It’s early days to decide which is the best phone of 2016, of course, but right now the Galaxy S7 is unbeatable, and we struggle to see which phone might be able to take it on. Even the LG G5 (which goes on sale later this week) and the HTC 10 (to be announced next week) can't hold a candle to Samsung's flagship. We really think Samsung’s cracked it with the Galaxy S7.
It's worth pointing out the Galaxy S7 is a twin, and its sibling - the Galaxy S7 edge - is also a very capable Android phone with a unique dual-curved-edge screen. But it's not for everyone. Meanwhile the Galaxy S7 is a great all-rounder that has managed to improve on the already brilliant S6. Samsung has improved on its winning formula in the most important way: by listening to what consumers want. And, since it's Samsung, it's also piled on even more performance.
We’ve heard several critics slam the Galaxy S7 for not featuring a whole lot of new stuff. And while everyone is allowed their own opinion, we think they’re wrong - as you’ll read below. But the analogy of the Galaxy S7 being like an iPhone ’S’ upgrade is most certainly fair comment. Indeed, if you're looking to upgrade from the Galaxy S6, you're probably better off staying put until the Galaxy S8 is released in early 2017 - unless the new features we'll talk about below are especially important to you.
New in the Galaxy S7 is the headline always-on display. It shows you a bunch of useful information on screen in standby mode, such as the time, date, battery percentage and whether you have any missed calls or texts. But actually we don’t think this innovative feature is the most important change. Also see: Samsung Galaxy S6 review and Samsung Galaxy S5 review.
When Samsung announced the Galaxy S6 fans were divided. Finally the S series had thepremium design it so rightly deserved, ditching that awful pimpled plastic and replacing it with a metal frame and gorgeous glass front and rear. But in doing so Samsung removed several features that helped make it such a great phone: waterproofing, expandable storage and a removable battery. Also see: Best MiFi 2016.
The first two return in the Samsung Galaxy S7, while battery life has improved no end with a higher-capacity cell inside. It’s easy to brush these off as old features removed from the Galaxy S5, but they are the three things fans cried out for in the Galaxy S6, and saw them threatening to go elsewhere. So their return is quite a big deal, to say the least.
The camera has improved, too, although it might not sound like it on paper, and is now better-suited to taking photos in challenging conditions such as low light. Samsung offers a ton of interesting shooting modes for photo and video - and that’s not the only software highlight. If you’re a mobile gamer you’ll appreciate the new Game Launcher, and all users will be able to find a use for its excellent multitasking- and privacy features, among others.
The Galaxy S7 is a great phone, but Samsung still has room to improve in its Galaxy S8 for 2017. Sound is strong, but not as good as it was in the Galaxy S6, for example. The latestconnectivity standards USB-C and Quick Charge 3.0 are missing in action, as is the IR blaster. And there are some little niggles throughout, such as the ease with which it picks up fingerprints and the fact it still doesn’t feature a removable battery. Overall, though, the Galaxy S7 is a fantastic phone, which we’ll look at in much greater detail below.