Samsung Galaxy S7 brings back microSD slot and waterproofing

Samsung taketh away, and Samsung giveth back. That may be most succinct way to describe Samsung's Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the latest phones in its Galaxy S lineup of flagship handsets. Where the Galaxy S6 phones did away with Samsung staples like microSD card slots, removable batteries, and water resistance, Samsung says it listened to customers and brought water resistance and a card slot back to the S7 series.

The Galaxy S7 edge (in silver) and the Galaxy S7 (in black)

The flat-screened Galaxy S7 retains the 5.1" 2560×1440 AMOLED screen of its predecessor, while the Galaxy S7 edge's screen grows to 5.5" with the same resolution. Samsung has added always-on features to the Galaxy S7's software, meaning that owners will be able to see the time and customizable widgets on the screen without unlocking the phone.

These phones also come with microSD card slots for up to 200GB of storage, plus IP68 environmental certification, meaning they can be submerged in up to a meter and a half of water for up to 30 minutes. Samsung continues to use a micro-USB connector for charging and data connectivity—a bit disappointing, considering the rise of USB Type-C ports on other devices.

The phones do feature wireless charging support, though, so owners will be able to plop these devices on a compatible base station to juice them up. While swappable batteries aren't making a return in the S7 line, Samsung has pumped up the capacity of the battery packs in these devices. The regular S7 gets a 3000-mAh power pack, while the S7 Edge gets a whopping 3600-mAh unit. 

The camera in the Galaxy S7 gets a boost, too. The S7's lens now has a wider f/1.7 aperture, and the ever-swinging pendulum of resolution versus pixel size has moved back toward bigger pixels this time around. Samsung has dropped the resolution to 12MP for the S7, a choice that should let each pixel accept more photons. Samsung has also equipped every pixel on the Galaxy S7's sensor with "dual-pixel" phase-detection autofocus technology, a move that appears to let the camera focus almost instantly.

Those batteries provide power for some beefy hardware. Samsung's official specs continue to be cagey about the SoCs that will reside in the S7 lineup, but the company told The Verge that US versions of the S7 will get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC, while the rest of the world will get Samsung's own Exynos SoCs. Those chips are both backed with 4GB of RAM.

Samsung also touts these SoCs' support for the next-generation Vulkan API, and it brought Epic CEO Tim Sweeney onstage to show a purported live demo of the impressive things developers can do with that API on mobile GPUs.

The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge will be available for pre-order on February 23, and they'll hit stores on March 11.

Comments closed
    • BIF
    • 4 years ago

    I am starting to pay attention again to Android devices because Siri is getting more and more idiotic every day. The Google personal assistant is much much more helpful, even on my iPhone 6 Plus.

    itunes has been dumbed down and is less than useful now.
    podcasts malfunctions a lot.
    Siri is nearly useless.

    My preferred password manager, eWallet; runs on PC, Mac, and iOS. Might also run on Android by now, but that was the main reason I got an iPhone 5 several years ago. What keeps me on iPhone right now is security and fingerprint recognition + Applepay. Those are big things, too. If Apple opens the backdoor for the Feebs, then there may be no reason for me to stay in the iOS camp for my primary device.

    I like the S7’s sharp clean look. Has Samsung cut back on the bloatware that they allow the providers to install? I always hated the ever-present “uninstallable” cruft.

    • zamb
    • 4 years ago

    3rd section, 1st paragraph of the article:
    [quote=”Jeff Kampman”<]The camera in the Galaxy S7 [url=https://techreport.com/global/setting-a-new-standard-in-mobile-photography-the-camera-of-the-galaxy-s7<]gets a boost, too[/url<].[/quote<] Broken link. I think it should points to [url<]http://news.samsung.com/global/setting-a-new-standard-in-mobile-photography-the-camera-of-the-galaxy-s7[/url<]. Thanks.

    • TheMonkeyKing
    • 4 years ago

    Too late; bought the Nexus 6P and haven’t looked back.
    (Transitioned from a Galaxy III)

    • blitzy
    • 4 years ago

    waterproofing is so good to have, my s5 has been great.

    • jessterman21
    • 4 years ago

    [quote<] a whopping 3600-mAh unit[/quote<] My phone's 5000mAh battery laughs at you all. I can literally stream Netflix HD for 12 hours straight. ...not that I have...

      • cynan
      • 4 years ago

      And I laugh at your “phone”, comprising one part handset and one part $15 2500 mAh USB batter pack velcrowed to the back.

        • jessterman21
        • 4 years ago

        +1 for the lulz

        It’s a THL 5000, which doesn’t hold a candle to the S7 in any other metric, but still 🙂 dat battery life

    • CaptTomato
    • 4 years ago

    LG G5 for me….S7 is too small, and the S7 edge is silly, as are all edge screens.
    That said, Sony put out a 5in SD820 phone as well, so their Z6 could be a killer.

    Btw, 3rd party vendors can also make add ons for the G5.

    • AJSB
    • 4 years ago

    UE4 Vulkan Demo (ProtoStar) for mobile devices here:
    [url<]https://youtu.be/lIdNoSB69PI[/url<]

    • GatoRat
    • 4 years ago

    The S6 edge is one of the most comfortable phones I’ve held, so I was quite excited about the S7 fixing some of its glaring problems (the waterproofing being huge for me) only to now find out that it’s grown half an inch. So much for that purchase.

    If Samsung made 4.5 inch S7 edge, it would be heaven.

      • Flying Fox
      • 4 years ago

      The S7 is smaller than the S6 edge? The S7 Edge basically takes the place of the slightly older S6 Edge+. So they are going with 2 models instead of 3.

        • GatoRat
        • 4 years ago

        I suppose reading comprehension isn’t your thing 🙂

        The S7 edge is a half inch bigger than the S6 edge, which I find comfortable, but would still prefer a smaller phone, hence my point that if Samsung made a 4.5 inch, I’d buy it. As it is, I’m looking elsewhere.

          • f0d
          • 4 years ago

          yeah phones are getting too big for use “as a phone”
          i remember in the early 2000’s there was a race for the smallest phone possible – its funny how its gone completely opposite

          • Flying Fox
          • 4 years ago

          [quote<]...I was quite excited about the S7 fixing...[/quote<]

    • albundy
    • 4 years ago

    so its no longer a feature less phone like the s6, now it will only have half the features that it used to have on the s5. so, pretty much its like 99% of the boring phones out there except at 3x the price. way to stand out, sammy.

    • ronch
    • 4 years ago

    This phone makes me more interested in ‘alternative’ brands like OnePlus and Lenovo (specifically the K4 or K5 Note). Now if only OnePlus included a card slot with the OP2, although I can probably live with 64GB.

    • ronch
    • 4 years ago

    [quote<]Samsung continues to use a micro-USB connector for charging and data connectivity—a bit disappointing, considering the rise of USB Type-C ports on other devices.[/quote<] Personally I'd be OK with good ol' non-reversible micro USB if it means I can be sure I won't have trouble borrowing another device's USB cable in the event that I misplaced the cable my device came with. A lot of people complain about how it's irritating to plug a USB cable the wrong way but then again that goes for ordinary metal keys too. Look before you put it in. It's simple enough.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 4 years ago

    I think the LG G5 looks more interesting than this, if only because LG figured out how to put a removable battery in a metal phone. The idea of swappable modules is interesting, but if they’re not shaped exactly the same then you won’t be using it in a case (which is also a pain for swapping batteries, ’tis true). At least it’s something different.

      • brucethemoose
      • 4 years ago

      [quote<] LG figured out how to put a removable battery in a metal phone [/quote<] My Motorola Razr had a metal body + removable battery.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 4 years ago

        A lost art from what, 2003 until present? Something like that.

      • DPete27
      • 4 years ago

      As someone who’s never replaced a phone battery (even on my Blackberry Pearl that I had for 6 years) I’d say that having the battery be non-removable as a “trade” for waterproofing is TOTALLY worth it.
      (assuming that having a removable battery AND waterproofing would be difficult to achieve)

        • derFunkenstein
        • 4 years ago

        Why trade? The Galaxy S5 had both.

          • Flying Fox
          • 4 years ago

          And that was at the expense of bulkiness, which unfortunately the general (sheep?) public did not like as much.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 4 years ago

            According to GSMArena, the S5 was 8.1 mm thick.

            Other phones from 2014:

            LG G3: 8.9 mm
            Moto X: 10 mm
            HTC One (m8): 9.4 mm
            Nexus 5 (released November, 2013): 8.6 mm
            iPhone 5s (released September, 2013, current iPhone at GS5 launch): 7.6mm

            Yeah, I can see where you’d think that. :eyeroll:

            Do you think most shoppers even know which phone is thicker?

            • Flying Fox
            • 4 years ago

            It’s width and length too, not just thickness. I am not a fan of this thin craziness as long as they don’t make a super wide phone.

    • B166ER
    • 4 years ago

    There were rumors of the ESS Sabre being used for DAC duties, any word on this?

    Other than that, the phone is fucking PERFECT! So happy I skipped the S6. The Note 6 is gonna be badass as well, if this is any lead towards its build.

      • brucethemoose
      • 4 years ago

      I’d be surprised, as Samsung hasn’t been particularly interested in output quality in the past.

        • Flying Fox
        • 4 years ago

        The S6 uses Wolfson, which they seem to have been using in the past. So I would not say Samsung does not care, at least in the DAC department.

        That said, DAC is just one variable in the whole equation. Op amps and speakers will have impact on the final output too.

          • B166ER
          • 4 years ago

          This is true, not worried about the speaker dept. I’ve known Samsung has been using Wolfson DAC at least since the S4, the S6 uses the Maxim audio amp, not sure of the specs. My S5 sounds fine, but the whole life of being an audiophile is that inner feeling of nothing corroding the audio pathway, even though the ear really cant hear most talked about corruptions. I know that a lot of audiophile sites tout the Sabre DAC as the pinnacle, its reputation is beyond belief, but chips from Wolfson or Cirrus, Burr-Brown, one would be hard pressed to hear the difference.

      • brucethemoose
      • 4 years ago

      Actually, the LG G5 uses that exact Sabre DAC in a seperate “hifi” module.

      That lends some credibility to the rumor, as Samsung could just be matching the LG’s specs. It also means the original rumor could’ve mistaken the G5 for the S7.

    • RdVi
    • 4 years ago

    Pretty much perfect. All I want is on screen buttons and a lighter android skin.

    I hope HTC can match these phones in other ways as they may just fit the above two criteria.

    EDIT: USB type-c would have been preferred also 🙁

    • NeelyCam
    • 4 years ago

    I hope they fixed the [url=https://forums.att.com/t5/Android/S5-constantly-getting-Check-Battery-Cover-message-after-4-4-4/td-p/4191965<]Battery Cover Check message[/url<] issue. Because it is killing me. Literally. Killing. Me.

      • RdVi
      • 4 years ago

      Well, I’d imagine that having no battery cover would ensure that it’s not a problem.

        • NeelyCam
        • 4 years ago

        MicroSD card still has to go somewhere, along with the sim card, and they have to be protected for this phone to be waterproof.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 4 years ago

      RIP NeelyCam.

    • NTMBK
    • 4 years ago

    The Vulkan bit was interesting- looks like Epic Games finally gave up on Tegra. I take it Vulkan will be available on both the Snapdragon and Exynos versions?

      • DancinJack
      • 4 years ago

      It’s built into Android, so yes.

        • NTMBK
        • 4 years ago

        But you still need driver support, right?

          • DancinJack
          • 4 years ago

          Yeah, but everyone already has access so it’s more a matter of when ARM, PowerVR, and QC implement it.

            • Beahmont
            • 4 years ago

            Wouldn’t the graphics hardware also have to support certain features as well? Or are they just going to limit how low you can go with the API via drivers to cover up hardware incompatibilities and differences?

            • DancinJack
            • 4 years ago

            Nah, hardware has to support it. However, that includes the SD820(Adreno GPU) and Exynos 8890 (ARM GPU).

    • lmc5b
    • 4 years ago

    Too bad for TouchWiz, besides that they did everything right. 1440p is still dumb but sd card and IP68 is awesome. Also to lower the MP count on the camera is something I never believed any phone company would do. Quality over marketing bs, well done.

      • Flying Fox
      • 4 years ago

      HTC did it first with that UltraPixel thing, but it went too low to make the pictures a bit less useful.

    • DreadCthulhu
    • 4 years ago

    Nice to see that they added the microSD card slot & water resistance back, and made the battery a larger – the S6 has a 2550 mAh battery. Too bad they didn’t make it swappable, but they have to keep it pretty for the reviewers, I guess. I wonder how much onboard storage they will ship this with; given the price I would expect at least 64 GB on the base model, but they will probably cheap out and only go with 32 GB. Which is a shame, since there are some quite nice phones shipping at half the price or less with 64 GB storage now.

      • DancinJack
      • 4 years ago

      It’s never enough is it? If it’s 16 everyone wants min 32, if it is 32 everyone wants min 64. It will never end.

      It comes with a microSD slot. Stop whining.

        • DreadCthulhu
        • 4 years ago

        This phone will likely be $650 at launch; I don’t think expecting $650 phone to be at least as good, if not better, in something objectively measurable than a $300 phone is too much to ask.

          • DancinJack
          • 4 years ago

          1. Looking at storage, correlating capacity to quality is a pretty poor practice. I hope you don’t do that in other aspects, unless it is the only factor.
          2. It still feels like you’re disregarding the microSD slot. We have to count that. Maybe your 300 dollar example phone has one too, but does it have all the other features the S7 has too?

          I’m not really one to shill for Samsung either. I don’t care for their phones, but let’s at least use facts to analyze them.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 4 years ago

        Yes, we expect new technology to be better than old technology.

      • brucethemoose
      • 4 years ago

      I didn’t see anything about the price. How much will each model cost?

        • DreadCthulhu
        • 4 years ago

        They haven’t released exact prices yet, but given their previous models, I will be incredibly surprised if these don’t launch at $650 for the regular S7 & $750 for the Edge model.

      • Flying Fox
      • 4 years ago

      According to the Verge, US will only get the 32GB variant. The S7 will amount to about $670 at launch.

        • druidcent
        • 4 years ago

        I think I saw somewhere that you can pre-order a 64GB variant from Best Buy..

      • maroon1
      • 4 years ago

      Those cheap phones with 64GB have low quality storage and it is not as fast as flagship phone like galaxy S7

    • brucethemoose
    • 4 years ago

    This will probably be my next phone.

    I was waiting for an updated HTC M7 to replace my aging iPhone 5… but HTC seems to have gone downhill since then, and I’m getting tired of Apple’s shenanigans.

      • jihadjoe
      • 4 years ago

      Ditto. My Galaxy S4 is starting to get a little long in the tooth, just hoping Google would bring back their Play Editions.

    • DancinJack
    • 4 years ago

    US = SD820
    Intl = Exynos 8890

    The Vulkan thing was pretty funny. Y’know, cuz it’s Samsung doing all the work to support Vulkan there. Also Tim Sweeney was incredibly awkward on stage.

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