Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Review: Call Quality


Galaxy S7 Edge is the third device with YOUM curved edge AMOLED screen, it is equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, 4GB RAM and 32GB build-in storage, dual-SIM standby and IP68 certified water resistant, powered by Android 6.0. The camera is a 12 mega-pixel and featured with an F1.7 lens.

There are two version of S7 Edge, Chinese mainland retail version of Galaxy S7 is G9350, it is equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, while those selling in Taiwan, South Korea, and Europe are equipped with Exynos 8890. Both Snapdragon 820 and Exynos 8890 are manufactured by 14nm FinFET technology, but difference exists in peripheral circuit, the audio codec that Snapdragon 820 coordinating is WCD9335 powered by Qualcomm, while Exynos 8890 coordinating is a Cirrus Logic chip customized by Samsung. This Cirrus Logic customized chip is not the HiFi DAC that rumor said before S7E released, it is used not only for music playing, but also for transmit and transport voice signal. It is the first time that we review call quality of a leading brand C Samsung - device equipped with Snapdragon 820, the result will be representativeness.

Qualcomm almost reach the limit of noise reduction and call quality under GSM wireless network since Snapdragon 800 with hi-end QRD generic drive algorithm, Snapdragon 810 also success this honor. The mid-end Snapdragon 615 also perform well in hand-holding mode, but really bad in hand-free mode, even cannot be used in daily life. With more and more user in China mainland own cars, the call quality and noise reduction on hand-free mode is becoming more important.

Earpiece Speaker Test

Conventionally, we place this cell phone indoor with normal signal, and set the call voice volume to maximum, then call 10010, which is China Unicom customer service hotline. Finally we will record and analysis this China Unicom fixed voice signal with professional sound card and microphone.

Testing Item S7 Edge S6 Edge vivo Xplay5 Nexus 6P Lumia 950XL Meizu Pro5 One Plus 2 iPhone 6s Plus
Output Level of Earpiece,dB -10.7 -11.63 -12.65 -11.16 -12.51 -10.35 -12.34 -10.65

The earpiece output of S7 Edge performs well, the volume is 1dB higher than S6 Edge. The volume can be turned up about 10dB higher under Loud Mode in calling interface, which is smaller than S6 Edge. Under this mode, the sound style is a little different, and cracks caused by overflow is lighter than S6 Edge, but this mode is seldom used. It worth mentioning that Loud Mode also effect in hand-free mode.

Speaker Test

We place this phone indoors with ambient noise level at 40dB or less, and turn up the ringtone volume to maximum, then use a sound level meter to measure sound level at the distance of one meter from the phone.

Testing Item S7 Edge S6 Edge vivo Xplay5 Nexus 6P Lumia 950XL Meizu Pro5 One Plus 2 iPhone 6s Plus
Face Up,dB 75.7 76.6 78.3 77.6 80.5 79.3 77.4 77.6
Face Down,dB 76.6 77.7 78.6 78.1 77.4 80.4 78.0 77.4
Face Up,dB 73.2 68.0 75.7 74.0 73.2 73.2 68.7 68.6

The volume of S7 Edge speakers is just 1dB lower than S6 Edge, you can hardly find the difference in daily use. The picture below is the smart light that curved edge shows when calling in.

Noise Reduction Test

The input gain of Samsung S7 Edge under hand-held mode is 3dB lower than standard level, while similar to standard level under hand-free mode.

Testing Item[S7 Edge] Noisy Crowd Background Music Pink Noise Roadside Voice
Total Noise Level Reduction,dB[Higher is Better] 43.7 29.6 44.8 47.1 28.2
SNR Improvement,dB[Higher is Better] 32.1 18.0 35.9 34.0 15.3
SNRI-to-NPLR difference,dB[-4 to 3] -4.3 0.1 -5.0 -5.1 0.7
Testing Item[S7 Edge Hand-Free Mode] Noisy Crowd Background Music Pink Noise Roadside Voice
Total Noise Level Reduction,dB[Higher is Better] 26.8 27.6 38.8 37.6 22.7
SNR Improvement,dB[Higher is Better] 19.5 19.9 29.3 26.4 17.0
SNRI-to-NPLR difference,dB[-4 to 3] -3.0 -0.4 -4.6 -3.2 1.6
Testing Item[S6 Edge] Noisy Crowd Background Music Pink Noise Roadside Voice
Total Noise Level Reduction,dB[Higher is Better] 28.4 28.9 35.6 30.1 31.3
SNR Improvement,dB[Higher is Better] 19.8 23.6 28.2 23.4 20.4
SNRI-to-NPLR difference,dB[-4 to 3] -1.1 0.4 -2.1 -2.0 0.4
Testing Item[S6 Edge Hand-Free Mode] Noisy Crowd Background Music Pink Noise Roadside Voice
Total Noise Level Reduction,dB[Higher is Better] 20.9 17.1 29.6 27.7 22.1
SNR Improvement,dB[Higher is Better] 15.9 13.4 20.9 17.2 15.8
SNRI-to-NPLR difference,dB[-4 to 3] -1.7 0.3 -4.5 -4.6 0.9
  • Total Noise Level Reduction, TNLR: Total Noise Level Reduction illustrates the reduction of ambient noise level. The average level is above 5dB. Theoretically, higher TNLR would be better, but an over high result may be caused by severe attenuation of voice signal, or interruption caused by poor phone signal or noise reduction algorithm flaw.
    Signal-to-Noise Ratio Improvement, SNRI: capability of an NS method to enhance the speech component of a noisy speech signal from an additive background noise. SNR improves after noise reduction by comparing noise-reduced and raw voice signal. Generally, the improvement is over 4dB.
    SNRI-to-NPLR difference, DSN: the signal level difference between raw and noise-reduced. Noise reduction process would attenuate voice signal level, cell phones would gain signal to ensure the call quality. Theoretically, it would be best that signal level remain the same before and after noise reduction. A standard signal level peak is -2.5dB. If the signal was gained too high, overflow would happen, and that means frequent crackle, too low, voice signal strength would not be enough, and that means the sound would be too low, and the other end would not hear clearly.
    The result is just a test reference under similiar circumstances or conditions, third-party websites or official technical data cannot be used for comparison.

S7 Edge performs better than S6 Edge in noise reduction. However, we cannot define whether the progress comes from hardware or algorithm. S7 Edge is significantly better than S6 Edge under noise environments, we can hardly hear the background noise, while voice signal loss is also slightly increased, signal level gain can be as low as 5dB, voice interruption may occur of small probability. However, the noise reduction of S7 Edge under Background Music or Voice is just so-so. Samsung improved the hands-free mode much, you can hear more clearly, and can turn up 1dB furtherer by Laud Mode. S7 Edge is one of the best among Samsung devices we reviewed, noise reduction and hands-free mode performs better than S6 Edge. Except the analysis of quantity, we have to mention that, from Samsung adopted 14nm in mobile processers on, the baseband and stability had improved much. The problem that crash, stuck or restart when calling in on S4 and MX4 Pro has been solved.

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