Samsung Galaxy S7: What’s it like?

ByKim Staples
Samsung Galaxy S7

Mobile World Congress is over, and that means we’ve finally caught a glimpse of the new Samsung smartphones: the Samsung Galaxy S7, and Galaxy S7 Edge.

It's all very exciting. Let's take a look at what it's like, and how you can nab one. 

Release date

The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge were unveiled on 21 February, but they'll be available for official release on 11 March.

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Design and display

The S7 looks mostly the same as the ol' Galaxy S6 - it's got the same basic design, but with a few little changes to make it just that bit nicer. The whole thing is classy and metallic, with what Samsung calls 'ergonomic curves' to make it comfortable and easy to hold in your hand.

So… it's not exactly an innovation. But Samsung has at least taken the elements of the S6 that worked best and built upon those.

The first thing you'll notice when you look at an S7 is that the display isalways on. It's the new aptly-named 'always-on display' feature, meaning the screen shows things like the time, date, and notifications even when the phone is asleep. Only the pixels in use are lit up, while the rest of the screen is black - meaning it'll suck as little battery power as possible.

The display itself is the same one you'll find on the S6 - a QHD (Quad HD) Super AMOLED screen, with a 1440 x 2560p resolution. It's 5.1 inches on the S7, while on the S7 Edge it's a little bigger at 5.5 inches.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

The Edge is doing a few other extra bits and bobs with the screen too. For a start, it's curved at the sides like the previous S6 Edge. You can set it up with shortcuts, giving you quick access to apps, files, functions, and more.

Your colour options, by the way, are black, white, silver, and gold.

Tech specs

Here's what's going on under the hood of your Samsung Galaxy S7:

  • 32GB internal storage, expandable to 200GB via SD card
  • 4GB RAM
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 or Exynos 8890 Octa processor
  • 3,000mAh battery (3,600mAh for the Edge), enabled for Quickcharge 3.0 and wireless charging
  • In-built sensors, including fingerprint, gyro, heart rate monitor, and blood oxygen level
  • Android v6.0 Marshmallow
  • 12MP and 5MP cameras

The rear camera is lower in megapixel count than its predecessor, but it's got something brand new: dual pixel autofocus. A smartphone first, this means that each pixel is used for capturing the picture as well as determining focus, resulting in much sharper and slicker photos. Samsung's camera software also lets you take moving Motion Photos (a lot like the iPhone 6s' Live Photos) as well as wider Motion Panoramas.

Bizarrely, the chipset you'll get varies depending on region and carrier. Either way, Samsung claims the S7's CPU is up to 30% faster than that of the S6.

Now let's talk about that expandable memory. It's back! After a spiteful exclusion from the S6 party, Samsung has added it back in - in the form of a little drawer that slides in and out, so you can get to the SD card and SIM card slots more easily. It'll take SD cards of up to 200GB, but sadly that storage isn't adoptable. In other words, it can be used to store picture, audio, videos, documents, and other such files, but not apps.

Features

An exciting feature of the Galaxy S7 is the new Game Launcher. It's where you'll find all your games in one easy location, complete with tools to make mobile gaming better - you can adjust the framerate, mute alerts, lock the 'back' and 'recently used' buttons, take screenshots, and record video of your game. The S7 is also the first smartphone to support Vulkan API, which means gorgeously rendered 3D graphics. Still, you may be stuck to find games that fit the bill - the one drawback of a largely unsupported API.

Another feature we're pleased about is that it's once again water and dust resistant, so you needn't worry about dropping it in the toilet.

Price

As expected, this is the most expensive Samsung flagship yet. The company's website lists the Galaxy S7 as £569, and the S7 Edge as £639.

Monthly contracts from UK mobile networks circle around £35-60 depending on tariff and network, plus upfront costs. Compare Galaxy S7 Edge deals here to find the best price.

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