Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge: Everything you need to know

Alex Kidman 22 February 2016

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Samsung’s latest handsets, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge are here. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest and greatest Android smartphones, including Australian pricing and availability.

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Samsung Galaxy S7 from Samsung

Samsung's latest flagship phone has hit Australian shelves. Get your hands on one today.

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Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge from Samsung

Samsung's latest flagship phone has hit Australian shelves. Get your hands on one today.

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Quick facts about the Samsung S7 Just want the basics? Here’s the short and sweet details on Samsung’s newest handsets:

  • They’re waterproof: The Galaxy S5 was waterproof, but last year’s Galaxy S6 range dropped water resistance. It’s back with a vengeance in the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, with an IP68 rating. That doesn't mean you can automatically take them into the bath with you -- IP ratings only refer to immersion in fresh water -- but it does mean it's not automatically "game over" if you do get them wet.
  • Expandable storage is back: Last year’s models came in a variety of storage sizes, but you couldn’t expand that storage easily due to the lack of a microSD card slot. The microSD slot resides on the top of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge
  • Colour choices: At launch, Samsung will sell the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge in Australia in Black, Gold and Silver. There is also a white variant, but it won't be coming to Australia officially just yet.
  • Improved Camera: The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge come with a 12MP front facing camera, which in pure megapixel terms is down from last year's 16MP camera. The difference is that Samsung has upped the individual pixel size up to 1.4uM, so while there's a smaller pixel count, each pixel is larger. What does this mean in practical terms? You're less able to blow up your photos into massive posters (which is probably a niche case for most of us), but its low light performance should be considerably improved, which is a benefit to many users. The larger individual pixel site idea isn't a new one -- Apple's been doing it for a couple of iPhone releases and HTC also offers this feature on its HTC One cameras.
  • Always On Display: The Samsung S7 and S7 Edge uses the low power drain of their Super AMOLED displays to show notifications, calendars or clocks with minimal power drain -- Samsung claims it's less than 1% of the battery per hour. Stick the phone in your pocket, or face down, and after a minute it'll power the screen down completely, so you never miss an important detail, but equally don't waste power.

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How much will the Samsung Galaxy S7 cost?

Samsung has announced that the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge will go on sale in Australia on 11 March 2016. The Galaxy S7 will cost $1,149 outright, while the Galaxy S7 Edge will cost $1,249 outright. Both phones will be available to pre-order in Australia from 26 February. Preorders for either handset before March 10 will include a free Gear VR headset.

Check out our full comparison of contract plans for the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge across Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile.
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What’s new in the Samsung Galaxy S7?

The Galaxy S line has long been Samsung’s "premium" play in the Android space. There are plenty of Samsung Galaxy models, some of which you can buy quite cheaply, but if you want the best of Android with a Samsung flavour, the Galaxy S line has been your best enduring bet.

That being said, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge aren’t the absolutely revolutionary creatures that some of their forebears were. The design language is distinctly that of the Galaxy S6 family, and it would appear that this is the direction Samsung has chosen to pursue for the time being.

That’s no bad thing, however. The Galaxy S7 is a real looker of a phone, with a thin metal body that’s easy to grip and stylish as well. Where Samsung has made changes is to address some of the core complaints levelled at the Galaxy S6. The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 are both waterproof -- more on that shortly -- and both see the return of microSD expansion possibilities. That’s a big plus for a premium smartphone, because it means you don’t have to chase down the larger capacity 128GB model as you did last year.

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Samsung’s always thrown heavy duty processing power at the Galaxy S line, and the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge are no exception. To keep the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge running optimally, they're also water cooled, with a tiny water pipe that kicks in if you're pushing the phone too hard. This again isn't a unique idea -- Sony's managed it in its Xperia phones and Microsoft with some of its Lumia line -- so it'll be interesting to see how well it actually works.

If you play games on your phone -- and most of us do -- Samsung has some specific optimisations in mind for you. Its dedicated game software can set the phone into an effective do not disturb mode, so notifications (excluding actual phone calls) don't disturb the flow of your game. You can record in-game action, using the front camera to display yourself while playing a game title, and fully minimise a game app if you do have to perform some other task. You can modify overall performance to either maximise visual quality, or lose a little detail in return for less battery drain while you're playing.

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On the S7 Edge, the concept of using the Edge for additional functions has been refined, with multiple refinable columns of apps, specific news widgets and an open SDK so other developers can come up with use cases for the S7 Edge's two sides.

Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge Specifications

DeviceSamsung Galaxy S7Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Screen size5.1in5.5in
Storage32/64GB32/64GB
Weight152g157g
ProcessorOcta or Quad Core (2.3Ghz Quad+1.6Ghz Quad or 2.15Ghz Quad + 1.6Ghz Dual)Octa or Quad Core (2.3Ghz Quad+1.6Ghz Quad or 2.15Ghz Quad + 1.6Ghz Dual)
Rear camera12MP12MP
Front camera5MP5MP
Battery3000mAh3600mAh
Resolution2560 X 14402560 X 1440
Display density577ppi534ppi

Should I buy a Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge?

It's early in 2016, and only Samsung and LG have yet unveiled their powerhouse handsets. Apple may announce a smaller iPhone model mid-March, but that's far from assured and apparently meant to be a lower-cost device anyway.

With the S7 and S7 Edge, Samsung hasn't undergone some kind of radical reinvention, instead refining the design they announced with the S6 and S6 Edge, making for what should be markedly better phones. That's more than just having better processors, however, and the majority of the changes Samsung's made do appear to make sense.

For a more detailed analysis, read our Samsung Galaxy S7 review and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review.

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