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    March 14, 2016

    Hands-on preview: Samsung Galaxy S7 & S7 Edge – the stars are shining bright

    samsung galaxy s7

    Straight from our time at #TheNextGalaxy launch in Johannesburg, we’re here with our early verdict on the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge!

    Two of the most monumental announcements from this year’s Mobile World Congress was the unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. Beyond another certain flagship announcement – the LG G5 – both devices have enjoyed a massive amount of hype before their official release.

    We were invited to the official South African launch of #TheNextGalaxy in Johannesburg, and we spent our time perusing the new connected product universe Samsung has built around its two newest Galaxy flagships.

    Read: Samsung Galaxy S7 shadowed by S7 Edge

    Up front, one could very easily dub the Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge as a very iterative improvement on the Galaxy S6 series. For a company which has over the years garnered some measure of flack for its Apple-mimicking tactics, this is the most iPhone-style update Samsung have yet made to their flagship devices.

    samsung galaxy s7

    Overall, the inspiration of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge remains, but this time around things are just that more lean. Whereas the S6 boasted a bold new design with premium finishes, the S7 takes that trajectory and not only makes it more sexy, but further, more comfortable.

    Where one able to divorce themselves from the Samsung logo right on the front panel, it’s difficult to imagine a time where Samsung made use of gaudy plastic; the S7’s design has been refined to the point where this feels natural, and no longer new; and just for clarity; that’s a good thing.

    samsung galaxy s7

    Both the edges of the S7 and S7 Edge are more rounded, while the device as a whole sits regally in the hand. The reduced camera element is also a boon; allowing either device to nearly sit flush with a surface.

    It’s rewarding to see Samsung take the S7 Edge to a larger form factor, which gives consumers a whole new reason to purchase the device rather than having to resort to the ridiculously named Galaxy S6 Edge + to eke out a few extra millimetres of screen. This time around, the Edge boasts a sizeable real-estate that, to me at least, is a better size and value proposition than what the iPhone 6s Plus is to the regular 6s.

    Internally, however, is where both devices shine. Touchwiz – although Samsung no longer truly refer to their Android skin as such – is no longer a behemoth, and for the first time on a Samsung flagship is low-profile as opposed to in-your-face. Bloatware apps remain, but under-the-hood improvements abound. This is a faster, more expansive Galaxy than we’ve ever seen before.

    samsung galaxy s7

    The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge bring the famed Galaxy S6’s camera skills to new heights, offering the same stunning quality I found during my Galaxy Note 5 review. While we’ve not yet had hands-on time with the LG G5, this could very well be the standard to beat in 2016. Low light performance is amazing, and levels of detail, and crisp colours is only complemented by an amazingly fast focus speed.

    Both phones bring new commitment to media, with Vulkan API technology on-board for faster, smoother gaming experiences, and the likes of Gear VR and Gear 360 positioning both flagships as the centre of a product universe.

    Read: South African Galaxy S7 pre-orders will get a free Gear VR headset

    One interesting downside of both devices is the ease of which both accumulate fingerprints; both devices put an episode of CSI: Miami to shame with ease. While this is nothing a quick buffer won’t fix, it’s an annoying hallmark for such a pleasing phone.

    samsung galaxy s7

    Overall, first impressions of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are extremely positive. Both devices improve on the formula and precedent set by their forebears, and gently takes the premier Galaxy lineup to a bold new frontier – it would seem the stars have never shone so brightly.

    Read: Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge pricing confirmed for South Africa

    Stay tuned for a full review within the coming weeks, and be sure to check out our MWC highlights podcast, where we discuss our initial thoughts on the Galaxy S7!

    Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA

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