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Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy S6 - is it worth upgrading?

Katharine Byrne
17 Mar 2016
Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy S6

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is here, but when the time comes for you to upgrade from your S6, will it be worth it? We run the numbers

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Camera

Big changes have arrived in the camera department. While the S7's headline figure of 12 megapixels looks like a step down from 16 megapixels in the S6, it's actually a very good thing, as Samsung's also increased the size of each individual pixel.

Decreasing the number of pixels but making each one bigger means that each one gets more light, which massively improves clarity in darker environments and produces less noise and grain. The lens is better, too, going from an f/1.9 aperture to f/1.7, letting in 25% more light. Finally, autofocus is significantly faster thanks to a dual-pixel sensor, which has 100% phase detection pixels.

Samsung galaxy S7 camera test 2

^ The S7 (above) finally lets you shoot in 4:3 at the maximum resolution, too, something the S6 (below) doesn't allow for. Instead, you need to shoot in 16:9 to take advantage of the full 16-megapixel resolution

Samsung galaxy S7 vs S6 camera

All this might not be apparent at first glance, though, as our test shots from both the S6 and S7 are very similar. Outdoors, the S7 almost looks like it's over-exposing a few details, but indoors is where it really shines. Again, you might not be able to tell the difference between our test shots, but when you look at each photo's individual properties information, the S7's shutter speed is much faster. This means it's less likely to blur any moving targets in low light, making it better for taking pictures of friends in the pub and other social occasions where you're contending with multiple, jostling subjects and less-than-perfect lighting conditions.

Samsung galaxy S7 camera indoors

^ The S7 (above) coped brilliantly in low light, producing more natural, neutral colours than the S6 (below). It can also take pictures at much faster shutter speeds in low light, making it the better camera overall

Samsung galaxy S6 vs S7 camera test

Conclusion: As a result, the S7's camera is by far the superior snapper in this case. The S6 still has one of the best smartphone cameras money can buy, but Samsung's decision to reduce the resolution of the S7's camera has definitely paid off here. 

Features

It's rather even when it comes to additional features, with both phones having 802.11ac Wi-Fi, fast 4G, fingerprint readers and NFC. They also support Samsung Pay, which will launch in the UK this year

Conclusion

Of course, it's important to balance this all against each phone's respective price. It's a bit hard compare each phone directly, as the S7 can be upgraded via its microSD card slot, whereas the S6 can't. As a result, it seems fair to compare the 32GB S7 to the 64GB S6.

Currently, SIM-Free direct from Samsung, the 64GB S6 costs £479, whereas the 32GB S7 costs £569, making it £90 more expensive. On contract, the 64GB S6 costs £37.50-per-month at Carphone Warehouse, bringing total cost of ownership to £900 over the course of two years, while the S7 costs £36-per-month with an upfront cost of £80, bringing TOC to £944.

For us, the S7 is well-priced and definitely worth the premium for new buyers, especially if you're coming from an S5 or something even older. While the benefits probably aren't quite enough to persuade current S6 users to ditch their current phone and upgrade to the S7 right this second, those looking for a fast smartphone at a great price should definitely consider Samsung's latest and greatest. 

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