Military grade Samsung Galaxy S7 leaked
Active version of the flagship smartphone breaks cover to reveal beefier, camouflage casing
A batch of leaked images has revealed Samsung's next addition to its S7 range - the tough and rugged Galaxy S7 Active.
Android Police notes that we've known about the S7 Active for a while now – Samsung let the cat out of the bag themselves last month when it was listed among the compatible devices on the company's Play Store. Now Vietnamese website Samsung Viet has now posted the first images.
True to form, it's a Galaxy S7 wrapped up in a much sturdier protective exterior casing. "Samsung wants the Galaxy S7 Active to look more comfortable in a battlefield than a fashion show," says Stuff, picking up on the pixelated camouflage rear cover.
Thick polycarbonate and rubber cladding runs down either side of the phone, in contrast to the standard metal and glass casing of the normal S7. It has the IP68 waterproof and dustproof rating of the original, but is far more shock resistant and is allegedly in line with military standards when it comes to drop damage.
It differs at the front, too. The button layout is completely new and three pill-shaped buttons line up at the bottom. The physical keys are easier to use in wet conditions, something Samsung has done this with previous Active versions of its devices.
Inside, it's likely to feature the exact same hardware, so a Snapdragon 820/Exynos 8890 chipset mated to 4GB RAM is a given.
The leak shows a phone with AT&T stickers, suggesting it's destined for use on the US carrier. However, Know Your Mobile says there's nothing to suggest it will be a handset exclusive to the US as previously hinted at by leakers.
Samsung Galaxy S7 gets iPhone-like pink option
While many are waiting for Samsung to introduce new variants of its S7 flagship, such as a rugged "Active" version, the company itself has different ideas as to what fans want – new colour options.
Samsung is "not one to hold back on spinning out new colors and editions" months after introducing a new handset, says Engadget. True to form, an iPhone-like "Pink Gold" option has emerged, joining the black, gold, silver and white line-up.
Initially, the rosy S7 will only be available in Samsung's home market of South Korea, but it will find its way to other markets soon. According to CNET, the introduction is likely an attempt to dig deeper into an increasingly saturated Asian smartphone market and Samsung is taking a note out of Apple's book – the US tech giant's reveal of its the rose gold iPhone 6S last year caused a "preorder frenzy" in China.
Samsung has also started to introduce little updates to its latest range-topper, with display scaling now an option, allowing users to change the size of icons, controls, and text.
It's one of a handful of updates and improvements, such as better touch screen response and added security measures – prompt updates that Android Authority calls a "promising sign" ahead of the S7 going up against the iPhone 7 in September.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs S6 Edge: is it worth upgrading?
Samsung's Galaxy S7 - and the curvy S7 Edge - look almost identical to the S6 models they replace, but under the skin lurk new features and a few old friends that had been carelessly cast aside.
The cost of upgrading from last year's model could be costly – but might it be a price worth paying?
Initial reviews of the Galaxy S7, and particularly the S7 Edge, have been extremely positive. "In the hand it feels fantastic, much more comfortable and easier to hold," says The Guardian. In comparison the iPhone 6S Plus, which has the same sized screen but a significantly larger frame, feels "massive and unwieldy". Alphr describes it as "the best all-round smartphone on the planet right now".
Samsung Galaxy S7 camera
The Galaxy S6's camera won lots of praise, but the hardware on the S7 raises the bar. Phandroid notes its performance in low lighting conditions – the "Achilles heel" of smartphone cameras – and says that while the S6 remains susceptible to images with "smudginess", low detail and "poor color reproduction", the S7's new sensor means it can capture 96 per cent more light. While Samsung has decreased the megapixel count from 16MP to 12MP, the sensor together with a fast aperture means it is far clearer than any Galaxy phone before. "In a comparison with the S6 the difference was striking, with the S7 able to focus almost instantly," says Wired UK. There's a new, iPhone 6S-imitating Live Photos feature, too.
Forbes says the S7 is the "toughest Galaxy yet", thanks to the reintroduction of the IP68 level of water resistance used on the S5.
The S7 can be submerged in depths down to five feet for half an hour, great for "avoiding accidental damage, using the phone in heavy rain or even taking it into the shower/bath if you want to control music to an external speaker or not miss an urgent phone call".
It is also completely dustproof and with series 7000 aluminium in its chassis, won't bend or warp without "considerable force".
Another feature making a welcome return is a MicroSD card slot for more storage options. The feature went Awol on the S6, forcing many fans to fork out for the 128GB model, says Pocket Lint, and while the option to insert a 200GB SD card makes up for the fact the S7 is only available in 3GB guise for now, it's still not seamlessly integrated into the experience.
Apps can be moved over to the SD card, as well as music, photos, and videos.
Bigger battery and faster charging
Instead of a removable unit, Samsung has fitted the S7 with one 18 per cent larger. With 3,000mAh, it is way bigger than the 2,550mAh of the previous model.
However, while the battery capacity improves, the S7's fast-charging capability "hasn't changed all that much", says Phandroid, although it's leaps and bounds ahead of the Galaxy S5, thanks to Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 capabilities, while wireless fast-charging support allowing you to add juice with just about any wireless charging accessory.
As the S5 has a removable battery, personal preference may mean those with even older Galaxy phones might not want to part company with their handsets just yet.
S7 vs S6 display
While on paper the Galaxy S7's display seems to be matched by that of the S6 – being a 5.1ins, Super Amoled screen with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels for a pixel density of 577ppi - Samsung promises that the screen is even brighter, with more accurate colour.
The biggest change is the introduction of the "always-on" feature, which supplies information such as the time or notifications at all times. It can be turned off, but as it uses only one per cent of the phone's power per hour and given that the average smartphone user checks this type of information more than 100 times a day, it should be a welcome addition.
Samsung S7 performance
While the S7 represents a step up in performance over the S6, British buyers will see less of a performance boost than their American counterparts.
Samsung claims that the new handset will deliver 30 per cent faster CPU performance and a 64 per cent improvement in graphics performance, but the phone is available with two different chipsets for different markets.
US consumers will get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, while the Exynos 8890 is being fitted to the phone in the UK. According to Forbes, the 8899 is still very fast, but the US phone has "dramatically superior graphics performance."