Samsung Galaxy S7 Review

The UK version of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will not come with Qualcomm’s latest and fastest processor the Snapdragon 820 but with the less powerful Samsung-made Exynos 8890. Some think UK consumers are getting a raw deal, but actually, the choice of processor doesn’t matter. Recent performance measures of the various chips released by benchmarking firm AnTuTu have shown that not only is the Snapdragon 820 6,518 points ahead of the Exynos 8890 (Qualcomm’s scoring 136,383 to Samsung’s 129,865), but even Apple’s A9 chip used in last year’s iPhone 6S is 2,792 points ahead of the Samsung chip.Samsung is betting it has the answer to all of those questions with its new Galaxy S7 smartphone. The Galaxy S7 is actually two phones: the standard S7 ($650-$695, depending on carrier) and the S7 Edge ($750-$795, depending on carrier). It's the Edge that truly tries to solve the big phone problem using Samsung’s unique curved display technology. The S7 models aren’t hugely different from last year’s Galaxy S6 pair  in fact, they look almost identical. The Galaxy S6s were a watershed moment for Android devices: they were the first ones that could stand next to the iPhone in terms of design, materials, performance, and camera quality. So for the S7, Samsung didn’t rewrite its formula. Instead, it took what was good in the S6, refined and iterated upon it, and produced something much better.

The sum of all of this means that the S7, and more specifically, the S7 Edge, is the most impressive piece of smartphone hardware I’ve ever held. It’s so polished, so well put together, so smartly designed, and so beautiful to look at that it’s a joy to pick up over and over again. That’s aided by the new colors Samsung is using this year: the silver and gold are a little boring, but the black is gorgeous and refined, deep and inky with just the right amount of reflectivity. It seems silly to be excited about a black phone, but since so many are various shades of grey and not actually black anymore, it’s a refreshing change of pace. (Also, it’s just a really good black.) My only real complaint is the glass on both phones is like a rare earth magnet for fingerprints, and it makes them slippery, especially in cold weather when my skin is dry. The S7 Edge also has curved glass on its back, which makes it much more comfortable to hold and easier to pick up off a desk or table than last year’s S6 Edge. The whole thing is rounded and polished and delightful to flip over and over in my hand, much like a river stone that’s been tumbled under water for a millennia or two. It slips into my pants pocket with ease and is just short enough so that it can stay in my pocket when I sit down. That’s something I can’t say about the iPhone 6S Plus, Nexus 6P, or Note 5. On top of this, Samsung managed to make both S7 models water resistant. They can withstand up to 30 minutes under a meter and a half of water, but really the important thing here is that it you don’t have to worry about the being a fallible human being around your phone. The tiny tragedies of day-to-day life become no big deal: spilling your coffee when your phone is on your desk, keeping it by the sink when you’re doing dishes, calling an Uber in a rainstorm, or, worse, dropping it in the toilet when you’re a few sheets to the wind. The S7s don’t have any fiddly flaps or port covers to accomplish this, either. Samsung isn’t the first phone company to make a water resistant phone, nor are the S7s Samsung’s first water resistant models, but it’s something that all phones, especially high-end ones, should have on their spec lists1.
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