When Samsung ditched water-resistance and a microSD slot for last year’s Galaxy S6 models, the phones lost important advantages the older S5 phones had enjoyed. Those weren't the only problems the Galaxy S6 models encountered: Our testers found that battery life wasn’t as good as it had been on the previous models. Camera performance was just Good.
Those shortcomings cost the Galaxies points in our Ratings, even though the new phones boasted sleek glass-and-aluminum cases and added convenient wireless and quick-charging options.
But that's all in the past.
The new Galaxy S7 and S7 edge bring back water-resistance and expandable memory. They earn Excellent battery life scores, and turn in top-notch performance in other areas. These new models aren't just Samsung’s best smartphones, but, perhaps, the best smartphones. And they now sit atop our Ratings.
Here are the details.
The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge's main camera is terrific, despite downsizing in resolution from the S6's 15.9 megapixels to 12.2. It produced Excellent image quality and Very Good 1080p video quality—among the best we've tested in a smartphone. The still images are ultra-sharp, and the camera did very well in low light.
The camera's optical image stabilizer works well, a real plus in low-light conditions. And the phone can record in Ultra HD (4K)—you'll really appreciate the clarity if you're watching your videos on a 4K TV. Those high-quality images and videos are big files, all the more reason to appreciate the Galaxy S7's microSD slot, which can support large memory cards.
Drowning is not much of a risk with these phones. Our tests confirmed that the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge can handle immersion for up to 30 minutes in 5 feet of water. They can laugh in the face of sinks, toilets, and scarily deep puddles. And, amazingly, this water-resistance is achieved without physical covers for the USB port.
Finally, you’re less likely to drop the phones anyway because the sleek-looking glass-and-aluminum cases have smoother, rounder edges than their predecessor, providing a more secure feel in your hand.
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