We’re here at MWC 2016 where Samsung has just taken the wraps off the brand new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. These phones might not stray too far from the design language found on the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge from last year, though they’re certainly different in terms of specifications, features and user experience.

There’s certainly a lot to cover here, so let’s jump right in — here is our hands-on and first impressions with the Samsung Galaxy S7.
galaxy s7 vs lg g5 quick look aa-3See also: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: Which phone impressed you the most?226

Design

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Samsung didn't change much of the design, but that's okay

Those who were hoping for a complete redesign will be disappointed here, as the Galaxy S7 looks a lot like its predecessor, the Galaxy S6. It’s not so similar to where you’d get the two devices confused with one another, but Samsung did a good job at making minor tweaks to ensure it stuck with the same design language this year.

The device is comprised of an aluminum frame with glass front and back panels, which really helps bring a premium feel to the smartphone. This time around, though, Samsung decided to add a slight curve to the left and right edges on the back of the phone, similar to what we saw on the Galaxy Note 5 last year. This is a design choice we can get behind — the Galaxy S6 felt a little boxy, and these curved edges make the S7 much easier to hold and grip in one hand.

samsung galaxy s7 first look aa-6

Also on the back we see a camera module in the center that looks very similar to the one found on the S6. The sensor on the S7, though, is almost completely flush with the rear panel. Samsung says the camera bump measures just .46mm tall, so we’re sure many users will be happy about this upgrade. Other than that, the back panel is very minimalistic and looks quite sleek.

samsung galaxy s7 first look aa-13

Moving around to the front of the device, we can see that Samsung really hasn’t taken too many chances here. The Galaxy S7 looks very similar to many other Samsung devices, largely due to the physical home button sitting under the 5.1-inch display. Flanking the home button are capacitive recent applications and back buttons, set up in typical Samsung style. The bezels around the display looks all around smaller as well. You’ll still also find the Samsung logo sitting right above the display, and above that sits an earpiece with a front-facing camera module to the right.

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Samsung is using Micro USB while the other big players have switched to USB Type-C

Moving around the sides, not too much has changed either. The power button is found on the right side, the top is mostly bare and the left side features two volume keys. The bottom edge houses the 3.5mm headphone jack, Micro USB port and a single speaker grill. The fact that Samsung decided to forgo a USB Type-C port on its 2016 flagships is certainly an odd one, as it’s been made pretty clear that USB Type-C will be the standard for Android handsets from here on out.

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Samsung decided to bring back two big features to its Galaxy S line this year. The first of which is water and dust resistance. The S7 (and S7 Edge) comes with an IP68 rating, which means it can survive small splashes of water and a few tumbles without being rendered useless. The second, we’ll get to in a bit.

Display

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Unsurprisingly, Samsung has decided to stick with a similar display size with its new flagship device. The Galaxy S7 sports a 5.1-inch Quad HD display of the Super AMOLED variety. So far, the display looks just as good (if not better than) every other high-end handset the company has produced.

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One notable addition to the S7 is its always-on display. We’ve seen this feature from companies like Motorola and Google in the past, and now Samsung is finally catching on. Just like on the Moto X Pure Edition and recent Nexus devices, you’ll be able to see the time, date, calendar or a personalized image. Since this is a Super AMOLED panel only the pixels that need to light up are given power, which ultimately doesn’t take up too much battery life.

Performance & hardware

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The Galaxy S7 will be powered by either a Samsung Exynos 8 Octa or Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, depending on the market. Regardless, all versions are paired with 4GB RAM.

The company has also figured out a way to keep the device at a cool temperature — especially during gaming. There’s actually a copper pipe running next to the processor that contains water, which will run through and cool down the processor as it gets warm during gaming and other heavy tasks.

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Samsung has brought back the microSD card slot

The biggest feature that’s returning to the Galaxy S7 this year is expandable storage. That’s right — Samsung has decided to bring back the microSD card slot for expandable storage up to an extra 200GB. The microSD card slot also doubles as a SIM 2 slot, so if you need an extra SIM card for any reason, you have that option too.

The Galaxy S7 comes with a pretty sizable 3000mAh battery, though it’s not user replaceable. This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, as Samsung has been moving away from removable batteries ever since last year. Luckily the S7 still has Quick Charging capabilities and support for both PMA and Qi wireless charging standards. This will make it easy to find a place to charge your device if need be.

Cameras

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The Samsung Galaxy S7 comes with a 12MP rear camera with an f/1.7 aperture lens, compared to the Galaxy S6’s 16MP sensor and f/1.9 aperture lens. The S7’s sensor also sports larger 1.4µm pixels, which should allow the camera to take in much more light (approximately 25% more, according to Samsung) than the S6’s camera.

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Since we haven’t had a whole lot of time with these devices so far, we unfortunately weren’t able to take too many pictures to test out the cameras. If they’re anything like the cameras found on the S6 or Note 5, though, both cameras should perform quite well compared to the competition.

Software

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The Galaxy S7 is running a heavily customized build of Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Samsung’s Touchwiz overlay on top. It doesn’t look too much different from the software on the Note 5 or the Galaxy S6, though it’s clear Samsung is working to keep the device performing as fast as possible.

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Perhaps the biggest change in the S7’s software is a new experimental feature, found in the ‘Galaxy Labs’ section of the phone’s Settings menu, that allows you to turn off the app drawer altogether. We saw this on the LG G5 a bit earlier today as well, so it seems like this is somewhat of a trend when it comes to third-party manufacturers’ skins. We’ve also heard from a few sources that Android N, the next major version of Google’s OS, will ditch the app drawer, so perhaps this is just Samsung getting a head start on the big change.

g5-thumbSee also: LG G5 hands-on: will LG’s big gamble pay off?155

Specs

 Samsung Galaxy S7Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Display5.1-inch Super AMOLED display
2560 x 1440 resolution
5.5-inch Super AMOLED display
2560 x 1440 resolution
ProcessorUS: Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Most other regions: Samsung Exynos 8 Octa
US: Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Most other regions: Samsung Exynos 8 Octa
RAM4GB4GB
Storage32GB32GB
MicroSDYes, up to 200GB (Uses SIM 2 slot)Yes, up to 200GB (Uses SIM 2 slot)
Dust and water resistanceIP68 ratingIP68 rating
Cameras12MP rear camera with f/1.7 aperture, 1.4-micron pixels, OIS
5MP front camera with f/1.7 aperture
12MP rear camera with f/1.7 aperture, 1.4-micron pixels, OIS
5MP front camera with f/1.7 aperture
BatteryNon-removable 3000mAh batteryNon-removable 3600mAh battery
Fast chargingYesYes
Wireless chargingQi and PMAQi and PMA
SoftwareAndroid 6.0 MarshmallowAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
Dimensions142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm, 152g150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm, 157g

Gallery

Wrapping up

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So there you have it, our first look at the Samsung Galaxy S7! While it may not be a drastic change from the S6, we still think Samsung did a killer job this time around. What are your thoughts? When this device launches in the next few months, will you be picking one up for yourself? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Next: Samsung Galaxy S7 cases

  • Airyl

    The Galaxy S7 is actually looking pretty solid.

    • Matthew Merrick

      Yeah way better than the g5. So disappointed. Samsung had a crappy lineup last year, so I bought a V10. I still love the phone but I’m starting to regret giving lg my money.

      • NorgesGlasset

        S6 line is a great lineup…
        S7 is just better :)

  • Vincent

    If it had USB-C it was an instant buy for me. Now I have to really make a choice between the LG G5 and the GS7.

    • Happy

      Same here.

    • Abhiram

      I feel the same but go with S7 because right now out of my 1000 frnds on fb and 200 frnds i contact daily not even 1% has USB-C. My guess is samsung will make USB-C with note 6 if USB-C usage among people increases rapidly. But right now im happy with present usbs because most of my old ones like laptops tabs hard disks everything needs to be updated. The problem is I can update and adapt very fast but my frnds wont adapt so it will not be that much useful.

    • aylak

      I am happy they kept it since I use cable only for charging.

      I believe another reason to stay with micro USB is likely to make current Gear VR compatible.

  • Russell Durose

    solid design. just an increment from the s6 which is now getting the software Android 6.0.1. updates are not reliable with Samsung. I would however after having my s6 for a year would consider a s7. fantastic performance

  • Paul Young

    Micro USB *facepalm*

    • David Hunter

      Don’t see the issue. I have a lot of those cables and can expect others to have micro USB too. USB C is still niche for a year or two yet.

      • Paul Young

        Sure people have the cables but that’s hardly a reason to march in the face of progress. USB-C is the new standard, I’m just disappointed that Samsung made this design decision on an otherwise excellent phone.

      • Otto Andersson

        I actually think it’s a smart decision. I don’t think most people are gonna utilize the faster transfer rates, and the phone charges plenty fast as is.

  • Derek923

    “Yes, up to 200GB (Uses SIM 2 slot)” Does it mean that the S7 and the S7 edge are dual Sim phones?

    • Paul Young

      Yes. 2 sims or 1 sim 1 SD.

      • Derek923

        That’s the best feature for me in the S7. 32GB of storage is enough for me. But in my country, we can’t do without dual Sim. So, this my next phone. I personally thank Samsung for that Dual Sim option. Hope they include it in the note 6 as well.

      • sreejith_tj

        it means there will not be any dual sim version. in other words, all s7s will be dual sim ??

        • Chris Quinnell-Brock

          I’m not convinced. I’ve read in several places that only Asia get dual sim. I live and work in different European countries, so this is an important design feature for me…

  • Shivam Chatak

    Not gonna upgrade from my S6. Will look for S8

  • Pedro Capello

    Wow I really want this phone but i’ill wait for the Note 6

  • Nadir

    so no force touch like touchscreen panel ?

    • aaloo

      nope. apple is once again at least a year ahead. just like they were with 64 bit and touch ID.

      • Andreas Larsson

        Apple wasn’t even first on the market with force touch and definitely not “a year ahead”. Its simply not on demand, I for one never use it

      • dcp123

        Are you deliberately trolling? Apple was more than a year behind on: 3G, LTE, larger displays, OLED, etc. Do you think Apple was first to the market with mobile wallets too? Each manufacturer has its strong points, but to pretend Apple is consistently ahead on features that matter is denying reality.

      • Nadir

        A fingerprint sensor was first found in the Motorola Atrix which is an Android phone, and a Force touch like display was first found in a BlackBerry .

      • Meringo

        I’ve got a 6S Plus. I don’t use force touch. It’s cool, but largely unimplemented and forgotten about. I don’t see why Samsung needed to do anything like that.

  • Otto Andersson

    Although I want that ip cert, it’s not worth upgrading from an s6. The new marshmallow updated significantly improved the speed of the phone anyhow.

  • No IR Blaster, removable battery, microSD

    • Chris

      There’s a sd card slot

      • sorry, I missed that. Anyway, the more important – battery and IR Blaster.

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    Ditch the app drawer?? No. Just no.

    • NorgesGlasset

      Not that bad if you think about it.. Just need to make a folder as the “app drawer” instead. But not quite the same though.. :/ So hope they keep it in Android N..

  • Panos Andriotis

    I love it but I already own a S6 and Gear VR and I was expecting some higher pixel density to reduce the screen door effect. I think S7 will be around the 577ppi mark again. The water resistance , better heat management, bigger battery, curved back (its hard to pick the S6 from a table) and microSD are all welcome additions plus of course the new processor. At this point I don’t think I will jump ahead to preorder but I will certainly sell my S6 to get the lucky 7 when it’s price begins to drop around June or later.

  • Sumukan Setty

    Why 820 is only in US!!??

  • aaloo

    wow, this is very underwhelming. so what new feature do they have? just “always on” mode. which is so useless. i said it before, its like having the light on inside the fridge even when you close it. this is a great feature on a watch, but not sure about a phone.

  • Yassine Bekkal

    If Samsung continues to run Touchwiz on her phones, then I will never buy one of its.

  • klas eriksson

    150g… too heavy.
    Position 1-8 of popular phones in sweden is <140g. and I think that makes perfect sense.
    Easy to build large, heavy phones. But customers like them light.

  • Mehdi Morchid

    wednesday, feb. 24th means this is the first review straight from the future

  • John

    All good apart from the glass back which is the dumbest thing ever! Drop it (and you will drop it at some point) and the glass shatters to pieces, ruining your phone. Metal back couldn’t have been that complicated surely?

  • Ted Ted

    the black S7 is pretty awesome but when we hold it there are many fingerprint back of the phone …. a little not cool

  • Ted Ted

    Does the s7 just have 32 GB

    • Ted Ted

      Please reply me

  • David Wang

    So, does the galaxy s7 count as a water cooled phone? And also, why did they drop the 128 internal storage for a 32 + SD card storage? Also, I’m interested in the snapdragon 820 in general. I have the sd 810, and I use high cpu mode, runs games better, but cpu heats up to 110f, battery is 3 to 3.5 hours of gaming non stop. I wonder how much better adreno 530 is and how much SD 820 has improved.

  • Amelie Anwen

    Everything looks fine with the S7 edge except for its size that seems to be odd.. Man !! Its problematic to carry around in pocket.. Every time I walk with a fear of breaking it too.