Why is 6 afraid of 7? Traditionally, we know it’s because 7 ate 9. But what happens when 7 is armed with a tough-as-nails processor, a lightning-quick camera, and a rugged IP68 certification? Will 6 and the others cower in fear of 7’s splendor? Let’s find out.

Like clockwork, Samsung has released their annual update to the flagship market—the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. Before it was even out of the gate, the Galaxy S7 already had an uphill battle to top its S6 predecessors. The S6 family was simply one of the best smartphones that 2015 offered. With a design that looks almost exactly like the S6, it’s easy to be wary of the S7’s capabilities.

Sometimes, beauty is skin deep. Often, it’s also what’s on the inside. The Galaxy S7 is no different. Samsung has deftly placed the S7’s new features in a category where it can speak the most—performance. It took some digging, but we’ve unearthed how the Galaxy S7 can be a worthwhile purchase after the Galaxy S6.

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  • Itty-bitty nitty-gritty. It would have been a bad move if Samsung didn’t update the S7’s design philosophy, even by just a little bit. Luckily, they did. By and large, the S7 has the same looks as the S6, except for some tiny updates that greatly improves the old design. First and foremost, the camera no longer juts out of the back, unlike last year’s bulging design blunder. Secondly, the S7 incorporates the Galaxy Note 5’s subtle curves at the back. The S7’s grip is smoother than the S6’s blocky shape. Unfortunately, since it has the same philosophy as the S6, the glass is a big fingerprint magnet that needs constant wiping.
  • Pinpoint. The S7’s screen is top-notch once again. Using a Super AMOLED screen with 2K resolution, the S7 is a joy to watch movies on. Even with a 720p video file, the S7 hardly fragments image quality so movies are widely watchable in today’s standards. The display’s seamless pixels also allow Android to pop out. Such quality also contributes to the S7’s newest Always On Display. To your preference, an inactive screen can display notifications with the clock, the calendar, or a preset image.

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  • Cheetah among gazelles. The S7 will be one of the first phones to sport the new Snapdragon 820 processor. The country, however, will be getting the 820’s Exynos equivalent, the Exynos 8890 octa-core, which is rumored to be faster than the Snapdragon 820. We couldn’t really compare, but on its own, the S7 is a marvel to behold. An AnTuTu test gives out a score of 127980. For comparison, the Galaxy Note 5 scores just 83944 on the benchmarking test. On a DiscoMark test, the phone’s heaviest apps (in this case, Chrome, Camera, and Batman: Arkham Origins) took only an average of 0.5 seconds to boot up.
  • Mobile gamers unite. Given those scores, it’s no surprise that the S7 can perform well in gaming environments. The phone was tested with Batman: Arkham Origins, GT Racing 2, and Jelly Jump. There were no game-breaking flaws in gameplay, but this may depend on the game. Since the S7 has a Mali chip, some Adreno-fluent games may experience frame drops once in a while. Additionally, the S7 has a floating bubble that houses the game tools when gaming. The tools include useful features that can minimize the game, disable alerts while playing, and lock the Recent and Back keys to prevent accidental presses.

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  • ‘Cause you’re hot then you’re cold. The S7 boasts of a “liquid cooling system” that will regulate the phone’s temperature. Since the phone’s processor performs a lot better, it’s expected to produce a lot more heat as well. Playing heavier games like Batman did induce more heat, but never to an uncomfortable extent. The phone was still playable even after some time. In fact, after taking a break from gaming, the S7 quickly cooled down to normal levels after only a few minutes.
  • Less is more. We thought the S7 wouldn’t match up to the S6’s camera after its specs were released. Rather than retaining the S6’s 16-megapixel resolution, the S7 has a lower resolution count of 12 megapixels. Samsung clarifies that despite the reduction, the S7 uses bigger pixels which should result in better photos. We were wary, but the devil was ultimately in the details. Bigger is not always better. Photos were definitely sharper than what the S6 took. They were also brighter and had more vibrant colors. In low-light conditions, the S7 still performed well, outing photos that minimized noise and had better contrast between the little highlights and the ocean of shadows under the conditions.

sample collage

  • Disaster ready. Samsung’s Galaxy line has been reunited with a feature it lost last year—dust and water resistance. The S7 is IP68 certified. Even without caps or covers, the S7 is resistant to dust and water over 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. We tested this hardiness by submerging the phone in a glass of water. Underwater, the S7 could still operate normally. But since touchscreens don’t work underwater, the phone’s “normal” functions are reduced to just the camera operable by the physical buttons.
  • Cleaned up act. Unlike its bloated counterparts, the S7 has very minimal bloatware. Out of the box, the S7’s app drawer is only one panel long. Quite a feat since Samsung phones used to reach two to three panels, depending on the provider.

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  • Warehouse of goodies. Another feature that Samsung is reintroducing to the S7 is the sorely missed microSD compatibility. The Philippines will host only the 32GB variant of the S7, but since the phone can be expanded via a microSD, this will hardly be an issue. In fact, Samsung is boasting a compatibility of up to 200GB via microSD.
  • Battery efficient. The S7 packs in a 3,000mAh non-removable battery under the hood. Samsung touts an improved efficiency when it comes to battery usage. On a full charge, the battery can estimate a full 36 hours on light use. On moderate to heavy usage (which includes heavy gaming across usage), the S7 will last around 18 hours of usage. Specifically, on a day of heavy usage, the phone was down to 15% only after 17 hours of continuous use. Samsung has retained power saving and ultra power saving mode which can extend this even further, if needed. Also, the phone is compatible with fast charging, wired or wireless, which can be toggled if you don’t want to feel the additional heat generate from fast charging.
  • The price of a flagship. The S7 costs P34,990. This is a full thousand pesos lower than what the S6 cost when it came out. The S7’s features justify this price well. But if you’re upgrading directly from the S6, sell your previous smartphone first.

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VERDICT

Should 6 be afraid of 7? Yes. The Samsung Galaxy S7 is a worthwhile upgrade to last year’s successful S6 family. It won’t revolutionize the flagship market, but its improved features make the S7 a great smartphone. Unimpeded, the S7 will definitely stand tall among this year’s crop of flagships.

PRICE

P34,990

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Display: 5.1-inch Super AMOLED (2,560 x 1,440 resolution)

Processor: Exynos 8890 octa-core

GPU: Mali-T880 MP12

Memory: 4GB RAM

SIM: Nano-SIM

Operating System: Android 6.0 Marshmallow, TouchWiz

Storage: 32GB internal, expandable up to 200GB via microSD

Camera: 12MP rear, 5MP front

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, microUSB 2.0

Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3,000mAh

Dimensions & Weight: 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm, 152g

Other features: IP68 certification

Samsung Galaxy S7 review: Should 6 be afraid of 7?
Form Factor9
Build Quality10
Ease of Use9
Performance10
Value for Money9
9.4Overall Score

About The Author

Luigi Leonardo
Freelance writer

Luigi continues to build a book fort out of all things geeky. He is now at the science fiction section where he hopes to build a cyberpunk effigy of Philip K. Dick. You can find him in numerous publications, all over the world, and wherever books are sold.

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