Samsung Galaxy S7: “Better than iPhone 6s,” bleat S-sheep

An overjoyed Dongjin Koh appears ecstatically euphoric [You're fired -Ed.]

It’s MWC time again: Here in Barcelona, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge were officially revealed, Sunday. These 2016 Samsung flagships are turning heads for their waterproofing, bigger batteries, SD card slots, and new camera tech.

(For the avoidance of doubt, your humble blogwatcher isn’t actually in Spain. But the room I laughingly refer to as my “office” does have fast Internet.)

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers raise a cool glass of alcohol-free cava. Not to mention: Richi’s reviews

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. [Developing story: Updated 6:02 am, 7:26 am, and 2:04 am PT with more comment]

What’s the craic? Mark Walton says goodnight—Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge hands on: These phones are so good you can almost forgive TouchWiz:

After years of resisting Galaxy phones because of TouchWiz, and becausewell, they were ugly as sin, [Samsung] made a phone that I really, really want. Gone are the awkward camera bulge and the uncomfortable flat back of the S6, replaced [with a] metal back that gently curves out to fill your hand. [It] seems like it'll be more comfortable to hold.

Such subtle refinements make a world of difference. [It] matches up to the premium feel of an iPhone. Apple's iPhone 6S Plushas the same screen size [but the S7 Edge is] much smaller and easier to use in one hand.

SD card slot? Check. Waterproofing? Check. Decent battery life? theory. No, the battery still isn't removable

TouchWiz is still therebut it's gotten far less intrusive. I even dig the mirror-like chrome finish in all its fingerprint-grabbing glory.

~$700 for the S7 and~$800 for S7 Edgeare expensive. But I think Samsung's done enough to warrant a premium price tag.

Will this put to rest the specter of the S6? Jeremy “Mister” White is a kite, dancing in a hurricane—Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge: hands on:

Are these new high-end Android phones any good? The S7 Edge, in particular, is a good-looking phone. [It] gets a screen size bump from 5.1in to 5.5in.

The corners of the handsets are more rounded than before. Battery [capacity] has increased to 3,600mAh on the S7 Edge and 3,000mAh on the S7.

[An] F1.7 lens lets in 25 percent more light with larger 1.4micro meter pixels supposedly allowing50 percent more light into the picture. [The] dual pixel sensor [is] able to focus almost instantly.

These look like an amusing couple of devices then? Joshua Ho laughs it off—Hands On With the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge:

Even the S6 wasn't perfect, and there were still issues that kept itfrom being the best possible phone that it could be. The lack of expandable storage, a perceived lack of battery life, and a reduction in dust and water resistance [and] the camera hump.

Samsung has taken many of these criticisms to heart. [It] extends the Galaxy S6 designwhile resolving many of the criticisms.

For the US, the 2.15/1.6 GHz Snapdragon 820 represents a return to a custom Kryo CPU architecture and a new GPU with support for Vulkan. We’re looking at Samsung’s 14nm LPP process node which should providehigher maximum clock rates at the same power draw. [It] also bumps RAM from 3GB to 4GB which shouldimprove multitasking performance.

The battery size has jumped 18% from 9.82 to 11.55 Whthe camera hump has been reduced by making the phone roughly 1mm thicker, and the Galaxy S7 is now water and dust resistant, rated at IP68 which means itcan be submerged in at least 1m of water. [It’s] accomplished without the use of any port covers, which is really quite a feat.

Always-On Displayallows for display of simple things like a wallpaper, clock, or calendar along with notifications even when the phone is locked. The power consumption of this feature is relatively low.

Yeah, but all flagship phones are much of a muchness, right? Christina Bonnington thinks not—Samsung's Newest Phones Beat The iPhone In One Major Way:

Today's smartphones are all incredibly powerful. [But] they're damn fragile.

The just-announced Galaxy S7 and S7 Edgeare both completely dust and water resistant. This is how phones should be.

[And] the 12-megapixel camera was really impressive. In a side-by-side comparison, the [S7] could take bright, crisp, usable photos in far darker scenarios than the iPhone [6s].

Who will tell us the where and when? Chance Miller, that’s who—Where to buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 & S7 Edge in the US:

AT&Tconfirmed that it will offer the device for pre-order on February 23rd, while official availability will begin March 11th. The Galaxy S7 32GB will cost $23.17 per month. The Galaxy S7 edge 32GB will cost $26.50.

Sprint will offer both the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge for pre-order on February 23rd, while availability will begin March 11th. Sprint is also announcing a new Galaxy Forever program that allows users to get the latest Samsung flagship every year. [It] starts at $25.99 per month. For the Galaxy S7 Edge, the payments start at $30.50.

Verizon has confirmed that it will offerpre-order on February 23rd at 8AM ET. Pricing detailsare unclear.

T-Mobile has announced that it too will begin offering pre-orderson February 23rd. Full retail availability will begin on March 11th. Starts at $0 down with payments of $27.92for the Galaxy S7. The Galaxy S7 Edge starts at $0 down with payments of $32.50.

Update 1: What about the elephant in the room? Adrian Kingsley-Hughes trumpets Which is the new flagship Android smartphone?:

MWC 2016 is on. Both LG and Samsung have unveiled new high-end smartphones. But which company can claim to have the flagship?

The LG G5 comes equipped with a 5.3-inch quad HD IPS display with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440. The processor is a Snapdragon 820 with an Adreno 530 GPU, and 4GB of RAM. It supports microSD cards up to 2TB.

On the back there are two cameras; a 16-megapixel camera with a 78-degree field of view, and an 8-megapixelwith a 135-degree field. All this is powered by a removable 2,800mAh battery.

The unique selling point of the LG G5 is that it's modular. A camera gripadds a shutter button, a zooming wheel, and bumps the battery up to 4,000mAh. A HiFi moduleadds a digital-to-audio converter and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The LG G5 has what it takes to be a killer handset, butthere's little separating high-end Android devices from one another. Pricing and real-world testing aside, the Galaxy S7/S7 Edge feel like they will be the flagshipfor 2016. The S7 Edge is likely to come with an eye-watering price tag, butwaterproofing and the "edge" displaygives it the edge (pardon the pun).

Update 2: Verily, it’s not just about the phones. Shara Tibken and Roger Cheng tag-team to bring us Samsung, LG have sold you their little black dress. Now they want you to accessorize:

You're also getting the keys to a walk-in wardrobe of devices. That was a key trendas Samsung and LG unveiled their latest superphoneshere in Barcelona, Spain.

Samsung talked up its Gear 360 virtual reality cameraGear VR headset, Gear S2 watch and TVs that can be linked to its new phones. [And it] is working to mirror the display of its phone on a Samsung refrigerator.

LG took the concept a step further, offeringattachments that can be swapped into the G5 itself. It also released a 360-degree video cameraand promised additional modular attachments.

The emphasisspeaks to the lack of excitement consumers are feeling for phones themselves. Now its makers are less focused on [the phone] and more on adding capabilities. Accessorizing, in other words.

Let's face it. You probably aren't feeling the need to upgrade your phone. LG put it more bluntly: "We don't see excitement anymore," said Juno Cho, president of the mobile business.

Update 3: So what about SD cards? Chris Smith offers his advice-The only microSD card you should consider for the Galaxy S7:

Samsung admitted it was wrong to remove the microSD from the Galaxy S6. But now that you can add a microSD card to the Galaxy S7, you should make sure you buy the right kind.

Built-in storageis extremely fast when compared to the speed available on the cheaper microSD cards. Kingston on Monday announced some new microSD cardstouted to be the “world’s fastest.” The new SanDisk Extreme Pro delivers speeds of up to three times the speed of SanDisk’s current best. Expect read speeds of up to 275MB/swrite speeds max out at 100MB/s.

[But] don’t forget that Best Buy does throw in a free 64GB microSD card with every Galaxy S7 preorder.

And Finally…

Richi’s Reviews
[Things I’ve tried, so you’ll know if they’re any good or not]

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or
Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon