Samsung today launched its best phones till date – the Galaxy S7 Edge and Galaxy S7, in India for a price lower than what most people, including us, expected. This year Samsung is tuning its flagship phones more in line with what consumers have been demanding for the whole of past year. The microSD storage, bigger battery, water and dust resistance are back and in a more ergonomic casing.

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You must have heard more than a few good things about the new S series by now, since the handsets were first showcased at MWC not so long ago. We spent some quality time with the new Galaxy flagships and here is what we felt.

 Key Specifications of Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge

Model name Samsung Galaxy S7 Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Display size, type & resolution 5.1-inch QHD Super AMOLED display, IP68 resistance 5.5-inch QHD Super AMOLED display, IP68 resistance
Operating system Android Marshmallow with TouchWiz skin Android Marshmallow with TouchWiz skin
Processor Exynos 8890 64-bit octa-core Exynos 8890 64-bit octa-core
Memory 4GB RAM, 32GB Internal Storage, expanded up to 200GB via micro SD card 4GB RAM, 32GB Internal Storage, expanded up to 200GB via micro SD card
Camera 12MP rear camera, dual autofocus, OIS, 100 percent PDAF, and 5MP front camera with autofocus 12MP rear camera, dual autofocus, OIS, 100 percent PDAF, and 5MP front camera with autofocus
Battery 3,000mAh battery, Fast Charging and wireless charging 3,600mAh battery, Fast Charging and wireless charging
Connectivity Dual-SIM card slots, 4G LTE support, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, and micro-USB port 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth v 4.1, ANT+, USB 2.0, NFC
Price 48,900 INR 56,900 INR

Beautiful Design, Stunning display

Both new Samsung phones are simply gorgeous. I won’t even say that Galaxy S6 Edge is better looking than the S7, but yes, it includes a bigger display.

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All the changes that Samsung has made to the design are subtle and in press images, you won’t find it largely different than the S6 series design, but the difference is well pronounced when you hold S7 in hands. The difference stems from the curved glass edges, not of the S7 Edge display, but the ones Samsung has added on the rear side of both S7 models.

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However, the front and back glass are still very prone to smudges. This is one Galaxy S6 flaw that Samsung didn’t fix. There is no USB Type C port either, but that shouldn’t be a deal breaker at this stage of development.

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The QHD Display panels on S7 and its next of kin are one of the best available in the price range. If you don’t like over-saturated tones of AMOLED displays, you get the option to tone them down under display settings. Even when the display is off, the phone can showcase time, data and notification data. This Always On display uses very little battery and is something we foresee as useful.

Right below the display, you will find a physical home button, which doubles as a fingerprint sensor. Just like iPhone or Xperia Z5, you will need to press the home button before you scan your finger and unlock the handset (It scans your fingers before you even release the button after pressing it). In our initial testing, accuracy and speed for finger recognition were top notch, but it’s a two-step process.

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If you have a special liking for compact handsets, Samsung Galaxy S7 is the phone for you. If you wish to avail a bigger display in a compact casing, the Galaxy S7 Edge is the way to go.

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Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge Photo Gallery

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The edge factor?

The curved side edges of Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge are more of an Aesthetic thing. Remember Samsung Galaxy Note Edge? The first Samsung phone with a curved edge? Well, that one had a bigger curve on right edge which housed app icons, contacts, could be used as a ruler, as a night clock and more.

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The curves on Galaxy S7 Edge are rather subtle. So the edges by themselves don’t add any ‘functionality’ but do add that X factor to the display. Samsung wants you to believe otherwise. So an edge launcher has been added which is more of a conventional sidebar launcher app. There is no reason why this couldn’t be added to flat display Galaxy S7.

You can drag it from the edge and stretch it to two column edges where you can fit contacts, frequently used apps and lot more for quick access.

Camera focuses on improving low light performance

The Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge camera felt very impressive. After successfully delivering a better-than-iPhone camera on S6 and Note family last year, this year Samsung has focused on further improving the low-light performance. The 12MP sensor can absorb more light thanks to its bigger size pixels.

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Samsung is also using dual-pixel technology (also used in professional camera) which is more than marketing gimmick. For every pixel, there are two photo diodes working together and all that adds up to incredibly fast focus in low lighting. Both the 12MP rear camera (F1.7 aperture lens) and 5MP front camera (F1.7 aperture lens) appeared to be great performers in our initial testing.

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Samsung also had a low-light photography room set-up where the prowess of S7 camera was demonstrated in extreme low lighting. The subject of photography were barely visible to our eyes. Here are a few samples for you.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Low Light Camera Samples

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Snapdragon 820 vs Exynos 8890 – Are there any compromises involved?

In India, Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are using the Exynos 8890 chipset. The SoC employs 4 high performance custom Samsung cores ticking at 2.3GHz and other 4 low performance cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.6GHz. The Snapdragon 820, which is one of the most popular chips these days, won’t be powering the Indian variants.

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In a way, this is history repeating itself. Samsung is used to pushing Exynos powered flagships in Indian market. Except for last year when there was no Snapdragon variant for Samsung flagships, every year Samsung used to rely on inferior Exynos chips for Indian market.

2015 has been an exception though. Due to several issues with Snapdragon 810, Samsung solely relied on Exynos 7420 which was the best chipset for 2015. But this year Qualcomm is back in the game with Snapdragon 820

According to latest reports, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 offers 32 percent better score on graphic benchmarks compared to Exynos variant. This is certainly believable because Qualcomm has always excelled when it comes to GPUs. Even Snapdragon 810 had better GPU compared to Exynos 7420. These are however just numbers and the Exynos 8890 performance might be perfectly adequate to run all modern gaming apps, even while being subservient to Snapdragon 820. We will know for sure after our full review.

Marshmallow based Software

Samsung is using the same dialed down TouchWiz UI based on Android Marshmallow. The UI masks all the aesthetic goodness of Marshmallow though. Even the adoptable storage feature, which allows you to use MicroSD card as internal storage in Marshmallow devices has been disabled.

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There wasn’t much bloatware (only one page of app drawer), but popular apps like Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram have been pre-installed. The Gaming launcher which tweaks the interface to favors gaming was nowhere to be seen on the demo units in the experience zone. Navigating through settings menu wasn’t a pain.

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Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are truly impressive Android offerings and appear to be very close to perfection. Besides Samsung has managed to keep the price reasonable by flagship standards. We will reserve our final verdict till we are done with our full review, but for now, its a job well done.

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