Friday, March 25, 2016

Inside the Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7


Samsung’s new fl agships debuted at MWC 2016. We take a look at what’s under the hood

After weeks of leaks, teasers and speculation, Samsung finally revealed the hotly anticipated Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The two new flagships add some new features and, intriguingly, bring back some that were missing from the S6, notably microSD expansion. While the announcement of the S7 and S7 Edge may have been slightly overshadowed by the surprise presence of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg at Samsung’s Gear VR presentation, there’s still plenty to get excited about with Samsung’s new phones.

Design-wise they’ve taken a slight departure from the standard Samsung model. There’s no white colorway this time round; instead there’s a choice of black, silver or gold (a color that really seems to be having a moment in mobile design), although overall there’s a strong resemblance to the S6. The streamlined, curvy design is an interesting nod towards the look and feel of Sony’s Xperia Z line, and this is borne out by the advanced water resistance that Samsung has introduced in this iteration. The company was initially quick to deny that this would be a feature when a press shot of the S7 being used during a rainstorm leaked onto the web, but sure enough it’s been included. The S7 and S7 Edge are water-resistant to a depth of 1.5 meters for up to half an hour. You won’t be taking them for a swim any time soon, but equally an accidental dunk in the pool or being caught out in a downpour won’t do them any harm either. Happily there’s no need to cover up jacks and ports either, suggesting that their IP68 rating has accidents more in mind than deliberate or lengthy immersion.

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The cameras have been given a once-over as well. Samsung has always produced excellent smartphone cameras and these latest are no exception. The 12-megapixel main camera has a professional-grade Dual Pixel Sensor, which basically means that it can pick up more light than ever before, allowing you to capture fast-moving action and shoot in the dark. Samsung has also introduced motion panoramas and motion photos to add more interest to your snaps, as well as the new Spotlight feature in Beauty Mode, which is designed to play up your best features in selfies. Results here are hit-and-miss though, with vaguely fish-eyed shots that seem to magically contour your face Kardashian-style. You have been warned.

Mobile gamers are in for a treat though, as the S7 and S7 Edge are the first smartphones to support Vulkan API. This is designed to allow games to get more from the phone’s graphics processor while reducing the load on the CPU itself, which should translate to better graphics, better performance and less overheating. In fact, the phones have a tiny tube of water called a thermal spreader built in to help with cooling. Performance-wise, the CPU is 30% faster than that in the S6, while the GPU cranks it up to a whopping 64% faster than its predecessor. Meanwhile, a new Game Launcher keeps games organised and accessible, while built-in game recording will make life easier for Twitch streamers.

The Always On Display offers the opportunity to view the time and incoming notifications without waking the phone or leaving the lockscreen, which is handy for those who’ve chosen the S7 over the S7 Edge. With the optional LED View Cover, LED lights animate to show these right through the phone case, which is a nice touch, and the phone is clever enough to realise when it’s face down or shut away in a bag, so that it doesn’t activate this unnecessarily and waste power. Backing all this up is a significantly improved battery – 3000mAh for the S7, 3600mAh for the S7 Edge, which Samsung claims will charge in 90 and 100 minutes respectively – plus the capability for wireless charging. There are also optional extras including a battery pack and a ‘backpack’, which functions like a camera grip to enhance the phone’s battery life, though it does significantly increase the unit’s width and weight. There’s even a BlackBerry-esque snap-on keyboard cover, which adds a diminutive QWERTY keyboard onto the bottom of the phone. The modular approach is interesting, but doesn’t go nearly as far as the LG G5 and its ‘Friends’, which Samsung’s smartphone rival announced at the same event, although Samsung is certainly aiming to play in the same ballpark, as the S7’s pre-order program offered consumers the opportunity to get a free Gear VR with purchase.

Despite its outward similarity to its predecessor, the S7 and S7 Edge do offer some noticeable improvements, especially now that Samsung has included microSD memory expansion once more. Is this enough for one of 2016’s most hotly anticipated flagships? We’ll be doing a full hands-on review later to find out [PCmatter].


By Android Mag

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