What to expect from the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

Evan Blass (@Evleaks)

The Korean giant recently made it official that it would be showcasing the next Galaxy at its Unpacked Event on February 21st, a day before Mobile World Congress kicks off. And we all know why Samsung chose that specific date, it wants to make every device launched at MWC irrelevant — and that’s exactly what will happen.

So far, Samsung hasn’t officially confirmed anything about the devices, but there are a bunch of rumors and leaks floating all over the internet.

Just like last year, we are expecting the Korean firm to launch two variants of its upcoming Galaxy S flagship smartphone — Galaxy S7 (SM-G930) and S7 edge (SM-G935F); the former will be packing a flat screen, while the latter packs a curved one. However, this time around, there’s a slight change in the company’s strategy. Instead of launching both smartphones with a 5.1-inch display, the Galaxy S7 edge will reportedly sport a larger, 5.5-inch display. Both panels will be of Super AMOLED variety and feature Quad HD (2560x1440) resolution.

Moreover, it’s been reported that the displays will have always-on functionality, which is basically Android’s Ambient Mode running 24/7, and this particular feature should drain the battery by 1% per hour. LG has teased a very similar feature for its upcoming flagship G5 smartphone as well.

There is also a slight possibility of Samsung debuting its latest flagships with pressure-sensitive displays, which would work in a similar way to Apple’s 3D Touch technology in its iPhone 6S.

If this rumor does turn out to be true, I would be a bit concerned, as I don’t think Android developers will update their applications to add additional functionality to support the new feature at the same pace as iOS developers did. With that being said, I’m confident that the company’s engineers would be taking full advantage of the pressure-sensitive display and will be optimizing its TouchWiz user interface to make full use of the feature.

Samsung is also considering implementing a retina scanner in one of the flagship’s variants, however, the company might change its mind before launching the actual devices, reports WSJ.

Design-wise, people will have a pretty hard time differentiating between the new handsets and their predecessors. According to the press images released by the world’s most famous smartphone leaker, Evan Blass (@Evleaks), the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge feature a design which is, unsurprisingly, very similar to their forerunners. The only difference is that the edges of the glass panel, on both the front and the back, now taper into the aluminum frame. And the home button is now more angular than it was ever before, which should help improve fingerprint recognition. I’m a huge fan of the S6’s design, so I’m glad that they didn’t do a major redesign with the S7.

The new design is also said to come with IP67 dust and water-resistance certification as well, which means that the device will be fully protected from dust and be capable of withstanding water immersion between 15cm and 1m for up to 30 minutes. This is a feature which initially made its debut with the Galaxy S5 but never made it to the Galaxy S6 series of devices, except the Active variant.

I actually really want this rumor to be true, as it rains a lot in the UK and it would just give me a peace of mind that my device is protected from raindrops.

The Galaxy S6 was the Korean giant’s first flagship to eliminate two of the product line’s biggest unique selling points: removable battery and Micro SD card slot. In the Galaxy S7, the battery still probably won’t be user replaceable, but the MicroSD card slot is heavily rumored to be making a return from the dead. And it makes sense, as Android now officially supports SD card expansion (again).

Speaking of storage, the smartphones will only come in two storage capacities — 32GB and 64GB, just like the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note 5.

If Samsung does decide to launch a 128GB variant, it will be exclusive to only a handful of countries. And I don’t think many consumers will go for the 128GB model, as they could just get a MicroSD card which will be much, much cheaper; it will get them a lot more storage for their buck.

As far as camera sensors are concerned, the OEM is going with a 12-megapixel sensor with an aperture of f/1.7, which should result in better low-light performance and overall more detailed photographs. Yes, the company is decreasing the resolution of the sensor from 16 megapixels (in the Galaxy S6) to 12 megapixels, but at the same time increasing the actual size of the sensor. And, just for your information, more megapixels don’t always mean better image quality. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

Furthermore, the new camera sensor has also allowed the designers to decrease the camera hump on the back from 1.7mm to 0.8mm, confirms OnLeaks. The front-facing camera is still a 5-megapixel shooter and will possibly come preloaded with Samsung’s signature Beauty Mode.

In terms of raw performance, rumor has it that the company will once again ship its smartphones with two different chipsets. Something which it had been doing since the Galaxy S II, but stopped with the Galaxy S6; when it launched the device with its Exynos 7420 SoC worldwide. In spite of that, it looks like the North American market will be receiving the GS7 and GS7 edge with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 820 chip (which is a Samsung-made SoC), while other key markets will get them with Samsung’s own home-grown Exynos 8890 processor. Performance should be identical with both processors, but only time will tell if that really is the case. Both processor configurations will come equipped with 4GB of RAM, so there’s no difference there.

Nothing much has been said about the software of the device, but it’s more than obvious that it will come with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and a new version of TouchWiz UX, out of the box.

The biggest issue with the Galaxy S6 was with its battery life, it never managed to get through an entire day — with mere 2-3 hours of on-screen time. Nevertheless, it seems like that the Korean manufacturer will be bumping the capacity of its batteries to fix this problem in its next-generation Galaxy S handsets. The Galaxy S7’s battery will receive a 17.65% increase (from 2,550mAh to 3,000mAh) in capacity, while the S7 edge will receive a whopping 38.46% increase (from 2,600mAh to 3,600mAh). Wireless charging is onboard as well with charging times being 2 hours and 2.2 hours for the GS7 and GS7 edge, respectively.

You should be able to get your hands on the Galaxy S7 family starting from March 11 in Silver, White, Black, and Gold colors.

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