Samsung unveiled its two new killer flagship smartphones for the year 2016 at its February Unpacked event. So is it worth buying? What do you get and what would you miss? We take a look to help you narrow your search for your next smartphone!
The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge were more in the form of refinements from its predecessors, the S6 and S6 Edge, making it a near perfect smartphone. So let’s begin with hardware. Both devices come with a Quad HD super AMOLED display with the S7 having a 5.1″ and S7 Edge having a 5.5″ Curved (Dual Edge) display, 12MP rear camera and a 5MP front facing camera, 32GB built-in storage, IP68 certified providing water resistance for up to 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes and 3000 mAh battery for the S7 and 3600 mAh for the S7 Edge. Both phones also ship with the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow running Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. Surprisingly Samsung did not bring USB type-C support but rather stuck to micro-USB for charging and data transfer. The speakers are also pretty normal but not anything special (mainly due to waterproofing)and can be easily muffled especially in landscape mode.
Both phones still embody the glass and metal design from the S6 which despite giving a premium feel does tend to be a fingerprint magnet and reflects quite a bit. The design now has curves at the back too which makes it more convenient to pick up the phones(especially the S7 Edge) from a flat surface and also provides a comfortable fit in your hands. The phones comes in 4 colour options: Black Onyx (True black colour), Gold Platinum, Silver Titanium and White Pearl.
Under heavy use or multitasking, the phone does get warm despite Samsung’s new Liquid Cooling system which improves CPU Performance and graphics processing.
Two of the most important and killer features the S7 and S7 Edge have over their predecessors are expandable storage up to 200GB and water resistance, the latter of which was present on the S5 but was skipped on the S6 and S6 Edge. Unlike the S5, the S7 and S7 Edge despite their IP68 water resistance don’t have any flaps or similar closures sticking around giving a very clean and normal look to the device. The expandable storage is integrated via a microSD card slot in the SIM card tray.
The display give a super crisp image with good colour reproduction and high resolution display, something Samsung has been very good at for quite some time now. Samsung also added a new ‘Always On’ display showing information such as time, date, calendar, battery % left and other relevant information like a still image which is pretty useful and wouldn’t consume much battery as it uses a OLED display lighting up only the pixels that are required but this feature can also be turned off.
One of the major complaints with the S6 was its poor battery life at 2550 mAh but thankfully Samsung boosted that up to 3000 mAh which provide a significantly better battery performance. The S7 is also slightly thicker to accommodate this new change which beneficially reduces the camera hump as well. The home button is also slightly recessed.
The camera may seem like a ‘downgrade’ to many seeing the megapixel count drop from 16MP on the S6 to 12MP on the S7 but this actually provides better picture quality and reproduction and also enables better low light performance with an f/1.7 aperture lens allowing more light to enter the sensor and larger pixels. Samsung also brought in a new Dual Pixel AutoFocus which is by far the most insanely fast focus systems I’ve ever seen on a smartphone. Apart from that, the camera continues to carry along the OIS and 4K video recording from the S6.
The Edge feature on the S7 Edge also got an upgrade providing even more options like Apps Edge, Tasks Edge, People Edge and news. All with just a swipe from the Edge making it easier and more convenient to access the most used apps or important tasks and contacts.
The S7 and S7 Edge will have a Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB RAM (which is plenty for multitasking) in the US and a Exynos 8890 for international markets. In the US, the S7 costs about 670 USD and the S7 Edge comes to about 780 USD.