingerprint sensor would offer any out-of-the-ordinary features, though.
The side of the phone has three buttons. Two volume keys on the left and a power button on the right. The top holds a nano-SIM card slot and to the delight of everyone… a microSD slot as well! The expandable storage makes a return with this device and let us face it – it does make everyone happy.
There is a micro-USB slot at the bottom with a minijack (3.5 mm) for the headphones.
The Galaxy S7 is waterproof, IP68 certified, which is one of the major differences from its predecessor the Galaxy S6, and it is even a little thicker than the Galaxy S6. This is not a bad thing – the difference is negligible but the advantage of which is that it houses a larger battery.
The improvements in the design of the Galaxy S7 are not significant if looked at one-at-a-time. But together, these changes result in a device that is elegant, classy and very good to use.
Under the hood, the Galaxy S7 houses the Samsung’s own Exynos 8890 chipset. This is an octa-core CPU with four cores clocked at 2.3 GHz and four at 1.6 GHz.
It is backed up with a hefty 4 GB of RAM, which is absolutely mandatory considering the growing demands of Android and Samsung’s own TouchWiz overlay (more about that later). The RAM proves sufficient to handle most games and all multitasking that the device may be tasked with.
The performance of the Galaxy S7 is super smooth. The phone is small but it may easily be the most powerful Samsung, till date. There is no lag whatsoever and browsing through the phone is cakewalk.
Opening up web pages, multitasking, playing games, performing CPU-intensive tasks, you name it and this device will handle it ever so smoothly and with minimal effort.
In a short span of use, the phone has hardly heated up which is incredibly impressive considering the fact that most phones do heat up a little and this is in a way accepted by users.
All of these attributes about the performance of this device can be credited to a CPU that is 30% more powerful and a GPU that is 64% more powerful than the setup in the outgoing Galaxy S6.
All in all, this phone is powerhouse and I would not expect you to face any problems whatsoever with the device’s performance.
The Galaxy S7 comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow with TouchWiz UI, which is almost identical to the software on the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5.
There are some pre-installed apps which you would have had to install anyways. There is minimal bloatware from Samsung on this device, unlike its previous devices. You may not know the relief one feels when we write this… but you’ll experience the same feeling as you use the device over time. There’s much lesser going inside the phone, than you expect.
First the display and then performance. This device has triumphed in the two fields.
Camera is yet another field in which this device absolutely excels. This phone has a 12 megapixel rear camera. The new sensor is supported an f/1.7 aperture lens. This means that what it loses in distance detail, it should make up for in low-light performance.
In addition, the S7 has optical image stabilization and dual-pixel technology, as found in reflex cameras.
Outcome: Both well-lit and low lit shots are very good. The lens focuses four times faster than the Galaxy S6 in low lighting conditions and twice as fast in well-lit conditions. The images that are shot in ideal shooting conditions are exceptional with very good saturation levels. The low lit shots are also very good but the only problem here is that the pictures seem overly warm. You can fix that too. Later.
The front camera also has an f/1.7 aperture lens and 5 megapixel resolution, and it performs remarkably well.
The Galaxy S7’s camera interface is similar to that on the Galaxy S6, and affords 4K video shooting, fast motion, slow motion and more.
A device that has such a great display and is also blessed with great processor and hardware, good entertainment is almost a given.
You will be entertained with this device – Any games that you play on this device is going to have that oomph about it because of the crisp display. Secondly, this phone is the most powerful device yet and that means you get a performance that is unparalleled (on Android at least) and unquestionable.
So… no lags and no hiccups while playing the most graphic intensive games. The same applies to watching movie and media on this device. The screen at 5.1 inches might seem a bit small compared to today’s standards but the quality of the display more than makes up for it. Also, this phone has a 3,000 mAh battery which in itself has its perks.
The audio setup in the Galaxy S7 is the same as that of the Galaxy S6 which was delightful to start with.
Business is as usual in all the Samsung devices. You can configure your phone going through basic steps. Setting up accounts requires username and password.
In recent times, the fingerprint scanner has gained a lot of popularity and is almost a must in every modern device. The same goes for this device. It does have a fingerprint scanner integrated in the home screen button.
Not only does it support the unlocking requirements of the device, it is also the gatekeeper for Android Pay – and you’ll love the interaction whenever it does arrive on the Indian shores.