This is a short review after paid about 600 € for a black Samsung S7 (not the Edge one), and having used it for just a few days. This is a short list of comparisons with my Google Nexus 5, which I’ve been very happy with since I bought it about 18 months ago.
- Battery - not much of an upgrade, seems the upgrade in hardware (display and CPU etc) eats up the extra 400 mAh of extra battery so that the end result is about the same: there’s a small risk I will have to charge it wil
- Speaker - seem to be able to boost a louder sound, but quality is in no way better than that of the Nexus 5, rather poorer. (My previous HTC One M8, with stereo speakers was excellent in this regards, both for calls and music & video.)
- Screen - yeah, it looks great, cleary an upgrade f
- Buttons - volume and power buttons are a bit bigger here, stand out further from the case and I can’t say whether that’s something I like or not. It just is.
I locked myself out from my phone. After a day or two, I decided to play with the fingerprint reader (which by the way seems to require using the Samsung keyboard, can’t use fingerprint reader with Google’s Android stock keyboard) and after having read my print 15 times or so also asked me for a complimentory PIN code. It didn’t warn me that if I forgot this PIN, I couldn’t change any of the settings later on. I thought my fingerprint would be enough - there was NO OTHER INDICATION - but after some time, I had to use the PIN to log in (“please wait 30 minutes to try again” - GAAAH!) and eventually locked my self out of my own phone.
I’m not activating that bug again, not because it’s broken (except for the instructions), but simply becuase I got so mad at having to factory reset the phone and start this process of getting a to a useable state all over again!
A bit harsh perhaps, but this seriously makes me consider going for a Nexus 5X and mod a Qi-charging unit into to, and throwing this S7 out the window - MULTIPLE TIMES PER DAY!
- The notifications from the calendar have been redesigned, so when you get an alarm/notification of an event in your calendar - there’s no way to see what time it is NOW, which means you (I) don’t know how soon I have to leave or stop whatever I’m doing at the moment. This is FUBAR level kind of UX screw-up. I really hate it. Everytime I get this (and I get a couple each day), I have no idea whether to Snooze it, or simply swipe it away.
- Where has the “Don’t disturb” feature gone? I used it everytime I went into a meeting, which helped me be nice and “present” in the now. I don’t know what Samsung has done to remove this excellent feature.
- Home Button - this sucks. It’s a separate hardware button which you have to mechanically click in order to get to the home screen. I use this many many times a day, and this bothers me every time I use it. The Back and Overview buttons are simple touch buttons which is just like any of the on-screen buttons. Why the Home button is a mechanical off-by-one, doesn’t-follow-the-same-basic-UX-feel was made this way, puzzles me. (Actually, I guess it’s because they wanted to mimic the iPhone’s combined fingerprint reader and home button, but I really think this sucks. Most Android phones have put their fingerprint reader on the back, which works just fine IMHO.)
- All the sucky software. It’s not that much. The launcher has a few glitches, but I like the fact that you can change size of the grid (I use 5x5 rows x cols now). I’ve been able to get originals back:
- Calendar (but not the notification/alarm view, as noted above)
- Can’t replace the contacts UI, and I miss the Favorites which holds the 10-15 people I really communicate with (outside Slack) on a weekly basis
- The curved screen - I accidentally press a button, at least once a day.
- The default “Gallery” option seems to be fixed to Samsung’s apps. I’ve installed Google’s Photo app, but when selecting a photo from another application - such as when you want to select a desktop background from a photo you’ve snapped - instead of getting all your history from Google, you’re (I’m) stuck with what’s made available in Samsungs replacement (which is not the same, but worse from primarily a UI perspective, but also content it seems)
- The screen is nicer to look at
- It’s faster, not much, but some
- Always On Display - is actually useful. I find myself discovering that all I wanted was to know what time it is, and the phone can tell me without having to power it all up/on
Just About The Same
- Build quality - the S7 is heavier, glassier, metally-framed. I like it, it’s different, but can’t say that it’s better. I think the Nexus 5 was a delight to use.
- Qi-charging just works - this is great and works fast. While at my keyboard (at work), I put my phone to rest on a charger (and the Always On Display is thus great)
Replace Samsung’s preinstalled alternative …
- Google’s Keyboard (install Swedish, English and Spanish keyboards)
- The Android theme - replaced with “Android N” from the Samsung Theme Store (require you to register an account, grrr)
- Briefing (shows news and other stuff I have no interest in)
Drop Down Top Menu …
- the Samsung take on this, uses more screen real estate than it brings value for sure, but it can be made pretty small so it’s acceptable.
Things I’ve Tried
- Replace launcher - only difference is where the icon for “all apps” is located, it’s fixed to bottom right on Touch Wiz, and bottom center with Google Now