South Korean tech major Samsung finally took the wraps off its next-generation flagship phones – the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge – at its MWC 2016 keynote on Sunday. On the face of it, nothing has changed at all. Both the new Galaxy S phones look ridiculously similar to last year’s Galaxy S6 (and Galaxy S6 Edge). But that’s necessarily not a bad thing. The Galaxy S6 brought Samsung back into the game and a lot of this had to do with its design, which in a word was fantastic. Samsung deciding to retain much of its design elements in the Galaxy S7 is in fact a well-thought out plan.
While nothing has changed on the outside, Samsung has made sure that almost every internal aspect of the new phones gets a boost some way or the other. Moreover, the new Galaxy S phones see the return of the microSD card slot and water-proofing capabilities, after they were stripped off in the Galaxy S6. These two features alone are capable to spark a renewed interest in Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge even though they look a lot like last year’s phones.
There will be countless arguments, that the Galaxy S7 is what the Galaxy S6 should have been in the first place. But hey, that’s not happening. Let’s just be glad that Samsung had the nerve to listen to customer feedback and change.
Here’s a thorough low-down of Samsung’s new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge phones:
Design and build quality
The Galaxy S7 (and Galaxy S7 Edge) can very well be called the Galaxy S6 v2.0. Both the phones boast of a similar design concept as last year’s models. There’s that all-familiar combination of glass and metal: looking as classy as ever. Samsung has employed curved 2.5D glass on the new Galaxy S7, while the Galaxy S7 Edge (as expected) has a screen that curves on two sides, giving you quick access to notifications (via the Edge panel). Subtle changes have been brought in, more as a measure to improve ergonomics. The rear camera module protrudes ever so slightly this time round as opposed to last year’s models wherein it stuck out more prominently. The Galaxy S7 Edge also has a bevelled back much like the Galaxy Note 5 which should improve grip.
At 7.9 mm and 152 grams, the Galaxy S7 is slightly thicker and heavier than the Galaxy S6. This is because the new Galaxy S phone crams in a much larger battery in comparison.
The biggest difference from a design point of view is that both the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge phones can stand as independent devices in terms of sheer size. While last year’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge had similar dimensions, this year’s models weigh in at 5.1 and 5.5-inches respectively.
Both the phones now come with microSD card slot for expandable storage, and IP68 certification which makes them dust-proof and water-resistant over 1.5 meters and for up to 30 minutes. In regions (including India) where dualSIM variants will be made available, the phones will come with hybrid slot. The new Galaxy S phones lack USB Type-C port and instead come with a regular microUSB port for charging and data syncing. A fingerprint scanner on-board a physical home button at the front stays put just like last year’s models.
Both the phones come with QuadHD Super AMOLED display with a 1440×2560 pixels resolution, like last year’s phones. This year’s Galaxy S phones however come with a new trick, which is an Always-on display which is different from what company’s like Motorola offer on their phones. This feature shows you the time and date or even a wallpaper on the S7’s screen permanently when the screen is set to off. Samsung says its Always-on display feature only consumes one per cent of battery per hour without being a strain. Moreover, it will shut down when the phone is in a bag or pocket.
The Galaxy S7 (and Galaxy S7 Edge) runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based TouchWiz UI.
Both the phones will be powered by either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor or Samsung’s own Exynos 8890 chipset. The company is usually known to bring its Exynos variants to India.
The phones come with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal memory which is further expandable by up to 200GB via microSD card.
According to Samsung, the new phones are 30 per cent more powerful than their predecessors in general processing. In the graphical department, the performance is up by over 60 per cent, it says.
The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge sport a 12-megapixel camera on the rear. Last year’s phones came with a 16-megapixel shooter on the back. On paper, this should seem a downgrade, but it isn’t if folks back at Samsung are to be gone by. The company says that the rear camera in the new Galaxy S phones come with larger pixels that allow more light inside for better low light photos. The rear camera further comes with f/1.7 aperture and optical image stabilisation.
The new camera also incorporates a dual-pixel system for quick focus (up to three times faster than the outgoing model). 4K video recording is supported. There’s a 5-megapixel camera on the front for taking selfies. The screen lights up (to compensate for the lack of flash) in low light situations.
The phones come with features like Motion Photo (much like Apple’s Live Photo) and Motion Panorama.
While the Galaxy S7 comes with a 3,000mAh battery, the Galaxy S7 Edge is backed by a 3,600mAh battery. These are significantly bigger than what were found on the outgoing models, but they are still non-removable. Both the phones support fast charging and wireless charging.
Pricing and availability
The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will be available for buy starting from March 11, with pre-orders beginning February 23. For a limited period, Samsung will be offering a Gear VR headset (bundled with six games) free with the phones. Samsung hasn’t announced pricing for the phones as of now.