Last year the Galaxy S6 brought one of the best smartphone cameras available, taking on all competitors and more often than not coming out on top in terms of speed and quality. The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are looking to continue Samsung's strength in phone cameras by improving on what was already a great rear-facing camera. The changes come down to three main areas: a larger aperture, bigger individual pixels and even faster auto focusing.

The immediate difference you'll notice is a drop to 12MP of resolution from the previous 16MP, but don't worry about that translating into a drop in quality. The lower pixel count means in this case that each individual pixel is larger at 1.4-microns, up from 1.12-microns in the GS6. That's not quite as large as the 1.55-micron pixels in the Nexus 6P's camera, but in any case it's going to translate into much more light hitting each pixel to improve low-light shots.

Three big improvements, potentially without losing anything in the process

Adding to the low-light prowess is an even wider aperture, now f/1.7 instead of f/1.9 in the previous generation, which was already one of the widest available in a phone. Just like the larger pixels, a wider aperture lets the camera take in even more light in all circumstances — and the more light you have, the better your pictures can look.

As if those two improvements weren't enough, Samsung has also borrowed a feature from its DSLR cameras and moved to an entirely new type of sensor that lets the camera's auto focus mechanism work even faster. The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge have a new "dual pixel" sensor in which every pixel is used for phase-detection auto focus, rather than just some of the pixels in most other sensors. Samsung is claiming dramatically improved auto focus time, all without the need for a laser focusing system as seen on other cameras.

All of this was done while retaining the same great camera interface, home button quick-launch action and optical image stabilization (OIS). We're excited to give the Galaxy S7's camera a full review treatment.