22 February 2016

Bigger battery, faster camera, waterproof: Samsung announces Galaxy S7/S7 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 S7 Edge smartphone

This must have been one of the most leaked smartphone launches in the history of smartphone launches with sketchy rumours and blurry photos percolating since before Christmas. (I wonder if Samsung slowly leaks this stuff on purpose to build up interest and steam ahead of its launch.)

Anyway, now that the launch is official, here's what you need to know about Samsung's newest and best challengers for 2016.

Refinement (plus the return of microSD)

Samsung Galaxy S7
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

The S7/S7 Edge are more a refinement of the Galaxy S6/S6 Edge than a revolutionary new device but that is certainly no bad thing seeing as the S6 corrected many of the wrongs of the S4 and S5. 

The S7 sports the same sized 5.1" QHD AMOLED display with the crazy high 577 ppi. The S7 Edge has seen its QHD screen bumped up to 5.5" giving it a ppi of 534. According to DisplayMate, both screens are brighter, more vibrant and more colour accurate than their predecessors. A new software addition is an always-on display (AOD), very much like Moto X Display or ambient notifications on Nexus devices. The AOD (which can be turned off) can display the clock and notifications on the screen, showing this information on a black screen to save battery as well as time.

The back of both devices now have curved edges making it easier to hold but by and large, the aesthetics have stayed the same.

The internals have seen a bump with newer Qualcomm Snapdragon or Samsung Exynos processors (depending on which region you purchase from) as well as an increase from 3GB to 4GB of RAM; multitasking and intense gaming should not be an issue at all then.

Most notable of the internal changes (and which will please many power users) is the return of the microSD card slot, which was present in the S5 but missing in the S6, allowing users to expand their storage by up to 200GB.


Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge waterproof waterproofing IP68

A big and surprising welcome is the IP68 certification both devices now carry meaning it is dust resistant and waterproof (freshwater) up to 1.5m for up to 30 minutes. By way of witchcraft (or rather just sophisticated engineering), Samsung have also enabled this without having covered up the microUSB port meaning no stupid, fiddly flap (I'm looking at you Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia range).

Longer Lasting

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge bigger battery life
Both the S7 and S7 Edge sport bigger batteries compared to their predecessors

The biggest complaint against the S6/S6 Edge was the abysmal performance of their batteries. Thankfully, battery capacity has now increased in both models: from 2550 mAh in the S6 to 3000 mAh in the S7; from 3000 mAh in the S6 Edge+ to 3600 mAh in the S7 Edge.

Improvements in battery technology have also made their way to Samsung's flagship devices with the S7/S7 Edge now utilising faster standard and wireless charging capabilities.  

Lowlight Focus

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge camera
Faster lens, larger pixels and phase detection autofocus will result in improved lowlight performance

The camera on the S6 series was one of the best smartphone cameras of 2015 and perhaps the best ever (DxOMark has it sitting atop of their smartphone camera rankings) and the S7 looks likely to surpass that. The newer phones will have fewer megapixels (12M down from 16M) but each pixel is larger allowing more light to be gathered and thus reduce noise and blur in dim conditions. This is also helped by the new f/1.7 lens which will allow in more light and the phase detection autofocus, a technology found in dSLR and mirrorless cameras. 

Edge of Temptation?

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

If you're the current owner of an S6/S6 Edge/S6 Edge+ and can deal with the mediocre battery life and lack of microSD card and waterproofing, I don't think there's enough new here to warrant an upgrade. However, owners of older Galaxy smartphones and generally those looking for a new premium device should give the S7/S7 Edge serious consideration, certainly from a specs-on-paper point of view.

The last Samsung phone I owned was the Galaxy S2 back in 2012 which I had for 11 months or so. Since then, Samsung devices have not really interested me, largely due to their bloated software and cartooish looking user interface (hence why I moved to Nexus and Motorola devices). The S7 though, particularly the S7 Edge variant, is the first Samsung phone which has really tempted me.

Unique, metal design.
Pixel dense display which is not too large to hold.
MicroSD card support.
Streamlined UI.
Faster camera.

This well may be the first Samsung phone I've owned in four years. I'm tempted.

Pre-orders are now available with sales starting 11th March. Prices on Samsung's official website have the S7 at £569 and the Edge version at £639.

What do you think of the Galaxy S7/S7 Edge?

No comments:

Post a Comment