Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Samsung Galaxy S7 Fandango


Who is that handsome, little fat guy in the pod I see yourself asking.  Yes it is Marcus who spent over an hour at a local Samsung product exhibition jamboree which was focused on heavily promoting primarily the 

Samsung Galaxy S7 Smartphone

Note to Samsung:  Next time Sammy, Marcus and Agata would prefer an invite to a MWC Barcelona launch party, Oh, and a free phone, not that the shopping mall experience we are about to describe was far from shabby, in fact it was impressive and at times hilarious

Marcus and Agata Investigate
Dressed like students, smiling cheek to cheek, and with our youthful and innocent looks :-) it was an opportunity to check out the Samsung marketing machine.   Time for Marcus and Agata, 2 Engineering professionals with a lifetime of technical experience to find out what the spotty kids brigade really knew

Event Format
Samsung setup a massive display at a very large London shopping mall. On display are primarily the Samsung S7 smartphone family  (normal and edge) and the Gear S2 watch range.  Other Samsung items e.g. S6 smartphones were not present

Participants need to pickup a card with 8 squares on it that ideally are to be fully completed completed with stickers. Only after you have collected 3 or more stickers you can get a free coffee or entry to the VR demonstrations.

In order to collect stickers you need to listen to the presentations, for example on the Samsung S7 water resistance and interact and ask questions.

Each Samsung booth is staffed by a "technical specialist" which in reality is a non Samsung employee trained to talk about a particular S7/S2/VR/camera topic.  After you have interacted with them they will put a sticker on your card.

If you collect all 8 stickers  (I did ask why 8 and not 7 !!) then you can enter your card into the S7 prize giveaway.  No staff member knew how many S7's were being given away but there were at least 100 people visiting in the hour we spent at this show

The first three booths were demonstrations of the S7 phone, S2 watch range and S7 water resistance

Given that we had no time pressures that day we spent over 15 minutes exploring the features of the actual phones and watches.  Really great without a salesman breathing down your neck.

S2 demo was weak but well meaning.

An S7 demo in a watery sand environment.  Impressive, though we didn't ask him to try and use the headphone jack, which was presumably full of sand.

The VR headset was well designed but the resolution of the ski slope was pretty basic.  Well we had nothing to compare it to but real life and it was not so graphically realistic, though the VR experience i.e. 360 degree vision was.

We both tried a VR demo and again the resolution of the projection, well it was better than VGA but did not appear to me HD, not as I would see it on a monitor.

Product Experts  
We asked detailed questions and the Product Experts (aka the Kids) replied

Q: Is there a fingerprint scanner on the S7?
A: Yes,   Q: Where is it then.   A: No, actually there is not one

Q: Why did the S6 have a fingerprint scanner then?
A: You don't need one with the S7

Q: What happens if I do need a fingerprint scanner for security
A: There is an app for that

Q: Why is the camera of the S7 better given that it has less pixels than the S6?
A: The pixels are larger, a lot larger

Q: How big are the pixels then?
A: No idea sorry

Q: Is the camera of the S7 special
A: Yes it has Professional SLR camera pixels

Q: For the Gear 360 camera how big are the still pictures (that you told us were 30MP)
A: 0.3 MB   ( He was looking at  .MP4 video files, and we eventually found the still images which were obviously MB in size)

The Staff
We asked the kids about their schedule and happiness. They work 10 hours a day and upto 12 hours at the weekends. They needed to sign away their rights to a 48 hour working week. They were all professional enough to be enthusiastic and declare themselves delighted with this opportunity to demonstrate Samsung products.

What we thought


In nearly every area this Galaxy S7 phone excels way past what I need a Smartphone to do. The S7 is really a nice incremental spec improvement over the S6 and it adds back the SD card slot and water resistance.

 Some of the great design ins that we appreciate are: 
- Powerful 64bit CPU
- Large Battery Life
- Expandable SD card memory 
- Water resistance, even with headphone jack open

At home we are trying hard to move to USB 3.1 Type C devices in 2016.  It is admittedly very hard work.

From a phone perspective you want USB 3.1 Type C and not Micro USB as delivered to enable fast charging.  Oh and easily plugability with the reversible connector. So based on that requirement Samsung has over delivered on the charging aspect using micro USB.  Nevertheless it would have been superior to over deliver using USB Type C.  Boo to you, negative points.

In the UK and other domains there is an expensive always have the latest phone programme.

The Samsung Rear Camera technology seems mixed. Personally I would have liked to see more Mega Pixels and a larger sensor.   Real word reports say that some users of the S7 are not all receiving product with the Sony IMX260 sensor, instead the Samsung ISOCELL, though I'd like an official Samsung statement before I believe that claim.

The S7 but particularly the S7 edge is a delight to hold and feel and touch.  Marcus found the curves of the S7 edge rather alluring.

Tech Review

Tech Chap: S7 review

I've watched over 20 S7 reviews from Youtubers (!) but the one above, though 17 minutes long is recommended.

Marcus had  already read the specs and watched multiple official and fanboy Samsung S7 youtube videos ad nauseam.  But there is no doubt that playing with the actual devices in the flesh, without sales or time pressure was a great experience.

The kids giving the presentation made some mistakes but they are not technical experts, and they are working long hours and not directly for Samsung.  So they actually provided us with amusement, not disdain.

We were not [at all] convinced by the usefulness or quality of the VR or 360 camera technology for us, as non gamers maybe that is to be expected.

In summary the Samsung S7 is a truly deliciously physically Engineered product with top of the line specs including the important for us Water-resistant design.  I'd love to have the same opportunity to test this against an LG G5 so I can figure out which one to save up for.

Rethink what a phone can do
Verge: Samsung S7 design
Samgung Gear 360 camera
Samsung Gear S2