There's no denying that the Samsung Galaxy S7 is an 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 Samsung Galaxy S6.
Place the Samsung Galaxy S7 next to the Galaxy S6 and you’d be hard pushed to instantly pick which one is which. Frankly, this doesn’t bother me in the slightest. The S6 was already one of the best-looking phones around, and the Galaxy S7 certainly follows suit.
Both the front and back are covered in Gorilla Glass 4, while a metal rim snakes in between. Two volume buttons sit on one side, with a lock/standby switch on the other. It’s a clean look, with the back free from any markings aside from a Samsung logo.
The camera lens on the Galaxy S7 now sits just about flush with the glass body too. This might seem a small change, but it makes a big difference. I can now tap out an email with the phone flat on my desk without it jumping and rocking from side to side.
Of course, for many the camera is one of the most important parts of any smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy S6 had an excellent camera, but with the Galaxy 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 Galaxy 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 Galaxy S6. Add in Samsung's new dual-pixel sensor, which provides 100% phase detection pixels for super-fast autofocus, and the Galaxy 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.
In the Samsung Galaxy S7 you get a great camera, great hardware, and a few more features that could be beneficial. One of those additional features is the inclusion of the IP63 water resistance. This means that you can take it five feet of water for about 30 minutes before things will go south. If you’re after a cheap, but solid handset, the Samsung Galaxy S7 should be top of your list.