So the Galaxy S8 has its fancy Infinity Display and iris scanners, not to mention faster processors and other upgraded specs, but when it comes to the actual feature set, it's likely the year-old Galaxy S7 will be inheriting at least some of the tricks that make the GS8 such a desirable handset.
UI, visuals, and settings
After the upgrade to Android 7.0 Nougat, the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge already have the basics of the Galaxy S8's UI, with clean, white visuals throughout. That's alongside new features, like resolution scaling, new maintenance modes, and performance options in the redesigned Settings app.
A Nougat-upgraded Galaxy S7 has "Samsung Experience" version 8, whereas it's version 8.1 on the Galaxy S8. And as far as visual differences go, the main changes are in the launcher and Samsung's app icons, which have been redesigned to incorporate a wireframe aesthetic. The launcher itself sports some minor changes, including a redesigned settings pane and a Pixel-style swipe-up gesture for getting to the app drawer.
It's possible — likely, even — that both will make their way to the GS7 as part of a future "Samsung Experience 8.1" update for that phone. Samsung has been fastidious over the past couple of years when it comes to updating its older phones with its latest UI along with new Android platform versions. For instance, the Galaxy S6 series got a GS7-like UI along with Marshmallow in early 2016.
Either way, if you want to give the Galaxy S8's launcher a try on your Galaxy S7, it's available for Nougat-based Samsung phones as a separate, unofficial download.
Samsung has already confirmed that its Bixby AI features will be heading to other Galaxy phones in the future, and as last year's flagship, the Galaxy S7 has to be pretty close to the top of that list.The timeframe remains unclear, though, as does the specifics of which Bixby features will make it to older handsets. (And then there's the fact that only two languages are supported at launch, with the timetable for new additions stretching towards the end of the year.)
The Galaxy S7, of course, lacks a dedicated Bixby button, which means it's unlikely Samsung will be able to integrate Bixby's voice-based features into the phone as seamlessly. As for Hello Bixby (the home screen tab off on the left) and Bixby vision in the camera app, the chances are stronger.
Bixby is a big, slow-moving project, though, so don't be surprised if it takes several months for updates to begin rolling out.
After looking into our crystal ball, here's a breakdown of how we think things will go for the rest of these Galaxy S8 features:
Noooope: Even if DeX could be hacked onto the Galaxy S7, the DeX dock has the wrong port for the older phone.
Unlikely: This is the main new processing trick for the GS8's camera, which should allow it to capture sharper, more detailed pics, thanks to the magic of computational photography. Given the hardware differences between the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S8, it'd be a major undertaking to back-port this feature to the older phone, and Samsung has little incentive to do so.
Unlikely: The Galaxy S8's neat new Infinity Wallpapers work across the lock screen, home screen, and Always-On Display. And as we know from DisplayMate's display shootout, the Galaxy S8's Always-On Display works differently from the Galaxy S7's at a hardware level.
Snapchat-style filters (OK, and other camera app features)
50/50, but if Samsung can bring Bixby vision to the GS7's camera app, the chances are good. 🐰
Same goes for new features elsewhere in the camera app, like the floating shutter button and easy zoom controls. Some of these have already debuted in Samsung's latest Galaxy A-series phones.
Nope: It's unlikely Samsung will be able to recreate the Galaxy S8's super fast facial recognition with the Galaxy S7's single front-facing camera.
Which Galaxy S8 features are you hoping will make it to your Galaxy S7? Let us know down in the comments!
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