Samsung Unpacks Galaxy S7 And Galaxy S7 Edge At Mobile World Congress 2016 Unveil

D.J. Koh with Samsung Galaxy S7

All eyes have been on Samsung and its new mobile boss, D.J. Koh, to see how he would lead the top tier handset maker into a new generation of smartphone products. And today, during Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked 2016 event, all eyes were literally focused on Mr. Koh as he hopped on stage amid a flurry of flashing lights, loud music, and a hazy, dry ice vapor-filled atmosphere all intended to hype the product unveils that would follow, like the much anticipated Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge AngledSamsung Galaxy S7 Edge Back
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge - Platinum Gold

Mr. Koh and company wasted no time getting right to it. After showcasing the new devices on stage with a Galaxy S7 in one hand and a Galaxy S7 Edge in the other, Mr. Koh handed the baton to Justin Denison, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Market Intelligence, to discuss the new handsets and accompanying salient features in detail.

"Did you know that the average person checks their phone 150 times a day?," Dension asked the crowd. Why no, we did not, Mr. Denison but thanks for that tidbit of trivia.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Always-On Display

Not just an arbitrary question, that was Denison's opening to introduce viewers to the company's always-on Super AMOLED display. When you pull the Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge out of your pants pocket or purse, you'll be able to peek at basic information like the time, calendar, or notifications—no touching or waking the screen is required. When you shove the handset back in your pocket or purse, the display turns off by itself. It's a minor feature in the grand scheme of things, but one that offers a much higher level of convenience.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Dual Pixel

Denison also spent some time talking up improvements to the camera system in Samsung's new Galaxy S7 devices. Both feature a 5-megapixel front-facing camera for selfies and video chat, but the real deal is around back—a "Dual Pixel" 12-megapixel shooter with optical image stabilization. It's the implementation of a Dual Pixel sensor in a smartphone, something Samsung recently trademarked. Using dual-photodiode technology, this is essentially an alternative to phase-detection auto-focus, one that's supposed to work faster and better.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Photo vs iPhone 6s Plus

Just as important, if not more so, Samsung claims the new rear shooter on the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge captures 95 percent more light through a wider F1.7 aperture lens. Compared to Apple's iPhone 6s (see above), Samsung is promising brighter and sharper images, particularly in low light situations, typically the bane of all smartphone and tablet photography.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Lens

With each new generation of smartphones, advances in camera technology beg the question, can we finally get rid of our point-n-shoot camera? What about our DSLR? In some cases, you could make and argument for the former, though probably not the latter. However, things are moving in the right direction; for those who are more serious into photography, you can add specialized fish-eye and wide-angle lenses to the rear camera of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge handsets.

Of course, what you really want to know are the full specs, so let's get right to it. The Galaxy S7 sports a 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display with a 2560x1440 resolution (577 ppi), while the Galaxy S7 Edge wields a slightly larger 5.5-inch dual-edge screen with the same resolution (534 ppi).

Samsung Galaxy S7 Heatpipe

Both are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor (four 2.15GHz cores + four 1.6GHz cores) and 4GB of RAM. You might recall that the last generation of Snapdragon was plagued by overheating concerns, causing Samsung to exclusive use its own Exynos chipset in its Galaxy S6. Samsung hasn't found cause to worry that the Snapdragon 820 will run hot, but just in case, it's using a sort of self-contained phase-change heatpipe scheme to keep things in check as well. 

Samsung Galaxy S7 microSD

There's also 32GB of internal storage, now expandable via microSD (up to 200GB), along with 802.11ac MU-MIMI Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, and NFC support, fast wireless charging capability, a 3,000 mAh (Galaxy S7) or 3,600 mAh (Galaxy S7 Edge) battery that's not removable, and of course Android 6 Marshmallow. All of this comes wrapped in a water-resistant and dust-resistant design with IP68 certification that will withstand total submersion for 30 minutes.

It's a solid upgrade in hardware, one that definitely advances the Galaxy line forward. In the U.S., the Galaxy S7 will be available in Black Onyx and Gold Platinum and the Galaxy S7 Edge in the same color options, plus Silver Titanium, at AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon stores beginning March 11. Pre-orders will start at 8:00 AM on February 23. As an added bonus, those who pre-order will receive a Gear VR headset as well. Also, T-Mobile is quick to point out that it's the only one to offer a free year of Netflix to those who pre-order.

Samsung Galaxy S7
Samsung Galaxy S7

The question is, will Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ owners find enough reason to upgrade? That's difficult to answer definitely without spending some hands-on time testing and writing up a formal review, but based on the spec sheet alone, we can say that some will and some won't. Whereas the Galaxy S6 shook things up with an overhauled design and change in philosophy—no more plastic construction—the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge takes less risks. That's not necessarily a bad thing, unless you were hoping for something drastically different in terms of mechanical and industrial design.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge Screen Sizes

In any event, we will be on the scene in New York tomorrow as a special U.S. Samsung Unpacked event, snapping photos and working up a hands-on video, so we should have more impressions to share tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, what you do think about the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge? Are you happy with the upgrades? Is there anything you wish Samsung would have included, but didn't? Sound off in the comments section below.