Earlier this evening, Samsung finally took the wraps off its next generation Galaxy S-series smartphones. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge take what was great about the previous year’s flagships, and improve areas which needed it. In some ways, even going back to features we’ve missed.
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The Galaxy S7 is the smaller of the two phones. Its 5.1-inch QHD AMOLED display on the front is pretty much the same as last year’s. Like the S6, it has the shimmery — almost pearlescent — glass panel on the back, with matching top and bottom panels on the front. As you’d expect, the screen is bright, sharp and packed with color. And the body will be available in four different colors, including the silver option as well as white, black and gold.
You’ll notice on the metal frame surrounding the device that the S7 has a SIM tray in top (which also doubles as an expandable storage tray), and has a Micro USB port on the bottom. As a bonus, it’s also equipped with wireless charging, compatible with Samsung fast-charging bases.
The S7 Edge is similar in specifications except for a couple of key areas. Obviously, because of that large 5.5-inch display, it’s wider and taller than the regular S7. It also houses a much larger 3,600mAh battery versus the S7’s 3,000mAh cell. Its button layout and design language is exactly the same.
Depending on region, you’ll either get a quad-core Snapdragon model or an octa-core Exynos one, paired with 4GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. Although it wasn’t explicitly mentioned, we’re fairly certain that China, Japan and the US will get the SD820 model, while other markets will get Exynos-powered versions.
Both phones have the curved glass on the back to make them feel smaller and really comfortable in hand. Despite the great feel, the glossy finish means they attract fingerprints like no other phone. Both have the new 12MP, 4K-recording rear camera with dual-pixels, which Samsung says helps focus ridiculously fast and produce fantastic lowlight shots.
Of course, there’s the dual-curved screen which is simply gorgeous too. Content seems to roll around the corners, it’s a beautiful effect that never gets old. What’s more, Samsung’s created a new, wider Edge Panel for accessing favorite apps, contacts and shortcuts, and has even opened it up to developers to create their own Edge screens.
Software wise, the phones run Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Samsung’s revamped TouchWiz UI on top, and have an ‘Always On’ display to show the time and notifications.
To add to the ecosystem, Samsung also announced a cute little 360-degree camera with legs, perfect for capturing Street View-esque imagery to share with other Google Maps users. There’s also a new set of lens-equipped cases for adding wide-angle and telephoto zoom, as well as the rumored brand new keyboard case, among other accessories.
Overall, I think it would be unfair to say Samsung hasn’t impressed me. Sure, I haven’t been blown away, or knocked off my seat, but Sammy has managed to stick with the great elements of its previous phone and improve what needed improving. Exactly how the S7 Edge feels as small in my palm as it does baffles me, and the displays look fantastic.
The really question here though is whether or not Samsung’s new phones can help it stay ahead of the chasing pack. Can the S7 prove enough to tempt consumers not to spend less money on competitive mid-range phones from the likes of Alcatel, Huawei and OnePlus? Only time will tell.