Samsung officially unveiled its new Samsung S7 and S7 Edge smartphones at an event this weekend in Barcelona ahead of the Mobile World Congress trade show. As expected, the phones look very similar to last year’s S6 and S6 Edge, but the fact that it’s a “tock” year doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be excited about.
The new Samsung flagships come with a number of enhancements over their predecessors. Some of those enhancements are features that were left out last year from previous devices, while others are overall improvements to the Galaxy line. Here’s five features of the new S7 and S7 Edge that we’re most excited about:
1. Water Resistance
The switch to metal and glass last year meant that the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge lost the water resistance of previous Samsung flagships, but the feature is back in 2016. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have an IP68 rating, which means they can withstand up to five feet of water for 30 minutes without a problem. The water resistance also means the phones should be able to handle accidental spills, rain and an occasional dunk in the (hopefully clean) toilet. Even better, the phones achieve their water resistance through a special coating, which means no annoying, breakable flaps covering the ports.
2. Expandable Storage
Like water resistance, the ability to expand the storage in the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge is a feature that was in older Samsung phones but was left out in 2015. Both phones this year come with 32GB of internal storage, but you can add up to 200GB of storage by popping a microSD card into the second slot in the phone’s SIM tray. That gives you plenty of extra space for photos, video, music or whatever else you might store on your phone, without having to rely on the cloud.
3. Improved Camera
Both the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have a 12MP rear-facing camera, which has fewer megapixels than the excellent 16MP camera in last year’s models, but that sacrifice could pay off for those who take a lot of night photos. Samsung says the lower-resolution cameras take in 56% more light than the cameras in the S6 and S6 Edge, which should result in better low-light performance. The f/1.7 aperture lens also brings in 25% more light, which combined with the 12MP sensor captures 95% more light than last year’s cameras.
The new “dual-pixel technology” also lets the camera of the S7 and S7 Edge focus three times faster than last year’s phones, according to Samsung, which means fewer blurry photos.
4. Bigger Batteries
This one is pretty simple: bigger batteries mean longer battery life. The Galaxy S7 holds a 3000 mAh battery, while the S7 Edge holds a 3600 mAh battery. That’s a big jump from the 2550 mAh and 2600 mAh batteries in the S6 and S6 Edge, respectively. The metal and glass builds mean you can’t replace them, but Samsung is touting the quick wireless charging of the phones as an easy way to get through the day without worrying about your phone dying.
5. New Software
As you’d expect, both the S7 and S7 Edge ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, the latest version of Google’s mobile OS, with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface on top of it. The biggest addition to the new software is the always-on display that will show the time and select notifications whenever the phone is asleep. The feature will shut off when the phone is in a pocket or a bag, but Samsung claims it only takes up half percent of battery an hour to have part of the display on at all times.
The S7 Edge also received a few new device specific software updates this year with enhancements to the edge-swipe gesture. The edge panel is larger than it was last year, allowing you to see more information and add new shortcuts, which could help improve the productivity uses of the phone.