Samsung Galaxy S7 hands-on tested – it is beautiful

Samsung recently unveiled its new Galaxy S7 Android smartphone range at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are set to launch on 11 March 2016, with South Africa included in the list of first-launch countries.

When details of the S7 range first started to leak online, it looked like it was going to be very similar to its predecessor, the Galaxy S6.

Other than a bump in hardware specifications, the only major changes seemed to be the return of microSD support and ingress protection from the days of the Galaxy S5.

However, Samsung had some surprises in store.

Lovely to look at, lovely to hold

At 5.5-inches on the diagonal, the Galaxy S7 Edge’s display is larger than the Galaxy S6 Edge, but smaller than that of the S6 Edge+.

This works well, as the device sits more comfortably in the hand than its 5.7″ predecessor, while still offering a big screen.

The sides of the S7 Edge also better follow the rounding of the screen, making for a more comfortable grip, while the back is not slippery.

After using a 5.5-inch smartphone all year, the 5.1-inch screen of the Samsung Galaxy S7 seemed small by comparison.

This is just a matter of what you’re used to, and I couldn’t deny that the Galaxy S7 felt easier to handle than any of its larger-screened compatriots (and competitors).

The back of the S7 is like a mirror, and while beautiful, it picks up fringerprints easily.

Most surprising was that Samsung was able to keep the aesthetic of last year’s flagship range, while making its new phones dust and waterproof with an IP68 rating.

This is a step up from the Galaxy S5’s ingress protection rating.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge hands-on
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Cameras and software

While the cameras on the Galaxy S7 devices are lower resolution than their predecessors, Samsung has added a wider aperture lens.

In the limited testing I did at the launch, I couldn’t tell which took better photos. Although a good sign, this requires further tests.

Samsung also added some new features to its software, three of which I got to look at.

The first was an anti-spam feature from Whitepages, which will let you block spam and scam calls.

Although this wasn’t being demonstrated live, the presentation from Whitepages at the ShowStoppers event ahead of Samsung’s launch was promising.

Second was the wider-edge screen popup menus and apps which will also be made available to the S6 Edge and Edge+ via a software update.

This was a welcome change, and hopefully a step towards allowing users to configure the width and layout of these edge screens.

Finally, I got to play with the Galaxy S7’s new gaming features. Game Launcher lets you disable alerts and the recents and back keys, take screenshots, and record video of the game you are playing.

Samsung Galaxy S7 hands-on
Samsung Galaxy S7

Overall impressions

Overall, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are worthy successors to Samsung’s flagship smartphones from last year.

The company has addressed the majority of complaints its users had for the S6 range, such as the lack of microSD support and IP rating.

Only the non-removable battery remains a drawback of the S7’s design.

If you are in the market for an upgrade this year, you should definitely consider the Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge.

The specifications of the S7 and S7 Edge are below.

Specifications Samsung Galaxy S7 Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Dimensions 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm
Weight 152g 157g
Operating system Android 6.0 Marshmallow Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Display 5.1″ QHD (1,440 x 2,560) 5.5″ QHD (1,440 x 2,560)
Rear camera 12MP with f/1.7 lens 12MP with f/1.7 lens
Front camera 5MP with f/1.7 lens 5MP with f/1.7 lens
Storage, internal 32/64GB 32/64GB
Storage, expandable miroSD up to 200GB miroSD up to 200GB
RAM 4GB 4GB
Processor 2.3GHz + 1.6GHz Exynos 8 Octa 8890 /
2.15GHz + 1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
2.3GHz + 1.6GHz Exynos 8 Octa 8890 /
2.15GHz + 1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Battery 3,000mAh 3,600mAh
Cellular data LTE, HSPA+ LTE, HSPA+
IP Rating IP68 IP68

Jan Vermeulen is a guest of Samsung at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona.

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Samsung Galaxy S7 hands-on tested – it is beautiful