Rarely does an Android manufacturer take note of what users want as well as Samsung has with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. The company has stuck to its guns on certain aspects like design, which has changed little since the Galaxy S6, and continued with its mission of improving and refining core aspects of the smartphone experience, but it has also been paying close attention to what the fans have been asking for. These are the five best features of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.
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1. microSD expansion
Along with a removable battery and water-resistant rating, microSD expansion was one of the three major features dropped in the Galaxy S6 that had fans enraged and everyone else wondering why. With a smaller battery, more expensive storage options and no water-resistancy at all, the Galaxy S6 undermined its own likelihood of success by taking away certain things Samsung fans had grown used to or even entitled to in a Galaxy flagship.
The return of microSD expansion in the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge is sure to win back many Samsung fans that had lost faith last year, and the super-fast UHD-II standard that is commonplace now has even faster read-write speeds from microSD than even the faster internal flash memory used in the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge.
2. A bigger battery
There has been a lot of people saying for a long time that people don’t care about thicker phones: what we want is a bigger battery. Battery optimization, more efficient processors, battery saving modes and fast charging are all good things, but they should never be used as an excuse to make a battery smaller.
Samsung has finally learned this lesson and given the Galaxy S7 a 20% larger battery and the Galaxy S7 Edge a 40% larger battery. The added side-effect of this is that the 14% thicker Galaxy S7 and 9% thicker Galaxy S7 Edge now have a much less pronounced camera bump on the back. And we couldn’t be happier.
3. Water-resistance without flaps
Just when you thought that Samsung was done with water-resistant flaps and water-resistance generally, the company went and granted the Galaxy S7 with an IP68 ingress rating. That means it is completely dustproof and water-resistant for half an hour in up to five feet of water.
By treating the internal structure of the S7 rather than just the exposed ports, the Galaxy S7 can be submerged without having to worry about the headphone or charging port or the speaker grills. It may not be important for everyone, but it’s way better than it was in the Galaxy S5.
4. An even better camera
Samsung has never had a bad camera, but the fact that last year quite a few other OEMs finally caught up – from LG and Motorola to Huawei and Sony – meant that Samsung doubled down on its camera efforts for the new S7 models. We already know what Samsung is capable of when it sets its mind to something and we have not been disappointed with the latest camera improvements.
The new Galaxy models take a two-pronged approach. The new dual-pixel sensor can focus in an insanely short amount of time, even against the Galaxy S6 which was already fast, and even in very low light conditions. The larger aperture and dual-pixel sensor use every pixel for phase detection for unbelievably good low light performance.
5. A phone optimized for gaming
The Galaxy S7’s are the first phones to be released with the brand-new Vulkan APIs. Vulkan improves upon Open GL and OpenGL ES which currently serve desktop and mobile separately by unifying them under one API. Vulkan’s ability to multi-thread means greatly improved graphics performance because it can use multiple cores at once.
What all this means for the average person is that the Galaxy S7 has gaming at its heart. It is better equipped than any other phone out there for handling demanding games and Samsung has also included a bunch of game optimization settings to limit power or create pre-sets for preferred gaming settings. Blocking alerts, a new games launcher and special in-game menu really shows that Samsung has gamers in its sights.
Bonus: a useful edge at last
This one’s an exclusive for those that opt for the Galaxy S7 Edge variant. When the Galaxy S6 Edge was announced it was cool but hardly useful. The first edge features were pretty uninspired and many could be converted for a regular screen easily enough. The S6 Edge really just felt like a pretty extravagance that was nifty but not necessary. That’s all changed with the Galaxy S7 Edge features, with many more useful options out of the box like a vertically-scrolling news ticker and third-party support ensuring more and more creative uses for the edge display are not far away.
What is your favorite Galaxy S7 feature? What’s still missing from the Galaxy S7?