It's been two months since the Samsung Galaxy S7’s release, so naturally I’ve decided to give my first impressions on arguably the most popular device of 2016 after it’s almost completely irrelevant. Just kidding. Sort of.
(For context, that's a Pokemon named Slowpoke.) The nice thing about first impressions and reviews is that it's always different for everybody, so as long as the device is being stocked on shelves, you're probably safe. With that being said, let’s get to the good stuff.
I received my S7 a week ago, but I've only been using it for about half a week. I felt like a dingus when I got the phone because I forgot to get a case for it. I wish I didn't need a case, because the phone actually looks very nice on its own. Unfortunately, it also feels like it was designed to be broken, as the whole “glass on both sides of the phone” makes it both slippery and fragile. I opted to just wait for a case before messing with it too much.
Once I got a case and a screen protector it was time to really get down to business.
The first time I powered the phone on I ended up squinting because it was so bright. Granted it was night time, but seriously, this screen is ridiculously bright and crisp. The brights are bright and vibrant, and the black is very black, all thanks to its Super AMOLED display.
I decided to go ahead and update everything first, which ran the phone very warm. I immediately had a flashback of 2013 when my Galaxy S4 ran so hot I would have to set it down, which is ultimately what caused me to exchange it for the HTC One M7. Fortunately, as time passed it was clear that “warm” was as bad as the S7 would get. I took a chill pill and decided not to judge my experience of the S7 based on a model that was 3 years old.
After all updates had gone through, it was time to deal with the bloatware. I knew there would be bloatware from Samsung, and even more from AT&T. While you can't uninstall the bloatware, you can “turn it off”, which disables the app and also hides the icons. It's basically uninstalling it… except not. If you ever decide you want it back you can go into your app settings and retrieve it. I still wish you could just uninstall it, and it’s disappointing that you still can't.
I went through and turned off a lot of features that I knew I personally wasn't going to use. Easy Mute, Smart Alert, and Palm Swipe to Capture were all things I knew I wouldn't use. Pop-up View Gesture and Quick Launch Camera, on the other hand, have both proven to be useful already.
Next I went through and downloaded some key apps I use every day, and subsequently was faced with the dilemma of having an ugly, disorganized home screen. Something I liked about iOS was that there was hardly anything to set up, but Android requires a bit more work. I initially didn’t do much aside from placing my favorite apps on the home screen. I decided to take this opportunity to dabble in the Samsung Theme store. I found some that were okay, but I wasn't really impressed. I opted to download Nova Launcher instead for deeper customization, but it’s still a work in progress.
The next step was to test the camera. Both cameras are nice, but I'm particularly happy with the rear-facing camera. Auto mode is good as is, but I've also been testing out Pro mode to see what I can create with it. I do like that Samsung’s camera app is nearly all-inclusive. I haven't had the urge to download any additional photo editing software yet.
The front-facing camera is a noticeable upgrade from my iPhone 6, but every time I took a photo it looked like I was wearing a pound of make-up. Turns out there was a pre-set skin tone setting that I needed to turn off. Now things are all good.
Haven't done much in the way of audio, but from what I can tell from watching a couple of shows on Netflix it's not very clear or loud. Apparently this is largely due to the device’s water resistance, so at least there’s a reason.
I do like the Always On Display. It's a feature that I've previously enjoyed from my Nokia Lumia 928 and my 1st gen Moto X. It's nice being able to know what you've missed or simply just checking the time and/or date at a glance. I haven't looked into its customization much yet, but I'll get around to it sooner or later.
The last thing I really looked into was the messaging app. I will say that I do miss the iPhone’s ability to get things right with messages. Samsung’s stock messaging app is… not my cup of tea. I didn't like the way it looked, so I set out for an alternative. I ended up downloading Textra, and so far I am really enjoying it (plus it's free!).
Not only was it an adjustment going from iPhone to Android with the 5X, but it feels like an extra adjustment from stock Android to an Android made by Samsung. There are a ton of new features to explore. It's definitely going to take some getting used to, so I can't say whether it's totally awesome or totally not. Overall, my first impressions are that it is not as bad as I thought it was going to be. In fact, it's even a little fun. I have been feeling better about the purchase as I get settled into using the phone.
Readers, what are your thoughts on the Galaxy S7? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!