MWC has long been the time that Samsung announced its flagship S series smartphones (save for a year or two in the S4 era) and 2016 is no different.
MWC (Mobile world Congress) 2016 heralded the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge, and unlike last year, they are more different from their predecessors.
Starting with the flat Galaxy S7, let me tell you what it is not, which is a ground up redesign. The S7 is firmly the “tock” of a tick tock strategy when tick is the redesign, and tock is the refinement. The S7 has the same 5.1″ QHD (2560×1440) Super AMOLED screen, and if Samsung display’s history is anything to go by, this will be even better than the display from the Note 5, and the Note 6 display later this year will be even better. Being an AMOLED display it’ll be bright, colourful and have great viewing angles, whilst it may not be the most accurate (something Samsung has started to strive more towards though) it’ll still be one of , if not the best display in a mobile device this year. All of this, of course, is conjecture – but it’s a good guesstimate.
Depending on what region you’re in the Galaxy S7 will either come with a Samsung LSI made Exynos 8890 Octa-core SoC, or a Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC. Both are 14nm (Qualcomm actually sends the 820 out to Samsung to be made) with 4GB of RAM, and 32gb or 64gb of UFS2.0 internal storage. UFS means it’ll be faster than everyone using eMMC (everyone else) but slower than the NVMe SSD that Apple is using in the 6s and 6s Plus. Oh, and all you people who moaned about the lack of a MicroSD card in the S6, you got your wish. Samsung brought it back for the S7, though (I assume due to its placement in sharing a tray with the SIM) Samsung has removed the ability to “adopt” the storage from Android Marshmallow, so you don’t corrupt everything when you accidentally rip the SD card or the NanoSIM out.
On to the battery! The battery is pretty much the only downside from the S6 last year. The 2550mAh battery in the S6 just didn’t cut it, even with the improvements in processor efficiency and screen efficiency, it turns out that cutting the battery capacity by that much was too much. So Samsung listened, and they threw a 3000mAh in the S7 which is the same size as the battery from the Note 5 and S6 Edge+. Coupled with the MicroUSB adaptive fast charger (still very upset about no USB-C) you should be able to fill up faster than a Tesla at a super charger.
Lastly I want to quickly talk about the camera, and boy did Samsung make a splash. Last year the S6 was stellar with DxOMark ranking it as the best camera on a mobile device, and for good reason – it was amazing. Well at least in the day time. Even with the epic F1.9 lens they threw on the S6 it still wasn’t all that in low light. So with the S7 Samsung went back to the drawing board and re-engineered a camera sensor (yes Samsung is that big, not only does it make Displays, SoCs, RAM, Storage, Batteries and more, it also makes camera sensors) to make better, more effective use of each pixel for light collection and also for focusing. So if we look at the lens first of all, Samsung put a bright f1.9 lens on the S6, but they went above and beyond on the S7, by putting an f1.7 lens on the 12mp rear camera as well as the 5mp front facing camera. So Samsung threw a fast, bright lens on there, what else? Well, they made the pixels larger, yes larger. As you may remember, 12mp is smaller than the 16mp of the S6, but Samsung has put larger 1.4µp pixels in the S7, compared to 1.12µp from the S6. The larger the pixels, the more light they can see and you pair that with the fast brighter lens, you’re able to get even more stellar images in low light than you could before.
Well, that was the S7 but what about the S7 Edge? Well, not all that much is actually different, the display gets bumped up to 5.5″ but stays at the QHD (250×1440) resolution, but it gains two very attractive (if its usefulness varies) Edge screens. The processor choice is the same, which means it depends on where you are geographically, but you either get a Quad-core Snapdragon 820 or an Octa-Core Samsung Exynos 8890. The 4GB of RAM stays the same, as does the 32 or 64GB of Fast internal storage. The other big change is the battery, jumping from 3000mAh on the S6 Edge+ (I’m omitting the S6 Edge here) to 3600mAh and again the newer, more efficient processors, paired with the newer, more efficient panels with the newer more efficient SoCs mean we should get appreciably better battery life on these new Samsung flagships.
There was more announced at Samsung Unpacked 2016 in Barcelona but I think the S7 and S7 Edge where the most important announcements. As is a policy here at MobileTechTalk we wont give an official word on something until we’ve used it, but I will say as the writer (Dom) I personally haven’t been this excited about a Samsung phone since the Alpha.
Now, if only they got rid of those physical/capacitive buttons…