Sam­sung Galaxy S6 vs Galaxy S7

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The Sam­sung Galaxy S7 (above right) is avail­able to buy now at £569. A year older the Galaxy S6 (above left) is ob­vi­ously cheaper, and of­fers ex­cel­lent value for money at £369.99 SIM-free

(Ama­zon) or free on con­tracts from £27.50 per month (Car­phone Ware­house).


The Galaxy S7 looks very sim­i­lar to the S6 - and that’s a very good thing. When Sam­sung re­vealed the Galaxy S6 last March we were in awe. It was by far the best-look­ing Sam­sung Galaxy yet, swap­ping out the tacky dim­pled plas­tic for a Go­rilla Glass 4 back panel and metal frame. Fi­nally, the Galaxy S-se­ries had a pre­mium de­sign to match its pre­mium price.

Its mir­ror-shine fin­ish quickly gath­ered fin­ger­prints, but looked beau­ti­ful on the Sap­phire Black model – and re­pul­sive on the Blue Topaz ver­sion. Thank­fully, it seems Sam­sung has ditched its pen­dant for gar­ish colours, and in­stead of yucky blue, white, black or gold, with the S7 you now have a choice of just black or gold (though we can’t prom­ise more colours aren’t on their way).

The prob­lem with the metal-glass build was no longer could you ac­cess the bat­tery. You still can’t, but Sam­sung has bumped up its ca­pac­ity from 2550- to 3000mAh to ex­tend bat­tery life. And it’s made two more wel­come tweaks to the build, bring­ing back the IP68 wa­ter­proof­ing of the S5 (with­out the fid­dly port flaps), and adding a mi­croSD slot for ex­pand­able stor­age. You can dunk the S7 in up to 1.5m of wa­ter for up to half an hour and it’ll be just fine.

Sam­sung is al­ready be­ing crit­i­cised for not adding the lat­est tech­nolo­gies such as a rev­ersible USB-C port and Qual­comm Quick Charge 3.0 ul­tra-fast charg­ing to the Galaxy S7. It told An­droid Ad­vi­sor

at MWC 2016 that it thinks Quick Charge 2.0 is fast enough and, as is the case with USB-C, peo­ple don’t have the ac­ces­sories re­quired for th­ese brand-new tech­nolo­gies just yet.

One area it is keep­ing up with the times, though, is in its al­ways-on dis­play, also seen in the LG G5 that was an­nounced on the same day. While the screen it­self is the same 5.1in crys­tal-clear Quad-HD (2560x1440, 576ppi) Su­perAMOLED panel as seen in the Galaxy S6, only the S7 can show you no­ti­fi­ca­tions and the time and date on its en­ergy-ef­fi­cient, al­ways-on dis­play. This uses a prox­im­ity sen­sor to turn off at night or while in a pocket, but at other times the in­for­ma­tion you need is just a glance away.

The Galaxy S7 is a lit­tle thicker than the Galaxy S6, but we like the way this re­duces the cam­era bump on the rear, and the jump in ca­pac­ity it af­fords the bat­tery. Whereas the S6 mea­sures 143.4x70.5x6.8mm and weighs 138g, the Sam­sung Galaxy S7 is 142.4x69.6x7.9mm and 152g.


When Sam­sung up­dates its Galaxy S-se­ries the new smart­phones al­ways jump straight to the top of our per­for­mance bench­mark charts. We haven’t had long enough with the S7 to run our bench­marks just yet, but we know we’re in for some good news.

Not only has Sam­sung in­cluded the brand-new Qual­comm Snap­dragon 820 quad-core (2x 2.15GHz and 2x 1.6GHz) pro­ces­sor – or the octa-core Exynos 8890 de­pend­ing on your re­gion – but it has in­creased the LP-DDR4 RAM com­ple­ment from 3to 4GB. Graph­ics are now im­proved to the Adreno

530 GPU, too. We can’t wait to get it into our lab to see how it per­forms.

The Sam­sung Galaxy S6, mean­while, was orig­i­nally sup­posed to get the Qual­comm Snap­dragon 810 chip, but Sam­sung in­stead opted for its own octa-core Exynos 7420 pro­ces­sor. This is a 14nm, 64-bit chip built with two quad-core (1.5GHz Cor­tex-A53 and 2.1GHz Cor­tex A-57) sets. A Mali-T760 GPU is in­te­grated. In our bench­marks it per­formed fab­u­lously, with 4438 points in Geek­bench 3.0, and 30fps in GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex.

Stor­age-wise the stan­dard Galaxy S7 has 32GB of stor­age; the Galaxy S6 also comes in 64- and 128GB mod­els, but lacks the S7’s mi­croSD card slot.


Some­thing that may have slipped un­der the radar in all the hype sur­round­ing the Galaxy S7 is where, oh where, has the Galaxy S6’s IR blaster gone? Ad­mit­tedly, it’s not some­thing I tend to use on the S6, but I know of sev­eral peo­ple who will be dis­ap­pointed by its oust­ing.

Also miss­ing in ac­tion: USB-C. Make that Qual­comm Quick Charge 3.0-com­pat­i­ble USB-C. But I have to ad­mit I do sort of un­der­stand Sam­sung’s rea­son­ing be­hind it. Sure, Quick Charge 3.0 and rev­ersible USB-C are su­per­fast and con­ve­nient, and I’m a busy lady, but I tell you what’s not con­ve­nient: need­ing to charge your phone and some­one’s swiped

the only USB-C ca­ble in the house. Charg­ing shouldn’t be a ma­jor con­cern with the S7, of course. Like the S6 it sup­ports Qual­comm Quick Charge 2.0, and here the fast charg­ing is ex­tended to wire­less- as well as wired con­nec­tions. I can’t say I’ve ever found my­self wish­ing the Galaxy S6 would charge faster, but I do of­ten use a wire­less charger so this is a pleas­ing ad­di­tion.

The LTE net­work con­nec­tiv­ity is up from 300Mb/s Cat.6 to 450Mb/s Cat.9 in the Galaxy S7, and Blue­tooth is now at v4.2. Ev­ery­thing else is the same, so you’ll find NFC (Sam­sung Pay will be com­ing to the UK some­time in 2016), dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO, GPS and the usual ar­ray of sen­sors that in­cludes the Galaxy S6’s heart-rate sen­sor and fin­ger­print scan­ner.


As with pro­cess­ing per­for­mance, it’s im­pos­si­ble for us to judge cam­era per­for­mance with­out hav­ing spent more time with the new Sam­sung Galaxy S7.

On pa­per, it sounds as though the 12Mp, f/1.7 cam­era in the S7 is in­fe­rior to the 16Mp, f/1.9 cam­era in the S6 (which came joint-top in our phone cam­era com­par­i­son by the way). We’re told it’s not; we’re told its f/1.7 aper­ture and larger 1.4μm pix­els let in 95 per­cent more light for much im­proved low-light pho­tog­ra­phy. But we’re

just go­ing to have to wait and see. Both phones have 5Mp selfie cam­eras, the Galaxy S7 with a f/1.7 aper­ture and the Galaxy S6 f/1.9.


The Galaxy S6 ships with An­droid Lol­lipop, while the Galaxy S7 comes with An­droid Marsh­mal­low. How­ever, the S6 should re­ceive an up­date to Marsh­mal­low within the com­ing months. Both phones over­lay the TouchWiz UI, with sev­eral of Sam­sung’s own cus­tomi­sa­tions.


We re­ally don’t be­lieve the Sam­sung Galaxy S7 is the mi­nor up­date many are billing it as - Sam­sung has looked at the fea­tures real users want and need, and thus made a good thing a lot bet­ter. How­ever, if wa­ter­proof­ing, ex­pand­able stor­age and im­proved bat­tery life are not your pri­mary con­cerns, we’d ad­vise look­ing to the much cheaper Galaxy S6 over the Galaxy S7, or at least wait­ing a few months for its price to come down. If we are to be­lieve Sam­sung the S7 should be faster and with a bet­ter cam­era, but don’t for­get the S6 is also in­cred­i­bly fast and its cam­era is ex­cel­lent – and right now it’s a not in­signif­i­cant £200 cheaper. Marie Brewis


Sam­sung Galaxy S6 5.1in Quad HD IPS (1440x2560) An­droid 5.0.2 Lol­lipop Exynos 7420 Octa-core pro­ces­sor 3GB RAM 16GB stor­age

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