Samsung-Galaxy-S7-vs-S7-edge-06_900What a difference a year makes. Samsung has revealed its Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge phone and you’re in for a treat. Building on its experience, Samsung has refined the industrial design of the Galaxy S line to offer what many of its customers were clamoring for: a larger battery, micro SD support, waterproofing, excellent low-light camera performance and uber-fast autofocus — and more. We played with the Galaxy S7, and here’s our take on it.

Industrial design: superb, waterproof

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For the 2016 edition of the Galaxy Series, Samsung is perfecting things, but not revolutionizing them like it did last year. Thanks to the success of the new design language. Instead, Samsung has clarified the handsets positioning and refined its design to the extreme.

You may remember that the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge were concurrent designs addressing the same market. Maybe it was a risk mitigation strategy from Samsung when introducing a brand new design but it also made it harder to accurately predict demand, and Samsung ended up building too few S6 Edge phones to cope with demand.

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With the Galaxy S7 Series, the choice will be much clearer: the Galaxy S7 is the regular sized phone (5.1”), while the Galaxy S7 Edge is the larger model (5.5”). Now they address distinct market segments. As their names indicate, the S7 will feature a flatter (but not completely flat) design, while the S7 Edge will have that beautiful curved display that made people rave. Both phones will also have a larger battery than their predecessors. If you want to go nuts, 3rd parties are building a gold-plated version of the S7, sold for $2400.

If you want know what’s in the retail boxes, check our Youtube videos: Galaxy S7 Edge unboxing and Galaxy S7 unboxing.

Call in your shower if you want: it’s waterproof

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Let’s dive right away in the most important design change of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. Samsung is bringing back its protection against dust and water. This is a huge deal since 50% of smartphone that die accidentally do so due to water exposure.

An IP68 Ingress Protection (IP) rating means that dust cannot penetrate or damage the device (dustproof) and that the device can be immersed in water (typically up to 3 meters). Some water may be able to get in some areas, but cannot damage the functioning of the device. [learn more about IP ratings]

"THE S7 GETS A BETTER IP RATING THAN PANASONIC'S ENORMOUS $1500 RUGGED PHONE"This is a very powerful protection that very few smartphones have. If you remember, the Galaxy S5 had an IP67 rating, which means that it was submersible to 1-meter deep for 30mn, but the Galaxy S7 goes well beyond that. T-Mobile did a hilarious underwater S7 unboxing to celebrate the S7 and S7 Edge water-resistance.

Typically, most IP68 smartphones exist only as bulky phones with a huge encasing. It’s pretty amazing that Samsung has managed to build an IP68 phone that has none of the typical waterproofing downsides. T-Mobile really had fun with their underwater unboxing. As a comparison, Panasonic’s gigantic $1500 rugged phone only gets an IP67 rating. That said, Samsung warns user against charging a wet S7 phone.

Save money on storage: micro SD is back too!

The loss of the micro SD slot in the Galaxy S6 series was a big disappointment for a number of power users. It was obvious that whenever possible, the presence of such an extension is desirable – unless you happen to sell the upgrade for a huge profit margin, like Apple does, which is exactly why Samsung brought microSD back.

Samsung heard its customers, and managed to squeeze a micro SD slot within the SIM tray slot. It works similarly to other handsets: you can either use a SIM and a micro SD, or two SIM cards. If you live in the USA, don’t get too excited, there’s no dual-SIM model scheduled at the moment for our market.

The micro SD slot can accept up to 2TB cards (2048GB). However, the biggest ones today are 200-256GB ones and cost around $80, but still, this is as much storage as many laptop computers. Apple charges about $200 for 128GB of additional built-in storage, and Android OEMs charge less, but it’s obvious why micro SD is important to specific power-users.

Materials: metal and glass

Samsung-Galaxy-S7-vs-S7-edge-10_900The Galaxy S7 industrial design still relies on metal and glass. The Galaxy S7 is a little curvier (front and back) than the S6 and feels great in the hand. It’s a good-sized phone which should appeal to a very wide audience. The new curves make the Galaxy S7 nice and organic-looking, but the S7 Edge has the advantage of the extra-curvy screen. As for the larger display size, it only depends on your taste.

"THE GALAXY S7 DESIGN IS AN IMPRESSIVE ACCOMPLISHMENT"The display of the Galaxy S7 has a very nice looking beveled edge. You may have seen many 2.5D display glass designs, but most are cut at an angle. This one has a rounded glass edge, which means that it took a lot more work/time/money to get done. It also feels even softer in the hand.

In the back, the camera is more flush as before, and a side by side photo with the S6 Edge+ shows that very clearly. It’s very difficult to reduce the depth of the camera module, so I’m really curious about the internal design of these handsets.

To conclude on the design, Samsung is consolidating and defining the Galaxy S7 design better. The fact that Samsung was able to increase the battery life substantially (more on that later in the article), while reducing the camera’s footprint, with micro SD support and with IP68 waterproofing shows the extraordinary skills of their Industrial Design team. The Galaxy S7 design is an impressive accomplishment.

Filed in Cellphones >Reviews. Read more about Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, MWC, MWC 2016 and Samsung.

ProductGalaxy S7Galaxy S7 Edge
Display Diagonal (inches)5.1" (13cm)5.5" (14cm)
Megapixel Count12 Megapixel12 Megapixel
Battery Capacity (mAh)3000 mAh3600 mAh
Processor/Soc NameSnapdragon 820/ Exynos 8Snapdragon 820 or Exynos 8890
RAM Options4 GB,4 GB,
Street Price$437 Galaxy S7 on Amazon$560 Galaxy S7 Edge on Amazon
Link to full specsGalaxy S7 Full specs and detailsGalaxy S7 Edge Full specs and details
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