Without a doubt I am one of Samsung Mobile’s biggest critics. The decisions made last year by Samsung to put form before function blew my mind as well as many other fans. I don’t particularly take pleasure in bashing Samsung, because in my mind they are still the trailblazer of mobile technology. Sometimes leaders make mistakes by taking risks, but Samsung stayed open minded and listened to its critics.
Last year was a disappointing one for me with Samsung as they did away with features like waterproofing, replaceable batteries, and expandable memory and replaced them with premium build materials instead.
In retrospect, if you look back at 2015, the Samsung Galaxy S and Note lines were arguably the best looking phones. LG may have taken the crown in functionality with the V10, since Samsung decided to compete with Apple by playing the design game and placing less importance on functionality.
Samsung did set a new goal for itself – to be the best damned looking phone. At the expense of some of its most loyal customers, it did achieve that goal. In 2015 I heard more Apple iPhone fans make positive comments about how good the latest Galaxy devices looked and some even made the switch. And as much as I love the Huawei Nexus 6P and LG V10 designs, I have to admit that the Galaxy phones look the best in the build category.
Samsung has been a trailblazer in the mobile industry.
I moaned and groaned about the new direction that Samsung took. The Note line was the king of functionality before the Note5, and that’s the reason it stole my heart. When Samsung did away with that functionality, it not only broke my heart, but it angered me.
Samsung has been setting the direction of mobile manufacturers for years now. The last thing I want is for OEMs to focus on how phones look over how they function.
Samsung, whether you want to admit it or not, is the reason why many features exist on your non-Samsung built phones now.
It was the champion of expandable memory and kept it alive even when Google tried to kill it.
Samsung made the stylus cool and functional. Apple copied them with the Pencil and the iPad Pro. Microsoft built a stylus for its Surface Pro tablets and Surface Book.
Large displays are a product of the Note line. All of those massive displays found on Apple, LG, Lenovo, Huawei and Sony owe credit to Samsung for trailblazing a new path.
OLED technology is a favorite of many even if they don’t know the difference between LCD and OLED and that’s because of Samsung too.
Samsung has a laundry list of items it developed that are found across all smartphones.
There’s a place for design and function.
HTC played the design game and is now a shadow of itself. Conversely, Motorola always ignored the design part and focused purely on function and is now no longer in existence.
Samsung tried both and 2016 is a year that Samsung found balance. It put Yin and Yang together to create the S7 and S7 edge.
Samsung listened to what we wanted.
Many of us enthusiasts complained and asked Samsung to reverse course with the changes last year.
We wanted improved battery life most in our flagships. Samsung delivered larger batteries with improved efficiency.
We also wanted more value with things like free accessories. Preorders will get the Galaxy VR headset as well as a microSD card free.
The water resistance and dustproof rating found on the Galaxy S5, only to disappear on the S6, is now back with the S7 and S7 edge. Both have an IP68 rating.
The curved display that wowed us on the S6 edge though its gorgeous looks only to let us down with functionality is now much improved with new features. Another year of software development under its belt has transformed the edge display into something more than just beauty.
Samsung finally stopped worrying about completely redesigning its flagship smartphones, and instead refined them to cater to our needs. Expandable memory is back. Rather than fighting a megapixel war, Samsung trimmed down the resolution in favor of faster autofocus and better low light resolution. There’s a flagship leading 3600 mAh battery in the S7 edge with is much bigger than the 3000mAh Note5 battery.
Even though people are moaning about the Galaxy S7 not including USB Type C, Samsung may have made the right decision. As of right now the main advantage to USB Type-C is reversibility in the charging tip, but the technology is still developing. Sure data transfer speeds are faster with USB Type-C but who really uses that functionality anyways?
Customers are still having a hard time trusting the reliability with third party chargers for USB Type C.
Also microUSB cables are aplenty so why change when there is still wireless charging which is definitely more convenient than a reversible cable in USB Type C. Swapping out chargers in your cars and offices isn’t a cheap endeavor.
If the 5.5″ Galaxy S7 edge is too big for you the standard S7 is still available at 5.1″.
Even if Samsung was slow at updating its flagships from 2015 to Android 6.0 Marshmallow from Android 5.1 Lollipop, it still was one of the first to do it. LG is still scrambling to get Android M on the LG G4 as well as the V10.
LG kicked off MWC with a blast
While LG released really intriguing hardware changes to its G series, you really have to wonder how well those changes will be implemented. LG was the first manufacturer to release an Android Wear watch with data capability, only to pull it off the shelves one week later with vague reasoning. There has been no follow up to one of the biggest blunders of 2015.
The G5 is definitely a cool device with a removable bottom. It can be accessorized with parts that are proprietary. They’re most likely going to be difficult to get at release and will likely be expensive. Do you really need manual controls on your smartphone? Or do you really need a HiFi module when your music most likely sounds great to you anyways?
The Samsung S7 and S7 edge on paper are worth considering
I’m not fortunate enough to be attending MWC and can’t get a hands on experience with the S7 or S7 edge. In all likelihood I will have to buy a review unit from AT&T. And for the first time in over 14 months, I am okay with that.
On paper Samsung is giving me almost everything I asked for, with better battery life, a class leading camera, free high functioning accessories, expandable memory, improved edge software and water resistance. It even bumped the RAM up to 4GB to help Touchwiz run more smoothly. If I am going to pay a flagship price I demand nothing less than a flagship experience.
2016 might be a turning point for Samsung in the right direction for the first time in a long time. The S7 and S7 edge deserve your attention if you’re in the market for a new smartphone.