Reviews poured in Tuesday for Samsung’s latest stab at the smartphone market — the Galaxy S7 and the S7 edge. If the consensus is anything to go by, they may just be the best smartphones yet from the South Korean manufacturer. That said, the applause doesn’t come without caveats.
Many reviewers praised the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge for their glass and aluminum design, low-light camera performance and expandable SD card slot. In several tests, some noted the camera focuses faster than Apple’s iPhone 6S. But if you read carefully through the reviews, some nitpicks emerged. Here are some of the biggest drawbacks to Samsung’s latest and greatest, according to the reviews:
Glass Finish Smudges Easily
One common compliment for the Galaxy S7 and the S7 edge is they’re both gorgeous smartphones to look at. But while the aluminum and glass design has attracted praise, it also has a tendency to attract fingerprint smudges, according to Time’s Lisa Eadicicco.
“Both S7 phones have a nicer, more elegant look than most Android devices I’ve used,” she wrote. “But they don’t stay in mint condition for long, as they’re definitely fingerprint magnets. After about a day’s worth of use, the front and back of my S7 were just as smudged as its screen.”
Beautiful Design Hampered by Software Bloat
Writing for the Verge, Walt Mossberg also approved of the Galaxy S7 and the S7 edge’s sleek case design. But looking beyond the case, his gripes primarily center around the Android software bogged down by wireless carrier bloatware.
“[T]here’s still too much duplicate software for my taste,” wrote Mossberg. “For instance, out of the box, there are still two email apps, two music services, two photo-viewing apps, two messaging apps, and, except on Verizon, two browsers and dueling wireless payment services. (Samsung says Verizon barred including Samsung’s browser and Samsung Pay out of the box.) And Verizon builds in a third messaging app.”
You’ll Probably Need the Expandable SD Card Slot
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 comes with 32GB of memory but much of that is ued up right out of the box. “Whether you want TouchWiz and pre-installed apps or not, they’re eating up storage space,” wrote Wired’s Tim Moynihan. “A fresh-out-of-the-box Galaxy S7 phone has more than 9GB of space clogged by the OS, TouchWiz, and apps.”
That leaves about 22.65GB of storage to work with. Despite the initial drawback, Samsung customers have the ability to add up to 200GB of additional storage, via the expandable SD card slot, unlike the iPhone 6S.
While the Galaxy S7 trumps the iPhone 6S in a number of tests, one area it still falls short on is battery life, as the Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey Fowler noted.
“In my lab stress test, which cycles through a series of websites at uniform screen brightness, the Galaxy S7 lasted over seven hours, about 40 minutes short of the iPhone 6S,” Fowler wrote. “At 8-and-a-half hours, the Galaxy S7 edge only slightly underperformed the iPhone 6S Plus.”
That’s despite a 75 percent larger battery than the iPhone 6S. The caveat there is the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge also run higher-resolution screens than Apple’s flagship smartphones. Like the Galaxy S6, the S7 and S7 edge don’t contain user-replaceable batteries.
Great Camera Sacrifices Color Accuracy
With the Galaxy S7, Samsung swapped out more megapixels for a camera that can focus faster and perform better in low-light conditions. They’re improvements that helped the Samsung smartphone beat out the iPhone 6S in a number of camera tests. But one area where it still falls short is color accuracy, as Mashable’s Raymond Wong pointed out.
“Pictures from the S7 edge look fantastic,” he wote. “They’re bright, vibrant and have great dynamic range. You can even get some very nice bokeh (the background blur) when taking close-up shots. But the iPhone 6S Plus’ cameras still beat the S7 edge’s when it comes to taking photos with accurate colors; the S7 edge’s photos have a warmer color temperature (yellower).”