No matter how you cut it, the Samsung Galaxy S7 is a pretty amazing leap. From the outside, it may not look like it, but the phone has definitely taken a huge leap in becoming something new while looking like the phone it replaces. Welcome to my hands on with the Samsung Galaxy S7.
When Samsung announced this yesterday, I wasn't expecting a whole lot. And to a mere normal person, putting it next to its S6 ancestor and you'd be pressed to tell a difference. Though things are different. And it all begins with its display. While yes, it has the same QuadHD 2560x1440 resolution, it also carries a new feature called Always On, which requires zero input; not even a gesture for it to be activated. It also turns itself off when you put your phone in your pocket or purse. But it's also Samsung's Super AMOLED display, which if you've never seen one in person, you're definitely going to be blown away by it. The S7 also uses Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back compared to Gorilla Glass 4 on the Galaxy S6.
Internally, the Galaxy S7 is a very different picture when compared to the Galaxy S6. In the States, it will be equipped with the latest Snapdragon 820 octa-core processor, the latest Adreno 530 GPU and 4GB of DDR4 RAM. Elsewhere, it will come with an Exynos 8890 octa-core processor and a Mali GPU. This means the Galaxy S7 is basically one of the fastest Android phones money can buy.
Software-wise, it's probably the least different when compared to the Galaxy S6. However, Android Marshmallow is present; which means you are getting the latest version of Android but the same old TouchWiz is still running the software experience. Each year, they lessen the amount of TouchWiz and I'm not expecting anything different on the Galaxy S7. I'm sure that once I get to use it for an extended period of time, I'll like the software experience a bit more than I did on the Galaxy S6 and the Note 5 last year.
Some of the biggest news surrounding the S7 this year is the IP68 certification. The last Galaxy phone to have some kind of rating without being branded as an active device is the Galaxy S5 with that ugly flap. Well, the Galaxy S7 can survive 1.5 meters of water for about 30 minutes without blowing up so that's really good to know.
Another big scoop with the S7 is the battery. While no it's not removable, but it is larger. Now a 3,000 mAh battery is inside the Galaxy S7 and it should offer just a bit more battery life than the previous Galaxy S6. Also, all of you who complained about the death of microSD card expansion-- complain no more because the Galaxy S7 has a microSD card slot.
Now onto the camera. I was expecting Samsung to pack some 20 something megapixel camera but it finally feels like the megapixel war is over. On the S7 is a more modest 12MP sensor with an f1.7 aperture and larger pixel sizes of 1 micron. This means that pixels are larger, which means more light for that larger aperture hits the pixels and in result, a brighter and more clean looking image. We still have features like OIS and UHD 4K video recording. But another killer feature with its camera is its dual pixel autofocus. All the pixels on the sensor are focusing pixel, which means in theory, this phone is lightning fast in terms of autofocus. And in my brief time with testing, holy smokes, this thing is fast. And this should also work in the dark and low light situations too.
So that's the story on the Galaxy S7, a pretty bold push forward in my opinion. Though I can't say that for sure until we get our own unit which you won't have to wait a long time for because the Galaxy S7 is launching on March 11 here in the States and we'll have our own unit a little bit before that.