The long-awaited Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge have finally arrived — and they’re everything we hoped they would be. Announced at MWC 2016 in Barcelona, Samsung has again released two variants of the S7 — both similar at the core, but with a few subtle differences. Last year’s Samsung offering was a big one with the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, and this time around Samsung has made its 2016 phones even better than ever before.
Last year with the GS6, Samsung dropped both the S6 proper and S6 edge at the same time, while the S6 edge+ came along a bit later. The design of the S6 was totally different from that of the previous years S5. Gone was the cheaper-looking plastic, here now was a solid glass and metal design.
This time around, Samsung has announced two variants of the S7, in two different sizes, right from the start. Both carry on with the metal and glass design of the GS6, with a few major updates. The S7 proper rings in at 5.1-inches, and the slightly larger — but otherwise quite the same — S7 edge at 5.5-inches. Both S7 variants are packed with features that include a microSD card slot, bigger battery, refreshed camera and even waterproofing.
Here's everything you need to know:
Samsung Galaxy S7 Review
It's not all that often we can recommend a phone without any real hesitation. The Galaxy S7 is one of those. Samsung has improved on most of our complaints from the Galaxy S6 era. Battery life is improved. Not great, but adequate. The overall design is better and less slippery, and it takes a case well without becoming too large. The display size hits that 5.1-inch sweet spot. The fingerprint feature is excellent.
And while we're a little back-and-forth on the camera, that's because Samsung is among the manufacturers that we tend to hold to a higher standard in that regard. The Galaxy S7 camera should, in any event, serve you just fine.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Design
The 5.1-inch Galaxy S7 will be the mainstream phone for most users, while a good many will look to the slightly larger 5.5-inch Galaxy S7 edge. The designs don’t break too far at all from the S6 models, but this time around we get two size variations all at once, rather than months apart. Both S7 phones are nearly identical, but the S7 edge features those fancy curved edges which also bring along some fun new software features.
The S7 is a bit thicker than the S6, but that’s to make room for things like the bigger 3000mAh battery (3600mAh in the edge). The camera bump on the back is still present, but it’s been slimmed down a ton and isn’t nearly as noticeable as before.
The S7 is also water and dust resistant with an IP68 rating, and no port flaps to be found. The S5 shared the same waterproof status, but with the more-than-annoying plastic flap covering the charging port. Speaking of which — Samsung has stuck with the standard microUSB port on the S7, rather than opting for the newer USB-C port.
The S7 is available in simple black and gold models, while the S7 edge can be had in gold, black and silver. The S7 is still all metal and glass, but you’ll notice a few subtle design changed from the S6. The edges are a bit more rounded, and there’s a bit less glam around the home button and camera fixtures.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Specs
When it comes to specs the S7 does not disappoint. Right off the bat you’ll see a vibrant QHD Super AMOLED display (2560x1440) staring you in the face. Behind it, Samsung has upped the RAM to 4GB keep things running smoothly, and a top-notch Snapdragon processor in the U.S. models and its own Exynos elsewhere around the world.
Samsung has listened to the S6 battery complaints as well, this time offering a 3000mAh battery in the Galaxy S7, and an even bigger 3600mAh battery in the S7 edge. For now, the only storage option is 32GB, but the long-lost microSD slot allows you to add up to 200GB of expandable storage.
The fingerprint sensor we loved on the S6 comes back this year as well, making for a great addition to Android Marshmallow on the S7.
What’s new this year as well is the always-on display (AOD) of the S7 and S7 edge. When your screen is off, you can choose to show a clock face (there are a few from which to choose) as well as the calendar, and things like battery percentage and notifications.
|Category||Galaxy S7||Galaxy S7 edge|
|Operating System||Android 6.0 Marshmallow||Android 6.0 Marshmallow|
Dual edge screen
|Processor||Octa-core Snapdragon or Samsung Exynos||Octa-core Snapdragon or Samsung Exynos|
|Expandable||microSD up to 200GB||microSD up to 200GB|
|Rear Camera||12MP f/1.7
|Front Camera||5MP f/1.7||5MP f/1.7|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 ac MIMO
Bluetooth v4.2 LE
ANT+, USB 2.0, NFC
|Wi-Fi 802.11 ac MIMO
Bluetooth v4.2 LE
ANT+, USB 2.0, NFC
|Battery||3000 mAh||3600 mAh|
|Water resistance||IP68 rating||IP68 rating|
|Security||One-touch fingerprint sensor
|One-touch fingerprint sensor
|Dimensions||142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm||150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm|
Samsung Galaxy S7 Camera
There’s no denying that the S6 had an awesome camera, so as you’d expect, the S7 won’t be outdone. The rear camera has a resolution of 12MP (compared to the 16MP camera of the S6), but it’s also adds a wider f/1.7 lens and 1.4-micron pixels. OIS remains intact on the S7 as well.
The combo of new features makes for one great camera on the S7 and S7 edge. There larger f/1.7 aperture makes for some great low-light shots, and the larger pixel size helps in this effort as well. All-in-all the S7 camera still keeps Samsung on top. Check out our sweet camera comparison for more in-depth action.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Software
The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are running Android Marshmallow 6.0, with a bit of TouchWiz on top (as is the Samsung way). TouchWiz was greatly slimmed down for the Galaxy S6, and you’ll notice more of the same here. It’s present almost everywhere, but it doesn’t get in the way nearly as much as it used to. If you’ve been using Samsung devices lately you’ll feel right at home, and if not, the learning curve won’t be all that big. The noticeable differences are the colors of the quick settings menu, as well as a different layout and icons than stock Marshmallow, with a few of Samsung’s own apps thrown into the mix.
There’s also a cool gaming launcher on the S7, which gives you the juice to run your favorite games in full screen, while toning down your notifications and other distractions.
The UX on the S7 edge gets a bit of a revamp as well, taking on a bit more than the previous years model. The software now gives you a list of customizable edges from which to choose, offering more interaction that before. You can pin tasks within apps to the edge screen, and the apps edge can now include up to 10 apps.
What sets the S7 edge apart is the ability to change up the edge screen action. Built into the software, you can fully customize the quick-to-access screen that serves up various shortcuts, including apps, contacts, weather and even sports scores. The swipe area can be chosen based on your preference — top, middle, bottom, left, right — you can easily access it with just a swipe of your thumb. The screens can be reordered or disabled, giving you full control over what you want to use. A very cool feature that adds to the allure of the S7 edge.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Waterproof
Samsung is being smart with the S7, bringing back many of the features that were sorely missed on the Galaxy S6. Now, the S7 and S7 edge gain an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. What’s awesome is that there is no sacrifice in usage while achieving this either — that means no annoying flaps over the ports. While the Galaxy S5 was a waterproof phone, it has a super annoying cheap plastic flap covering the microUSB port (and a super annoying pop-up message along with it). The S7 has no flaps to worry about, while still shedding off water and dust.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to go swimming with your S7 in-hand, but it does mean that it will stay safe from those accidental drops. Should it fall in some water (yes, even the toilet) or get wet running through the rain, it will keep on ticking.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Accessories
While there is definitely no shortage of Galaxy S7 cases and accessories to choose from, Samsung announced a few of their own to make for a bigger, better Galaxy S7 experience. Three of the early case favorites have more to offer than just protecting your phone however.
The S7 and S7 edge have great, big batteries — but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. If you’re a super power user who needs some extra juice, Samsung offers an official battery case for both devices. The hard rubber case comes in silver or black, and has a set of LED lights to show the power as well as a microUSB port for charging. It actually connects to the phone wirelessly using Qi, rather than using the microUSB port. The case will give you a bump of 2700mAh on the Galaxy S7, or 3100mAh on the S7 edge.
If you’re a big camera user on your S7 or S7 edge, then this camera case from Samsung may be just what you need. The thin silicone case provides a bit of extra protection and grip, but it also allows to attach one of two different camera lenses on your S7 — give you a much wider range of camera ability. The telephoto lens will let you snag those great long-distance shots, while the wide-angle lens grabs awesome wide angles and closeups.
One of the Samsung standards is the S-View Flip Cover, and the S7 has its very own as well. The case is standard fair if you’ve ever used one before, folding over the phone and leaving the S-View window open some quick actions — even letting you use it through the case itself. You’ll get some decent protection with this one, but its more about the function than form.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Podcast Special
Samsung Galaxy S7 Availability
The Galaxy S7 pre-orders went live from AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, U.S. Cellular and other carriers at 8am ET on February 23, 2016.
On March 11, 2016, the S7 was officially available online and in stores for purchase.