Samsung showed off the new S7 and S7 edge at its Galaxy Unpacked event today at MWC 2016 in Barcelona. They’re retro.
The new Galaxy phones are a tad thicker than the Galaxy S6 line, but that’s because they rock huge batteries. Samsung also went back to its roots and made the S7 line water resistant and included a microSD card slot — things sorely missing from the S6.
Pricing is still a mystery. Samsung is revealing how much the new models will cost.
Larger S7 edge Screen
The S7 and S7 edge share almost identical specs, but they no longer share the same 5.1 inch screen size as the S6 models. Though the S7 edge has kept the same Quad HD resolution, its curved screen real estate has expanded from 5.1 to 5.5 inches. That larger screen will receive some increased utility via the new Tasks edge screen which will give users quicker access to apps, news and various other functions with a swipe from the edge.
If both of the new phones appear to be bulging at the waistline a bit more than the previous generation, it’s likely because Samsung has significantly upgraded battery capacity in both devices. The S7 battery will grow to 3,000mAh from 2,550mAh while the S7 edge (notedly now powering a much larger screen) will see capacity increase to 3,600mAh from 2,600mAh.
These battery capacity upgrades have left both devices a bit chunkier. At 7.9mm and 152 grams, the S7 is 1.1mm thicker and 14 grams heavier than the S6. The added heft is much more noticeable on the S7 edge, which has blown up in nearly every direction due to the new 5.5 inch screen. The S7 edge is almost 20% heavier than the S6 edge at 157 grams.
Some Old Friends
Last year’s launch of the S6 line offered up a few disappointments to hardcore Galaxy fanboys who saw the loss of water resistance, a removable battery and the microSD slot as the iPhonification of a brand they loved.
Though user-replaceable batteries have likely sung their swan song for the Galaxy hardware, Samsung is bringing the microSD slot and water resistance back from the dead to both the S7 and S7 edge. Both phones come with 32GB of onboard memory but can support up to an additional 200GB of storage via the dual-SIM microSD slot. The water resistance on the S7 and S7 edge is now IP68 certification, meaning the devices are “protected from long term immersion up to a specified pressure.”
The new Galaxy phones include an always-on display similar to that found in LG G-series phones. When not in use, the phone will still display the time and recent notifications in a low-power mode.
The idea is that instead of fully waking a phone some 50 times a day just to see the time or check for texts, the screen can constantly remain in low-power mode and give access to this info without draining the battery. A representative from Samsung told me that the battery strain of having this feature enabled actually accounts for less than 1% of total battery usage.
This is a feature LG rolled out last year in the G4 and included in the just-announced G5.
New Speedy Camera
Samsung included a new image sensor and lens into the S7 line. This time around the sensor is of the 12MP variety rather than the 16MP found in the S6.
The main stat worth focusing on is that the new F1.7 lens on the S7 and S7 edge captures 95% more light than those on the previous generation. Another noticeable improvement in camera optics relates to auto-focus which at the hands of the “first-ever Dual Pixel sensor” has quickened significantly. At the end of the day what all of this really means is that now your low-light bar photos may actually turn out well.
Shared S7 and S7 edge Specs
- Quad HD Super AMOLED 2560×1440 Screens
- Quad-core 2.15GHz + 1.6GHz Processors
- 4GB RAM (LPDDR4)
- microSD Card Slots
- Always-on Displays
- IP68 Water and Dust Resistance
- Cameras: Rear: Dual Pixel 12MP / Front: 5MP
- Android 6.0 Marshmallow
With the S7 Samsung once again played to the strengths of Android rather than trying to turn its flagship line into an iPhone clone. With a larger battery, expandable memory, and improved screens, the S7 is a welcomed upgrade over the S6. They may not be the sexiest upgrades but when it comes to daily use, they’re sure to be some of the most impactful.
Pre-orders for the S7 and S7 edge go live on Tuesday, February 23 at 8:00AM ET and both models will be available in stores March 11.