Samsung’s Galaxy S line of smartphones have always been the most anticipated Android releases in any given year and this time it was no different. At Unpacked 2016 in Barcelona, they unveiled two new smartphones, the Galaxy S7 and larger Galaxy S7 Edge. The two look very similar to last year’s flagship however Samsung has refined their successful formula to offer an even better pair of products. Here is everything you need to know about the new beasts.
Same Design, But Much Much Better
The S7 and S7 Edge are the results of combining everything Samsung learned from last year into its 2016 flagship. The S7 features a curved back for better one handed usability and comes with the same strong metal chassis and glass. Even the S7 Edge has a slightly curved back. When Samsung chose to make design its number one priority last year, it cut some corners in terms of utility. That is no longer the case as the new smartphones are IP68 dust and water resistant (water submersion at 1.5 metres for 30 minutes) and feature expandable storage via microSD (up to 2 Terabytes).
On top of that, the devices are water tight from the inside thus removing the need for ugly and intrusive flaps as seen on the S5. Samsung opted to not use USB Type C on its latest smartphones in order to keep them compatible with the existing Gear VR which in our opinion was a smart move. The neatest innovation lies inside the devices’ body where Samsung has installed a tiny heat pipe similar to ones you would find on laptops to keep the device nice and cool at all times.
Almost everyone wished for a bigger battery on the S7 and Samsung listened. They made the S7 1.1mm thicker than the S6 but in the process boosted the battery capacity from 2550mAh to 3000mAh. Most phablets come with batteries that big, how did Samsung pull this off on such a small device? The secret trick was innovating to increase battery density rather than size. Super fast wireless charging also made a return. Battery life was one of the major complaints from the S6 and it is good to see Samsung address that intelligently.
Always On Display
The S7 like LG’s G5, features an always on display. Samsung’s implementation is quite clever as the device uses light and proximity sensors to determine if it is in a pocket or is flipped over. Therefore the display is lit up only when it is in a position where the user can view it. The Super AMOLED display lights up only specific pixels thus making it extremely efficient. The always on display shows notifications, time and other relevant info at a glance. This leads to the phone being unlocked fewer times and in the long run saves battery life. It will be interesting to see if the displays suffer from burn in over time.
Fewer Megapixels, Better Quality
The new smartphones have a 12MP camera instead of last year’s best in class 16MP camera. While you may think this is a downgrade, under the hood this unit should in theory outclass its predecessors. Samsung increased the size of each pixel to 1.4 microns therefore enabling the sensor to capture 95% more light than the S6. Combined with a lower f1.7 aperture, Samsung promises the best low light performance. The innovations go further with the camera as DSLR like Dual Pixel technology has been used on each pixel. Essentially, this allows for supremely faster auto-focusing especially in low light situations.
Powering the new devices is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor in the US and an in house Samsung processor in most other territories. The CPU is 30% faster while the GPU is 64% faster and the S6. The new devices also come with 4GB of RAM. The specifications in most 2016 flagships should be similar, the winner of this contest will be determined by optimization and real world performance. Samsung is taking gaming seriously with the S7, the devices are the first to support the new Vulcan API which makes it future proof for the latest and most intense games.
Pricing & Availability
No official prices have been announced by Samsung however we speculate the new devices will cost as much as their predecessors. The duo will be available in Black Onyx, Pearl White, Gold Platinum and Silver Titanium colours. Pre-orders in the US begin on February 23rd. As of now, pre-ordering will net you a free Gear VR headset and 6 free games worth $150.
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|Galaxy S7||Galaxy S7 Edge||Galaxy S6||Galaxy S6 Edge|
|SoC||Snapdragon 820 quad core (2.15GHz + 1.6GHz)
Samsung octa core Exynos 8890 (2.3GHz Quad + 1.6GHz Quad) in international versio
4x Cortex-A57 @ 2.1GHz
4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz
Samsung 8-core Exynos 8890 SoC in international versio
|RAM||4GB LPDDR4-1800||3GB LPDDR4-1552|
|NAND||32/64GB NAND (UFS) + microSD||32/64/128GB NAND (UFS)|
|Main Camera||12MP Dual Pixel sensor with OIS,
f/1.7, object tracking AF
|16MP with OIS, f/1.9, object tracking AF|
|Secondary Camera||5MP, f/1.7||5MP, f/1.9|
|Battery||3000mAh||3600mAh||2550 mAh||2600 mAh|
|Launch OS||Android 6.0 Marshmallow||Android 5.0 Lollipop|
|Other Features||Fingerprint reader, heart rate monitor, RGB notification LED, NFC, Qi and PMA fast wireless charging, Qualcomm and Samsung quick charging, Samsung Pay||Fingerprint reader, heart rate monitor, RGB notification LED, NFC, Qi and PMA wireless charging, Qualcomm and Samsung quick charging, Samsung Pay|
|Dimensions||142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm, 152 grams||150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm, 157 grams||143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8mm max, 138 grams||142.1 x 70.1 x 7.0mm max, 132 grams|
|Network||Qualcomm X12 Integrated
2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Category 12/13)
|2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Category 6)|
|Connectivity||802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MU-MIMO +
USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, NFC
|2×2 802.11a/b/g/n/ac +
BT 4.1 (BCM4358),
USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, NFC
|Launch Price||$650 (estimated)||$750 (Estimated)||$650||$750|