The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge finally launched at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. Here’s what you need to know.
As with last year’s February Unpacked event, Sammy has poured its best efforts into not one, but two smartphones, but there’s a greater level of differentiation between these handsets than just a curved screen.
At a glance
|Galaxy S7||S7 Edge|
|Weight||152 grams||157 grams|
|OS||Android 6.0 Marshmallow|
|Rear camera||12-megapixel dual pixel w/ f/1.7 aperture|
|Processor*||Octa core (2.3GHz Quad + 1.6GHz Quad) or
Quad core (2.15GHz Dual + 1.6GHz Dual) *varies by market
|Storage||32GB/64GB. Expandable via microSD up to 200GB|
|Bonus features||Always-on display, fast wired & wireless charging, IP68 waterproofing|
Aesthetically both devices leverage a similar design language to the company’s top 2015 handsets. The differentiation over last year’s S6 duo is a greater emphasis on curves. You’ll find a metal frame skirting the edge of each device’s body, with curved glass along the back (Galaxy Note 5-style) and in the case of the S7 Edge, a curved glass frontage too, making up that dual-edge display.
What isn’t immediately apparent is the work Samsung’s done on the inside, which now means that both handsets are capable of remaining unharmed in up to 1.5 metres of (fresh) water for up to 30 minutes, thanks to the introduction of IP68 certification without the need for unsightly seals, as were abundant on 2014’s Galaxy S5.
Naturally Samsung’s continued its trend of instilling insanely attractive display technology onto its best devices too, with Quad HD Super AMOLED panels on both devices and a 0.4-inch difference between the two, meaning there’s a little more choice in screen size come launch. The biggest new feature is that thanks to that AMOLED technology, both phones can now also offer always-on functionality, so you won’t have to wake your phone to check the weather, the time or your recent missed calls, messages and notifications.
Performance & battery
Samsung pulled out Todd Sweeney from Epic Games to wax lyrical about the raw processing power and graphical prowess of these phone’s beastly internals, which now include liquid cooling and 4GB of RAM, whilst battery longevity is promised to clock in at a significantly better score than last year’s models and yet retain the convenience of Samsung’s chosen fast wired and wireless charging technologies (full-charge in 90 minutes on the S7 and 100 minutes with the S7 Edge).
The iPhone 6S Plus served as these phones punching bag during the camera segment of the keynote. Samsung has dropped the megapixel count from 16 on the S6 and S6 Edge, down to 12-megapixels on both S7 devices, however the dual pixel technology, which the company says came from the world of DSLR photography, gives these snappers the upper hand.
Demos presented on-stage showed that the impressively wide f/1.7 aperture of these phone’s cameras mean shots retain greater detail, clarity and colour over the 6S Plus in low light, and autofocus is notably faster too. As well as a larger aperture the camera also packs a wide-angle lens and pixels that according to Samsung, are 30 per cent larger than those found on the Sony sensor used inside the 6S Plus.
The biggest issue with the S6 was its complete lack of expandability, so whilst most should fair well enough with the 32GB or 64GB internal storage that these phones will be made available in, both will also leverage a hybrid SIM tray that also accepts microSD cards up to 200GB. It’s a huge win for fans of Samsung’s older Galaxy flagships, who cried out when the S6 launched last year.
Samsung has already launched pre-order pages for both devices, with prices starting at £569 for the Galaxy S7 and £639 for the S7 Edge. The company has also implemented an upgrade program, allowing customers to move up to a new Galaxy flagship every 12 months. Elsewhere, mobile retailers including EE, O2, Three, Virgin Media, Vodafone and Carphone Warehouse have confirmed that they will all be selling both the S7 and the S7 Edge. Samsung quotes an availability date of March 8th.