Samsung Galaxy S7 Review: Still The Best Android Phone of 2016

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Lucille Barrett
Lucille Barrett
Future teen idol. Hardcore tv lover. Social media guru. Zombie aficionado. Travel scholar. Biker, shiba-inu lover, audiophile, Mad Men fan and proud pixelpusher. Working at the junction of minimalism and elegance to answer design problems with honest solutions. I'm fueled by craft beer, hip-hop and tortilla chips.

Go back a couple of years, and Samsung was THE dominant force in the Android market. While on the whole, the company hasn’t exactly been in trouble since then (sales of its flagship and non-flagship devices in total have been more than adequate to keep it in a market-leading position), interest in its flagship phones did indeed take a downward turn since 2013. In short, Samsung couldn’t catch a break when it came to its lead models; the Galaxy S5 crashed and burned in terms of user uptake and sales, as well as being panned critically.

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The Galaxy S6 series was much better received by reviewers, but for whatever reason (perhaps just lingering hesitation), the Galaxy S6 also didn’t shift in anywhere near the numbers Samsung had expected. However, looking at the bigger picture, that 2014-2015 period was not a particularly good one for smartphone innovation generally; flagships across the board were pretty dull, really, and market saturation seems to have peaked. It took until 2016 for things to kick back into high gear, and Samsung’s Galaxy S7 series really did signal the start of that as the first new model out the gate in February.

Following earlier estimates from both industry analysts and Samsung itself for its Q2 2016 performance, the firm has now revealed actual sales, revenue, and profit figures in its latest earnings report. Previously analyst has estimated $6.8bn operating profit for the quarter. In comparison, Samsung itself predicted near $7bn ($6.94bn to be precise), but trumping both bets, Samsung’s actual figure came in at $7.2bn; a year-on-year increase of $1.1bn up from the same period in 2015.

The quarter’s total revenue was $45.3bn up from earlier estimates of $43.2bn, a year-on-year growth of $2.1bn. Earlier estimates also pegged Samsung’s mobile division as accounting for around 49% of total profit at around $3.5bn of the earlier $6.94bn predictions; according to the official figures now released, Samsung mobile actually generated an operating profit of $3.84bn, an increase of $382 million on the same period last year and, again, it’s believed the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 EDGE are largely responsible.

Off the back of the Galaxy S7, Samsung doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. According to the rumor mill, the firm has plans for at least five, possibly as many as six flagships in 2017; there’s said to be a new Galaxy S8 with a 4K (UHD) display designed for VR applications and a dual-sensor camera, as well as a Galaxy S8 EDGE, a Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy Note 8 EDGE, and the first fully flexible and foldable OLED smartphone with the Galaxy X, aka Project Valley. We have since heard of a second folding OLED Galaxy handset, too; allegedly, between the Galaxy X and this other model, one will feature a 5in a display that can be unfolded into an 8in tablet, while the other will have a standard display size that can be folded in half to make the phone more compact – much like old clamshell flip phones, but with a touch display that folds down its middle. According to reports, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 EDGE will come to MWC 2017 in February/March once again, but we may also see something to do with the Galaxy X/Project Valley folding OLED phones in the same time-frame, even if not a full launch.

What’s also interesting is that 2017 is shaping up to be THE year of OLED displays. As well as Samsung’s own efforts with flexible OLED, the firm is reported to be investing $6.8 billion into its production facilities to up output by as much as 50%, up from its current 300 million OLED units per year to at least 500 million.

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