As has been always the case every calendar year since 2011, Samsung’s Galaxy S range of flagship smartphones is usually one of the most anticipated devices. This is because, since the early days, Samsung floored competitors like HTC which were hitherto the most visible to become the biggest Android device maker, a title it still keeps to date. In 2016, the world was keenly watching as the Korean company unveiled its latest in Barcelona yesterday not because of its high profile as the top most Android smartphone vendor and biggest competitor to Apple but also because of the changing fortunes of those involved in the mobile device market. Samsung did not have a great 2015 as far as sales numbers. At some point
Samsung did not have a great 2015 as far as sales numbers. At some point, it was forced to slash the price of its then flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge and even release the Galaxy Note 5 earlier than usual. It even went ahead to capitalize on the popularity of its curved screen smartphone, the Galaxy S6 Edge, by releasing its bigger sibling, the Galaxy S6 Edge+, alongside the Note 5. Still, 2015, went the way it went. Will 2016 be any different? That pretty much hinges on what its flagship devices this year bring to the table and how the competition packages its products.
Specifications and Features
If you had been following the rumours and leaks we were so keen on in the days leading up to the start of Mobile World Congress 2016 then you won’t find any surprises in what the two new Samsung smartphones, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge pack. We had already been prepped by the leaks and rumours to expect the two devices. We did not expect any radical changes in design. The two devices pretty much look like last year’s models. We were also prepared to accept them in the three colours that they were unveiled in last evening. Also, we expected them to retain that same QHD display, pack the super-fast LPDDR4 4 GB memory, 12-megapixel cameras with a f/1.7 aperture and bigger batteries than the Galaxy S6/S6 Edge had. That’s pretty much what we got with the Galaxy S7 and its bigger and “edgier” sibling, the Galaxy S7 Edge. There were no surprises.
Expandable memory and waterproofing thanks to the devices’ IP68 rating won’t also shock you if you had kept tabs with the rumours in the lead up to the announcement yesterday.
What you didn’t know, however, is quite plenty. For instance, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will allow users to decide whether to turn on or off, fast charging (why would you turn it off anyway?).
Like the Galaxy S6/S6 Edge and other Samsung smartphones from last year, the new Samsung smartphones also pack several Microsoft applications including cloud storage service OneDrive and Microsoft’s expanded suite of Office apps on Android.
Another new feature of the Galaxy S7/S7 Edge is the always-on display. This is not something in the smartphone world and heck, you could in some way get it on Samsung’s wide range of AMOLED devices using some apps but it is the first time that we are seeing it baked in a Samsung device. Samsung now follows the likes of Motorola. Rival LG also introduced a similar feature yesterday in its new G5 smartphone.
Samsung has partnered with Whitepages, a Truecaller-like service, to bundle the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge with the ability to identify unwanted callers/spammers and either warn you or block them before you pick up the phone. The software will also make it easier to search for businesses besides identifying beforehand everyone attempting to reach users of the Galaxy S7/S7 Edge.
Here’s another look at the spec sheet of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge:
|Galaxy S7||Galaxy S7 Edge|
|Size and weight||142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm, 152g||150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm, 157g|
|Display||5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED
2560 X 1440 (577ppi)
|5.5-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED
2560 X 1440 (534ppi)
|Memory||32/64 GB internal memory (UFS 2.0), 4 GB RAM (LPDDR4)||Same|
|OS||Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)||Same|
|Network||3G, LTE (Cat 9 supported)||Same|
|Connectivity||WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), MIMO,
Bluetooth v 4.2 LE, ANT+, USB 2.0, NFC
|Colour options||Black Onyx and Gold Platinum||Black Onyx, Gold Platinum and Silver Titanium|
On the accessory front, there’s not just a new wireless fast charger to go with the new devices. Like in yesteryears, a brand new S View cover for answering messages and viewing notifications on the fly without having to open up the flip cover is available. As are a leather Flip Wallet, a Clear View cover, an LED View cover and a Bluetooth Keyboard Cover. For the camera pros who also rely on their phones for capturing images on the go, there’s a new Lens Cover, which, as the name suggests, sits on top of the S7/S7 Edge’s lens and adds more zooming capabilities.
There are 10200mAh and 5100mAh battery packs available for the two devices in case users decided not to go with the new backpack meant to extend the battery of the devices.
Despite Samsung debuting a brand new virtual reality headset and bundling it with every pre-ordered unit of the new smartphones, the two devices will continue playing nice with the existing Gear VR headsets.
Pricing and Availability
The two devices go on sale on March 11th and will be up for pre-orders on different dates starting this week in various markets around the world. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, are expected to be priced at EUR 700 and EUR 800 in the global market as we had previously heard.
We’ll update you on the pricing and availability information in Kenya as that information becomes available.