Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge: the Almost Perfect Smartphone

Samsung corrected the few flaws of the previous generation and improved what was good

I usually say that the Galaxy S6 was a page turn in Samsung. The Koreans finally invested in design, improved interface unloved and raised the level of smartphone cameras. The hardware, which was already a strength of the company, became more powerful, complete with a very optimized processor and a screen to behold.

So it is not surprising that the Galaxy S7 has no big news. Looking coldly, it is just a refinement of the previous model: Samsung has improved some components, added a memory card slot to appeal to advanced users, changed a little something in the design and … that’s it.

Will this generation of refinements made and the flagship of Samsung? I used the Galaxy S7 Edge as its main smartphone last week and count my impressions in the next few minutes.

Design and screen

The Galaxy S7 improves the Galaxy S6 design. Samsung continued betting on the mixture of aluminum and glass, but trimmed the edges (literally). The back, which was flat, won buckles on the sides that fit well in the palm. The glass covering the panel has soft edges that contribute to the visual appeal and the fingers, especially when making gestures from the screen side.

Samsung produces good AMOLED screens for smartphones since at least the Galaxy S4 – and the new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge continue bringing a display with very high brightness, high contrast, thanks to royal and balanced white, and more saturated colors, but without screaming in the eye as in the old AMOLEDs. The main feature of AMOLED, to light only necessary pixels, is utilized by feature Always On display, which I will comment on.

But what caught my attention was that Samsung increased thickness compared to the previous generation, going against the market (and perhaps marketing staff). The measures are no longer as impressive on the card specifications, but in practice the change was great: the additional space has increased the battery (the Edge was the most benefited with a capacity 38% higher), add the IP68 protection for resistance water and break, decrease bump the rear camera.

I always questioned the headlong rush of manufacturers to see who could produce the thinnest smartphone in the market, which hurt the battery capacity, ergonomics or to the visual device. One of the limitations to reduce the size of mobile phones is the camera module, which does not follow the evolution and ends up leaving lens out of the housing, creating bizarre bumps. It is good to know that someone noticed that we do not need sets the thickness of a sheet of paper (hello, Apple).

Of course not everything is perfect. For some reason, Samsung removed the infrared blaster, present from the Galaxy S4, which allowed control any device, such as your air conditioning or television. And the connector is still the Micro USB old, which does not support the new USB-C, such as multiple signal types (including video), faster transfer rates and greater power for charging. Samsung is one of the few companies in the world that would be able to pull the adoption of USB-C up, but unfortunately decided to leave for a next.

Anyway, the end result is a well-rounded player, elegant and ergonomic, at least to some extent, after all, you can not do miracles with screens as large. The Galaxy S7 Edge, which has 5.5 inch display, offsets the larger the curved sides and ends up having almost the same width as the little brother, so there is virtually no difference in footprint.

Software and Multimedia

Samsung’s software has always been object of controversy. At least for me, it has improved with each generation: the design is now harmonious with Android applications and there is no ill feeling just work or excess uselessness of TouchWiz three or four years ago. It is not better or worse than the pure Android, it’s just a different interface.

With the upgrade to Marshmallow, Samsung took the opportunity to give a slap in the interface, adopting more white and playing for the characteristic green corner of previous versions. Virtually all the good news of Android 6.0 are present in the Galaxy S7, with the sad exception of the function that lets you use a microSD as an extension of internal storage – until you can do it, but only with footlights impractical.

Another point that still needs refinement is the problem of applications duplication. Why put a proper email client Gmail now supports any server? What is the browser of Samsung if Chrome comes pre-installed on the smartphone? And what is the advantage of using the Galaxy Apps on Google Play place? Are attempts (failures) to try to hold the user to the ecosystem (nonexistent) Koreans.

The Always On display, which keeps the screen always on, showing a clock, a calendar or a random image, along with the number of missed calls and unread messages, it is a good software news, but still requires improvement. It would be nice approach as Motorola, which allows you to view previews of third-party app notifications, so youreally do not need to turn on the screen. In the Galaxy S7, the feature is not much more than a beautiful watch.

In the case of the Galaxy S7 Edge, there is a function to take advantage of the screen curvature: sliding your finger from the right side of the screen (you can change the side if you are left-handed, like me), you have access to panels with shortcuts to favorite contacts, applications, tasks ( “take a selfie” or “alarm call” for example), financial ratios and Yahoo news. These last three are the new Edge UX.

Another new feature of the Galaxy S7 software is the Game Launcher, which centralizes the shortcuts to the games and adds new tricks like the ability to record a video of gameplay or disable all notifications while in gambling. For now, it ends up being more a function to promote the device (hey, we have a good GPU!) Than something really useful.

Camera

A component that Samsung nailed it on the Galaxy S6 was the camera. In the Galaxy S7, the company made a change that, as well as increasing the thickness, should not have been well received by the marketing staff: decreased resolution of the rear sensor of 16 megapixels to 12 megapixels. What does that mean? First, that the lay consumer will find it strange and perhaps turn up your nose. Second, the sensor is larger pixels (the physical size of the component also increased to 1 / 2.5 inch) and can do better in more challenging conditions lighting.

And the camera actually delivers what it promises. The photos of the Galaxy S7 are simply sensational. In good lighting conditions, there is not much mention: photos are beautiful, with balanced, good definition and so little noise exposure, as in virtually every smartphone above 2,000 reais. It is the night shots and dark environments the device shows its potential: the images come out with above average clarity, great colors and very little noise.

That is, the larger aperture lens, f / 1.7, really make a difference. Compared with the lens f / 1.9, 25% more light enters the sensor, and the results are remarkable: none of the photos I took during the week of testing (there were about 150, in varying lighting conditions) came out blurry or with loud noise. In addition, the camera is quick to focus and do not delay to get to work: just double-click the Home button and the camera app opens almost instantly.

Hardware and battery

The model will be sold in Brazil has Exynos 8890 processor, Samsung’s own, while a few markets will receive a version with Snadpragon 820. The chip Samsung has interesting features like a kind of “turbo”, much like the processors Intel, to give a momentary gas in specific situations.

The octa-core chip Samsung has two groups of nuclei, as usual. There are four Cortex-A53 1.6GHz that use less energy and will be activated in the simplest tasks. And there are four other Exynos M1, developed by Koreans, who theoretically have frequency of 2.3 GHz – however, to better run poorly applications optimized for multicore, they can reach up to 2.6 GHz when two of the four cores are operating.

What this salad numbers mean? The Galaxy S7 runs pretty well anything. Applications open instantly, any web page is processed quickly and the games are helped by Mali-T880MP12, the best GPU ARM produced to date. Heavy titles like Dead Trigger 2Asphalt 8,  and Real Racing 3 had good graphics and rate constant frames.

During the most intense sessions, I was really bothering with the high temperature of the Galaxy S7 Edge: in my experience, it heats up more than the competitors in the same category. Samsung has invested in a refrigeration system based on steam, which probably contributed to that I did not feel serious loss of performance while the system was hot, something common in esquentadinhos smartphone with Snapdragon 810 due to thermal throttling.

One nice thing is that memory management was better, at least in relation to the experience I had with the Galaxy Note 5. In Samsung’s smartphone with 3GB or 4GB of RAM I have tested in the past, applications were mysteriously suspended to save memory even when there was plenty of available RAM. The result was a smartphone that took longer than usual to open and switch between applications. The Galaxy S7 also has a management “conservative,” but not enough to affect everyday use.

I was unable to make reliable tests of autonomy with the Galaxy S7 standard, but the battery of 3,600 mAh Galaxy S7 Edge does the job for any type of user. During the week of testing, I could always come home with something between 40% and 60% battery remaining, after a full day (from 8 am to 23:30) with 2:30 streaming on Spotify for 4G, 1h30 of navigation at 4G and brightness on automatic. With my usage profile, the smartphone from Samsung is able to last two days – and can handle a full day of heavy work with one foot on the back.

Even with the return of microSD, is registered disappointment with the only 32 GB storage (of which only 24 GB are available to the user). It is true that the main competitor of the Galaxy S7 (iPhone 6s) still insists the 16 GB on the entry version, but other companies have stepped forward, including charging less: the last line of tops from Motorola, as Moto Maxx and Moto X-Force, already bet on 64GB.

Conclusion

The Galaxy S7 is probably the best smartphone money can buy right now. Although not free from defects, Samsung continued the great work he did on the Galaxy S6, listened to consumers and improved what was already very good. It has the best screen, the best camera and the best finish I’ve ever seen on a smartphone, while the battery side.

Given the circumstances, it is easier to tell who the Galaxy S7 is not . The first factor that weighs against the Samsung device is, of course, the high price. Like any high-end smartphone, it is too expensive and inaccessible to almost all Brazilians, especially considering the launch of value.

The second factor is that, in our restricted small group of people who follow tech news, there is an anxiety to receive system updates quickly, which in many cases means having “pure Android”. Moreover, the fact that the Galaxy National S7 bring a Exynos 8890 processor (not a Snapdragon 820) means that custom ROMs offer drastically reduced, which is a negative point for fuçadores cell.

However, these two points can be relevados if we consider that the Galaxy S7, actually delivers what it promises – and those looking for a high-end smartphone, for obvious reasons, is not expecting a low price. Not to mention that many machine functions, especially related to the camera and Samsung Pay, which arrived in Brazil in the coming months, could not be delivered with a pure system. The TouchWiz ceased to be a problem for a long time, and we learn that pure interface is no guarantee of quick updates (users Moto Maxx that say).

Worth it? From the point of view of cost-effective, it is likely to find devices that deliver an experience one bit less than the Galaxy S7 and they cost much less (as is the case of own Galaxy S6, with promotions retail). But if money is no problem, it is difficult that someone be disappointed with the launch of Samsung. Koreans have left almost no room for criticism.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Battery: 3000 mAh (S7) or 3,600 mAh (S7 Edge);
  • Camera: 12 megapixel (rear) and 5 megapixel (front);
  • Connectivity: 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, GPS, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, USB 2.0, NFC, MST;
  • Dimensions: 7.9 x 69.6 x 142.4 mm (S7) or 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm (Edge S7);
  • GPU: Mali-T880MP12;
  • External Memory: microSD card support up to 200 GB;
  • Internal memory: 32 GB;
  • RAM: 4 GB;
  • Weight: 152 grams (S7) or 157 grams (Edge S7);
  • Platform: Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow);
  • Processor: octa-core Exynos 8890 2.6 GHz;
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity, compass, gyroscope, barometer, heartbeat;
  • Display: Super AMOLED 5.1 inch (S7) or 5.5 inches (S7 Edge) with a resolution of 2560 × 1440 pixels and Gorilla Glass protection 4.