A closer look at the Samsung Galaxy S7 processing power and battery performance
Samsung has offered up two flagship phones in 2016 and both are very compelling indeed. But which will be the most popular? Apple’s iPhone 6s outsells the larger iPhone 6s Plus by quite a margin — 4 to 1, in some reporting — but will this be the same with Samsung’s 2016 Android flagships, the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 EDGE?
Difficult to say at the moment. Nevertheless, the company is definitely on something of a high at the moment after a very successful pre-order window for both handsets. Samsung says demand for both handsets was off the charts and that this should translate into very healthy sales throughout 2016.
And this will come as great news to Samsung’s shareholders. The company needs a big success on its hands after 2015, which saw reductions in profits, sales and marketshare for the company as well as worse than expected sales of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 EDGE.
Still, 2016 is a new year and a new chance for the company to take the fight direct to Apple who, with its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s releases, has dominated the mobile space, both here in the UK, overseas in the US and, importantly, in China as well, which is of course the world’s biggest phone market.
A lot has been said about the Galaxy S7 since it launched, and not all of it good. Most of the complaints are aimed at the handset’s design, which hasn’t really changed all that much from last year’s release. This is apparently a problem in the Android space, but nothing to worry about if the phone you’re releasing rocks iOS.
Still, what Samsung has come to the table with here — in this article we’ll be looking at the Galaxy S7 — is very impressive and a great deal more than an incremental update. I’ll outline why below, using anecdotal evidence and stats from benchmarks as well as how it faired when pitted against its peers.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Display: Currently The Best There Is…
Both the S7 and S7 EDGE sport truly brilliant display panels, arguably the best in the business at present with excellent colour, brightness and detail across the board. They keep the same resolution as last year’s models but are now 24% brighter, meaning better performance under ambient light which tends to wash phone displays out.
The S7 display is also Always-On, giving you access to things like the date and time, though, for whatever reason, Samsung opted to not support the one thing that would make this feature really useful — notifications. Perhaps these will come in an update? Fingers crossed. Another notable feature is Personalised Automatic Brightness Control, which essentially learns how you like to set the brightness yourself in certain lighting conditions, and then adapts automatically when they occur.
In conclusion, the S7’s panel is a world-beater at present, as noted by Display Mate: “As a result of its high Brightness and low Reflectance, the Galaxy S7 has a Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light that ranges from 119 to186, also the highest that we have ever measured for a Smartphone display.”
Samsung Galaxy S7 Performance: Exynos 8890 vs. Snapdragon 820
Samsung makes two versions of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 EDGE: one with a Snapdragon 820 chipset, the other an Exynos 8890. In the UK we got the latter and a lot has been said about this already. Why? Simple: the Snapdragon 820’s GPU is A LOT better than the one inside the Exynos 8890.
But will you notice? I’m going to say, probably not… I mean, the Galaxy S7 — either way — is plenty powerful, as you can see from our group benchmarking tests below, so crying over a few CPU or GPU benchmark points here and there is like buying a sports car and then getting upset about it ONLY having 299 horsepower, not 300.
But what, if any, difference is there between the Exynos 8890 and the Snapdragon 820? “In the offscreen Manhattan test of GFX Bench GL 3.0,” said Expert Reviews, “the S7 managed a 2,336 frames (around 38fps), but the Snapdragon 820 dev kit I tested produced an even smoother 2,860 frames (around 46fps). The S7 also couldn't quite match the Snapdragon 820 on more intensive graphics tests either, as GFX Bench's offscreen Car Chase test finished in 886 frames on the S7 (15fps) but 1,049 (18fps) on the Snapdragon 820.”
It added: “In practice, though, there aren't many apps which require this much graphical horsepower, so you're unlikely to notice any discernible difference in speed in your average gaming session. Even demanding games like Hearthstone ran perfectly fine during our testing, so simpler games like Threes and Candy Crush should prove no problem at all.”
Bottom line? Don’t sweat it — the Galaxy S7 has more than enough power under the hood for 99.9% of users. The handset runs flawlessly and will handle, easily, pretty much anything you can throw at it from gaming to video and photo editing. Everything just flies, so, please, do not get your knickers in a twist about not getting the Snapdragon 820 version!
Samsung Galaxy S7 Battery Performance: Much Better Than Galaxy S6
Samsung has increased its size of the battery this time around, now a 3000mAh set-up, and this has translated into a lot more performance in the battery department compared to last year’s model. Not that it took that much beating in the first place! Last year’s Galaxy S6 was seriously understocked in the battery department and it was this aspect that was one of the most disappointing about the handset.
Not so with the Galaxy S7, however, which rocked up a very impressive 17h 48m in our continuous video playback test (the S6 managed 13h). This means the Galaxy S7 will almost certainly get even the most heavy-user through a full working day with around 15-20% left in the tank.
It doesn’t beat the Huawei Mate 8 in this context. But nothing really does, though — that handset has just incredible battery performance, the likes of which must be experienced to be believed!