Samsung Galaxy S7 review: A great phone in its day but don’t buy one in 2018

£569
Price when reviewed

Samsung Galaxy S7 review: Performance and battery life

There was some confusion surrounding the makeup of the internal components at the launch of the Galaxy S7. Some reports said it would have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, others said it would have some form of Samsung-brand processor, and Samsung itself wasn’t saying anything at all, instead claiming generic performance increases of 30% for the new CPU and 64% for the new GPU.

We now know that the UK version (reviewed here) will have an octa-core Samsung Exynos 8890. This will comprise a pair of quad-core CPUs, one running at 2.3GHz for demanding tasks, the other running at 1.6GHz for more lightweight jobs.

As for RAM and storage, the S7 has 4GB and 32GB respectively (with a 64GB version available in some markets). The big news, of course, is that the Samsung Galaxy S7 has expandable storage via a microSD slot in the SIM card tray. You won’t be able to pool this storage with the internal allocation due to the difference in performance, but it is possible to store photos and videos and to install compatible apps to the SD card.

Finally, we come to the phone’s new liquid-cooling system. The Samsung Galaxy S7 has a sealed “thermal spreader” inside, which uses evaporation and condensation to cool the phone more effectively than standard methods. The aim here is to reduce overheating and, therefore, CPU and GPU throttling. This means performance should be more reliably quick.

So how does all this go together to affect performance? You guessed it: it’s quite good.

It feels ultra-responsive, as you’d expect. Screen swipes, panning and zooming web pages and Google Maps, scrolling through image-heavy websites; everything feels buttery smooth and runs at hyperspeed. It’s so quick it almost seems like it’s getting ahead of itself at times.

And it’s just as impressive in the benchmarks. Here are a few charts to get you started:

geekbench_3_single-core_chartbuilder

unknown

unknown-5

unknown-4

The message from these figures is clear. The Samsung Galaxy S7 equipped with the Samsung Exynos 8890 SoC is as fast as any on the market today. It matches or beats the all-conquering iPhone 6s in most of the tests and stretch out a lead over the rest of the competition.

It only comes a clear second best in one of the tests – the games-focused Manhattan onscreen test. The reason for this is because the onscreen test is run at native resolution, and with the iPhone 6s’ screen being a much lower resolution than the S7’s Quad HD, it’s hardly surprising it holds the advantage here.

There’s only one problem – and it’s a small one. Although most of the big-name titles I installed and tried out on the S7 ran smoothly at the highest of detail levels, there was one title that glitched and stuttered: Ketchapp’s endless running game, The Pit. I suspect this is a driver issue. However, that should be fixable in software as the issue isn’t widespread.

So performance is great. The big question when it comes to performance is whether the boost in speed – and that always-on screen – has had a negative impact on battery life. I’m happy to report that it doesn’t seem that way, and that’s most likely due to the S7’s large 3,000mAh battery.

In our video-rundown test, in fact, the Samsung Galaxy S7 is a trooper. It lasted almost 18 hours in flight mode, playing back our test video file on a loop with the screen brightness set to 170cd/m2, a result that beats the S6, the iPhone 6s and all its major rivals by a distance.

battery_life_chartbuilder

In real-world use, however, this isn’t reflected in the way I expected. You can expect a day out of it with moderate use, but even with relatively little use, I found myself having to reconnect the S7 to its charger well before the day-and-a-half mark.

Whether that’s due to the always-on screen – which isn’t accounted for in our test since the screen is always displaying video content – or some other factor isn’t clear. However, the S7 clearly isn’t the battery-life revelation we were all hoping for. If that’s important to you, you’re better off with the iPhone 6s Plus or Sony Xperia Z5.

Samsung Galaxy S7 specifications

vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge specifications

ProcessorUK spec: Most likely - Octa-core (quad 2.3GHz and quad 1.6GHz), Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa; Other regions - Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (dual-core 2.15GHz and dual-core 1.6GHz) UK spec: Most likely - Octa-core (quad 2.3GHz and quad 1.6GHz), Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa; Other regions - Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (dual-core 2.15GHz and dual-core 1.6GHz)
RAM4GB LPDDR44GB LPFDDR4
Screen size5.1in5.5in
Screen resolution1,440 x 2560, 576ppi (Gorilla Glass)1,440 x 2,560ppi
Screen typeSuper AMOLED, always-on displaySuper AMOLED, always-on display
Front camera5MP5MP
Rear camera12MP (f/1.7, 1.4μ pixel size, 1/2.6in sensor size, phase detect autofocus, OIS, dual-pixel sensor)12MP (f/1.7, 1.4μ pixel size, 1/2.6in sensor size. phase detect autofocus, OIS, dual-pixel sensor)
FlashDual LEDDual LED
GPSYesYes
CompassYesYes
Storage32GB32GB
Memory card slot (supplied)YesYes
Wi-Fi802.11ac802.11ac
BluetoothBluetooth 4.2 LE, A2DP, apt-X, ANT+Bluetooth 4.2 LR, A2DP, apt-X, ANT+
NFCYesYes
Wireless data4G4G
Size (WDH)70 x 7.9 x 142mm (WDH)73 x 7.7 x 73mmmm (WDH)
Weight152g157g
Dust and water resistanceIP68IP68
Operating systemAndroid 6 Marshmallow with TouchWiz UIAndroid 6 Marshmallow with TouchWiz UI
Battery capacity3,000mAh3,600mAh

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos