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Samsung Galaxy S7 still the best?

I recently dropped my aging Samsung Galaxy S7, again. It fell about 1.5 meters and hit a stone surface causing serious damage to the front glass and cracks on the screen.

Considering that the battery was starting to show weaknesses, particularly when cold, and that the phone might start getting real defects, I decided it was time to get a new one.

After doing research on the latest and greatest Androids, I was surprised to conclude that I still wanted the exact same model of Samsung again! No other phone would tempt me more.

So I bought a new one exactly similar to the old one... It was a weird feeling to purchase exactly the same digital consumer product after two years, especially in the smartphone market which is supposed to develop and improve at a breakneck speed.

The old and new Samsung Galaxy S7:

Old new Samsung Galaxy S7

Close up of the worst damages:

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

The bevel around the camera got rather polished:

Samsung Galaxy S7

The Samsungs are exactly identical according to CPU-Z:

Samsung Galaxy S7 CPU-Z 1

Samsung Galaxy S7 CPU-Z 2

Samsung Galaxy S7 CPU-Z 3

Why I chose the Galaxy S7 again

The S8 or S9 should be better, no?

  • They are edge only! I don't like Samsung's edge gimmick. I want a display to be good at being a display, which includes being able to show a picture without distortions. The curved screen borders disturbs that for me, making it hard to grasp a picture and its composition in its entirety. Also, the edged screen is more prone to accidental touches and to damage. I don't want it.
  • Longer and weird aspect ratio. The S7 is already big enough. I don't want a phone rod.
  • Loosing the mechanical fingerprint start button. When the phone is standing in a cradle I like that the fingerprint sensor can be reached on the front to unlock. Also the double-press start button to open camera shortcut is a God-send.
  • I'm not ready to loose the dedicated navigation buttons

Whats the deal with the competition?

My requirements were quite modest I think, but it was a huge challenge to find anything even matching my minimum requirements, which are:

  • Medium size, MAX 70 mm wide, with an elegant design
  • High quality and high resolution display
  • Great camera performance, also in low light
  • Minimum 32 GB flash
  • Fast charging

Nice-to-have requirements:

  • Wireless charging
  • VR capability
  • Always on status display

I couldn't find anything living up to those requirements on the market! The typical problem was that the better phones were all too big for my liking.

Evaluation of the Galaxy S7 after two years of use

It basically solves the task of being a smartphone elegantly and efficiently.

Strengths:

  • Awesome camera
  • Awesome screen
  • Great reliability
  • Very usable speaker phone audio quality. I use it all the time.
  • Strong battery life. It typically lasted about 1 to 1.5 days for me. It's enough to often forget about charging and to not need charging every night.
  • Fast and snappy performance, even after two years of use without reformatting
  • Great design and form factor
  • Wireless charging

Weaknesses and defects:

  • At some point the phone to ear detection sensor stopped working, which is extremely annoying as it causes the ear to engage with the touch screen while talking. Then it started working again intermittently. Then it came back 100%.
  • I wouldn't mind if it was a little lighter and thinner
  • Could have used more than 32 GB storage
  • The camera tends to sharpen images a bit too much causing artifacts in some cases

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