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Samsung Galaxy S7 review: Still a great phone

Nathan Spendelow Katharine Byrne
16 Aug 2018
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
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

Pros 
Super fast performance
Superb camera
Expandable storage via microSD
Cons 
Still no user-replaceable battery
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Samsung Galaxy S7 review: Battery life

Either way, you needn't worry about the S7's battery life on a day-to-day basis, as its 3,000mAh battery managed an incredible 17h 48m in our continuous video playback test with the screen brightness set to a standard 170cd/m2. That represents just over half brightness on the S7, and it puts the S6 to shame, as it only managed 13h 37m under the same conditions.

Last year's S6 had a smaller battery, so I'd expect the S7 to last longer anyway, but this is easily the best battery performance I've seen from a Samsung phone yet, so it should definitely last well into the next day for the vast majority of users. Samsung's also improved its fast charging support as well, allowing you to get up to 50% charge in just 10 minutes, making it extremely convenient to top up during the day if you run out of juice. It also supports wireless charging as well, via the usual Qi and PMA standards.

Samsung Galaxy S7 review: Performance and gaming

There's been a lot of hype and hoo-hah about which processor Samsung would decide to put in the S7, as early rumours hinted that it might return to using Qualcomm's chips. And it has in some territories, opting for the brand-new Snapdragon 820, but the UK and Europe have got Samsung's own octa-core Exynos 8890 processors instead.

This is made up of two quad-core chips running at 2.3GHz and 1.6GHz respectively, the former handles more intensive tasks while the latter provides superior power efficiency. In my initial testing, it seemed like we'd drawn the short straw in this regard, as my Geekbench 3 scores only reached 1,353 in the single core test and 4,794 in the multicore test, which isn't really that much better than the S6's respective scores of 1,427 and 4,501.

Samsung galaxy S7 camera

However, when I re-ran the tests later in the day, these scores shot up to 2,115 and 6,437, putting its multicore score way out in front of the Snapdragon 820 results I recorded at a special benchmarking event earlier in the year. Here, the Snapdragon 820 scored 2,356 and 5,450, placing it in roughly the same ballpark as Samsung's Exynos chip.

Regardless of which way you look at it, though, the S7 is easily one of the slickest and most responsive phones I've ever used. Samsung's Marshmallow version of its TouchWiz interface simply flew underneath my fingers, and apps loaded almost instantly. Web browsing was similarly quick, reaching an impressive 1,882 in Peacekeeper. Media-heavy websites like the Guardian were lovely and smooth, and it coped with scrolling images, ads and comments sections beautifully.

The Exynos 8890's graphics capabilities are equally impressive, although here the Snapdragon 820 seems to pull ahead. In the offscreen Manhattan test of GFX Bench GL 3.0, for instance, the S7 managed a 2,336 frames (around 38fps), but the Snapdragon 820 dev kit I tested produced an even smoother 2,860 frames (around 46fps). The S7 also couldn't quite match the Snapdragon 820 on more intensive graphics tests either, as GFX Bench's offscreen Car Chase test finished in 886 frames on the S7 (15fps) but 1,049 (18fps) on the Snapdragon 820.

In practice, though, there aren't many apps which require this much graphical horsepower, so you're unlikely to notice any discernible difference in speed in your average gaming session. Even demanding games like Hearthstone ran perfectly fine during our testing, so simpler games like Threes and Candy Crush should prove no problem at all.

Samsung galaxy S7 game launcher

^ Being able to disable notification pop-ups during games is pretty handy, but the ever-present Game Launcher menu icon is almost equally distracting

On top of that, Samsung has a new Game Launcher, which lets you disable all notification prompts for interruption-free gaming, and makes it easier to take screenshots and record gameplay footage. You can even use it to lock the Back and Recents button. Continues on Page 3

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