Samsung's Galaxy S devices tend to launch shortly after the annual Mobile World Congress trade show, and with MWC 2016 taking place in late February, it can't be long until the Galaxy S7 is revealed. With that in mind, along with a whirlpool of rumors, it's time to take a look at how the S7 might compare to last year’s Samsung flagship, the Galaxy S6. Spoiler: it’ll probably be better.
The Galaxy S6 polarized people with its design. On the one hand, its stylish glass and metal construction was clearly more attractive than the Galaxy S5’s design. But it came at a price, and that price was a microSD card and a removable battery.
It was a double-edged sword. Aesthetically the S6 design was a step in the right direction but some of the Galaxy series' biggest fans were put off by the removal of these key features. Will the Galaxy S7 continue on this path?
In terms of looks, the S7 probably won’t differ much from the S6 (unless Samsung only releases one version with a dual-edged screen, in which case it will look more like the Galaxy S6 Edge).
We expect another glass and aluminum body, the same protruding camera sensor (that we loathe) on the rear, as well as a heart-rate monitor and fingerprint scanner. But the crucial difference is that the Galaxy S7 may support microSD cards.
Galaxy S6 vs Galaxy S7 comparison: display
The Galaxy S6 introduced a QHD (2,560 x 1,440 pixels) display to the S series and it is a triumph. This is one of the best displays an Android phone has ever had. It has deep, rich colors and incredible fidelity. Can the Galaxy S7 beat this?
Yes and no. It is seriously unlikely to have a higher resolution; 4K simply wouldn’t provide the cost/benefit ratio to make it a worthwhile venture for Samsung. Instead, it will probably have a QHD resolution display with roughly the same dimensions as the S6's.
The only improvements it could make are in brightness, color and possibly battery efficiency. Which, if any, of these it will achieve and to what degree, remain to be seen.
Galaxy S6 vs Galaxy S7 comparison: camera
The Galaxy S6 has a splendid camera which, despite not ranking on our best Android cameras list (although the S6 edge+ did), was one of the strongest offerings from a manufacturer last year. It's capable in low light, rarely overexposed in daylight and provides natural colors.
The latest leaks say the Galaxy S7 camera will have slightly lower specs: 12 MP on the back (compared with the S6's 16 MP snapper) and 5 MP on the front. While the new camera may produce a lower number of pixels, it's said to make up for this with what's being referred to as DUO PIXEL technology; a feature that should increase image clarity despite the lower pixel numbers.
We’d be very surprised if the camera tech wasn’t better in some way, but as is becoming an emerging pattern, this might just be an incremental improvement.
Galaxy S6 vs Galaxy S7 comparison: battery
All signs indicate non-removable battery for the Galaxy S7 and no USB Type-C connector. What's more, Samsung reduced the battery capacity of its Galaxy devices last year, with both the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 sporting smaller batteries than their predecessors.
The rumor mill touts a 3,000 mAh capacity battery for the S7, which is bigger than even that of the Galaxy S5. If this is accurate, it could provide significantly stronger battery performance than the Galaxy S6.
The S7 will almost definitely run Android Marshmallow. Marshmallow has delivered significant improvements in the battery department compared with Lollipop, and means that even if the battery shrinks again, the S7 could still provide longer battery life than the S6, in theory.
Fast charging and wireless charging, both of which were present in the S6, can be counted on to appear on the S7 too.
Galaxy S6 vs Galaxy S7 comparison: software
Samsung made great strides with TouchWiz on the S6. It's the cleanest version of the interface yet, and contained the least bloatware. The S7 will hopefully follow suit, but there is also a suggestion that it will house Force Touch-like technology like the Huawei Mate S Luxury version does.
While this may be of interest to some consumers, and would give the S7 a distinct difference from the S6, it would also increase the cost of the handset. What's more, there are very few apps that can take advantage of such technology currently in development.
Unless the S7 offers a must-have function, which seems unlikely, once the Galaxy S6 receives Marshmallow the software on these two devices could be almost the same.
Galaxy S6 vs Galaxy S7 comparison: performance
We don’t know anything about the performance of the Galaxy S7 yet, except that it is said to come with a Snapdragon 820 processor while the Galaxy S6 houses an Exynos 7420 processor comparable to the Snapdragon 810.
With a current generation processor and, potentially, an extra gigabyte of RAM – 4 GB compared with 3 GB, the S7 should be faster than the S6. Having said that, the Galaxy S6 is already a pretty speedy gadget and we suspect the difference between them will be negligible for most users.
Galaxy S6 vs Galaxy S7 comparison: price and conclusion
Welcome to my conclusion, thanks for skipping straight here and ignoring all of that other stuff I sweated over above. To sum up the big changes, there’s, erm, well, er… not many.
The S7 is one of the "in-between" handsets for Samsung. Just as Marshmallow isn’t radically different from Lollipop, the S7 will owe more to the S6 than the S6 does to the S5.
But that could be a good thing. The Galaxy S6 made some crucial progress in its software and design compared with its predecessor, although it slipped back a little in the battery life stakes.
If Samsung focuses on improving the weaker aspects of the S6, while reducing the launch cost by 10 percent as has been speculated, the S7 could be a dream device for S5 owners, but wouldn't exactly have current S6 owners feeling jealous.
That's my take, what's yours? Let me know in the comments.