With part one of our Galaxy S7 review, it was clear that the Galaxy S7 was at least a mild improvement to the Galaxy S6 in some ways, but there were still many areas to investigate. At the time, we were in the middle of transitioning to our new 2016 benchmark suite, which meant that it was necessary to re-test the Galaxy S7.

Our 2016 benchmark suite attempts to really push our testing in general to a new level of depth and more importantly, more focused on the overall user experience. When reflecting upon the value of AnandTech from a testing perspective, it’s clear to me that while part of our value is running benchmarks across a wide range of phones, another part of our value is being able to run tests that others wouldn’t be able to run at all.

With our new test suite for 2016, our extended suite of benchmarks attempts to focus on the latter to go deeper in reviews in a meaningful way. I definitely enjoy examining architectural details through microbenchmarks, but for general reviews our standard test workflow needed to be focused on user experience in a deeper way. With this in mind, we can get into the data that we were missing with part 1 of the review. Of course, if you haven’t read part 1 of the Galaxy S7 review, I highly recommend reading it first just to get a better introduction into the basics of the Galaxy S7.

Battery Life

Of course, now that we have our full suite of benchmarks we can start to look over in detail how devices perform. While we’ve gone over some of the results before it’s probably fair to say that our discussion of battery life on the Galaxy S7 was woefully incomplete with part 1 of the review. It’s also worth noting that internally we were still working on our 2016 web browsing test at the time so it wasn’t necessarily complete and sufficiently consistent and accurate. In the time since, we’ve been able to get all of the bugs ironed out and get a test that provides useful data that our previous tests didn’t.

As battery life is a critical part of our testing, it’s important for us to get this right, and in order to get useful relative comparisons we have to make sure that every device is tested in the same manner to avoid bias in one way or another. In order to achieve this, all devices have all possible background services disabled, as well as sync and automatic app updates. In order to try and make an even comparison we also set the display to 200 nits brightness on a 100% average picture level display, also known as a blank white screen. However, one area that we aren’t necessarily able to control for 100% of the time is ambient temperature, device orientation, or material contact. While tests that don’t reach TDP limits won’t see any effects, TDP-limited tests will see a delta here, but it’s hard to estimate just how much of an impact exists here.

Web Browsing Battery Life 2016 (WiFi)

With this baseline in mind we can move on to the actual results. As seen in the chart above for WiFi web browsing on our new test it’s worth mentioning that the data here has changed as changes to the test have affected results, generally bringing battery life down or keeping it around the same. The Galaxy S7 does fairly respectably here, although the Snapdragon 820 version is definitely showing either architectural or implementation inefficiency here when compared to the Exynos 8890. A delta of about 10% means that the Exynos 8890 GS7 uses about 1.38W average here while the Snapdragon 820 GS7 uses about 1.51W in this test assuming that the battery capacity is nominal. If you subtract out an estimated display power the delta that can be attributed to non-display factors is something like 30% here. Interestingly, the HTC 10 is mildly more efficient here with its higher density LCD, with the AMOLED display consuming something like 10% more power despite the presence of dark-themed webpages to try and bring some balance here. The Galaxy S7 edge is pretty much the top here, but achieves its battery life through sheer battery size rather than efficiency.

Web Browsing Battery Life 2016 (LTE)

Moving on to LTE we can really start to see the battery life advantage that the Snapdragon 820 brings. It turns out that as a communications company, Qualcomm is good at making radios. One of the most obvious ways that this shows is in power, as the Snapdragon 820 basically has the same battery life whether you’re on LTE or WiFi, which isn’t necessarily the case with other devices. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to test the Galaxy S7 with Exynos 8890 in comparable conditions for LTE so we can’t really see how power of the S820 modem compares with the Exynos’ Shannon modem, but we continue to see that the Galaxy S7 S820 is a bit behind the HTC 10 in battery life due to the use of an AMOLED display in high-APL workloads. However, the difference is nowhere near what it was in the past, and is close enough to not really make a huge difference. The Galaxy S7 edge performs well here, but on the basis of its battery size rather than efficiency.

PCMark - Work Battery Life

In the interest of not just relying on our own web browsing tests to try and get a handle for what battery life is like in general purpose compute situations, we continue to use PCMark’s battery life test to see how performance is in a benchmark that doesn’t attempt to equalize the amount of work done per unit time. Here the Galaxy S7 actually seems to be a fair bit better than the HTC 10, but this is likely due to the previously mentioned binning differences and some differences in governor as the delta in power and performance isn’t really all that much. The Galaxy S7 edge extends the lead here, again mostly due to the larger battery as the two devices are generally quite similar to each other.

Moving on to throttling performance we’ve transitioned to GFXBench’s Manhattan test on infinite rundown instead of T-Rex for this year as some devices from certain vendors have a tendency of reaching vsync on T-Rex which meant that it was difficult to see just how much throttling occurred over the duration of the test. After some testing it’s evident that for the most part throttling behavior is not necessarily changed by Manhattan either, so there’s not much need to retain T-Rex for high-TDP tests. Basemark OS II’s battery life testing is also rather questionable at this point, so we will no longer be reporting these scores as the methodology isn’t up to par with our expectations for 2016 and beyond.

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 / Metal Battery Life

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 / Metal Final Frame Rate

In the case of Manhattan, we continue to see some of the sinusoidal behavior seen in T-Rex throttling as it seems that Samsung’s throttling algorithms tend towards a more underdamped behavior than critically damped like HTC’s. However, for whatever reason it looks like the Galaxy S7 edge ends up with similar oscillating throttling behavior. Interestingly enough, even though the Galaxy S7 spends more time at higher performance states than the HTC 10, it manages to last longer, which is likely due to the lower APL of this content in conjunction with forced power save modes, and higher sustainable skin temperatures due to the glass back with heatpipe cooling to help distribute heat. Of course, the Galaxy S7 edge manages to last longer than either due to its larger size and battery.

Overall, the Galaxy S7 has decent battery life, while the S7 edge has great battery life due to its relatively large battery compared to its display size. The improvements here aren’t necessarily going to blow you away unless you get the Exynos 8890 variant, but it’s good to see that we’re finally back to improving on battery life with the launch of the Snapdragon 820 compared to the Snapdragon 810 and 808’s rather disappointing power efficiency due to the use of a high-power implementation and process node. I’m not sure the Snapdragon 820 is really the best design we’ve seen on 14LPP when it's more on par with 14LPE SoCs for efficiency, but it’s good enough that it doesn’t fundamentally compromise a device.

System Performance Revisited
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  • invinciblegod - Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - link

    Apparently by your metric nothing can ever be compared to an iphone. "You can't compare a Lexus to a Mercedes, that will be BIAS!!!" The only thing annoying about this site is the complainers who have no valid arguments screaming BIAS.
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - link

    How about when the iPhone 5s came out. Any other flagship gets 1, maybe 2 article. That day the iPhone 5s had 14 articles on it... 14 articles. That in itself shows the bias and that continues to this day, even after Anand left to go work at Apple. Reading the article above I see it clearly. Reading their iPhone reviews I see it clearly. There is an obvious reluctance to say anything negative about Apple and an obvious reluctance to say anything glowing about a product that competes with Apple. If you dont see that at Anandtech you simply arent paying attention.
  • michael2k - Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - link

    15? I can only find 9 articles for the 5S spread across 5 days, and one appears a month later.

    They had a hands on, and a video of the hands on, rather than combining the two. They had their announcement article as well as an availability article; they could have combined those as well. They also had separate articles on camera, battery, and CPU that could have been combined with the review.

    That said, that isn't a sign of bias, that's a sign that Apple articles pay the bills. People read them and generate the prerequisite clicks necessary to get page impressions.
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - link

    It is possible it was hte iPhone5 release date... But it was 14. I recall it, because I commented after 11 that they had 11 bloody articles already and then 3 more came afterward, all that same day. That includes the main articles and the pipeline articles. Not sure how they archive them and that isnt the point. The point is the site is clearly biased. I remember you as well m2k, you are an old timer at this site as well and a well known apple defender. You are the target market and you are right , that is where their money lies. The only thing you are not right on is the bias it shows. When the site is reluctant to say anything too heavily negative about Apple and too positive on competing products, its a bias and this site has it, and has had it for many years now even years before Anand wen to work for Apple (if that isnt a clue already). If you dont see it, you simply aren't looking.
  • michael2k - Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - link

    There is something wrong with you if you think of people as with you and against you (Apple defender, Apple biased, etc). Yes, this site does favor Apple, they get a lot of coverage.

    You think it is wrong, yet the article lays out some of the reasons why they get so much coverage. Look at the CPU performance and you see that the 820 and Exynos both struggle to hit the top of the charts. Anandtech has performed multiple reviews over multiple iPhone releases to explain why that is the case; it isn't bias, it really is that Apple made a remarkable series of CPU designs.

    We also see the same thing doesn't occur in the GPU, but we did have multiple articles talk about the PowerVR because sometimes Apple did have a range topping SoC. As previously discussed, the user base reads these CPU and GPU articles.

    You can look at sales figures to see why Apple gets more attention than Samsung. In three days the iPhone 6S sold 13m units. In three months after the launch of the Galaxy S7 sold 25m units. There are really many more people reading the iPhone articles; that is the bias of the world, not the site, you're working against.
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - link

    " if you think of people as with you and against you" Where did I say anything like that? I am simply pointing out a bias - not about taking sides. Like I said, if you are looking for unbiased reviews, Anandtech is no longer the site to check on. If you already like Apple and aren't looking to change, and you want in depth articles on Apple products, its a great site. If you want somewhat less than complete articles on say, Samsung products 4 months after launch, it's a good site too. Get the point? You and I are both pointing out that the site has become Apple-centric. You just like it because you are an Apple fan - not that there is anything wrong with that. ;) I do not like it becasue I am a fan of tech in general, so the site I "grew up on" has sold out to clickbait. Anandtech from 1997- (maybe) 2012 wasnt like that. It used to be about the tech. Now it's about the clicks and catering to one particular companies products. If you dont see that, then you are the new target audience and are happy with it. No worries dood.
  • fanofanand - Wednesday, July 6, 2016 - link

    The bias is obvious. Josh spent several months with an iPad Pro before he could give it his review, I am not aware of him spending that kind of time with any other devices being tested. I think the Apple fans are dwindling in number, maybe people are figuring out that electronics aren't their friend, nor are the corporations that make them. I can't recall seeing anything negative said about any Apple product reviewed here since......ever. There's your bias, the implication that any product from a particular corporation is flawless. Retro I have read your comments for years and have always been entertained. Seems you don't post as often anymore :(
  • retrospooty - Wednesday, July 6, 2016 - link

    Thanks... Yeah, I dont post too often because I dont come here too often anymore due to the issue being discussed. It's just not about the tech anymore its about the clicks and the money.
  • akdj - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    You guys are hilarious.
    The extent that this crew has gone to improve the objective testing and measurements, the two part, in depth and all encompassing review of the s7/s7 (both variants; SD/Exynos) and the well written and 'time spent' using the devices put a WHOLE helluva lot more 'meat' in to the review & their conclusions.
    As an ambidextrous user of both Android and iOS, I usually skip gens of Android and trade out annually for the latest iPhone. I still have my Xoom and the first iPad. The Nexus 7 & iPad 2 as well as a Note 4 and S6 Edge, I have the 6s+ as well and I enjoy all of them as smartphones. That said, and as an owner since day one ... I have too come to the same conclusions year in and out. iOS especially when you figure in its ecosystem of apps/& cross platform development so you're able to also enjoy the experience on your tablet ...an area Android STILL hasn't figured out compared with the iPad & Surface ...as well as Apple's understanding of SoCs and performance characteristics, updates, post purchase support and resale values ...you're truly insane (doing/buying the same thing while expecting different results) with your declarations of bias and conclusions about other sites that rushed their review out four days after it dropped. Insane!
    The review clearly and objectively presents a whole lot of inarguable data and 'author time' spent with the piece they're reviewing.
    If you go back and read Apple reviews, any of them, you'll find areas of the review favoring Android implementation or design. From the display and cameras to the 'off the shelf' SoCs everyone with exception of Samsung is using to power their devices.
    Apple simply knows WTF they're doing and speaking from experience now nearing a decade using both - iOS and their dual/tri-core silicon designs, speedy memory(storage) and phenomenal memory management to keep battery longevity up as well as camera tech and understanding the whole 'package' - radios, security, durability, support and the largest library of software in history because developer monies ....how do you convince yourself the same bullshit year in and year out? Is that TechCrunch/Giz or CNet "review", in your opinion and published just hours or a couple days after release and minus the measurements and time spent somehow more 'valid' in your opinion? I honestly can't believe how the ignorance and blatant disregard for these amazing reviews you can read for free and than hide behind your goofy screen name and keyboard to bash the author who's soooo much more intelligent and knowledgeable than you, ALL of you will EVER be when it comes down to reality and mobile development

    It also seems the masses agree. Apple sold 1/2 as many 6s & + models in 72 hours as Sammy did in three months, and it was the biggest 'down quarter' Apple's had since the iPhone dropped. Same thing on the tablet front. I also own each iPad including the two sides of Pros. Anand's reviews on both are incredibly spot on.

    *I own and operate a business and have been waiting for the day iPad would replace the laptop or AIOs we use in the field. They are always connected, durable, reliable, and maintain incredible stamina when 'live'. I'm not blowing smoke as I have been extensively testing them and Air2 was the one ....even if a bit small. The 12.9" iPad Pro/256 is the best piece of gear I've ever purchased and at 1/2 the price of a MacBook Pro or Surface Pro - I'm saving money and don't have pre-event concerns about wifi access.

    My take as an S6 Edge owner and reading the two reviews of the S7, I'm happy to skip that gen of Android. While I'll still purchase a Note 6/7 or S8 - it's not for pleasure but support and knowledge ...as iOS clearly and not subtly blows Android out of the water with the perfect phone -tab/lap or desktop integration and aggregation using Handoff ....there's a continuity that exists both vertically and horizontally that can't be matched. Period.

    To argue and piss and moan about free and well written journalism is fruitless. Just. Go. Away. I can't understand why you would still be here, with the "Apple Bias" so prevalent. Like last year and the year before that, and the year....

    Serious, those of you that still enjoy Android, this is a great phone. Just maybe not as great as Gizmodo or TchCrnch reported the day after it was released ;) --- and may NOT be the best Android choice for others.
  • Savanah - Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - link

    I heard iphone sales are an all time low. Are you suggesting Apple is still selling more iphones than Samsung is selling their Galaxy series?

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