The Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2016 in Barcelona is now in full swing and we've already seen several big device announcements earlier this week from the likes of Sony, Samsung, HTC and Huawei. If you've only just tuned in, there's still more to come, including press events from OPPO and Acer as well as a rumour that BlackBerry may announce a second Android phone, hot on the heels of the BlackBerry Priv. Today we're going to take a closer look at the latest flagships from the biggest name in the business, and some might argue the current stars of the show, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.
Samsung Galaxy S7
Samsung's Galaxy S brand has been a mainstay of the mobile industry for almost six whole years, chalking up numerous awards along the way and becoming one of the most widely recognised smartphone brands in the world, with each new generation going on to become one of the best selling smartphones of its time. At the time of its release in 2010, the original Galaxy S included the fastest GPU of any smartphone, was the thinnest smartphone at 9.9mm and was also the first Android phone to be certified for DivX HD. It's no wonder Samsung has continued the S line's pedigree, despite weaker than expected sales from the Galaxy S5 and S6.
While it's hard to argue that the Galaxy SII, S3 and even S4 were anything but great advances in technology there were criticisms that the Galaxy S5 and S6 did not go far enough and some had begun to wonder if Samsung had become complacent. I myself was also one of these, however, the Samsung Galaxy S7 appears to be a classic return to form and looks to bring much more innovation to the table than either of its two predecessors. Appearance wise not much has changed over the Galaxy S6, the two obvious differences are the curved back, like the Galaxy Note 5 and the camera unit, which is now much more streamlined against the casing.
As a leading flagship smartphone we expected the hardware to be nothing short of the best that's currently available, and we weren't disappointed. Depending on the exact model, the Galaxy S7 will come with either the Snapdragon 820 or Samsung's own Exynos 8890 chipset, both being powerful enough to handle anything you can throw at them. Both variants will come with 4GB RAM, either 32 or 64GB internal storage and a MicroSD expansion slot which can hold a further 200GB. The device has a 5.1 inch Super AMOLED screen with 2560 x 1440 pixels which equates to a massive 577ppi. Powering the display is a non-removable 3000mAh battery.
Latest additions include: the 'always on' feature seen on last years Galaxy S6 Edge, wireless charging which supports both Qi and PMA standards; and, IP68 certification for dust and water resistance, first seen on the Galaxy S5 and for reasons unknown dropped from the Galaxy S6. However, the camera is the star feature, as compared to the Galaxy S6, the new sensor has bigger pixels (1.44 microns) and a wider aperture (f/1.7) as well as Dual Pixel technology which enables the Galaxy S7 to achieve lightning-fast autofocus. The Galaxy S7 ships with Android Marshmallow, is available for pre-order now and costs 700 euros.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
If you're not familiar with the Edge model from last years Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge it's essentially the flagship smartphone, in this case the latest Galaxy S7, with a screen that bends around the two vertical sides of the device. The Galaxy S7 Edge is also a bit bigger then its sibling, with a 5.5 inch screen opposed to the 5.1 inch found on the Galaxy S7. The front and back of the S7 Edge are protected by toughened glass and both have been 3D thermo-formed using a process unique to Samsung. the S7 Edge comes with all of the features of the S7, including the IP certification, although the touchscreen doesn't work when wet.
Samsung have improved the unique edge panel feature to be more accommodating to single hand use. The virtual panel now uses more screen real estate upon activation, this means not only can you use your thumb to slide the panel open more effectively you'll also be able to reach more of your shortcuts without requiring a second hand, this might not sound like much but most people who've owned a large phone such as this will testify to it being a welcome addition. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge will be released at the same time as the S7 and if you want it you'll have to pay a premium for the edged display, costing 800 euros SIM free.