Samsung Unveils Galaxy S7 Flagship Smartphones at MWC

The new Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge have better cameras, are water- and dust-resistant, and have always-on displays as well as SD card slots.

Samsung, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, smartphones, mobile carriers, dual pixel, MWC 2016

Samsung unveiled its latest flagship Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones on Feb. 21 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The new handsets offer a host of new features, including vastly improved cameras, water and dust resistance, always-on displays, while bringing back SD card slots for expanded data storage.

Highlighting the latest Galaxy handsets are Samsung's first "dual-pixel" cameras, which the company said allow much improved low-light images through pixels that are 56 percent larger than previous versions. Both the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge include rear 12-megapixel cameras with F1.7 lenses that are more sensitive to light than earlier components, smart optical image stabilization and 5-megapixel front-facing cameras. The new cameras are also capable of autofocusing three times faster than earlier versions, according to Samsung.

Both Galaxy handsets are powered by Qualcomm quad-core 2.15GHz and 1.6GHz processors for U.S. users and include 4GB of LPDDR4 memory, 32GB of built-in storage and the return of microSD expansion slots, which were missing in the previous Galaxy S6 devices. The micro SD slots will support storage cards up to 200GB. The Qualcomm processors are expected to provide performance that is as much as 30 percent faster than the processors they replace in the earlier Galaxy S6 handsets, according to Samsung.

The Galaxy S7 features a 5.1-inch quad-HD Super AMOLED display (2,560 by 1,440), while the Galaxy S7 Edge features a 5.5-inch quad-HD Super AMOLED display (2,560 by 1,440). Both handsets are built with metal chassis that feature ergonomic curves for a comfortable grip. The two devices also use a new "always-on" feature that displays important information to users at a glance, without having to activate a button to view the main displays. Both models run on the Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system.

Both devices are designed with curved backs and are shaped and sized for one-hand operation by users, with thinner profiles than the previous S6 handsets, according to Samsung.

On the Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung has also reworked the user interface, giving it a wider on-screen panel to give users more information in one view without requiring as much scrolling. A new developer SDK is also now available to encourage developers to build more applications for the S7 Edge user interface.

Water resistance, which was available on the earlier Galaxy S5 devices, is also back with the S7 and S7 Edge handsets, giving users the ability to let their phones get wet in normal use, thanks to IP68 certification for water and dust resistance.

The Galaxy S7 gets a 3,000mAh battery, while the Galaxy S7 Edge is equipped with a 3,600mAh battery. Both include fast charging capabilities and come with a corded charger. An optional wireless charging pad that's compatible with WPC and PMA standards is available as an extra-cost option. Earlier Galaxy S6 handsets had a 2,550mAh battery, while the earlier S6 Edge had a 2,600mAh battery.

In addition to 4GT LTE connectivity, the new S7 handsets also can be used with WiFi 802.11, MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 and near-field communications connections.

Samsung Pay capabilities are also included in both devices, as well as wide-ranging Samsung KNOX device security and fingerprint-scanning features.

The Galaxy S7 phone is 5.6 inches long, 2.74 inches wide, 0.31 inches thick and weighs 5.36 ounces. The Galaxy S7 Edge is 5.94 inches long, 2.85 inches wide, 0.30 inches thick and weighs 5.53 ounces. The Galaxy S7 will be available in Black Onyx or Gold Platinum colors, while the Galaxy S7 Edge will be available in Black Onyx, Gold Platinum or Silver Titanium.

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless will carry the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge starting March 11, with prices to be announced. Preorders will begin starting Feb. 23. The devices will also be available in Samsung Experience Shops at Best Buy, as well as through, Car Toys, Sam's Club, Staples, Target and Walmart.

As a special promotion, consumers who buy a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge between February 23 and March 18 will also receive a free Samsung Gear VR headset, plus a six-game bundle, as part of a limited time offer while supplies last.

"We believe in a world that is brighter, sharper, more convenient, and more fun," D.J. Koh, president of the mobile communications business at Samsung, said in a statement. "We strive to deliver on that vision with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge by marrying elegant design with functionality and providing a seamless mobile experience."

Consumers will be able to preview the handsets at Samsung Experience Shops at Best Buy locations starting Feb. 24 and at participating AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and U.S. Cellular stores across the United States starting Feb. 26.