Mar 4th, 2016 publishUpdated   Mar 10th, 2016, 10:56 pm

Galaxy S7 v S6 v S5

The Samsung Galaxy S7 could very well be the most the sexiest, most powerful, and altogether well-rounded smartphone we’ve ever seen. Like most things, that’s up for debate (we think the Nexus 6P is also pretty damn great), but if you’re a Samsung Galaxy fan wondering whether or not you should upgrade to the Galaxy S7, here’s a quick list of reasons why we think you most certainly should.

It’s fast as sh*t

Qualcomm Snapdragon 820

One of the best reasons to upgrade to the Galaxy S7 is because, to be quite blunt — it’s fast as sh*t. No, really. It’s like really, really fast. The Galaxy S7 comes equipped with Qualcomm’s latest and highest performing processor currently available — the Snapdragon 820. The 64-bit Kryo processor itself features 4 cores built using the new 14nm FinFET manufacturing process. It also has an Adreno 530 GPU with support for the Vulkan 1.0 API for more impressive 3D gaming.

Benchmarks are through the roof but more importantly, it offers a major performance bump over last year’s Galaxy S6 in terms of real world speed. The S7 was able to multitask and open up heavy apps like YouTube and Hangouts (Lol) with ease, and rendered the UI without any major frame drops. At least initially. The S7 is buttery smooth and if we could melt this thing down to a liquid, we’d rub it all over our body.

Watch your favorite TV shows in the shower

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Although most smartphones these days feature some level of water resistance, few actually carry the Galaxy S7’s IP68 rating against water/dirt. The Galaxy S5 got close, with an IP67 rating, but having to deal with the flap covering the USB port or worrying about whether or not the removable back was fastened correctly was more headache than it was worth. The Galaxy S6? Well, let’s just say you’d better pray it never falls into the toilet or kiddie pool.

Because the Galaxy S7 is rated to withstand more than 30 minutes full submerged in 1.5 meters of water, you shouldn’t ever have to worry about taking the phone poolside. Us? We’ll be watching our favorite Netflix shows in the tub without having to worry about the phone falling in. That’s the kind of freedom you can enjoy with the Galaxy S7. Just make sure you give it plenty of time to dry off before you try charging it again (or stick with wireless charging for the time being).

Oh, and for more on what it means to have an IP68 rating on the Galaxy S7, check out our full write up here.

Store entire video archives on a 200GB micro SD card

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The Galaxy S series has a long history of supporting micro SD cards, but Samsung threw everyone for a loop last year when they decided to ditch it on the Galaxy S6. It seems they got the message, and for the Galaxy S7 they’re bringing it back. In fact, the Galaxy S7 can support micro SD cards all the way up to 200GB in size, giving you more than enough space to store your entire collection of home videos, movies, or TV shows. The best part is that the price of micro SD cards are dropping fast and it’s easy to find 64GB ones for less than $30. Here’s some quick links to get your started.

For more on expanding the storage on the Galaxy S7, be sure to check out our beginners guide here.

Low light photos no longer look like a mess

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Low light photography has long been the Achilles heel of smartphones. Snapping photos with the Galaxy S5 and S6 in anything but optimal, well lit environments often leads to excessive noise, smudginess, and images with low detail and poor color reproduction. For the Galaxy S7, Samsung has included a new camera sensor from Sony with pixels that are 56% larger than those on the Galaxy S6 and capable of capturing 96% more light.

This means the camera will make the best out of low light environments in the event that there isn’t much to begin with, capturing brighter photos that are clearer and don’t look like they were taken with a potato. The best part is Samsung’s new Dual Pixel system helps the phone focus lighting quick, even in the poorest lighting conditions. It really needs to be seen to be believed and thankfully, someone uploaded a video comparison showing this feature going up against the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. Check it out here. Oh, and if you love Live Photos on the iPhone 6S, well, the Galaxy S7’s got that too.

World’s best display now brighter and smarter than ever

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Every year Samsung packs their Galaxy S series with their latest generation displays and the S7 is no different. The quality is leaps and bounds better than what you’ll find on the Galaxy S5 — 1080p vs 1440p —  and even manages to trump the Galaxy S6 (which has the same resolution) in 2 big ways: brightness and auto-brightness.

According to DisplayMate, the Galaxy S7’s display is 24% brighter than the S6 which should help in brightly lit conditions. It also features a new intelligent “Personalized Automatic Brightness Control” that learns from the user, storing the brightness levels you set for the different light levels around you. This results in personalized brightness levels you set and not the pre-programmed preferences set by the manufacturer. In other words, it’s auto-brightness that actually doesn’t suck.

Of course, Samsung’s software still provides the usual assortment of user selectable screen modes (Adaptive Display, AMOLED Photo, AMOLED Cinema, and Basic) so you can adjust the color intensity (saturation) to your tastes. Basic mode matches the Standard sRGB / Rec.709 Color Gamut, which is perfect for editing photos.

Say goodbye to notification anxiety with an Always On display

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Whether you’re simply looking for the time or checking to see if you received a notification, the average person wakes their phone around 150 times a day and that’s probably a modest estimate. Now, on the Galaxy S5 or Galaxy S6 you can either manually check for the time and/or notifications like an animal, or you could take advantage of the Galaxy S7’s new “Always On” display.

As the name suggests, the phone always displays the time, date, calendar, or notifications on the top half of its display, reducing the amount of times you’ll need to wake your phone to check for these sorts of things. This not only cuts back on notification anxiety (the feeling that you may have missed an important notification) but helps save battery life as well. Oh, and if the supplied widgets aren’t cutting it, you can even download additional widgets that are more to your liking.

Battery that’s 18% bigger than the S6

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When Samsung introduced the Galaxy S5, we were thrilled to find it came bundled with a sizable 2,800mAh battery. Imagine our surprise to find that Samsung would sacrifice precious battery capacity in the Galaxy S6 for a slimmer profile. Not cool. And if you’re a current Galaxy S6 owner, you probably know that battery life could definitely be better and in the Galaxy S7, it is.

This time around, Samsung wised up and included a 3,000mAh battery in the S7. That’s a pretty big difference from the S6 and is actually the same capacity as the phablet-sized Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge Plus from last year. The result is a battery that should have no problem taking you throughout the entire day and then some. For more on the Galaxy S7 and how you can further improve battery life, check out our full post of helpful tips and tricks right here.  

Charges fast even wirelessly

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Okay, so Fast Charging really hasn’t changed all that much between the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S7. But if you’re coming from a Galaxy S5, you’re in for a whole new world of less time spent sitting tethered to a wall, and more time spent enjoying life and all of its wonders.

The Galaxy S7 features Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 technology, which can charge your phone about 75% faster than using a standard charger. And let’s not forget about Wireless Fast Charging support which just so happens to support most major wireless charging standards. That means you can charge the Galaxy S7 with just about any wireless charging accessory — even those fancy tables at Starbucks.

For a list of some of the best chargers that available for the Galaxy S7 — either wired or wireless — make sure to check out our post linked down below.

There’s an honest to goodness black version now

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It’s been years since we’ve seen a true, honest to goodness, black colored Galaxy S device. I talked about this in length in my post from a few days ago, but the Galaxy S7 is the first real black Galaxy since the S2 many, many moons ago. The Galaxy S5? That’s more dark grey, almost purple-ish color on the back, while the Galaxy S6 was just flat out navy blue.

For those that like the absence of all color in their smartphones, the Black Onyx Galaxy S7 is a phone The Dark Lord Vader would be proud of and for us, we couldn’t be happier.

Still the perfect size for 1-handed use

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We don’t know how the trend got started, but whenever a followup to an Android flagship is released, it’s almost always larger than its predecessor. It’s almost ridiculous and by now, it’s just something that we’ve had to get used to. Whether it’s the Moto X Pure Edition (153.9mm tall), Nexus 6P (159.3mm tall), or LG G5 (149mm tall) — all of them are considerably larger than the Galaxy S7 which measures in at 142.4mm tall.

In a world where small, high-end Android devices are quickly going the way of the dinosaur, we have to applaud Samsung for having the good sense to keep a more normal size for the Galaxy S7 (although we’re sure competing with the iPhone 6S had more to do with it). It’s not even that the S7 is better than the Galaxy S5 or S6 in this area, it’s just one less thing you’ll need to worry about getting used to. And hey, you wont even need that funky nub like we did on the Nexus 6P.

Can make mobile purchases almost anywhere

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Most Android devices these days are outfitted with NFC chips that can make “Tap to Pay” purchases, the problem is, finding specific terminals that actually accept them. While that list is growing thanks to the rollout of mobile wallet services like Apple Pay and Android Pay, only the Galaxy S7 and a handful of last year’s Galaxy devices work with traditional magnetic card readers. You know, the ones you already use with your physical credit cards.

It’s called Samsung Pay and all you have to do is tap the phone along the side of the terminal where you’d normally swipe a physical credit card and watch the magic happen. While last year’s Galaxy S6 is also compatible, the Galaxy S5 isn’t. So if you’re ready to slim down your George Costanza wallet and fully embrace mobile payments in the 21st century — the Galaxy S7 is where it’s at.

All your old cables and chargers still work with it

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We love micro USB. It’s been around for years and all our favorite electronic devices are already using it. Everything from PS4 controllers, to Bluetooth speakers, cameras, power banks, it’s pretty much a universal standard and there’s a good chance you have hundreds of cables and chargers laying around that already work with it.

USB Type-C is a new standard that will soon replace micro USB. It’s reversible which is nice, but apparently there are a slew of faulty 3rd party cables that could end up frying your phone. It’s like the wild west and frankly, at least to us, Type-C is a little more trouble than its worth. The fact that Samsung stuck with micro USB for the Galaxy S7 is a huge win in our book. Don’t even get us started on the frustration of leaving a Type-C cable home and finding out nobody has a spare to lend you or even being able to find them in stores. USB Type-C might be the future, but it’s just not there yet and we’re more than content hanging onto micro USB for a little while longer.

If you love the reversible nature of Type-C but still have a device that uses micro USB (who doesn’t?), then we urge you to try out these reversible micro USB cables from Omaker. Priced at only $10 for a 2-pack, these cables feature a reversible design on both ends, taking all that guess work that goes into inserting a USB cable into your devices. The quality is great and to be honest, they’ve completely changed this author’s life.

Compatible with one of the best VR headsets on the market

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Virtual reality — or what the kids call “VR” — is the next big thing in tech. Everyone’s doing it, but few are doing it right. With a partnership with Oculus and backed by Facebook, the Samsung Gear VR is one of the best and most affordable VR headsets you can buy. It leverages the power of your smartphone to do all of the heavy lifting and right now, it’s only compatible with a handful of Galaxy devices.

The Galaxy S7 is most definitely on that list and with a beautiful Quad HD display and powerful Snapdragon 820 processor, it’s more than suited for all the 360-degree content you can find. Aside from its own Gear VR store, you’ll find plenty of supported video on YouTube where 360-degree video cameras — like the Samsung Gear 360 — are finally starting to become commonplace. The best part was if you pre-ordered the Galaxy S7 early enough, you even got a Galaxy Gear VR on the house. Don’t worry, you still have time. The free Gear VR promo ends on March 18th, so get moving.

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