Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote a story asking whether or not Samsung actually needs a Galaxy S7. After all, the Galaxy S6 is still a really, really great phone. Turns out it does, because Samsung actually listened to all its fans and improved last year’s phone to address almost every issue consumers might have had.
The Galaxy S7 offers pretty much everything you could ask for in a 2016 flagship smartphone. A Snapdragon 820 processor in the U.S.? Check. A top-of-the-class 12MP f1.7 camera with OIS? Check. 4GB of RAM? Check. A 5.1-inch Quad HD display? Check. Everything is great on paper and even in person — during my brief hands-on I loved the metal and glass design, which Samsung pulled from last year’s models. That’s right, the rumors of plastic were wrong (thankfully.)
Samsung didn’t just add the latest hardware, though. It also made changes that consumers are going to like. microSD support is back. There’s a much larger 3,000mAh battery that should get you through a day, though, admittedly, Samsung didn’t add a removable battery. There’s also an always-on display that should help you save power instead of having to turn on the screen dozens of times a day to check notifications. It still has adaptive fast charging and also has the new faster wireless charging introduced in the Galaxy Note 5.
But my favorite part, and maybe I’m silly, is that the Galaxy S7 is also water resistant. It’s not bulky or anything like you might be used to with rugged smartphones. It has an IP68 rating, which means it can get dunked in water or technically sit at 5m under water for up to 30 minutes, all with a similar beauty to last year’s model. No port covers or anything — similar to how Sony has executed similar functionality on its models.
Speaking of ports, there’s one piece of the Galaxy S7 that might seem odd to some people. It still has a microUSB port instead of USB-C. To Samsung’s credit, the company said it kept this so that the phone will work with the current Gear VR headset. Sounds like a fair trade-off to us.
The more rounded look, the beautiful Quad HD AMOLED display and the small but much-asked-for upgrades all make the Galaxy S7 a very compelling competitor this year. We’ll reserve final judgement for our review. You can take a look at the phone in our gallery and video now.