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Galaxy S7 review roundup: Samsung has made a masterpiece

Samsung Galaxy S7 Review Roundup

The reviews are in for Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 edge and it sounds like Samsung has made a masterpiece of a smartphone. Samsung has steadily worked to improve its craft over the years as a hardware designer and reviewers are heaping praise on this year’s flagship devices as being as close to perfect as any smartphone ever built.

Let’s take a look at what some of the tech world’s most prominent reviewers are saying about the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge.

MUST SEE: Galaxy S7 edge pitted against iPhone 6s Plus in most extensive comparison video yet

The Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey Fowler gushes that the Galaxy S7 puts Samsung ahead of every other smartphone vendor in the world right now, including Apple. In particular, he says that the devices’ cameras mop the floor with Apple’s latest flagship phone and add features such as microSD card support and strong water resistance that the iPhone 6s lacks:

The Galaxy S7 and larger S7 Edge have a camera that beat the iPhone 6s Plus in every low-light situation I’ve tested. Its screen is a stunner, packing in more than three times as many pixels as the iPhone 6s. And its blazing fast processor is well-suited for the new world of virtual reality.

Samsung earns extra credit for calling out some of the baloney that makes smartphones annoying and costly. Instead of gouging you for built-in storage, the Galaxy S7 lets you add your own. And if it takes a swan dive into the toilet, it’ll live to tell the tale thanks to the addition of water resistance.

The Verge’s Dan Seifert doesn’t mince words and calls the Galaxy S7 edge “the most impressive piece of smartphone hardware I’ve ever held.” Notice how he didn’t just say “Android phone hardware,” he said “smartphone hardware.” Here’s his rationale:

It’s so polished, so well put together, so smartly designed, and so beautiful to look at that it’s a joy to pick up over and over again. […]

The bigger batteries (combined with Android’s efficiency improvements in Marshmallow) mean the S7 and S7 Edge had no trouble lasting through a full day in our tests. If you’re a power user and really concerned about battery life, the S7 Edge is obviously the way to go3, but both phones have support for fast charging and Samsung’s fast wireless charging, which makes it easy to top up when you need to. […]

The camera is another hugely important aspect of a modern smartphone, and the new one on the Galaxy S7 is a home run.

You get the idea.

All the same, Seifert does knock the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge for being encumbered by carrier bloatware and he says that the new software features that Samsung has added to the device just aren’t that useful. These are longstanding critiques of all Samsung phones, of course, so they shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Mashable’s Raymond Wong writes that the Galaxy S7 edge is a “sexy alternative” to the iPhone 6s Plus and is “easily one of the best phones I’ve ever used, and probably the best Android phone you can buy right now.” Here’s what he really likes about it:

A year ago, Samsung proved that it was possible to produce a powerful, capable Android phone with a great camera, beautiful design, and premium materials. This year, it proved that you can have a big screen in a phone that isn’t absurdly large.

The S7 and S7 Edge aren’t perfect — the software still lags behind the hardware — but they get the basics right: great screens, great cameras, great performance, and reliable battery life. They also have eye-catching designs and premium materials — the level of polish on these devices is unmatched in the rest of the Android world.

Engadget’s Chris Velazco says that the S7 and S7 edge aren’t offering major changes from last year’s flagship Samsung devices but that’s not a bad thing since the changes Samsung did make really improve on what was already a winning formula:

While the new Galaxy S7 isn’t as dramatic a shift as the S6 was, it benefits immensely from a year’s worth of refinement. It’s more powerful, not to mention even more beautiful than the S6, but Samsung hasn’t attained perfection just yet. Then again, Samsung has come pretty damned close: a more consistent camera and more modest power consumption would have made this great phone one for the history books.

And finally, Gizmodo’s Darren Orf believes that while there are still issues with Samsung’s newest devices, they do show that the company is “inching toward perfection”:

The most amazing thing about the S7 is that it subtly improves on its own design and imbues the device with much-needed utility, like waterproofing and memory expansion. […]

It is all about refinement—fixing what was broken with the S6 while packing in more and more cool stuff. It’s not perfect. A set of dual lens cameras could capture more, the always on display could have third-party support, and faster loads times would be appreciated. But this phone is the closest Samsung—or any other phone maker—has ever come to making the perfect smartphone.

This is the one to beat.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.