Samsung Galaxy S7: Australian Review

The new Samsung Galaxy S7 is out now, in electronics stores all across Australia. It's $1149, and you'll pay $1249 for the larger S7 edge. What do you get for all that money? Is this new phone worth it?

Yes, it's worth it. The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are -- equally -- two of the best phones Samsung has ever made.

What Is It?

The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are Samsung's newest, most powerful and sleekest smartphones, running the latest version of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. The Galaxy S7 is the smaller variant of the two, measuring 142.4x69.6x7.9mm and 152g with a 5.1-inch Quad HD (2560x1440pixel) Super AMOLED display, while the S7 edge is somewhat larger at 150.9x72.6x7.7mm and 157g with a 5.5-inch display and otherwise identical specifications. The phones themselves are slightly thicker and heavier than last year's S6 iterations, but there's a good reason for that -- it might not look like it, but this year's Galaxy flagships have the most significant under-the-hood changes in a while. And it makes a genuinely big difference.

The most obvious and potentially significant of all those is the Galaxy S7's IP68 water resistance and dustproofing. Samsung was quick to tell us that it isn't technically waterproofing -- that would be the highest possible IP69K rating, which includes resistance to high pressure and high pressure water -- but the rating means the new phone will resist water ingress during complete, continuous submersion in a metre of water for half an hour at a time. Yes, you can take your new phone in the shower and to the beach and it won't die. And all of this happens without external, extraneous, forgettable seals on the headphone jack and microUSB 2.0 charging port -- just like Sony's excellent benchmark Xperia Z5.

In Australia, the new phones run Samsung's in-house-developed Exynos 8890 Octa octa-core processor, with 4GB of fast LPDDR4 RAM. That chip has four Samsung-customised cores running at up to 2.6GHz and four ARM Cortex-A53 cores running at up to 1.6GHz, and also has a LTE Category 12/13 modem that supports theoretical 4G download speeds of 600Mbps and upload speeds of 150Mbps. The S7's Exynos processor requires a phase-change heat-pipe to channel excess heat away; this runs down the right-hand side at the rear of the phone, starting roughly where the power button is and continuing halfway down the length of the handset. And, yes, the new phone now has a microSD card slot in the SIM tray.

You can use an SD card of up to 200GB capacity in the Galaxy S7, and Android 6.0 Marshmallow's newly reintroduced support for SD cards means you can store media files on the removable card both using Samsung's own My Files app and within other apps, like Spotify, that support SD card access. The camera, too, will default to storing single photos on the SD card, although burst photos and videos are saved by default to the phone's faster UFS 2.0 internal memory. The microSD card takes the place of the second SIM in the SIM tray of the Galaxy S7 -- in markets outside of Australia, you can use a second SIM instead.

The camera on the Galaxy S7 is a 12-megapixel one, trading a slight drop in overall megapixels from last year's 16-megapixel, 1.12um-pixel sensor for significantly larger 1.4um pixels overall, which let in more light (56 per cent more) and produce superior detail even in low light settings. The S7's camera lens is much improved, too, with a f/1.7 aperture that lets in more light (25 per cent more) than last year's f/1.9. Every pixel has an accompanying phase detection point, too, massively improving the speed of autofocus in any lighting condition, and the additional power of the new Exynos processor means image noise, edge sharpening and capture speed are all better. The same two-tone LED flash returns alongside the camera.

We get the full suite of colours (except white) for both the S7 and S7 edge in Australia; both smartphones are available for outright purchase in Black Onyx, Gold Platinum and Silver Titanium. If you want to buy one on a plan, one carrier might have exclusive launch partnerships with a particular colour and particular model, so check online or in-store. Being top-of-the-line smartphones they're priced as such, and following the trend that persists with Samsung and competitor phones, the 5.1-inch Galaxy S7 32GB is $1149 and the larger 5.5-inch Galaxy S7 edge is $1249. That's a lot of money for a smartphone, but not measurably more than Samsung's chief competitor Apple's own iPhone 6s and 6s Plus and Samsung's other Aussie rivals.

What's It Good At?

The Galaxy S7 is a beautiful phone. Not only in design, but in utility. It's a great phone to hold, especially versus last year's S6 purely because its rear glass is slightly convex, and fits more comfortably in the hand. The raised ridge on the tactile home button in the lower centre of the bezel feels good, and it clicks with just enough force that it resists an accidental touch and rewards a more forceful one; the power and volume buttons are clickier still. Everything about the S7 and S7 edge just screams refined. Finally -- finally Samsung isn't adding in new things without smoothing over the last generation's rough edges first. The smaller S7, especially, is just a nice phone to hold and use. I really, really like that I can say that.

The new processor and Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow combo make for a phone that feels almost always fast. It's fast to unlock via fingerprint, it's fast to bring up the app drawer and switch to apps you haven't used recently, it's fast to load even large and memory-intensive games and 4K movies. The camera loads quickly and snaps photos fast even in burst mode. The hardware just feels capable, and I like that Samsung has granted its mainstream (not just Note) users the ability to expand storage with microSD -- 200GB has got to be enough for almost anybody, when that 32GB internal storage might not be.

Samsung's new Game Launcher software is actually a really useful and really helpful piece of technology. It doesn't do anything revolutionary, but it adds in some of the most meaningful and convenient software features of any Samsung phone in a while -- this isn't the eye-tracking Smart Scroll again. You can use it to reduce any game's impact on battery life by limiting the frame rate and resolution -- there's either "low" resolution at 30fps, or "extremely low" resolution at 30fps, with the default being native resolution and 60fps. You can record footage or snap screenshots, you can lock the phone's capacitive back and menu buttons, you can enter a do-not-disturb mode. It works on lightweight games like Jelly Jump, it works on more intensive games like Fallout Shelter and Hearthstone. If you play games on your phone, even rarely like I do, you will find Game Launcher useful at some point or another. Simple as that.

I've said this about just about every new flagship Samsung (or Apple, or HTC, or Sony) smartphone that comes out in the yearly cycle, but the 12-megapixel camera on the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 edge is a work of art -- within its class, of course, for a smartphone. That 1/2.6-inch, 12-megapixel sensor and 26mm f/1.7 (equivalent) lens combo create genuinely surprisingly beautiful photographs in good lighting, and the new S7 outperforms its closest competitor -- the optical-image-stabilised iPhone 6s Plus -- with low-light detail. The detail of the images captured is consistently impressive, as is the JPEG image processing that captures edge detail and sharpness without turning everything into a messy combination of blur and artifacting. The colours are smooth, without being oversaturated. Here are some examples:

The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge have 3000mAh and 3600mAh internal nonremovable batteries respectively, and they're effectively equal in run-time and capacity when you take the two phones' different screen sizes into account. Battery life for me has been pretty good, although not incredible. Phones these days, and the S7 is no different, usually rely on fast charging to fill their fast-draining batteries -- and the Galaxy S7 acquits itself with Samsung's 18-Watt wired fast charging and support for fast wireless charging too. You'll need a Samsung-spec charger to make the best of this, though, so older and generic chargers are less useful. The always-on clock display has a small but cumulative effect on the S7's battery life -- keep it off if you want to extend the phone's battery as much as possible.

And the screen is, as always, the best screen on any smartphone thus far. It's especially true of the incredibly pixel dense, 577ppi 5.1-inch 2560x1440pixel Super AMOLED screen on the Galaxy S7, but the larger S7 edge sets itself apart with the pure sex appeal of its 534ppi 5.5-inch 2560x1440pixel Super AMOLED display -- it may not be quite as detailed for tiny text-peeping, but it's curved and that looks cool. Both screens have that signature OLED if-it's-black-the-screen-is-off thing going on, the same thing that makes LG's OLED TVs amazing, and they're able to switch from impressively bright to nearly imperceptibly dark while still maintaining great colour accuracy and good saturation. It's the screen to beat in 2016.

What's It Not Good At?

The Galaxy S7 gets hot when you're using it. Hot enough to notice, if you're playing a high-resolution and high quality game or downloading a bunch of files via Wi-Fi with the screen brightness pushed up to maximum, that the heat-pipe on the rear of the phone does its job and moves heat away from the CPU. Being a sealed glass-insulated design, it must be hard for the S7 to dissipate processor heat, and after extended use it does get hot in your hand, and that means your hand gets sweaty. Sweaty hand plus slippery glass phone is a recipe for disaster. Heed this warning; buy a case if you're concerned.

I'm still not sold on the utility of the edge features on the 5.5-inch Galaxy S7 edge. Don't get me wrong, they're nice to have and they do have a use case, but I never used them in the time that I spent with the phone. The fact that the edge itself now has two rows rather than the one does make it more useful, and it's good to have that range of customisation, but I just don't see a compelling reason to keep it activated. TouchWiz more generally is becoming more refined, and I think the edge features are next on the chopping block. I'd prefer an edge swipe to directly launch the camera or start music playback instead.

If there was one substantive thing I'd change about the Galaxy S7, it would be to swap its tiny trapezoidal microUSB 2.0 port for a USB Type-C port. I know that there's the legacy factor of having to support the existing Samsung Gear VR virtual reality headset, but that could have been solved with a new iteration of the headset -- and the Galaxy S7 is the phone that'll drive Gear VR sales anyway. The S7 charges fast nonetheless, but I wish it supported the same new data and video standard as the LG G5 and Google's Nexus 5X and 6P. That's all. I don't think there's any denying USB Type-C is the future, and it's one small complaint I have with what is an otherwise futureproof and impressively capable Android smartphone.

In other markets, the Samsung Galaxy S7 supports the Samsung Pay app -- the company's own competitor to Apple Pay, with Visa and MasterCard and American Express supported and the potential for contactless NFC payments and magnetic secure transmission swiping. It's incredibly convenient, and it can store your loyalty and gift cards as well as credit cards -- great! Samsung Pay is not out in Australia yet, but it's on the way. So this negative is not that it's not supported on the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, because it is, but it's just not available in Australia yet. I'm waiting, Samsung. Patiently, for now.

Should You Buy It?

Yeah, you should. I would.

Samsung has successfully hit on and addressed so many of the annoying small problems with its previous phones. It's powerful and snappy (enough) that Samsung's traditionally laggy and heavy-weighted TouchWiz interface gets out of the way when you need it to. The camera is probably the second, after the iPhone 6s Plus's, that I'd actually take on holiday and take photos with without being disgusted at its quality afterward. It has expandable and easily accessible microSD storage. It's (practically) waterproof, for god's sake. OK, it doesn't have an IR blaster, but apart from that, I can barely find fault with this phone.

You can pick and find faults -- no USB Type-C, a hot backplate under heavy load, some continual unnecessary software frivolities like the S7 edge's edge -- but it doesn't change the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S7 is a refined phone in almost every single aspect that matters to the average user. Like the last three (or so) generations of Apple's iPhone, it's not about new and, in the long run, unimportant features with the new Galaxy S7. That part of Samsung might not be dead for good, but it's gone at least for now.

It's about small but substantive changes -- like water resistance, like expandable storage, like a beautiful camera -- that matter in making the Galaxy S7 a phone that you, and I, will use for a long time to come.


Comments

    "Apart from the screen size, overall dimensions and the S7 edge’s curved edge-specific software features, the two phones are otherwise identical." The battery size is also different.

      Yep, I've covered that in the "What's It Good At" section. It's a good battery on both phones, but you don't get extra battery life just for having the larger S7 edge.

        Oops, must have missed that when I read it at 3AM... I swear it wasn't there... lol

          I did some adjusting of the sections when I woke up this morning, I probably moved it -- can't remember, I was up til 1AM myself! :)

    It is not out tomorrow, it is out Friday and Australia does not get the full suite of colors - we don't get white.

      Good point about the white -- I forgot about that one! Updated, thanks.

    i stand in defense of the edge specific app launcher.
    i've got a note edge, and i use mine all the time. its where i have my chrome, sms, camera, clock, music, phone, app store icons, so when one hanging the phone, they are all there easily accessible. can also control spotify without unlocking the phone from memory.
    i get its not everyone's cup of tea, but it is what you make it i guess.
    wish i could afford this phone at the moment, but looks like ill have to make do with my note edge for a while longer i think.

      You're welcome to defend it! I just struggle to find a use for mine -- that must be because I use my home screen and lock screen a different way. It's good for it to be there, but I don't think it's a huge reason to buy the S7 edge -- I'd do that more for its style than anything else.

        no, i dont think its a huge reason to by a S7 Edge either. its definitely i personal thing.
        id love to see if they bring out ANOTHER Note Edge, coz i would be all over that like white on rice.

          I too think the note edge was great and wish Samsung would release an updated version.

          Most reviewers weren't too positive on their reviews of the note edge, perhaps that put Samsung off.

            i did google search for Galaxy Note 6 and on one of the pages it seemed to think there would be a Galaxy Note 6 Edge... so here's hoping.

            Last edited 09/03/16 5:12 pm

      To be fair, the note edge had an always-on edge, at least on the home screen and many apps, while the Galaxy edge(s) have an edge that is just part of the screen, with all the features being a hidden overlay that only appeared when called. It's like the difference between spit screen multitasking and an app switcher.

        ahhh, this i did not know. there you go, i just thought all the edge screens behaved the same as the note edge.

    Looks good, but is it worth upgrading directly from an S6

      Do you use your phone for downloaded high-def movies or TV? Do you use it for exercise or outdoors (potentially in the rain)? In that case, I'd say it's a worthwhile otherwise, but in any other case your S6 is already a very good phone and there's no huge reason to upgrade.

        interesting - S5 has water proof, sd expansion, micro USB3 port for faster charging and sync and that also supports video - in many ways the S6 was a step back, and the S7 addresses (most) of that (still no next gen port ...). Natch the S6 has an awesomer screen and CPU than the S5, but very happy with S5 as my "other phone", especially for media (has a 32gb card in it right now) :-)

          My phone contract came up for renewal just as the S6 had been released and I picked up an S5 instead. The lack of expandable storage, in particular, was a deal-breaker for me.

          I'm also glad to see that default internal storage has NOT been reduced to the 16GB that was standard with the S5. Given the number of Android apps that want to use internal storage, 16GB is really not enough these days.

          Also interested to hear any opinions on the Gear VR. AT one point there was rumour that it would be supplied with all S7 units, but that appears not to be the case now.

        Hey Campbell, I take it that these new Samsung phones will still be able to work at terminals to buy things if you are with Westpac and the Comm bank ?

    Do you have any inside word as to why we're not getting the white version? I really want that one, and I can buy it on Kogan, but I'm a little hesitant about it as I don't know if it will be the same phone that I would buy in an Aussie store.. Your thoughts?

    iOS user here. I'm getting the Edge purely for the Gear VR. I'm actually really excited to try it out. I'll be keeping my 6s Plus for a while just in case I don't like the phone. If that happens I'll use the Samsung for the VR and the iPhone as my everyday device. Looking forward to Friday!

      Hi there,
      I bought the Gear VR when it was released in Aust and I'd like to tell you to not have extra high expectation. Don't take me wrong it is awesome experience but there are couple catches which puts the whole experience down for me.
      1) You can see the grid/pixels. I wanted to use it primarily as a personal cinema but for me it's not acceptable quality and ruins the experience. And it's better to watch it on TV especially if you have 4k TV
      2) The phone gets hot very quickly. When you try to play a game which utilizes the CPU to the max you can expect that the phone gets hot and eventually it says that you can't use it anymore and it has to cool down... For me it's 30-45 minutes tops and then you can't use it for 30 minutes at least..
      3) There are a few titles in Oculus store for free but most of good stuff is payed. And the pricing is not that generous as in App Stores.. And it's in USD as well.. So $9,9 comes to $14 etc..

      But anyway for the money it's a good geeky toy to play with.;)

        2) Since it is waterproof.... can you cool it down quickly by sitting it in water? In fact, can you just sit it in water while you're playing the game?

      Why don't you just buy an oculus..? I too considered switching camps just for the VR aspect, I had to cancel my preorder with Telstra that I made on a whim after I'd slept on the idea!

      There'll be second hand Rifts on eBay not too long after the novelty has worn off for that small portion of early adopters, I'm sure of it!

        occulus is super expensive once you add in the needed tethered PC (at least 3k all up). I like the samsung OLED for VR compared to iphone LCD using 3rd party high end google "cardboard" headset, though the novelty does wear off and watching a full 3d film is not really fun. I tried it for a week, and then sold the VR adaptor and went back to my laptop and PC/LCD monitor game rig.

      It will be a super casual experience, not worth changing camps unless you were otherwise inclined. You can get a google cardboard or whatever housing for an iphone as well to try out some similar experiences. For the cost of this phone you could probably end up buying a brand new PS4 and the PSVR kit lol, would be a lot better.

    Is this the one to move from iPhone too? I am on the fence but this sounds really interesting.

      Right now, I think you should wait and see what the new iPhone rumoured to launch on March 21 looks like. It should drive prices of *everything* competitive down, if what I'm hearing is right.

        Not doing the fanboy thing here but historically speaking, the concept of the iPhone driving the price down and the Samsung being the most expensive...

        Five years ago people would've laughed at you for even suggesting such a thing eh?

        Last edited 12/03/16 11:00 am

      you can try 3D on a (min 5) iphone just fine, eg Zeiss VR One (also works with any android as a bonus). Lots of content and apps are super generic - they just need right eye, left eye and could care less about the specific device.

    "It’s $1149, and you’ll pay $1249 for the larger S7 edge... Is this new phone worth it? Yes, it’s worth it." I'm sorry but I fail to see how any phone is worth as much as a decent Ultrabook. It just doesn't add up. Prices are out of control now, with people paying more per month for their handset than they are paying for network access. That's why all the telcos are still offering Galaxy S5's and iPhone 5s's. I wouldn't be willing to pay even half those prices for something with such limited utility.

      It's completely different in terms of utility, though. I use my phone far more than I use a laptop. Probably 10x as much. Personally, I'd probably pay more for a phone than I would a laptop.

        Yeah same. Phones have gotten very expensive, but I also use it more often too so it doesn't bother me too much. Besides, while I'm a sucker paying the cost of an iPhone, there are good cheaper Android alternatives out there for those wanting to spend less. Some of those Chinese models are pretty competitive when all is said and done.

        If our dollar hadn't tanked over the past few years then the prices would look considerably better too.

        Last edited 09/03/16 11:25 pm

          The dollar hasn't tanked, it's just gone back to where it should be. We were incredibly lucky it stayed at parity for so long.

            Well thats a fair assessment, but either way it adds another 40% or so alone compared to what a phone would have cost four or five years ago. There has been a slow creep up too other than the AUD, the dollar just magnifies the increases.

            I do think the devices are overpriced, but personally not enough to stop me buying it since I use it so often. I can fully understand if an outright purchase is not viable for other people either financially or even just because they cant justify it based on their use.

        I doubt I use my phone any more than I use my laptop but it's what I use each for that makes all the difference. My phone is basically a distraction, I use it for things that are mostly just a way to fill in time, whereas I use my laptop to get things done, even to earn part of my living.

        Nothing my phone does really matters to me, I could happily live without it. In fact, I have it more for the sake of other people than for my own. OTOH, I'd be absolutely screwed without my laptop - my life would grind to a halt. Hell, even my 18 month old Thinkpad 8 tablet is far more valuable to me than my phone.

      You haven't lived until you've used super fast Facebook on the latest high end mobile...

      I agree pricing has started creeping out of control (the RRP's that is) but I have actually found that the plan pricing has gone down for the S7 compared to previous gen phones. I am upgrading my S6 edge plan to an S7 edge plan and I am paying more than $10 less per month on the same $70 plan.

      The competition are only charging the absurd prices Apple charge because why not? (from a business standpoint) it doesn't matter if iPhones are $400 mid-range handsets with a $1300 price tag, people still buy them, and people buying the alternatives like Samsung, LG, Sony, are paying the same price tag for much more phone/tech.

      I've been saying since I moved away from Apple after I had my iPhone 4S, I'd consider buying an iPhone if they charged what they are worth, but I am quite content paying the premium Apple want me to pay to get something like an S7 Edge.

      Thats right, you dont get it, Because you are senile. Meanwhile the rest of the population is fine buying. FYI, Most people who get this phone dont pay for it upfront, They get it on a plan and pay it off each month.

      You wouldnt be willing to pay those prices? WELL GUESS WHAT? YOU DONT HAVE TO! No one is forcing you to buy the product numbskull.

        You need to work on your comprehension skills, my friend, as the example I used was precisely about how much people pay on plans for their handset. I stopped signing up for plans when they stopped giving you the phone for free. That's why I am paying $40 a month for 10Gb of data and unlimited everything else.

        Also, my original comment wasn't about what I was willing to pay, it was a response to something from the article I quoted. Seriously, if you took the time to understand what you were reading before you responded, you might not come off looking like the idiot you appear to be.

      comparing a phone to an ultra book ? eh yeah.......

        Its SomeOtherIdiot. Idiotic statements come naturally to him. After all he is 70 and senile

        No, comparing the price of a phone to the price of an Ultrabook. There would be no point in comparing the two devices themselves, because an Ultrabook is at least an order of magnitude more capable and more useful than a phone, easily able to do everything a phone can faster and better, whereas there is nothing at all, not a single thing, that a phone does better than an Ultrabook, apart from fitting in your pocket.

          Longer roaming battery life? NFC? Underwater operation? Built-in 4G support (granted some Ultrabooks also have that.) Likely a superior camera; certainly better for actually taking photos (I expect taking photos with an Ultrabook is very unwieldy.)

          I would agree that an Ultrabook is more broadly useful, but "not a single thing" is overstating he advantages a little.

            I suppose that depends on your Ultrabook and your phone but the shooters in mine are actually the same as those in my phone. There are also relatively few waterproof phones and there are definitely waterproof Ultrabooks (Panasonic Tough-Book, for example), although not at the same price points. As for battery life, that is a much bigger issue with my phone than it is with my Ultrabook. Sure, that's about use cases but that's all perfectly valid.

            But my real point is how do you justify spending $1150 on a phone when you can get one for $200 that is probably going to work just as well for 90%, or more, of what you use it for? That's easy with a laptop, at least for me, because I use it to earn a living, so I can easily justify spending five or six grand on the right machine. Surely the law of diminishing returns would make spending all that money on a new smartphone completely out of the question for all but the most hard-core mobile gamers?

      Exactly my thoughts, I have the money but can't justify spending anymore then $500 on a phone and even that is really excessive, I bought a galaxy S3 for $50 off gumtree, I make calls, do some texting and the occasional game, what are people doing with their phones?

      My desktop is an intel i7 3770 which I bought in 2011, I refuse to upgrade every year and if I need something I just go on gumtree, fuck buying things new but thats just me.

        I used to hang onto my laptop for two or three years until I discovered that it is actually cheaper to turn it over every 12 months, while the old one is still a current model and worth something on eBay.

          Yeah but it's not like the processing power diminishes for either a smart phone, laptop or desktop apart from maybe the batteries in a phone but that is easily replaced.

          You know how easy it usually is to repair a broken laptop or smart phone, go look on on gumtree there are hundreds of people selling brand name phones with maybe just a cracked screen or a piece that can easily be replace for like $50 or $100, we live in a society now of designed obsolescence where people can't even be bothered to repair something so simple and just either throw it away or sell it really cheap.

    I owned an S6 Edge Plus for a week, I stopped using it after a few hours as I found I was constantly touching the screen when I didn't mean to. I don't use cases, never have, never will, and the Edge design made it a lot easier to hold that the Note 5. However that same design allowing the fingers to wrap around the edge easier, also allows the fingers to engage the touch screen unintentionally.

    As such, when I would intentionally try to touch the screen for a command, it would frequently not work, as my other finger/s would already be sending the screen some input.

      The edge design easier to hold than the note 5? I held the note 5 and the s6 and found the size difference negligible, but the note 5 with the same curved back as the standard s7 was great in the hands!

      I thought the edge had a more squared back and would have made it worse to hold!

      My gripe is why not keep the s7 edge and s7 the same size and have a note 5 and note 5 edge the same size..

        Yes, easier to hold as the edges are further back from the front of the screen, thus requiring the fingers not needing to wrap around as much to secure it.

    Hi Cambell, two questions, you said it defaults burst photos and videos to internal memory, is it possible to set it to always record on SD?

    Also, the volume buttons are on the other side to the power button, do you accidentally press the buttons during use / photo taking?

    Aussies getting downgraded to the exynos processor from the snapdragon seems a bit of a rip-off. All the press I'd read until now said the phone was a snapdragon 820.
    I think that's a deal maker for me - get the LG G5.

      I've written that the Aussie GS5 has had an Exynos 8890 for a while. I actually think the Exynos is a superior processor in energy efficiency, I certainly don't think it's a downgrade.

        Yeah I heard the 820 was for the US market and the Exynos for most other regions. It just happens a lot of tech news is US based so there will be a bias to reporting the 820, I imagine even on Gizmodo where we get a fair few US articles.

        I'd wait and compare benchmarks, but I can't imagine the Exynos would be a massive downgrade, assuming it's one at all.

        Edit: some interesting results at http://bgr.com/2016/02/04/galaxy-s7-exynos-8890-snapdragon-820-benchmark/ where the Exynos wins the single threaded benchmark and the 820 multithreaded on some prerelease hardware. Of course power efficiency will also be relevant. I also assume much like the iPhone 6s Samsung vs TSMC debate one chip will benchmark better but most users will see no real world difference.

        Last edited 09/03/16 11:34 pm

    The S7 could potentially make me jump ship from iPhone.

    It might not look it from the aestetics in comparision to the S6, but Samsung kind of did a 180 degree with this handset.

    Last edited 09/03/16 5:22 pm

      How so?

        I predict a few months in, the S7 will drop below the $1K mark, probably even below $900.
        It's a struggle getting a iP6s 16GB for sub-$900.

        Strong rumours of the audio jack getting the chop is a big grip for me. Having to change/retrofit existing accessories is a pain and a money making exercise.
        BT is a major power drain from experience and I suspect Lightning audio products will place more wear on the (proposed) single ingress of the device.

        Apple's obsession with slimmer phones. For Pete's sake, leave the thickness alone and improve the battery.

        Beyond that, both makes don't offer anything compelling for me other than the camera. Seems the S7 has been rated high in reviews I've read.

        Although a bit of a novelty, I welcome the water resistant feature. Might come in handy...

        There my justifications for considering the opposition.

        Having said that, if I come across a reasonably priced iP 6s, I'll still buy it.

        Last edited 11/03/16 7:42 am

    Hi Campbell, what's the battery life like? Under heavy usage with more than sufficient (but not max) brightness? What's the screen on time under heavy use?

    The S7 might be the best of the bunch for all round performance. I still want 64GB of internal memory and I heard the S7 was coming with that. The G5 is a risk that the modules is a fling and LG will drop it like a hot potato for next year ending support and modules. The HTC looks great from the leaks but the rumors of 16GB of internal memory is pathetic and far as I'm concerned a useless allocation. 16GB was maybe ok 6 years ago but not now that android is around 6GB . The Xperia X Professional looks interesting. hmmmmmmm

    Last edited 09/03/16 11:16 pm

      It looks like the S7 64GB model will not be released in the US and Europe - so probably not in Australia either. 32GB will be standard. (At least it's not 16GB as it was with the S5.)

      On top of that, the new "Adaptive Storage" tech in Marshmallow (which allows SD storage to be merged into the internal storage pool) has been disabled by Samsung because it doesn't want to confuse users who might want to use the microSD card for exchanging data.

      Dammit.

      I suppose we can always get an S7 then install default Marshmallow. Or maybe Samsung will see the light and enable A.S. in the system options.

    Hang on, salt water is very bad for the seal on the Xperia. Why would it be ok to bring your phone to the beach then?

    it is a good phone compared to previous version. But i will wait of LG G5! the modular concept is interesting if it all LG can get pricing right it should be good competition between Samsung , Apple n LG

    I must have missed this doesn't have USB Type C in earlier articles. I'm actually quite surprised they're not heading there yet. I'll pass.

    S7/edge both look good, maybe I missed it, but I did not see a mention of the speaker volume ? Does the water resistance have an effect ? How does volume compare with the S6 models. Both very tempting, a galaxy will be my next phone I think.

      Will let you know when it gets here today. My Z3s sound was terrible with the waterproofing so it will be interesting to see (hear) . Will compare with the note 5 and let you know!

      Alright, no science here but just ran a few youtube clips, could note noticeably tell a difference between the 2 phones, swapping phones with the misus and my ears. Waiting on optus to activate the sim for voice through the earpiece, which is where the z3 failed miserably.

    Great, now slap some decent front facing speakers on that sucker and it will be truely"The Best" , if only at least to compliment that display.

    I've had my S5 for over 2 years now and I am really happy with how it performs. But I might upgrade it to the S7 in the near future.

    Am I right in understanding that the S7 has a microUSB 2.0 port for charging, while the S5 had a microUSB 3.0 port? The S5 charged like lightning, it was awesome; won't the S7 be slower?

      Charging isn't necessarily linked to data transfer speed, which is great. The S5, I think, charged at a maximum of 10 Watts, while the S7 can do 18 Watts through the Samsung (included) wall charger. It can also do 18 Watts wirelessly, which is awesome.

        In that case, that's really good news! Thanks

      S5 charger vs fast charge on s6/s7/note 5 there is no comparison!

    Got mine today and loving it, just the right size down from my Note Edge, very light and I like the idea of the themes you can get to change the appearance

      good to hear that, does it fit with your hand ?
      i think i'm gonna buy s7 edge next month

    I am in absolute awe of the s7. As a consumer and an ex-Samsung employee. As you mentioned, small things that could be better but it is the best in so many ways out of this year's products. It will be interesting to see Apple's response, I'm sure they won't disappoint their customers.

    Like someone above, I love using my multiwindow on my old Samsung and I feel like the easily accessible nature of the edge would be favourable. I'm still contemplating on getting the phone or holding out a while longer. I never thought I'd need it but until I started using a note, the s-pen wasn't crucial for me. Now it's integral for signing documents, timesheets, emails etc.

    I despise waiting for so long but I'll bide my time for the note 6 I think. Hoping it has the beautiful features of the s7, the way note 5 did of its hero buddy.

    I was wondering though, is the lower resolution in the camera noticeable comparative to the s6? I haven't fiddled with a demo yet but I plan to in the near future. Curious as to what people think in general. Also, is the s7 edge a telling beauty above the s7 because of it's larger screen? I am an above average user so if it can be noticed I suppose it'd be good to know.

    Thank you!

    BLUF: Notifications suck on the S7 Edge

    I am a die hard Android guy that has been taking the iPhone 6S+ for a spin the past 6 months. I got my S7 Edge yesterday and I have to say it is indeed a very beautiful phone. It is waterproof, smaller with the same screen size, faster and has a better display than the iPhone 6S+. I find most Android apps to be better than the equivalent iPhone app.

    The one thing that is getting to me about the S7 Edge is Notifications, or lack there-of.

    The always on display does not support notifications from third party vendors. It wakes on receiving an SMS but does not wake when receiving other notifications. I suspect that only the Samsung apps have the ability to wake the device to display the notification. Even with the "Always On" display disabled none seem to wake the phone to display the notification (Outlook, Facebook, Messenger etc)

    I want my notifications to wake the device and display on the screen without me needing to interact with the device.

    I normally have my phone on silent at work, and rely on the screen waking up to tell me about incoming notifications. My iPhone displays the notification right away, so I can decide to interact with it or just ignore it. With the Edge I would have to interact with the phone every time just to see what the notification was.

    I have tried several pop up/notification apps today with varying levels of success. This may actually be a deal breaker for me and I may end up returning the S7 Edge and go back to my 6S+....... not something that I expected given I am a die hard Android fan.

    If someone has a solution, then I am willing to try it out.

    It's funny that you say the S7 camera is probably the second after the iPhone 6s Plus’s that you would take on holiday, but when you watch supersafs camera comparisons the iphone 6s plus has no chance. Even the S6 produced mildly better photos than it and the S7 destroys it. Check them out on youtube, very good proper camera comparisons.

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