Samsung currently can do no wrong. The South Korean manufacturer is riding a high with the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus [Review]- both of which have been extremely well-received. Samsung has also been quite busy updating and expanding its line up of less expensive, mid-range devices.
It was just two weeks ago that we reviewed the Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro. Today, we have another mid-range Samsung handset called the Galaxy C7 Pro with us for review. As you may have guessed by now, the Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro is indeed the little brother to the C9 Pro. Before we talk in detail about the C7 Pro, it might be useful to gain some context as to what we are talking about here.
In our Galaxy C9 Pro review, we highlighted how the C9 Pro is overshadowed by its own sibling – the Galaxy A9 Pro – [Review] thanks to the latter’s lower price tag and the better battery life. From the outset, I was worried if the C7 Pro would face a similar situation and end up being cannibalized by its own brethren. I used the Galaxy C7 Pro as my daily driver for two just over two weeks – right after I was done reviewing the Sony Xperia XZs.
Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro: Specifications
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 626; 8x Cortex-A53 @ 2.2GHz
- GPU: Adreno 506
- Operating System: Android 6.0.1
- Display: 5.7-inch, 1920×1080 Super AMOLED
- Memory: 4GB RAM, 64GB storage with microSD card slot
- Camera: 16 megapixel rear camera, PDAF, two-tone LED flash; 1080p video
- Front Camera: 16 megapixel camera, 1080p video
- Connectivity: VoLTE, dual SIM, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, A-GPS, USB-C, Stereo speakers, fingerprint sensor; FM radio
- Battery: 3300mAh Quick Charge 2.0
Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro: Design/ Build
While Samsung has seen its design prowess improve manifold over the years, there is no denying that most of these design changes have not trickled down to its lower-priced devices. As a result, what we have with the C7 Pro is a handset that looks exactly like its larger screened and more expensive brother – the C9 Pro. Only if you place them side by side would you realise the marginal size difference between the two. The C9 Pro thanks to its 6-inch display is obviously larger in size. At 179 grams, the C7 Pro is also lighter than the C9 Pro.
As mentioned in the spec sheet, the C7 Pro gets a large 5.7-inch full HD Super AMOLED display that takes up most of the space at the front. The screen to body ratio is pretty decent, and the bezels do not take too much of space. This was a huge relief for me as I was coming from the Xperia XZs, which had a massive bezel. The C7 Pro has the traditional array of capacitive buttons below the display. The fingerprint scanner/home button combo at the center has a metallic ring around it that helps you easily “feel” the home button. This could prove useful under low light conditions. Our review unit came in white and to be frank, there is nothing spectacular about the design of the phone, or the other colour options that are available.
If you are able to look past the plasticky front fascia, you will realize that the C7 Pro does indeed seem to possess a sturdy build quality. The back panel is made of aluminium and has a very reassuring feel to it. The back panel also houses the camera assembly – flanked by the dual-tone flash LEDs. All the buttons on the phone including the volume rocker keys on the left side, the power button on the right side and the home button the center have a nice mechanical feel to them and make a faint “click” sound when you press them. The removable SIM tray is of the hybrid type and can take in either two SIM cards or one SIM card and a microSD card. At the bottom, the C7 Pro gets an USB Type-C port for connectivity/charging, a 3.5, audio jack, and the speaker grilles.
While I did not find anything amiss with the build quality on the C7 Pro, I was told at the same time that the overall build quality on C-Series handsets, in general, tends to be a notch below what we have observed on Samsung’s A-Series devices. Case in point: the Galaxy C9 Pro was not as well built as the A9 Pro that we had tested earlier.
Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro: Display
The full HD Super AMOLED panel on the Galaxy C7 Pro measures 5.7-inches across. Like typical Samsung displays, colours look oversaturated on the phone – a trait most Samsung consumers seem to enjoy. You can, however, tweak the display settings which gives the user four options between Adaptive Display, AMOLED Cinema, AMOLED Photo, and Basic. While I used the handset in the AMOLED Photo mode most of the time, I could not help but notice that whites had a yellowish tinge to them.
This disappears in the adaptive display mode in which the whites were more accurate. The display is quite bright, and I did not face issues even during bright sunlight. While the viewing angle is good – you will notice that the display turns bluish when it is held at an extreme angle. However, this is sheer nitpicking since no one’s going to look at the display at such an angle.
Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro: Hardware and Performance
The Samsung Galaxy C7 finds itself powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 chip, which is a minor upgrade over the Snapdragon 625 from last year. Apart from being slightly faster than the 625, the newer chip also features Qualcomm’s TruSignal antenna boost technology that claims to improve signals in congested areas. The Adreno 506 GPU is pretty competent and has the ability to handle everything you throw at it.
Thanks to ample 4GB of RAM, when it came to daily tasks like web browsing, watching videos, taking pictures and handling phone calls, the C7 Pro did not show any signs of stress. Even with multiple apps open and running, the phone did not slow down or stutter. This is perhaps due to Samsung’s overly aggressive memory management that sometimes closes down apps that you did not open for a while. The C7 Pro did not have any tendency to heat up, and even during the hot Hyderabad summer, the phone managed to stay cool even when I was pushing it to the limit.
Call quality on the C7 Pro was excellent — I was able to hear the caller on the other end quite well even in crowded environments. Like the C9 Pro, the earpiece on the phone transforms itself into a stereo speaker when you play music on the phone. This gives the handset a much wider soundstage compared to phones that only get a single speaker – usually at the bottom. However, the earpiece speaker is not as loud as the main bottom firing speaker, and the stereo effect is not very pronounced. In fact, is quite possible that most users might not even notice that the earpiece was actually playing your music.
The fingerprint scanner on the C7 Pro is integrated with the home button. While several reviewers were left impressed by the C7 Pro’s fingerprint unlock speed, I faced a really hard time with it. For some reason, the scanner failed to work most of the time, and I ended up disabling it after getting frustrated with it. I also felt the surface area of the home screen was too less for my finger. At this point I am unsure if this erroneous fingerprint scanner was an issue with this particular unit I had with me.
Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro: Battery Life
The C7 Pro is smaller in size compared to the C9 Pro and also packs in a smaller 3,300 mAh battery. That being said, the C7 Pro was able to easily last an entire day even when I had the screen brightness turned to slightly below the maximum. I was able to consistently get a screen on time of over 3.5 hours with the handset with the screen brightness at near maximum, over 5.5 hours with the screen at medium brightness and over 6.5 hours with the brightness turned lower. I was also using WhatsApp video calling a lot during my time with the phone which is why WhatsApp comes up tops on the list of apps that hogged the battery.
Note that you can extend the battery life even more by relying on several battery optimization options that the phone comes with. For example, the handset comes with two power saving modes – MID and MAX – both customizable – that is aimed to help you squeeze the maximum capacity out of the batteries. Several apps might be affected if you turn these modes on, so you might want to turn these on only during really desperate situations.
The reason for the C7 Pro’s stellar battery performance can be attributed to the power efficient Snapdragon 626 chip and not to mention, the AMOLED display that tends to consume lesser power compared to their LCD counterparts. The Galaxy C7 Pro also supports fast charging, and it took a little over 1.5 hours to charge the handset from 0 to 100 percent. That is quite acceptable for a battery this size.
Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro: Software
The Galaxy C7 Pro runs Android 6.0.1 Android Marshmallow out of the box, which isn’t great news for a phone that costs almost ₹30,000. With several cheaper devices already on Android 7.0 Nougat, many users may feel shortchanged when they realize that their ‘new’ Samsung device is still running an older version of Android. That said, the phone does tote the newest version of Samsung’s TouchWiz UI.
The UI was generally very zippy without any lag. One thing that did bother me though was a number of intrusive notifications from apps that the phone comes preloaded with. For example, a notification to “secure your Wi-Fi” which is nothing but an advertisement for you to start using Opera Max pops up every time you turn the Wi-Fi on. When you turn the Wi-Fi off two switch to mobile data, you receive another notification that reminds you to use the data saver mode – thankfully, this can be turned off using the “Do not show again” option.
The phone also comes preloaded with a bunch of Samsung apps, which is quite understandable. These include Samsung Health, S Voice, and Secure Folder. I found the Secure Folder app to be very interesting because of the fact that you can run two instances of the same app — by moving the app into the secure folder. For example, I was able to run two instances of WhatsApp from the phone using this app. All apps inside this folder are protected by a password set by you. The phone also gets the option to lock individual apps without having to transfer them to a secure folder. A complete suite of Microsoft apps also comes preloaded with the phone.
Even though it still runs Android Marshmallow, the Galaxy C7 Pro does support split screen mode for certain apps. Then there is the easy mode – specially designed for people who find the standard UI a bit too daunting. The handset also gets an Always-on display that shows you the time and a bunch of other information when the screen is turned off. For folks with smaller hands, there is single-handed mode.
The Galaxy C7 Pro also supports theming, and the Samsung store has a bunch of themes (free and paid) available to customise your handset.
Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro: Camera
Like its sibling the C9 Pro, the C7 Pro also gets 16-megapixel cameras at the front and the rear. Both cameras also boast an f/1.9 aperture. The camera UI on the phone is pretty easy to use and gets lots of options that you can access easily with a simple swipe. Once in the camera mode, swipe right to access the various shooting modes than include Auto, Pro, Panorama, Continuous shot, HDR, Night and a Food Mode.
You also have the option to download additional modes from Samsung’s own store. Currently, three extra optional modes are available. These include Sports Shot, Rear-cam Selfie, and Animated GIF. When in the selfie camera mode, you get a dedicated selfie mode, a Wide selfie mode, a continuous shot mode and a night mode.
Images taken using the main camera in daylight end up looking great and the colors are near accurate. However, things do not look rosy when you zoom into the image. There is a lot of smearing and lack of detail. However, most normal users would not notice this. In typical Samsung fashion, things do get blown up on the AMOLED display, and the colors pop out when you view images on the phone display. For the same reason, images end up looking less spectacular when you view them on a PC or on another handset.
Low light images are best avoided using the C7 Pro and end up with quite a lot of noise. However, there is a very handy night that does try out to even out things. Thanks to the lack of any kind of image stabilization, you will need to have very steady hands (or a tripod) to ensure you manage to capture good images in the low light mode. This also means the videos might end up looking shaky in case you do not have a pair of stable hands.
Videos can be captured in the following resolutions from the both the front and rear cameras: Full HD (1920 X1080), 1:1 (1072 X 1072), HD (1280 X720) and VGA (640 X480). The phone does not support recording of 4K or even 1080p 60 fps videos although it can play them back.
Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro: Conclusion
The Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro was launched in India for ₹27,990. The phone did receive a price cut on Amazon recently where it was going for ₹25,990 – a flat ₹2,000 discount. However, this offer was for a limited period only. This means the handset by would still be sold for its launch price – until it receives an official price cut sometime down the line. That being said, I still have no doubt over the fact that the Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro is a very competent device.
However, at close to 30k, the C7 Pro finds itself in some strange company. Not only does it have to fend of challengers from within – thanks to handsets like the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro and its larger sibling the C9 Pro, but it also has to compete with the likes of the much more affordable Xiaomi Mi 5 and the similarly priced OnePlus 3/3T.
The OnePlus 3/3T, thanks to its overall performance and flagship-class processor is a very enticing buy at its 30- 34k price range and is clearly the better spec’d phone with more capabilities, better camera, and overall features. If I had to nitpick, it would only be about the lack of memory expansion on the OnePlus that would bother me. However, with 64GB or 128 GB options for onboard storage on the OnePlus 3, that isn’t an issue.
Taking into consideration the aforementioned aspects, it becomes very difficult for me to recommend buying the C7 Pro to someone who has ₹27,990 to spend. Things will, however, look better for the Galaxy C7 Pro if and when it receives a price cut.
Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro27,990
Design and Build Quality7.0/10
Value for Money6.5/10
What Is Good?
- Zippy Software
- Nice Build Quality, except for the plasticky fascia
- 64GB storage
- Decent battery life
- Power efficient SoC
What Is Bad?
- Typical Samsung Design
- Overpriced for the features on offer
- Poor low light imaging