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Samsung fulfilled their promised to finally unveil the Samsung Galaxy S7 on the eve of the Mobile world Congress taking place in Barcelona. Yesterday, the rumors, leaked photos, leaked videos and leaked specs of the most awaited Android phone of the year finally ended.

galaxy S7
                                                                                                             photo: forbes.com

We can now turn our attention to really previewing the real deal. In the coming weeks, the tech world is going to be doing all that and much more. After all, this is the smartphone, along with Apple’s iPhone, that other smartphones use as a standard to gauge how good their own phones are.

So what is new in the Galaxy S7? And what is not new? Physically, the Galaxy S7 looks like its predecessor the S6. This issue would not be peculiar to Samsung alone. Smartphone designs, for now, have reached a tipping point where it is almost impossible to change the external design. Phones can’t get bigger or they are no longer phones.

Galaxy S7
Showing off the Galaxy S7   photo:samsung

The Galaxy S7 Edge display was significantly increased though. Unlike the Galaxy S6 Edge which was 5 inch, the S7 Edge is 5.5 inch which takes it into the realm of phablets. The Edge part of the screen now includes shortcuts to email and third party apps downloaded by the user. However, the Galaxy S7 still retains its 5 inch screen like the Galaxy S6.

Making a comeback is the microSD slot. The lack of an external storage in the Galaxy S6 upset quite a few. Smartphones users do love the flexibility a removable storage gives them. Samsung must have heard the grumblings from their customers. I guess it was a bad idea. Somebody in design and engineering must have got a real ticking from the execs.

Yaay! The Galaxy S7 is water resistant after all. But it is not as if you can put it in your pocket and go for a long swim. Actually, it cannot stay immersed in water for than 30 minutes or remain water resistant beyond a depth of 1.5 metres. So those for those thinking of using the camera for deep sea photography, perish the thought. Except you have to wrap it in cellophane.

Galaxy S7
sealed S7              photo:samsung

And talking about the camera specs, the rumors were of a 20 MP camera. Looking at just the raw numbers, many people would be disappointed that the Galaxy S7 has being downgraded to 12 MP. This is against the 16MP on the S6.

Two things accounted for the lower MP. Bigger aperture and new technology. The Galaxy S6 came with an aperture of f/1.9. For the S7,the aperture was increased to f/1.7 for better quality pictures in all situations. Also, a new technology, known as the ‘dual pixel autofocus’ was incorporated into the whole camera setup. Before now, this feature, developed by Canon, was only found in Canon’s DSLR and cinema cameras. Overall, the combination of these two new features should make photos and videos from the Galaxy S7 sharper and better than S6. It is not all about the pixels you know.

Also added to the camera arrangement is the 360 camera. This can be used to film stuff for Samsung’s Virtual reality headset, The Gear 360, that Samsung is developing in conjunction with Facebook’s Oculus. More pertinent too is that the photos and videos from Gear 360 can be uploaded to Facebook and YouTube.

Now that the anticipation is over, the challenge for Samsung is to sell the phones. People would buy the Galaxy S7 for sure. But would sufficient number of people buy it? The outward similarity between the S7 and the S6 means it is going to be hard for an S6 owner to drop it and go for the S7. While intending new buyers of Samsung’s flagship might decide to opt for the cheaper S6. After all they both look alike.