Date:1 June 2016
This is the best smartphone on the market at the moment. Well, not this one, because it’s smashed, but rather the Galaxy S7. I also apologise to all the people I advised to get the Edge variant. Save your money and stick to the smaller, equally impressive one without the questionable ergonomics. Why is it the best smartphone on the market currently? That’s an easy answer with a long-ish back story.
My personal device is a Samsung Galaxy S5 and I used to regard it as the most complete Android device. Water-resistant, a reliably good camera, powerful, able to operate with one hand and it boasts a fingerprint sensor. Everyone else hates it because of the plastic construction and bloated Touchwiz skin, but I always argue that the skin adds useful value to Android and the plastic made it a lot less slippery. I still regard it highly, but it must now retire because the S7 is now the new champion.
Samsung have taken everything that I loved about the S5, improved on it and blended it with the design from the Galaxy Note 5 to create a masterclass in responding to your critics. The sealed in battery is still a gripe, but this has become standard practise and consumers no-longer whinge about it. I’m not forgetting about the impact of last-year’s S6, in the future it will be seen as the S7 in beta form.
For 2016 the Korean giants have turned back to Qualcomm for the current flagship SoC of choice Snapdragon 820, although some models benefit from Sammy’s home-brewed Exynos 8890 octacore which posts some equally impressive benchmarks. With regards to speed the S7 never missed a beat and never reached uncomfortable hand temperatures. The 4 GB of RAM coped well with all the Chrome tabs and background apps I tried throwing at it.
I know what the biggest question is: How’s the new 12 MP camera? Brilliant. it’s a marginal quality increase over the Note 5, but the bigger aperture plus bigger pixel equation almost always results in a better end result. The company also sinks a ton of resources into image processing software. Just look at the snaps above…
Battery life is adequate and Qualcomm Fast Charge 3.0 is a handy tool when you need juice in a hurry, so too is the dual equipped wireless charging function. The Edge gave me 4,5 hours of screen on time consistently and that sumptuous QHD AMOLED panel can be quite thirsty – another industry-leading feature which bodes well for Samsung’s phone-based VR ambitions.
On the downside this unit is fragile. Our test model came with a rear smash and gained a front crack and extra rear damage in my test period. Five other people I know have also reported cracked glass within a month of purchase. to put it in perspective: I used the Note 5 for over a month and dropped it double the number of times than the Galaxy S7 Edge from significantly higher places and there was no damage to either glass panel. I chalk this up to the millimetre of metal bezel protecting the glass. These elaborate curves undo all the hard work companies like Corning put into glass.
Samsung really achieved something special with the Galaxy S7 by adding meaningful value to the Android operating system, returning the water-resistant powers to the S range, improving on the stellar optics and even upping the fingerprint reader accuracy ante. It is the best all-round smartphone you can buy right now, if you are in the the market for an Android phone. But please get the standard model, not the fragile Edge.