Samsung has announced the next models in its flagship smartphone range, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, with three features sure to please fans — waterproofing, expandable memory and a dual pixel camera — all in a familiar design.
The Korean technology giant unveiled the phones early Monday morning (AEDT) at a virtual reality press conference at the Mobile World Congress in Spain, where every person was provided with a VR headset.
Samsung will be looking to the new S7 and S7 Edge to attract customers who strayed after major design changes were introduced with the Galaxy S6, such as the absence of a memory expansion port.
It’s share of the global smartphone market peaked around 25 per cent in the third quarter of 2013, but stiff competition from major rivals, Apple and Huawei, and a lukewarm reception to the Galaxy S6 has seen that figure take a bumpy ride down to 21 per cent.
For many users looking for a reason to upgrade their existing Galaxy smartphone, or return to the fold, the Galaxy S7 may just hold the key.
Got the look
The standard Galaxy S7 features a 5.2-inch display, while the Galaxy S7 edge, which features a rounded edge down either side of the screen, comes in at 5.5 inches. Both handsets are water (submerged for up to 30 minutes) and dust resistant.
With a quick swipe of your thumb, the new edge panel on the Galaxy S7 edge offers a swift access to apps.
Both handsets now feature a new Always On display, which presents time and relevant data on screen, all without waking up the phone’s display.
A step down from the Galaxy S6’s 16-megapixel camera (made by Sony), the Galaxy S7 packs a new Samsung 12.1-megapixel sensor. The new camera is the result of the company’s advancement in Dual Pixel technology and an increase in pixel size — 30 per cent larger than iPhone 6S Plus.
Before you freak out and spray your morning coffee over your screen, bear in mind that Apple’s iPhone 6S Plus camera, which earned itself the title of ‘best in class’ among many reviewers, weighs in at 12 megapixels – proving sensor technology and camera software go a long way.
The Galaxy S7’s 12-megapixel camera has been grown in-house, using Samsung’s Britecell technology, a hallmark of which is greater dynamic range and low-light sensitivity. We’ll have to wait for early reviews to see whether the switch to in-house tech proves a positive move.
As a bonus, this new technology also features faster auto-focus, along with a new camera mode: Motion Panorama – an immersive video experience.
A 360-degree camera, called the Gear 360, was also introduced, which can be plugged into the new phones. It will enable users to film and take pictures up to 360 degrees, and post the results on Facebook and YouTube, both of which support the technology.
The crowd gave its biggest applause of the event when product strategy head Justin Denison announced that the new S7s can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes before dying a horrible death.
Considering each handset will now cost you over $1100, that’s piece of mind for the clumsy or just purely unlucky.
Under the hood
The Galaxy S7’s new Octa Core processor is 30 per cent improvement on its predecessor, with a 60 per cent improvement in graphics processing.
These huge gains in power will allow the smartphone to achieve mighty feats of gaming, alongside overall improvements in speed and connectivity.
Thanks for the memory
Rejoice, Galaxy fans! You can now carry your entire game, video and music library in the palm of their hand.
Power to the people
While speculation was rife that Samsung would switch the main connectivity port to the new USB-C port, the microUSB port has been retained, as has wireless charging.
The company’s product strategy head, Justin Denison, boasted you can now watch “a whole season of Game of Thrones on one charge” because the Galaxy S7 packs a 3000mAh battery and the Galaxy S7 edge a 3600mAh battery, both of which can be fully charged in 95 minutes.