The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have finally been unveiled at the Mobile World Congress, putting the endless stream of rumors to rest. The official unveiling video is embedded below, but here’s a summary of what the handsets have in store for users.
Popular features brought back to the Galaxy S7 lineup
Samsung’s new flagship phones have brought back some features the company had eliminated but that were popular in previous models. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge allow for expandable storage through the addition of microSD card slows. Additionally, the handsets both offer water resistance, plus new features that will excite avid gamers and an improved 12-megapixel camera that should improve low-light shooting.
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Although the number of megapixels has declined from last year’s 16, Samsung claims the pixels are much larger, so they allow in 56% more light than last year’s camera. Additionally, the S7’s camera features a dual-pixel system that enables it to focus up to three times faster, and the camera launches much faster than the cameras on other popular smartphone models.
The company has also improved the battery life and updated the chipset. However, the 3,000 mAh battery is not removable. The S7 has the same display as the S6, which is 5.1 inches in size and super AMOLED technology. One difference is that the display now has what Samsung calls “Always-On,” which means it always shows a click, notifications, calendar, or other image. You would think such a feature would eat up the battery life, but Samsung claims it uses half a percent of battery an hour. The phones are said to be more secure as Intel Security has also been added.
But while the interior features are a big improvement from the most recent previous models, the exterior design is pretty similar to that of the Galaxy S6. An expert from IHS Technology told the BBC that Samsung will have to make sure consumers are aware that the Galaxy S7 lineup bears significant improvements over last year’s model because of how alike the S6 and S7 lineups are on the outside.
The Korean electronics giant is seeking to regain some of its lost market share as data from IDC suggests that its share fell 2% last year while Apple, Xiaomi and Huawei gained share. Despite the decline in share, Samsung remains the dominant force in the smartphone world, however, according to IDC.
Even though the S6 and S7 are very similar on the outside, The Verge highlights some differences between last year’s and this year’s model. Perhaps the most notable difference is that the Galaxy S7 features a tightened and more ergonomic design, making it much easier to hold and pick up. The fingerprint scanner also is flatter, and Samsung has flattened out the hump from the camera.
Galaxy S7 Edge features more updates
The website also explains that the design of the Galaxy S7 Edge now has a bigger 5.5-inch screen which is still a curved quad HD super AMOLED display. Also the back is slightly curved, which makes the design more ergonomic so it’s easier to hold than the S6 Edge. Additionally, the overall phone is quite small, particularly when placed next to the iPhone 6s Plus and other smartphones that feature 5.5-inch displays.
Perhaps most importantly, the phone is easier to use with one hand—something Apple strived for with the iPhone 6s Plus and its Reachability feature but ultimately failed to do.
Galaxy S7 prices
Preorders for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge start today, and they will be available on Mar. 11. In the U.S., the S7 is expected to start at $199 on a two-year contract through Best Buy. At AT&T, the 32GB model will start at about $23 per month for 30 months, while Sprint is said to be offering it for about $27 per month for 24 months. T-Mobile’s monthly plan price is about $28 over 24 months, reports Techradar. Unlocked models are said to be priced at around $600 in the U.S., but you have to buy it directly from Samsun on its website. In the U.S. and the U.K., these prices are about the same as the prices for the S6 lineup when they were launched last year.
In the U.K., the SIM-free S7 starts at £569. At Three, buyers can pay £35 a month after forking over £99 up front. EE wants £50 up front and £44.49 a month, while O2 is charging £54 a month with £10 paid up front and Vodafone is charging £9 up front and £50 per month. Carphone is charging £80 up front and £36 per month.
Samsung also said it will give a free Gear VR headset with six games free with the purchase of an S7 or S7 Edge.