Samsung Galaxy S7 first impressions: same on the outside, new and improved inside

“The Galaxy S7 packs in improvements like expandable storage, waterproof certification and an always-on display”

Samsung Galaxy S7_7Almost year ago, Samsung wowed us with a brand new design philiosophy for its flagship Galaxy S6 that was sorely needed after the disastrous Galaxy S5. At its Unpacked event today, the company took the covers off the long awaited Galaxy S7 and S7 edge (first impressions), both which have retained the design of their predecessors, while adding a slew of refinements to improve the overall user experience. The result? A device that looks like Samsung’s best smartphone yet, in more ways than one.

We had a chance to spend some quality time with the Galaxy S7 at the launch event today, and here’s what we thought.

Samsung Galaxy S7_1Like we mentioned earlier, not much has changed on the design front. One of the first things that you’ll notice when you look at the device is the always-on display. Similar to what we’ve seen on Motorola smartphones in the past, the screen displays key information like the time, date. battery status and notifications by lighting up a few pixels on an otherwise black screen. This is possible because Samsung has used an AMOLED panel, and it also means that it consumes very little power while doing so. Speaking of the display, Samsung has retained the 5.1-inch screen size, as well as the 2K resolution, translating in a crisp pixel density of 577ppi. Needless to say, the screen is incredibly sharp with rich colours, and seemed buttery smooth during our usage. 

Samsung Galaxy S7_3 Samsung Galaxy S7_4 Samsung Galaxy S7_5 Samsung Galaxy S7_6 Samsung Galaxy S7_9 Samsung Galaxy S7_10Taking a quick detour to the port and button placement, above the display is where you’ll find the earpiece, Samsung branding, the sensors and front 5MP camera. Below the screen you’ll find the physical home button that integrates a fingerprint sensor, flanked by two backlit navigation keys. The right spine features the power button, while the volume rocker moves over to the left. The bottom edge holds the 3.5mm audio jack, micro-USB port and loudspeaker grill. Up top you’ll fnd an ejectable tray that houses two SIM card slots, one of which doubles up as a microSD card slot. This is another new addition to the Galaxy S7 – if you remember the Galaxy S6 offered fixed storage – a feature that didn’t go down well with many users. Samsung’s tried to rectify this here, and while we would have prefered dual-SIM plus a dedicated microSD card slot, it’s great that expandable storage is now an option. The rear panel features a mirror finish that attracts fingerprints like a moth to a flame. The rear camera module is now flatter, and doesn’t protrude as much. Interestingly, Samsung has chosen to reduce the resolution of the primary snapper, which is now a 12MP unit as compared to a 16MP one. However, Samsung is making up for the loss in resolution by adding bigger pixels – in fact the company says the pixels let in 56 percent more light, and clubbed with the f/1.7 aperture, make for better low light images. There’s also a new Dual Pixel focus system, which allows each pixel in the sensor to focus, leading to faster autofocus speeds. You also get OIS for blur-free shots. The primary camera is assisted by a dual-tone LED flash. 

Samsung Galaxy S7_12Another feature Samsung’s brought back to the Galaxy S7 is waterproofing – the device is now IP68 certified making it both water and dust proof – and therefore much more rugged than the S6. Coming to the performance aspect, the Galaxy S7 is powered by the latest Snapdragon 820 processor, paired with a meaty 4GB of RAM. However, as always, in select regions including India, you’ll get it with an Exynos configuration, in this case an octa-core chipset clocked at 2.3GHz. In terms of storage, you get 32GB and 64GB of storage, both of which can be topped up by 200GB. 

Samsung Galaxy S7_11A key area where Samsung has made improvements to the Galaxy S7 is the battery, which has been bumped up from 2,600mAh to 3,000mAh. A plus point is that the battery supports both fast charging and wireless charging. In terms of the software, the smartphone runs Android 6.0.2 Marshmallow, layered with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. The connectivity features on offer include dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac with MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS, 4G LTE and USB 2.0.

The Galaxy S7 will be available for pre-order in select countries in the next few days, with delivery beginning March 11th. We don’t have the details on India price and availability yet, but we expect the smartphone to be launched here soon.

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