The Samsung Galaxy S7 was released alongside with the Galaxy S7 Edge in February 2016 during the MWC 2016 event, and was the most successful phone of that year because of the unique features it offered. It compete fiercely against the HTC 10 and LG G5 in the same year, both of which were not as successful as it is in the years that followed. Fast forward, I bought this device (the S7 flat) three months ago at a dirt cheap price of US$100. This is my experience so far.
The first thing I noticed when I first held it in hand is how small it is. Compared to present smartphones, the Galaxy S7 will feel tiny in your hand, like David compared to Goliath. If you are coming from a 6.0-inch – 6.5-inch phone just like me, you will find the Galaxy S7 remarkably small. The 5.1-inch screen made it so compact as it cuddle fittingly in your palm. Mind you, its build is quite strong, thanks to its solid aluminium frame, and it is a beauty to behold when held in hand.
The glass front and back are attractive and they made it feel premium. I bought the Black color variant, which unfortunately immediately showed one of its cons – what a fingerprint magnet it is. If you like your phone to look clean and smudge-free always, then you will need to look elsewhere. The glass back used for the Galaxy S7 attract a lot of fingerprints and it easily get smudged. I have to keep wiping it every hour. I solve this by buying a clear case, which cost me about $1.50.
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Compared to today’s standard, the Galaxy S7 is still remarkable, although not quite much. But it have some nifty features that are hard to find these days; some of these are IP68 waterproof and dustproof, and wireless charging. While some people are quite satisfied with large screen smartphones, there are still some people out there that are looking for something small and that easily fit in hand and pocket. To them, the Galaxy S7 will be a good purchase. The curved edges made it easier to hold in hand and it can be operated with one hand (shows you how small of a smartphone it is).
The refurbished that I bought had already been updated to Android 8.0 Oreo; this saves me time, data, and money as it can be difficult to update most of these refurbished phones if they are not already updated (talking from experience). Samsung released two major updates for the Galaxy S7 after it was released, Android 7.0 Nougat in 2017 and Android 8.0 Oreo in 2018, and up to the first week of April 2020 the phone still receive monthly security updates. It is not far behind when it comes to monthly updates, even after four years of its release.
The fingerprint sensor is located on the front physical home button, a standard not used anymore. Today’s smartphones have the fingerprint sensor on the back or are directly integrated with the display. Samsung stopped using the home button starting from Galaxy S8, but the Galaxy S7 fingerprint sensor worked quite well. I set it up within few minutes under the phone settings (you can register up to five fingerprints). The only cons I noticed is that I cannot quickly unlock the phone using the fingerprint sensor. I’ll first need to press the home button to wake up the phone before I can swipe my finger to unlock.
It would have save much time as some other users complained if the fingerprint sensor works without waking up the phone. It doesn’t hampers things much, but it would have been great. I tested the camera and it takes stunning pictures. The camera performance is good – the f/1.7 aperture really works well in the dark. The Galaxy S7 12MP dual pixel autofocus camera is still a stunner when it comes to photography, it takes great pictures.
The sound is not great as it only have one bottom-firing speaker that is not loud at all, but I solved this by installing a dual-speaker mod on XDA. Oh! I rooted my Galaxy S7 a week after I purchased it, that’s why I was able to flash the mod. I write a tutorial on how you can root the Galaxy S7 on Android 8.0 Oreo, I suggest you read it. After I flash the mod, the output sound and loudness improved. What the mod does is to increase the volume and also enable the earpiece to work as speaker in addition to the bottom speaker.
The QHD AMOLED screen looks vivid and the colours produce are vibrant. Image look crystal clear, I have no complaint whatsoever. Samsung even provides an option where you can adjust the display resolution; you can set it to HD (720p), Full HD (1080p), or QHD (1440p) depending on your preference. I set it to Full HD to save some battery. The Galaxy S7 comes with a notification light that proves useful as it notify you by blinking different colors when you have new messages or missed calls. It blinks “Blue” when you receive a new message and “Green” when you have a missed call.
Samsung does not provide any option to configure the notification light but I used an app called Light Manager to change the lighting to my liking. Two microphones are located at the top and bottom, both of which have good reception. At the back beside the camera is an heart rate sensor, this works with Samsung Health for monitoring heart rate, stress level, and SpO2. It took some time before I got the Samsung Health to work on my Galaxy S7 after I rooted it. I followed this procedure to get it solved, if you are in the same shoe I suggest you take a look at the page.
Finally, the most crucial part is the battery. To be honest, the 3000mAh battery equipped with the Galaxy S7 does not last that well, but its fast charging (15W) feature really helped. The phone is still a good champ, and at a bargain price of $100 I have nothing much to complain about.