With the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge officially announced, you’re probably frothing at the mouth to see how the thing looks in the flesh. We got our hands on the two beasts at Mobile World Congress.
Refining solid construction
First thoughts? It still feels like the most solid Android phone on the market. Samsung refined their metal + glass combo with tighter lines, more ergonomic curves and an overall cleaner look (though we could do without the over-excessive reflection on the metallic color options).
You can even see it in the camera module, which has been shaved down to just a 0.8mm raise on the rear. The improved construction isn’t just superficial, either — they’ve found a way to bring back water and dust resistance, so a tumble in the rain shouldn’t prove disastrous.
Ultimate utility returns
Another popular feature making its return is a microSD slot, something that many people had written Samsung off for when they decided not to include it in the Galaxy S6. The slot is neatly placed in the same tray as the SIM card. It’s not quite as effortless to remove and swap as it would be on a phone with a removable battery door (which the S7 doesn’t have) but it’s better than nothing.
One thing we’re disappointed with is the lack of USB Type-C. Samsung has built a reputation for pushing the bar, so we found it odd they would opt to stick with old technology. It doesn’t exactly doom the phone — microUSB still does its job well — but it certainly doesn’t help the case for the Galaxy S7 being anything other than a minor refinement over yesteryear’s model.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Specs
- Software: Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)
- Dimensions: 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm, 152g
- Processor: Quad-core 2.15GHz + 1.6GHz processor
- Memory: 4GB RAM (LPDDR4), 32GB internal storage, External microSD card (up to 200GB) support (sold separately)
- Display: 5.1” Quad HD Super AMOLED 2560×1440 (577ppi)
- Camera: Rear: Dual Pixel 12MP with OIS (F1.7); Front: 5MP (F1.7)
- Battery: 3,000mAh, Fast Charging, Fast Wireless Charging (wireless charging pad sold separately)
- Connectivity: NFC, MST, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), MU-MIMO, Bluetooth® v4.2 LE, ANT+, USB 2.0, NFC, Location
- Other Features: Accelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Fingerprint, Barometer, Hall, HRM, IP68
- Colors: Black Onyx, Gold Platinum
That said, Samsung made enough improvements in other areas to make up for it. The 5.1-inch 2560 x 1440 display (5.5 inches for the S7 Edge) finally takes proper advantage of its AMOLED roots thanks to a new always-on mode that’ll show you the time, date, notifications and more without the entire phone being powered on and without using buckets of juice.
Speaking of which, wireless charging makes its return, and charges nearly as fast as if you were charging over USB (but still not as fast as USB fast charging). Samsung also found a way to slim the battery down while packing in more juice, so you’ll get 3,000mAh on the Galaxy S7 and 3,600mAh on the Galaxy S7 Edge without much thickness being added.
Pixel Perfect Camera
The camera is one area we knew Samsung wouldn’t look to skimp on. Its 12MP sensor might sound lesser than the 16MP sensor from the Galaxy S6 on paper, but these devices are not made out of paper.
The smaller megapixel count is irrelevant: it’s about the overall sensor quality, and there’s lots of quality to be had here. Samsung’s new sensor uses bigger pixels to capture more light, which in turn gives you sharper images with more detail, as well as improved low-light performance. The camera is also much quicker to focus on subjects thanks to its dual-pixel autofocus technology. It’ll lock in on the appropriate subject almost immediately while other cameras will likely still struggle for seconds at a time.
Edgier than ever
One other notable difference between the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge is, well, the “Edge” part. The subtle curve of the Edge display isn’t any more or less profound than we enjoyed on the Galaxy S6 Edge, but Samsung made improvements in software to widen the area used for Edge apps.
The apps can display more information as a result, and you can set up more icons and quick-launch shortcuts than ever before. Add in the fact that third-party developers can now support the Edge display and we’d say it’s more than just a gimmick at this point.
With a March 11th release date and demo opportunities in stores much sooner than that, it shan’t be long before you can get a good look at the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge for yourself. Until then, though, be sure to check out the hands-on video and mounds of photos above.