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Samsung Galaxy S7 review: Still a great phone

Our Rating :
£94.95 from
Price when reviewed : £569
inc VAT (SIM-free)

The Samsung Galaxy S7 was once the Android king – let's take a look back at what made it so great


  • Super fast performance
  • Superb camera
  • Expandable storage via microSD


  • Still no user-replaceable battery

Samsung Galaxy S7 review: Android 6.0 and TouchWiz

Note: Since our initial review, the Galaxy S7 can be upgraded to Android 7.0 Nougat.

Samsung has been dragging its heels on rolling out Android 6.0 Marshmallow to its current crop of Galaxy smartphones – the Galaxy S6 only just received an OTA update this week for Marshmallow – but the S7 is the first one to come with Android 6.0 straight out of the box.

Of course, Samsung uses its own TouchWiz interface rather than plain Android like Google’s Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P, so it looks a little different to the Marshmallow you might be used to seeing. Ultimately, though, Samsung hasn’t made many radical changes to TouchWiz for Android Marshmallow, as the overall look and design is practically the same as its Lollipop-based TouchWiz.

The only major difference is the design of the notification menu, which now has an expandable shortcut button menu as well as a scrolling bar across the top of the screen, and a new Quick Connect bar which lets you connect your phone more easily with other devices, such as your TV, Bluetooth headphones and other mobile devices.

Once you’ve selected a device in the Quick Connect menu, you can use share photos, videos, audio files, as well as app information from Memo, S Planner, Contacts and My Files if you’re connecting to another phone or tablet.

Samsung galaxy S7 touchwiz^ Samsung’s new TouchWiz interface is almost identical to the version on Android Lollipop

Samsung galaxy S7 quick connect^ If you regularly connect your phone to other devices, Samsung’s new Quick Connect bar is sure to come in handy

Samsung Galaxy S7 review: Camera

The camera is one of the most important parts of any smartphone, with less-and-less of us choosing to carry a seperate snapper. The Galaxy S6 had an excellent camera, but with the S7, Samsung’s actually taken a risk in order to improve image quality further still. It’s done this by reducing the camera’s resolution to 12-megapixels instead of sticking with the S6’s 16-megapixel sensor.

That might sound like a step backward, but Samsung’s made each individual pixel bigger, increasing their size from 1.12um on the S6 to 1.4um on the S7. The bigger the pixel, the more light it gets, thereby helping to reduce the amount of noise in your pictures. The aperture of the lens has also been widened to f/1.7, meaning that 25% more light reaches the sensor than on the S6. Add in Samsung’s new dual-pixel sensor, which provides 100% phase detection pixels for super-fast autofocus, and the S7 should produce higher quality pictures than its predecessor – which it does.

In our outdoor photos, there was certainly a lot of detail present, as even far-off street signs and building brick detail on the outskirts of the frame were sharp. There’s plenty of contrast available, too, and colours were lovely and bright (both on the phone and on our colour-calibrated test monitor). It tends toward a slight overexposure in shots with a challenging dynamic range, which for most is preferable to the alternative of darker shots, plus I was able to rectify this by switching to HDR mode when possible.

Samsung galaxy S7 camera test 2^ GALAXY S7: Our outdoor shots were ever so slightly overexposed in some areas, but the resulting picture is still excellent for a smartphone camera

Samsung galaxy S7 camera test^ GALAXY S7: Colours are rich, noise is kept to a minimum, and there’s plenty of detail present

Compared to the S6’s camera, our outdoor shots weren’t that different. Colours were richer on the S6, though not more realistic, but otherwise there’s very little in it apart from the obvious difference in aspect ratio. The S7’s sensor is a more traditional and sqaurer 4:3 ratio at the full 12-megapixels rather than the widescreen, and screen-filling, 16:9 ratio used on the S6.

Samsung galaxy S7 vs S6 camera^ GALAXY S6: To really put the S7’s camera to the test, I took these on the Galaxy S6 at the same time. Colours are richer, but apart from the difference in aspect ratio, there’s very little in it

Samsung galaxy S7 vs S6 camera^ GALAXY S6: The S6’s shots are arguably better exposed, but even this struggled to capture every last detail on the white buildings above

Indoors, it was a similar situation, at least on the surface. In both our low light, flash and bright light tests, both phones produced nigh on identical shots. However, it was only when I delved into the shutter speed information did the S7 reveal itself as the superior smartphone. For instance, in our low-light shot, the S7 took the photo at 1/25 sec, whereas the S6 shot at 1/15 sec. This means the S7 will be more reliable in low light situations and less likely to blur moving subjects, making it the better camera overall.

Samsung galaxy S7 camera indoors^ Indoors, the S7 performed admirably. There was a lovely amount of fur detail in our teddy bear, and shadows produced hardly any visible noise

Samsung galaxy S6 vs S7 camera test^ The S6 produced great indoor shots, too, but the S7 proved faster when it came to shutter speed in identical conditions

Samsung Galaxy S7 review: Verdict

There’s no denying that the Galaxy S7 is yet another outstanding effort from Samsung, and its improved battery life, speed and performance, not to mention the addition of a microSD slot, make it more than a worthy successor to the Galaxy S6.

The only thing that might put you off is the Galaxy S7’s price, although this has come down a bit now since it first launched. With SIM-free prices currently standing at £550 and contracts starting from at least £32-per-month, it’s still quite expensive, but at least it’s more palatable than the £600 SIM-free or £42-per-month contracts currently being demanded by the iPhone 7.

Generally speaking, though, these kinds of prices are pretty par for course for a flagship smartphone. As a result, those who want a new phone right now really can’t do much better than the Galaxy S7, and it wins a deserved Best Buy award. Looking for something a little cheaper? Then check out Our Best Smartphones article for all the latest and greatest smartphones you can buy today. 

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ProcessorOcta-core 2.3GHz Samsung Exynos 8890
Screen size5.1in
Screen resolution2,560×1,440
Screen typeSuper AMOLED
Front camera5 megapixels
Rear camera12 megapixels
Storage (free)32GB (24.8GB)
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD
BluetoothBluetooth 4.2
Wireless data3G, 4G
Operating systemAndroid 6.0.1
Battery size3,000mAh
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price SIM-free (inc VAT)£569
Price on contract (inc VAT)£80 on £36-per-month contract
Prepay price (inc VAT)N/A
Part codeSM-G930F

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