Samsung has taken the wraps off of its new mobile phones just prior to the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona.

The new flagship handsets include the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, both successors to the existing Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge phones sold today.

The S7 has a 5.1 inch flat display, while the S7 has a 5.5 inch screen with curved edges.

The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

Stylistically, both phones look similar to the current S6 models, with the same glass and metal construction that was received favourably when launched about a year ago.

However, there are some improvements to the design, notably the underside edges of both phones now curve inwards like the Samsung Note 5, making them easier to pick up when lying on a flat surface.

The new edges make it easier to pick up and hold on to.

The new edges make it easier to pick up and hold on to.

Also, there is more rounding of the corners for a more comfortable ‘in hand’ experience, and the camera bump now only protrude 0.5 millimetres out of the case.

A return to form

A lot of Samsung fans will be very pleased to see the return of the expandable memory, via a MicroSD card, as well as IP68-rated water and dust resistance.

The MicroSD card can be inserted in the device via the newly designed slide-out SIM tray, which also has room for a second SIM.

A view of the 'always on' screen.

A view of the ‘always on’ screen.

Up to 200GB of storage is supported, and Samsung says that the Dual SIM / MicroSD tray will be available on phones sold in Australia, so we’re hoping to see Telcos start to offer plans that include multiple SIMs on a single account.

Also, Samsung has designed the new S7 models to be waterproof “from the inside,” meaning that there’s no need for special plugs to seal up the USB connector or headphone jack.

The S7 will come in gold, silver and black.

The S7 will come in gold, silver and black.

The only element that has not returned, however, is the user-swappable battery, although the S7 and S7 Edge batteries have been increased in capacity to 3000mAh and 3600mAh respectively, meaning improved battery life, though we’ll need to test this when we get a review unit.

On screen

The new phones get an ‘always on display’ which can show the time, calendar, battery status and notifications. The idea is that you don’t need to turn on your phone’s screen in dark places like the movie theatre to see this information, as it’s already there, only dimly lit.

The power drain is very low as only the pixels that are needed light up, and it’s rated to use less than 1 percent of the battery per hour. Lastly, the screen will turn off when it recognises that it’s in a place like a pocket or purse.

Edge UX puts more useful information at the screen's edges.

Edge UX puts more useful information at the screen’s edges.

The S7 Edge’s curved screen can now deliver 2 rows of applications along its curve, as well as more information via ‘Edge UX’ such as news feeds and some handy shortcuts to email, selfie mode and panorama mode along with tools including a compass, flash light controler and ruler.

Less is more

The new upgraded camera on the S7 models may raise some eyebrows as the pixels captured drops from 16 million to 12 million compared to the S6.

However, while there are less megapixels, the size of each pixel is larger. This means improved light and colour handling, which is definitely evident in low-light photos, with a much sharper image and less noise.

Samsung Pay support is included.

Samsung Pay support is included.

There’s also a larger F1.7 aperture lens, which lets 25 percent more light in to the sensor, and the world’s first dual pixel sensor makes possible for almost instant auto-focus, even in very dark conditions.

Power on tap

On the performance front, the S7 phones are more powerful, with 30 percent faster CPU processing and 60 percent faster graphics.

This new power is ideal for gamers, but one of the challenges for graphics intensive games is that the phone starts to get quite warm.

The new S7’s are designed to keep cool with an innovative new ‘heat pipe’, which is a water filled copper pipe that runs next to the processor, and draws heat away by vaporising the water, which then moves to the centre and then down the pipe, where it condenses back to liquid again in a continuous loop. Clever stuff.

Plenty of cases to choose from.

Plenty of cases to choose from.

 

Also for gamers, the S7 and S7 Edge are the first smartphones to support the Vulcan API for games development.

Pricing and availability

Samsung Electronics Australia can confirm that Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge will be available to pre-order in Australia from 26 February 2016.

The SIM slot now features expandable MicroSD memory.

The SIM slot now features expandable MicroSD memory.

Both smartphones will be on sale from 11 March 2016 and priced at $1,149 RRP for the Galaxy S7 and $1,249 RRP for Galaxy S7 edge.

 

Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge Product Specifications 

  Galaxy S7 Galaxy S7 edge
OS Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)
Network LTE Cat.9(450/50Mbps)* May differ by markets and mobile operators
Dimension 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm, 152g 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm, 157g
AP Octa core (2.3GHz Quad + 1.6GHz Quad), 64 bit, 14 nm processQuad core (2.15GHz Dual + 1.6GHz Dual), 64 bit, 14 nm process* May differ by markets and mobile operators
Memory 4GB RAM (LPDDR4), 32/64GB (UFS 2.0)      + microSD (up to 200GB)
Display 5.1” Quad HD Super AMOLED2560 X 1440 (577ppi) 5.5” Quad HD Super AMOLED2560 X 1440 (534ppi)Edge Screen
Camera Rear: Dual Pixel 12MP (F1.7), Smart OISFront: 5MP (F1.7)
Battery 3,000mAh 3,600mAh
Fast Charging both on wired and wirelessWireless Charging compatible with WPC and PMA
Payment NFC, MST
Connectivity WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), MIMO,
Bluetooth® v 4.2 LE, ANT+, USB 2.0, NFC, Location
Sensors Accelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro,Fingerprint, Barometer, Hall, HRM
IP Code IP68
Audio MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR,
AWB, FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXMF, IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA
Video MP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, WMV, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV, WEBM

UPDATE (February 26): Every telco has release pricing and plans, and we’ve got it all. Check out pre-order information for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge!

Valens Quinn travelled to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, as a guest of Samsung Australia.