This review is coming from someone having a limited experience with Samsung Galaxy S-series phones, but bear with me. Around 2 years ago I purchased a used S4 because I wanted to replace my iPhone 5s due to issues with storage space. The S4 ran Android 5.1 Lollipop and had a fresh battery installed. What I liked about the phone was that it had a larger screen than the iPhone 5s, was highly customizable (root-able, possibility of installing a custom rom, able to take advantage of Google’s vast application store offerings) and, while used was very attractively priced at about $130 USD.
This device served my needs, save for falling seriously short on at least a couple of important points: namely battery life and “comfort of use.” Specifically, I found it tedious to carry around an external battery pack at all times, and so I returned to an iPhone 6s. Curious to see whether the Galaxy S-series phones had improved, I purchased a new Galaxy S7 and used it for approximately 1.5 weeks before returning it in utter disgust. The S7, although three generations later, is still plagued by the same problems I observed in the S4: terrible battery life, a case that gets very hot with moderate video streaming (beyond roughly 20 min.), and consistently buggy software. These flaws are compounded by the additional nuisance that it is quite heavy and very difficult to hold in one hand for an extended period of time whilst reading.
Interested parties can easily locate a goodly amount of technical information online as to what are the specifications of the phone, what processor it’s running, which cellular networks it will function on, and whether or not it requires or accepts one or multiple SIM cards. Indeed, the phone does not accept multiple SIMs, but it can be ordered with an international charger. The S7 also has high quality packaging and very nice headphones which, in my view, are more comfortable than those for the iPhone by far.
It comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty that can be extended to two for $129. And while the S7 does not work with a wireless charging station as does the S7 Edge, it does come in GSM and CDMA flavors and is water resistant. The S7 is consistently touted by media as having a brilliantly clear screen and a very fast processor and reviewers who have done benchmarking performance tests rave about the device in spite of a very forefront controversy surrounding its cousin, the highly combustible S7 Edge. Finally, because it is considered a “flagship” device by some carriers this means that there is likely to be a good range of accessories as well as that the device offers a high measure of compatibility and technical support going forward.
That said, there has been precious little improvement in its battery life since the S4, and in comparison to the iPhone 7 its improvements are largely cosmetic rather than functional. I would also insist on casing the phone since it is prone to slip out of one’s hands due to an overly smooth backing. If you’re someone with smaller hands like me you may also find its screen wildly jumping out of place, or unintended items being clicked, because there is not enough space between the edge of the screen and the back of the phone. Additionally, after all updates my S7 continued having choppy video streaming and would repeatedly crash non-Google applications like Firefox and Twitter. Likely, this is not hardware-related and will pass after a fashion, but it was often enough that I would get annoyed and quit using it.
My personal criteria for a quality mobile device are admittedly based on my ownership of three iPhones and are doubtless on the simplistic side. For me, it must be highly energy efficient, charge very fast, and err on the side of reliability rather than bleeding-edge technology. Ideally, it would also offer quality accessories, memory expansion so that I’m able to carry around lots of pdfs and images, and a thriving ecosystem of (free) applications that enable me to do small edits on the fly. The iPhone does not currently meet this need, nor that of dabbling in custom rom installations, or running full Linux-based operating systems on the mobile device alongside the phone’s OS.
It is a device well suited to calling, texting, social networking, and light browsing only. Unfortunately, aside from being an Android platform and having an SD-port, the S7 does not meet the expectations I have for efficiency and reliability especially. I was highly annoyed by the overall poor quality of this phone, remarking to my husband that our iPhones were far more polished and stable devices for the money. I may offer a compromise and say that were the S7 priced for $350 or less, instead of $650 through my carrier, I might be satisfied to make do—provided I had sufficient backup batteries. But it is more likely that I would instead purchase one of Samsung’s tablets for a third of the cost and keep my iPhone.