The smartphone market has become increasingly competitive over the past several years. Samsung, like most of its peers, is facing a number of challenges, including more competition at the high-end, cheaper devices from Chinese OEMs, and market saturation. Last year, in an effort to jumpstart declining sales, Samsung radically redesigned its Galaxy line of flagship phones. Switching from an all-plastic to aluminum and glass construction meant more luxury and less utility, simultaneously attracting new buyers to the brand while alienating its most faithful fans.
The Galaxy S6 and its derivatives sacrificed several features for sexy curves. Protection against dust and water leaked away, and the battery became a prisoner inside the aluminum and glass cage, making easy battery swaps impossible. With the perimeter on lockdown, microSD cards found themselves locked out, denying users storage flexibility and expansion. This injustice only deepened when the more expensive Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5—which limited internal storage to 64GB—launched later in the year.
After receiving volumes of vociferous feedback and gaining valuable experience with its new design language, Samsung is unleashing its seventh generation Galaxy devices. The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge look to correct the shortcomings of the previous generation, even bringing back some of the previously discarded features such as support for microSD cards, which now share space with the Nano SIM card in a special dual-card tray located on the top edge. Samsung also restores environmental protection, giving the new Galaxies an IP68 rating that makes them dust tight and allows for immersion in water up to 5 feet for up to 30 minutes. Unlike the Galaxy S5, however, the Galaxy S7 devices do not require a plug to cover the USB port.
Battery life is one thing we can never get enough of, and while the Galaxy S6 family of devices compared favorably to their peers, the smaller Galaxy S6 and S6 edge struggled to last a whole day on a single charge during moderate to heavy use. In a move to address this issue, Samsung increases the battery size in the Galaxy S7 to 3,000mAh, up from 2,550mAh in the S6. The Galaxy S7 edge also gets a larger 3,600mAh battery, up from 3,000mAh in the S6 edge+. The fact that the battery remains sealed inside will likely remain a point of contention for some people, though.