Samsung Galaxy S7 is/isn't great/awful (delete to taste)

Samsung Galaxy S7 embargoes are over; the review floodgates are open. Here's Richi’s regular review roundup...

Samsung Galaxy S7

The Samsung Galaxy S7 was always going to divide opinion. People who appreciated Samsung Electronics' old S6 will enjoy the new S7 duo; but those who are, let's say, wedded to the iPhone will take an instant dislike to the new Korean brace of flagship phones.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers separate fact from friction. Not to mention: DANGER high voltage

curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. [Developing story: Updated 6:20 pm and 10:18 pm PT with more comment]

Heee's Walt Mossberg. Shut up—Samsung’s new Galaxy S7 phones are beautiful:

I’ve been testing two new smartphones...that are pretty much gorgeous. ... You won’t go wrong buying them.

They are solid and refined. [The] larger Edge model is especially impressive. [The] curved edges seem to melt into the aluminum case.

Battery life on both phones was more than good enough. ... I hammered the standard S7 [yet] I got about 10.5 hours of battery life. [The] fast charger comes in the box restored a full charge in well under two hours.

Samsung’s best efforts at hardware are let down by software. ... Premium devices shouldn’t be vehicles for carrier come-ons. ... My iPhones running on Verizon have never had any of this carrier bloatware.

Sounds mostly positive. Calling them the "anti-iPhones," Lucas Matney verges on the drooling—the phones we’ve craved:

Their feature sets don’t necessarily speak to a grandiose vision. ... They don’t offer solutions to problems users [don't have]. They don’t shed grams and millimeters in exchange for compromised battery life.

Improved battery life. Waterproofing. Speedier fingerprint sensing. Expandable memory. [But] Samsung isn’t just playing the yes-man to its critics.

The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are both strong phones with limited shortcomings. ... Samsung’s virtual reality ecosystem continues to strengthen and...there’s potential for some truly magical the future.

Strong words. Cam Bunton unboxes his first impressions video:

[The] Samsung Galaxy S7 a great example of how to...make a phone with a big screen feel small. ... The black is black, and the chrome trim is dark and stealthy. I like that.

It doesn’t just have a droolworthy spec-sheet, it looks and feels incredible. [Plus] the added ‘wow’ factor offered by the curved secondary displays.

[It] is probably the best phone Sammy’s ever made. [But] mid-range devices are catching up [and] offer a similar experience [at] half the price.

Case closed? Rene Ritchie regards it—is Samsung's best good enough?:

The best Samsung phone ever. But it may not be good enough to take on iPhone 7.

I'm sure some people will call it the Galaxy S6s...because it really is a better Galaxy S6. But...iPhone 5s introduced Touch ID. iPhone 6s introduced 3D Touch. ... I don't think it even rises to the level of an Apple S-year update.

I did dislike the finish almost immediately. ... Making it look like polished metal when it feels like glassy plastic creates cognitive dissonance.

Some of the photos...looked worse to my eyes than the...iPhone 6s Plus camera. ... I still can't find out how fingerprint data is kept safe, absent a secure enclave. ... No spec in the world can fix software consistency or coherence. Or...carrier bloatware.

Samsung has certainly done enough to keep the Galaxy S7 as the most popular alternative [to] an iPhone. ... Wait for the iPhone 7...and decide which one best suits your needs.

Who will give us a pithy summary? Andrew Cunningham sits on it:

“Hardware fine, software sucks.” ... The essence of any Samsung phone review.

Update 1: What's it like on the inside? Evan Noronha, Sam Lionheart, Jeff Suovanen, Kelsea Weber, Ron Davis do this Samsung Galaxy S7 Teardown:

With no exterior screws to be found, there can only be one [thing] holding this Galaxy together. Yep...gooey black adhesive.

We'd rather see a user-replaceable battery...but these days we're not expecting much from Samsung. [But they] made up for it by including this 3000 mAh battery. [It] is well wedged and adhered in place. ... It wasn't intended to be repaired or replaced.

The legendary "liquid cooling" system in the S7 [is] a teeny heat pipe with less than half a gram of material. ... This may not be as revolutionary as Samsung describes it.

The display needs to be removed (and likely destroyed) replace the USB port. ... Replacing the glass without destroying the display is probably impossible.

Update 2: But victory to Samsung? Fellow countryman Ewan Spence gives it some schtick:

The Android-powered Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge handsets represent a significant moment [for] the South Korean company’s mobile division. ... There are issues around performance, and many of the changes are merely iterative, without any new vision.

Both handsets run the latest version of Android. [But] Samsung’s own user interface layer of TouchWiz has been the bane of many reviewers [and is] still a weak link in the S7.

The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are the handsets to beat for photography. ... With a 3000 mAh battery in the Galaxy S7 (and 3600mAh in the S7 Edge) [they] should keep you running through the day. ... The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge represent Samsung at the top of its smartphone game, but...there’s very little passion or flair on show.

And Finally…

Don't build this 12V DC to 120V AC inverter circuit.
[High voltage and the Internet do not mix]

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Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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