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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Samsung Galaxy S7 - A step in the right direction

I am pleased to see some of the changes Samsung has made with the new Galaxy S7.  The best fix was the return of the MicroSD port which was abandoned on the S6.  The S7 comes with an upgraded minimum 32 GB of space, but the MicroSD port allows for an extra 200 GB if you are so inclined.

Unfortunately, the S7 has not returned to the removable battery we enjoyed with the S5.  I like the idea of removing a battery just to be certain nothing is still running on my phone when I want it off completely.  I also like the idea of carrying around a spare battery in case I run out of power, as well as the ability to add higher capacity batteries for longer life.

The S7 did increase battery capacity from 2600 mAh to 3000 mAh.  You can also use a portable USB charger if you just have trouble getting through the day on a single charge.  Still, the lack of a removable battery is disappointing. Fewer high end phones have a removable battery.  I've been looking at the LG G5.  I'm not sure that the removable battery is enough for me to switch, as I do like a great deal of other things about the Galaxy S7.  It is a disappointment though that I cannot remove my battery.

The S7 has also greatly improved its camera.  Major carriers thankfully have ended the focus in increasing the number of megapixels in their photos and started to focus more on the lenses.  The S7 has a larger aperture (1.9) which means you get much better photos in low light situations.  That is where my current phone gives me the most trouble.  The S7 seems much improved in this area.  It also has image stabilization.

Samsung has also improved the water proofing in the S7.  Although I've never had the nerve to take a cell phone into the water, I guess it's nice to have that level of protection.

A new feature on the S7 is the "always on" screen.  When not using the phone, it still displays the time and a few other pieces of information on the screen.  To battery hoarders like me, this just seems like  a drain on battery life.  The "always on" feature supposedly uses about 1% of battery per hour, meaning you could lose nearly a quarter of battery life over the course of a day.  I also wonder what sort of screen burn in I will get from having a clock on the screen always.  Fortunately, it is possible to turn off this feature.  Even with it on, the S7 loses less power in standby mode than the S6.

Overall, the S7 is a very great improvement over the disappointing S6.  Whether Samsung can continue to maintain its dominance in the high end Android market remains a big question.  Many new manufacturers, including Google itself, are beginning to produce worthy competing product.  Samsung is in the difficult position of trying to distinguish itself, without veering too far from the standard Android path.

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