Announced in March, the Samsung Galaxy S6 is fast approaching the time in its life cycle where a replacement begins to bare down on it. The Galaxy S7 is expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2017, and could even crop up as early as January of that year, so we've gathered together everything we know so far – plus what we hope to see from the S7.
Samsung Galaxy S7: Release date
We expect the S7 to launch at a press event on the eve of the Mobile World Congress tech show, which takes place in Barcelona from 22-25 February, 2016. This is where the Galaxy S6 was announced in 2014. But, as we alluded to above, one Korean publication has other ideas, and believes Samsung is ready to announce its latest iPhone rival less than a year after the last one, on 19 January, 2016.
As for when the Galaxy S7 will actually go on sale, this could be up to around six weeks after it is announced. Here are the on-sale dates of the last four Samsung flagships:
- Galaxy S3 29 May 2012
- Galaxy S4 4 March 2013
- Galaxy S5 11 April 2014
- Galaxy S6 10 April 2015
Samsung Galaxy S7: Price
Samsung has a habit of pricing its flagships highly, before quietly reducing them after initial interest had died down. The launch price has also edged up each year, with the Galaxy S5 priced from £550 at launch, and the S6 priced from £599. If Samsung raises the bar once more then you can expect the S7 to start life at around £650, over £100 more than the cheapest iPhone 6s. This is a huge amount of money, but including extra storage over the iPhone should help soften the blow – and it'll get discounted after a few months anyway.
But Samsung slashes its prices quickly. The Galaxy S6 now costs £479 from Samsung itself, while prices on Amazon are as low as £360 at the time of writing.
Samsung Galaxy S7: Design and screen
There will likely be two versions of the Galaxy S7. But unlike the S6, where one had a flat screen and the other was curved, the S7 could ditch the flat display entirely and instead come curved and in two different sizes. The S6 Edge and S6 Edge Plus are the predecessors to this plan, but the latter has only been available since September, so being replaced in the first quarter of 2016 would be a surprise.
That being said, releasing the same phone in both sizes would help position the S7 range as a direct competitor to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Vietnamese publication Samsung Viet (pinches of salt at the ready) says the S7 will come with screens of 5.2in and 5.7in. We expect both screens to have a resolution of 2560 x 1440, the same as the current line up and more than both iPhones.
Speaking of the iPhone, Samsung is tipped to be working on its own version of 3D Touch, Apple system for knowing how hard you are pressing on the screen, and making the phone react accordingly. Samsung is understood to be looking at the ClearForce technology in development at Synaptics. The US firm has already said on record that it is working with smartphone makers to bring ClearForce to new handsets in early 2016.
Samsung Galaxy S7: Camera
Back in July, Samsung announced a new 16-megapixel camera sensor which is smaller than ever before, and 20% smaller than the sensor it replaces. This makes it likely that the S6's unsightly camera bulge will be trimmed down – or maybe removed entirely – for the S7.
The resolution will remain the same as with the S6, while the front camera is likely to stay around the current 5.1MP level.
Samsung Galaxy S7: Processor, storage and software
The Galaxy S7's processor is something of an unknown. The latest reports claim Samsung will use the new Qualcomm 820 from Snapdragon for S7s sold in the US and China, while Samsung's own Exynos chip will appear in all other markets, including the UK and Europe. This would represent a turnaround from the S6, where Samsung dropped its partnership with Qualcomm entirely. As for RAM, it looks like Samsung will stick with 3GB.
Little has been said so far on storage, although we wouldn't be surprised if Samsung sticks to the 32, 64 and 128GB options currently on sale with the S6 – that'll do for us, as the base model will have double the storage of the cheapest iPhone 6s.
Software will in all likelihood by Google's new Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which is available on Google's own nexus phones now and will begin rolling out to third parties through the end of 2015 and start of 2016.