There’s really no arguing against the fact that Samsung Galaxy S7 and its curved dual-edge counterpart Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge are among the best Android smartphones on the planet, if not the best.
The two were unveiled in February 2016 and started selling the following month, which makes them a year old as at the time of this writing. You probably know that Samsung is about to unveil the successors to these two phones dubbed Galaxy S8 and S8+, but like the S7 and S7 Edge at launch, expect the S8 twins to come in at premium price tags of close to ksh 100K or even more in the case of the Galaxy S8+.
If you have been hoping for a price drop so that you can purchase any of Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge, well, you might be a little disappointed in the fact that the current discounts on the two phones haven’t done any justice to your pockets, instead, the cheapest Galaxy S7 Edge phone in the market, for instance, is available at ksh 58,000. This is still too high for some people in the Kenyan market and as a result, we have sampled a few handsets that can play the role of a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge quite perfectly – or even better – yet priced at below ksh 50K.
If you are in the market for a new high-end phone that will make a perfect alternative to Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge, one of the best out there is the OnePlus 3. Although the phone has since seen a replacement in the shape of OnePlus 3T, which packs more storage, enhanced processor and selfie camera, as well as a slightly bigger battery, the original OnePlus 3 is still one monster phone in terms of performance specs.
In fact, at ksh 48,999 on Kilimall, the OnePlus 3 offers much better performance specs than any of the two Galaxy S7 phones. You get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor under the hood, same as the S7 and S7 Edge, but the RAM is huge at 6GB, surpassing the 4GB RAM found on the Samsung phones. It gets even better when it comes to storage, where the OnePlus 3 has 64GB while the S7 and S7 Edge have 32GB. However, there’s no microSD card slot on the former whereas the latter can support external storage of up to 256GB.
There’s a 5.5-inch 1080p AMOLED screen on the OnePlus 3 phone, something that is bettered by the Galaxy S7 Edge’s 5.5-inch QHD Super AMOLED panel in terms of resolution. As for the S7, you only get 5.1 inches of display, but the same resolution is retained. Despite the difference in screen resolution on paper, you might never notice them in real life using the naked eye. The 1080p is as crystal clear as the QHD resolution, which is partly why Apple has never seen any reason to make the jump to QHD resolutions for the iPhones, including the latest iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
The OnePlus 3 phone packs a 3000mAh battery with support for fast charging technology via USB Type-C, same size as the Galaxy S7 but smaller than the 3600mAh unit found on the S7 Edge. However, the two Samsung phones are still using the slower microUSB port for connectivity, although you still get fast charging technology as well.
For cameras, there’s a 16MP main sensor with f/2.0 aperture, OIS, PDAF, and dual-tone LED flash, but it’s nothing close to the 12MP sensor on the back of the Galaxy S7 Edge, which has a larger f/1.7 aperture, OIS, PDAF and dual-tone LED flash. The front ships with an 8MP shooter for selfies compared to the 5MP found on the S7 and S7 Edge, but the latter still win thanks to their larger f/1.7 aperture. Even though there’s Android Marshmallow out of the box, you get an immediate update to Android 7.1.1 Nougat, the latest stable version of the OS. As for Samsung, the latest version available is Android 7.0 Nougat.
Lenovo ZUK Z2
Another perfect alternative for Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge is the Lenovo ZUK Z2. Like the OnePlus, you also get the 2016 smartphone flagship specs on this phone, which also means it shares just about the same specs and features as the two Samsung devices, especially the Galaxy S7.
The Lenovo ZUK Z2 packs a decent 5.0-inch IPS LCD display screen that rocks the same 1080p resolution as the OnePlus 3. Under the hood, the ZUK Z2 has the same specs as the Galaxy S7, boasting the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC that is paired with a 4GB RAM. However, you get 64GB of non-expandable internal storage, twice what you get on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.
In terms of optics, the Lenovo ZUK Z2 ships with a decent 13MP lens on the back, but it’s not as powerful as the S7 twins. Optical image stabilization is missing, but you get phase detection autofocus (PDAF), an aperture of f/2.2, LED flash, and support for video recording of up to 4K. The front panel has an 8MP lens for selfies, which should do a great job, especially since it has a larger f/2.0 aperture than the rear camera. However, you only get to record up to 1080p videos.
To keep the Lenovo ZUK Z2 alive is a much bigger 3500mAh battery unit, which is just 100mAh shy of the unit packed by the Galaxy S7 Edge, but bigger than the standard S7. There’s support for Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging technology from Qualcomm, which happens via the newer USB-C port. Other features of the ZUK Z2 include a front-mounted fingerprint scanner, 4G LTE, and Android Marshmallow out of the box, but an update to Android 7.0 Nougat is already available for download.
If you are wondering about the price of the Lenovo ZUK Z2, well, you’ll be surprised that the phone is valued at just ksh 30,398 on KiliMall, about half the price of the Galaxy S7 Edge.
LeEco Le Max 2 and LeEco Le Pro 3
You might be wondering where exactly LeEco comes from. Well, like Lenovo and OnePlus, LeEco is a Chinese company that is well known for its dealings with televisions, but the OEM has some of the best and most affordable smartphones you can find on the planet, led by the LeEco Le Max 2 and LeEco Le Pro 3.
These two are both high-end phones with a few differences, but they both come in at prices below ksh 40K yet they pack the same or more powerful specs and features compared to both Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. Where the Le Max 2 is valued at ksh 39,899, the Le Pro 3 comes in with a price tag of ksh 37,097.
In terms of specs and features, the leading difference is the screen size. Where the LeEco Le Max 2 ships with a better 5.7-inch QHD screen, the Le Pro 3 has a slightly smaller 5.5-inch screen with a weaker 1080p resolution. The Max 2’s display is more spacious than the Galaxy S7 pair, OnePlus 3 and Lenovo ZUK Z2, which is the perfect one for those who want to watch movies, videos as well as enjoy viewing photos on their phones.
Under the hood, the Le Max 2 has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor that powers the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. However, the Le Pro 3 ships with a revised and more powerful Snapdragon 821 SoC, which is the same processor that you find in the 2017 HTC U Ultra and LG G6, phones that are less than a few weeks in the market right now. Where the LeEco Le Pro 3 is shipped with a RAM of 4GB and 64GB of internal storage, the Le Max 2 has a RAM of 6GB and internal storage of 64GB. Both models have no room for microSD card expansion, which shouldn’t be a problem considering the decent storage amounts they offer.
For the cameras, the LeEco Le Max 2 packs a massive 21MP sensor on the back that comes in with features such as f/2.0 aperture, OIS, PDAF, dual-tone LED flash and 4K video recording. The front ships with a capable 8MP sensor with an f/2.2 aperture and support for 1080p video recording. On the other hand, the LeEco Le Pro 3 comes in with a weaker 16MP shooter on the back that has the same aperture as its counterpart but drops the OIS feature. Still, you’ll come across PDAF, dual-tone LED flash and support for 4K video recording. For selfies, you get the same 8MP lens with the same features as the Max 2.
Given their screen-size and resolution differences, one would expect a larger battery unit on the Le Max 2, however, the opposite is true. Where the LeEco Le Pro 3 ships with a monstrous 4070mAh battery, the Le Max 2 has a mere 3100mAh unit, smaller than the 3500mAh unit used on the 5-inch Lenovo ZUK Z2. However, both phones support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology for fast charging, although the Pro 3 has a newer standard (v3.0) as compared to version 2.0 used on the Le Max 2 (same as Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge).
All the latest standards are available on both phones, be it a fingerprint scanner, 4G LTE, or even USB Type-C. But be warned that you won’t be using the traditional 3.5mm audio jack on these phones, rather, the same USB-C port will serve multiple purposes that include battery charging, data transfer, and headphone connectivity. The duo has Android Marshmallow running the show out of the box, but an update to Android 7.0 Nougat should be available in the coming days.
This post will be updated with more Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Alternatives priced at under ksh 50,000. Stay tuned!
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