Samsung Galaxy S7 And Galaxy S7 Edge Review: Hot Android Hardware

Galaxy S7 And S7 Edge Software Setup And Camera

Samsung went with Android 6.0 Marshmallow for the roll out of these two new devices, and other than an occasionally obnoxious amount of carrier bloatware, the setup with Samsung's usual Touchwiz skinning is clean. In fact, the color palette here is better than the previous-gen by a long shot in our opinion. Touchwiz seems thinner and lighter than ever. All told, the experience is about as uncluttered and efficient as you get on Android these days. 

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Living On The Edge Gets Better

Making a returned and somewhat more prominent appearance on the Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung's Edge Display apps and widgets are a bit more useful now with a wider slide-in panel to pull out from the side of the display. And actually, since the Galaxy S7 Edge (and the S6 Edge before it) has both sides of its display glass curved, you can set this to be available to swipe in from either the left or right side of the screen. You can also set transparency levels of the Edge Display panel as well.

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Samsung also added some additional widgets to the Edge Display beyond just Apps edge, People edge, the Information stream and the Night Clock. Samsung brought in various new features like news feeds, the weather, stock tickers, sports scores and even a compass with longitude and latitude settings, just to name a few. All told it's a nice refinement to the Edge Display, but whether or not you'll find these features practical or useful is more or less personal preference. That said, the cool roll-in effect of the Galaxy S7 Edge's curved display, when swiping in from either side of the screen definitely adds a bit of extra glitz to a phone that already looks just plain fantastic with its unique, standout design.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Camera And Sample Shots

Samsung's camera software for these two new devices is very similar to the Galaxy S6 line, though again it's the electronics that bring very tangible advancements over the previous-gen. You still get a ton of different shooting modes and even the ability to download new shooting modes not installed in the phones by default, but some of the standouts here again (as they were on the GS6 line) are live video broadcasting to YouTube, Selective Focus shooting, Hyperlapse and Slow-Mo.

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Galaxy S7 Camera App

And control freaks will appreciated Samsung's Pro Camera mode that brings in settings for DSLR-like functionality such as ISO, White Balance, Metering and more. However, especially with Samsung's new Dual Pixel autofocus technology, most folks can just leave the Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge in Auto mode and get some really great shots. Below are a few samples taken in various lighting conditions.

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We have nothing but accolades here as well for Samsung, as the Galaxy S7 Edge's and Galaxy S7's camera performance is nothing short of spectacular. Samsung arguably had some of the best smartphone camera technology on the market with the Galaxy S6 line already, but with these new refinements and the amazing responsiveness of Samsung's Dual Pixel autofocus technology in the GS7, it's so easy to get gorgeous shots from these phones such that, even if you're a DSLR snob, you're going to be impressed. Just look at some of the detail, crispness and light balance in these shots above, that we literally grabbed in just a few minutes on auto mode.

The most challenging shot perhaps is the picture of the statue of St. Michael The Archangel in front of the clock, on the table in front of the window. The room within is dark with no lighting except what's coming in through the window, and obviously the window behind it is blown-out from a relatively bright day outside. This shot was captured in Auto mode with Auto HDR settings enabled and it balanced the shot better than any smartphone we've seen yet, while maintaining excellent focus and decent color saturation too boot. And Yogi and Max? Well, we didn't play fair there; the subjects' cuteness coefficient left Samsung with an unfair advantage we suppose. However, you can see low light performance in these shots and in the white table shot with the candles on it, is pretty fantastic too.

In short, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge offer the best still camera performance we've ever seen from a smartphone currently.They're very impressive.

Here's a quick look at video performance as well. And of course, the fast-moving action here challenges optical image stabilization of the camera.

The Galaxy S7's OIS handles things pretty well here, even as I stamped my foot to taunt Yogi into giving us his trademark howl. You do see a touch of compression going on for sure but in standard 1080p shooting mode, the bit rate captured is still a respectable 16,623kbps.

So again, all told, you can expect fantastic results from both the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, in terms of camera performance and ease of use. But what about general performance, graphics and gaming? We're glad you asked. That's next...

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