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Samsung Galaxy S7 vs S6: Should you upgrade?

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Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Samsung Galaxy S6: Should you be getting ready to upgrade?

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is without doubt the biggest smartphone launch of the year so far. LG might have something to say about that, but we're not expecting the G5 until April.

If you're already a proud owner of the Galaxy S6, should be getting your wallet out in anticipation of an upgrade?

Samsung arguably created its first truly beautiful, premium design phone last year, and it looks to have done the same with the follow up. But what's changed? That’s the question we're going to answer here.

Read also: iPhone 7: What you need to know

Watch our Samsung Galaxy S7 review video

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs S6: A similar design, but we're ok with that

After years of plastic, creaky and just rather ugly phones, the Galaxy S6 changed everything for Samsung. It was slick, metal and matched the iPhone for sheer high-end feel.

With the S6 being such a design departure for Samsung, it never looked like like the Korean company would be trying anything similar this time around. Apple keeps the same phone look for two years, so there's no reason why Samsung couldn’t do the same thing again.

On the surface, the Samsung Galaxy S7 looks almost identical to the S6 but there are a few key differences.

The SIM-tray too has repositioned to the top and the home button has ever so slightly been squared off.

Flip it over and there’s another big change, the camera hump no longer sticks out. It’s now flush with the glass, which is a godsend if you’re a fan of knocking out an email with your phone on the desk.

If we were being really critical, we would say that in a perfect world Samsung would have ditched the glass back for something less delicate. But that’s picking at straws, the S7 is a beautifully designed phone.

Samsung has also managed to reintroduce waterproofing to the series. The S7 can be submerged in 1m of water for 30 minutes, and there’s no pesky seals taking away from the slick design.

Related: S7 vs S7 Edge: Galaxy phone face-off

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Samsung Galaxy S7 vs S6: Samsung is going back to Qualcomm, but not in the UK

After relying on Qualcomm and its hugely popular Snapdragon range of processors for the previous iterations of the Galaxy series, Samsung switched things up last year ditching the overheating 810 chip and using its own house-built Exynos processors.

This turned out to be a great, and very smart, move. The Snapdragon 810 seemed to hinder competing phones like HTC's One M9, while the S6 soared through benchmarks and has performed admirably for us all year.

As most rumours suggested though, Samsung will be going back to Qualcomm for the S7, but not in the UK.

It'll use the Snapdragon 820 in America and the Exynos 8890 in other regions, but with a few modifications including the addition of a liquid cooling heat pipe. Samsung were a little cagey on exactly how this works, but it should essentially keep everything cool when you’re gaming.

The processor is paired with 4GB RAM, that's a 1GB increase upon last year and the same as both the Note 5 and S6 Edge.

There's a huge improvement in benchmarked performance and a small jump in day to day use. But, the S6 is still a fast phone so the upgrades here are probably worth the change alone.

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Samsung Galaxy S7 vs S6: The screens are pretty much the same

The Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge originally came in just one size, a 5.1-inch version. That was later joined by a larger Edge variant, the S6 Edge .

Samsung is sticking with the 5.1-inch quad-HD Super AMOLED display this time around, which is nothing to complain about.

The viewing angles are fantastic, colours bright without being oversaturated and it’s just a joy to look at. It’s easily one of the best smartphone screens around.

Related: iPhone 6S Plus vs S7 Edge

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One new feature to appear this year is an always-on screen, so you can whip the phone out of your pocket and scan the time and if you’ve got any notifications without turning the whole display on.

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs S6: Thankfully, there's a bigger battery

Last year’s Galaxy S6 was a great phone, but it was let down by poor battery life.

The non-removable 2,550 mAh battery was a big drop on the 2,800 mAh cell that sat inside the S5, and that was removable so you could always keep a spare around.

Thankfully this year will see a battery life boost. Samsung has upped the battery spec to 3,000 mAh, and it'll get you through the day.

Wireless charging is supported, and it’s slightly faster than before, and there’s adaptive fast charging too if you use the right cable and plug.

Related: iPhone 6S vs S7

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Samsung Galaxy S7 vs S6: A lot has changed in the camera department

The biggest news in the camera department is that it has actually seen a megapixel drop, going from 16MP in the S6 to 12MP. Now, don’t get angry just yet – this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Remember, the iPhone 6S – one of the best performing smartphone cameras around – also has a 12MP camera.

Samsung has completely rebuilt the sensor, making it much smaller yet without sacrificing any of the functionality. It says shots should be 95% brighter and the low-light autofocus has been dramatically improved. On the front there’s the same 5MP camera.

Just like we mentioned in the performance section, the Galaxy S7 doesn't make a huge improvement to the overall picture quality of the S6. Daylight pictures still look gorgeous, but low-light is better and auto-focus is much faster.

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs S6: Pricing is a little cheaper this time

Back when the Galaxy S6 launched, Samsung's newfound design chops came at a cost. Prices started from £599 for the entry-level 32GB model.

This time around, Samsung has shaved off £30. The one and only 32GB model of the Galaxy S7 costs £569.

Buy Now: Galaxy S7 at Amazon.com from $539

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It's still expensive, then, but at least it's not quite as bad as before. Of course, you can currently pick a 32GB Samsung Galaxy S6 up through Samsung's official website for £379, and it remains one of the best smartphones on the market. If you don't demand the very latest tech, it's a good buy.

Buy Now: Galaxy S6 at Amazon.com from $399

Best Deals for Samsung Galaxy S6

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Summary

It’s true, we’re mightily excited by the Samsung Galaxy S7. Even though it almost mimics an Apple ‘S’ release with minimal changes, there are enough new additions to make it a worthwhile update.

Adding back in the microSD slot is important, while making it waterproof is a nifty addition. Jacking up the size of the battery should also be key in making this an even better phone than the S6.

Then when you factor in the, hopefully, improved camera, speedier processor and cool always on display, you’ve got yourself a pretty impressive upgrade.

Thanks to Carphone Warehouse for loaning us a Galaxy S6 for use in this article

Calling It as It is

January 27, 2016, 10:17 pm

It all depends on the camera ... everything else is minor to me.
If the camera is significantly better, I will upgrade ... otherwise, I will not.

Khizar Ahmed

January 28, 2016, 12:35 am

s6 is best

iFrank

January 28, 2016, 3:42 am

"Going back to Qualcomm"
I could make no sense of this part, the following two paragraphs seem to contradict each other.
If Qualcomm is better, are you implying then that the 820 might be utilsed?

AHYL88

February 22, 2016, 2:31 am

The S7 is really what the S6 should've been.

xcel102

February 22, 2016, 6:55 am

Looking at the specs, S7 camera will be significantly better. I wished for MP drop, didn't expect it, and am so glad they did it. Going from 16MP to 12MP will boost low-light performance quite a bit. Plus file size will get smaller.

Dacha

February 29, 2016, 6:01 am

Wow, that is so deep, I just don't know how to handle

Dacha

February 29, 2016, 6:02 am

geee, maybe 8.1MP will give brighter at dark and smaller images, we'll see on S8

Danish

March 1, 2016, 3:32 pm

I want to Buy a phone now should I upgrade to S7 or stick to s6 as my preferred choice

Robert Spinello

March 4, 2016, 7:53 pm

I have the Samsung case...dropped the phone several times - no damage. There is not enough difference in the S7 from my S6. Ill wait a year for the S8. I don't go swimming with it and I keep it plugged in to my computer at work.

Robert Spinello

March 4, 2016, 7:59 pm

its better the the i phone 6

naikapakesekola

March 9, 2016, 5:25 am

It was not supposed to be deep in any way. It is a simple statement what are you on about.

wraggieone

March 12, 2016, 12:32 pm

Of course the s7 is better than the s6 in lots of ways but if you have a s6 you may have only had for six months or even less there is no need to feel like you need to upgrade. The s6 is a will remain to be a very fast competent and reliable smart phone throughout this year and into next. It was possibly the best of the best in 2015 which gives such an awesome devise a certain amount of extended longevity. Peace.x

Sterling Harris

March 17, 2016, 11:54 pm

I HAVE THE S6 AND FINALLY FIGURED OUT THAT I DO NOT NEED TO UPGRADE EVERY TIME BECAUSE WHAT PHONE COMPANIES DO IS KEEP CHARGING MORE FOR VERY SMALL DIFFERENCES ALSO KEEP YOU UNDER CONTRACT AND CHARGE ENORMOUS FEES FOR THE UPGRADE. SCREW THAT.

Sterling Harris

March 17, 2016, 11:54 pm

STICK WITH THE 6

rohan ninan

March 20, 2016, 11:18 am

you are a true scholar. You've realised phone companies charge money for a new device....

Vasboz

March 20, 2016, 7:00 pm

I have seen the S7 in the flesh both at a Vodafone store and a guy at work brought it in. The S7 camera actually is of questionable quality. I took two photo's, ensured lens was clean on both to a fixed subject, and the S7 time and time again came out blurry. Both are on auto mode, both should "just work"......

I'm sorry Samsung, but you've MISSED the mark.

I had a guy at work also do the same again'st a barcode on a drink bottle, and the S7 was grainy, uneven colour tone's and blurry (compared to the s6)

In the photo, the S6 is my work phone, the S7 is on the left, and I took this with my daily Oppo F1.

Both photo's are done by hand, as is realistically the norm in daily life... Not everyone carries around a tripod just to take the "perfect" shot, so I can't comment if the S7 gets better with a tripod.

Vasboz

March 20, 2016, 7:01 pm

How about you CHECK my post above... the S7 I'm sorry, this wasn't an EDGE but it's still an S7... I can officially say rigged. It has a crappy camera.... Can't seem to focus as well...

Vasboz

March 20, 2016, 7:02 pm

Have a look at my REAL LIFE comparison test.... the S6 trumps the S7 in picture quality in daylight. Sorry if all you do is take photo's in the dark.... but that's not indicative of everyday real use for 99% of people.

Vasboz

March 20, 2016, 7:03 pm

The camera is worse for now too. Probably needs some software fix? Not sure how their engineers let the S7 get out into the wild... seems a little rushed.

Vasboz

March 20, 2016, 7:05 pm

Not really, the Camera on the S7 is subpar compared to the S6. See my post above with pictures to show what I mean....

Vasboz

March 20, 2016, 7:13 pm

The S6 has a better camera, unless you're desperate and hellbent on waterproofing, and don't wish to donate to any charity to help homeless/poor, then yes go buy an S7 right away!

Vasboz

March 20, 2016, 7:13 pm

Hahaha...

Vasboz

March 20, 2016, 7:14 pm

Please refrain from using generalist statements, it's better than the iPhone 6 based on what? It's a very subjective comment to make, you could actually say "I prefer the S6 over the iPhone 6 and find it better" then you don't sound like a tool.

Vasboz

March 20, 2016, 7:15 pm

Have a look at my post above.... side by side comparison. The camera is actually WORSE from my experience. I'm all about the Camera on a smart phone as every smart phone can do everything else i.e. make calls, sms, facebook etc... but to me it's the camera that sets it apart.

In this regard, the S6 completely obliterates the S7.

Vasboz

March 20, 2016, 7:16 pm

Going down from 16mp to 12mp has also seemed to have the odd effect of ruining their image quality.

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