We go hands-on with Samsung’s latest flagships
Samsung built a lot of momentum with their recent flagship releases, starting with the S6 and S6 Edge. The new phones signaled a new design direction for the company – though at the expense of some of the features that made the S series great. While Samsung has decided to iterate rather than innovate with the design of the S7 and S7 Edge, the tradeoff is that they’ve brought back some of the features that were cut when they made the S7 and the S6 Edge.
Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Specs
- 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 2.6GHz octa-core Exynos 8890 processor
- 4GB of RAM
- 5.1/5.5-inch Super AMOLED display, QHD resolution, Gorilla Glass 4 protection, 2560 x 1440 resolution
- 32GB of storage, expandable via microSD up to 200GB
- 12-megapixel DualPixel camera, f/1.7 aperture, OIS
- 5-megapixel front camera
- Dual SIM
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, NFC
- 3000mAh/3600mAh battery
- Android 6.0, TouchWiz UI
- Php 34,990/Php 39,990
A refined design
We’re not going to lie – the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge look a lot like their older brothers. Look at the two devices from the front, and it’s not hard to see why – the phones look virtually like their older brothers, though there are small differences. The corners are slightly rounder, and the fingerprint scanner has been slightly enlarged to facilitate faster unlocks.
Things are a little different when you flip the phones over though: the backs of the S7 and S7 Edge flow into the frame of the phones, which makes it easier to hold on to them. The design is very reminiscent of the Note 5, and we’re happy to see that particular design change in the new flagships.
A not so subtle change in the new flagships is the flatter camera module on the back, which has been a major pain point with the previous generation. The phones now sit flush when you place it on a flat surface, which is an improvement over the previous design.
The return of the microSD slot and water resistance
One of the most welcome changes to come from the newest phones is the return of the microSD card. A lot of you made sure to let Samsung know how big of a mistake it was to remove the microSD storage when the S6 and S6 Edge was released, and the company knows it. There’s a catch though – the microSD card slot is shared between a nano SIM slot since the phone uses a hybrid SIM slot, but most of you won’t really mind.
Another feature that’s making a comeback is water resistance – yes, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge is IP68 certified, meaning the phones will surive being dunked in water for 30 minutes. Samsung doesn’t recommend you taking the new phones out swimming with you, which isn’t surprising, since the water resistance is probably intended for the phones to survive minor spills, and not a day out in the beach.
A clear difference
One thing many of you may have noticed with the new phones is the size difference of the two. Samsung’s gone ahead and made the S7 Edge noticeably bigger than the S7, which is a good move, since there’s now a clear difference between the two devices aside from the Edge display. The S7 and S7 Edge still use Samsung’s Super AMOLED display technology with Gorilla Glass 4 and QHD resolution, but now there’s a distinct difference in the size of the display – 5.1-inches for the S7 and 5.5-inches for the S7 Edge. Battery capacity is also quite different – the S7 has a 3000mAh battery while the S7 Edge has a bigger, 3600mAh capacity.
Less megapixels, but a better, clearer image
While other companies are racing to stuff as many megapixels in the cameras of their phones as humanly possible, Samsung is going the other route. The camera of the S7 and S7 Edge are just 12-megapixels, which account for the smaller camera module on the back.
That doesn’t mean that the S7 and S7 Edge have less capable cameras – it’s the opposite actually. Samsung’s gone with Dual Pixel technology which utilizes an overall bigger sensor – 1/2.5-inches – and bigger invidual pixel size – 1.4microns – than typical smartphones. This means brighter photos and better low-light performance compared to the previous generation. Take a look at the comparison shots we took with the S6 Edge and the S7 below:
A beastly processor
The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will come in either Snapdragon 820 or a new octa-core processor that runs at 2.6GHz, paired with a Mali-T880 GPU. While Samsung did not specify what octa-core chip that is, it’s obviously their new Exynos 8890 processor. That’s paired with 4GB of RAM and depending on the territory, up to 128GB of storage. In the Philippines, Samsung is only offering the 32GB version of the phone, though the microSD slot supports cards up to 200GB. The unit that we played with was running the Exynos chip and as expected it flew through our syntethic benchmark test, though only a full review will reveal if the phone proves capable during day to day use.
Overall we’re impressed with the two phones, even if their design isn’t a big change from the previous generation. Samsung is pricing the S7 at Php 34,990 while the S7 Edge is Php 39,990. The phones will arrive in our shores come March 19.