Samsung's Galaxy S7 is the best business phone money can buy. The device pairs long battery life with a sleek design, solid security features and snappy performance that lets you multitask without a hitch. Plus, Samsung has added some productivity-boosting software features this year, including an always-on display that lets you see alerts at a glance. It all means that workers looking for a new business phone can't go wrong with the Galaxy S7.
Remember that the Galaxy S7 is an entirely different smartphone from the Galaxy Note 7, which was recalled and discontinued after reports that a hardware defect was causing the device to catch fire. The Galaxy S7 has never been reported to be defective, and is totally safe to use. Now, on with the review!
Samsung Galaxy S7 Review
Every element of the Galaxy S7 looks and feels refined. The phone's metal frame provides a sense of sturdiness, and its glass back adds to the premium look. I also love how the back of the phone curves gently inward on the sides; it gives it a slick look and allows me to cradle the device comfortably in my palm.
The S7 is slim, but it's not the thinnest or lightest smartphone on the market. Weighing 5.36 ounces and measuring 5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches, it's a bit thicker and heftier than the iPhone 7 (4.87 ounces, 5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches). But that difference is pretty slight when you consider that the iPhone has a 4.7-inch display that feels cramped compared to the S7's 5.1-inch screen.
The microSD card slot makes a triumphant return on the S7 after Samsung dropped the feature from last year's model. It lets you pop in a microSD card to increase the phone's 32GB of internal storage by up to 200GB (for a total of 232GB). It's a big perk for workers who want to store a lot of large documents on their work phone, or just install a lot of applications. It's also not something you'll find on an iPhone.
The Galaxy S7 is equipped with a bunch of excellent security options. For starters, you get an improved fingerprint reader embedded in the phone's home button, which lets you log in with one quick touch. The reader felt very reliable, whisking me to the home screen every time I tested it. It definitely seemed quick and more accurate than the fingerprint reader on the year-old Galaxy Note 5 I use as my personal smartphone.
The S7 also comes preloaded with the Knox security suite, which lets users separate work from play. The app lets you quickly toggle between the standard mode and a separate secure container within the phone that's just for running work apps, thus ensuring that private company info is protected.
Plus, Knox provides enterprise-level security options, including hardware-level encryption that's enabled by default. It also includes tools for managing smartphone deployment in an enterprise environment.
The Galaxy S7's waterproof design helps prevent accidents that would leave you without a functioning smartphone. Samsung says the S7 can be submerged in 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes without being damaged. We tested the company's claims, and the phone continued to function without a hiccup.
But although the Galaxy S7 feels sturdy and well made, it doesn't offer any serious durability credentials. Workers who want a tougher phone with most of the same features might be interested in the Galaxy S7 Active instead. It's rated to withstand dings, drops, dust, moisture and more.
The Galaxy S7's quad-HD, AMOLED display looks as crisp and vibrant as anything on the market. And at 5.1 inches, the screen is a good size for productivity — large enough to view documents and email chains comfortably, but not so large that you'll pull a muscle in your hand reaching for the top of the display.
The S7's display doesn't just look good; it's actually more functional than last year's model. The phone features a new always-on screen that can display a calendar, clock or notifications, even when your phone's screen is turned off. For example, a small envelope icon might be displayed when a new email arrives, so you know what's there before you even pick up your phone.
If you're worried about the feature sapping your battery, don't be. For starters, Samsung says each hour that the feature is turned on drains about 1 percent of your phone's battery, and that seemed accurate in my real-world testing. Plus, the always-on display feature could actually help extend your smartphone's average battery life overall, because you won't have to power on the whole display just to check the time or date.
Unfortunately, Samsung's always-on display functionality isn't quite as good as what you'll find on phones such as the Moto Z, which lets you quickly open incoming alerts with one swipe. In comparison, Samsung's version is noninteractive, so you can't click on the calendar to see your next appointment or click on a text message to hop straight to your messaging app.
Interface & apps
Samsung phones used to be notorious for their bloated, confusing software interfaces built on top of Android. These days, however, the UI comes pared down, so it's clean and easy to use, without sacrificing the power-user features that the Galaxy line is known for.
That includes split-screen mode, which lets you multitask with two apps on-screen at once. It's still not all that practical on a 5.1-inch display like this, but it comes in handy sometimes — for example, say you wanted to directly reference a document or web page while drafting an email.
Still, Samsung's interface is still a bit convoluted compared with what you get on stock Android smartphones such as Google's Pixel. That's particularly true inside the S7's Settings screen, which is packed with dozens of extra features hidden behind obtuse headings. For example, the Pop-up View feature annoyingly shrinks down your apps into floating windows when you swipe in from the top-left corner of the screen, and it's too easy to activate accidentally. I had to hunt around in the Advanced Features menu to turn it off.
My Verizon Galaxy S7 also came with a bunch of useless Verizon-branded software installed, such as Verizon Cloud and Verizon Messages+, which are inferior to the Google-based alternatives that also come preloaded on the phone. Fortunately, bloatware like that is a lot less intrusive than it used to be, because it's all tucked neatly away in a separate folder inside your app drawer.
The Galaxy S7 has a 3,000-mAh battery, up from the 2,550-mAh battery in last year's S6. That newer battery allowed the phone to run for 8 hours and 43 minutes on our battery test, which includes continuous web browsing over Wi-Fi, which is better than the 8:30 smartphone average.
And in real-world use, the S7 seems to last even longer. With typical sporadic use, the phone lasted well into a second day of use without an overnight recharge. That's likely thanks to an improved standby mode; in other words, the S7 uses less battery when the main display is off. Most impressively, it can achieve those long standby times even with the always-on notification screen enabled.
Like most new flagship phones, the S7 comes with fast charging capabilities that allow you to get a 50 percent charge in just 30 minutes. That's a nice perk for workers who want to top off their phone's battery life during a short layover at the airport.
The Galaxy S7 blazed along during my testing period, effortlessly switching between tasks and apps without a hint of slowdown. The phone runs on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 processor, and comes with an impressive 4GB of RAM, which makes for seriously snappy multitasking.
Still, it's far from the fastest phone on the market. It racked up a very good score of 3,917 on the Geekbench 4 test, which measures overall performance. But that trails rival phones by a bit, including the Google Pixel XL (4,146) and the iPhone 7 (5,392). You're not likely to notice much of a difference for everyday productivity tasks, though; all of these smartphones are extremely speedy.
The Galaxy S7 is currently available from all four major U.S. mobile carriers. Verizon sells the S7 for $672, or $28/month for 24 months. AT&T sells it for $694, or $23/month for 30 months. Through Sprint, the S7 can be purchased for $794, or $33/month for 24 months. And via T-Mobile, it's available for $689, or $28/month for 24 months.
The Galaxy S7 can also be purchased unlocked for $669 from Best Buy.
Samsung's Galaxy S7 ticks all the boxes on its way to becoming our favorite overall work phone. It gives you long battery life, snappy multitasking and more productivity-boosting software extras than rival Android smartphones. Plus, its sleek glass-and-metal design is tough to resist.
If you want a bigger display, Samsung's Galaxy Note 5 might be a better option. Again, that's an older version in the Note line that is still for sale. It's completely distinct from the Note 7, which has been recalled and discontinued. The phone sports a roomy 5.7-inch display that's big enough for split-screen multitasking, and it comes with a handy stylus that lets you jot down notes right on the phone's display. Note that the Galaxy Note 6 moniker was skipped; the Note 5 is actually the most current version of the Note that is still available.
Google's Pixel smartphone and Apple's iPhone 7 are also strong picks. But for the average worker who wants the most well-rounded work phone out there, the Galaxy S7 is our top choice.