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Military grade Samsung Galaxy S7 leaked

Active version of the flagship smartphone breaks cover to reveal beefier, camouflage casing

Samsung Galaxy S7: Best prices and deals

Trusted Reviews says the S7 and the larger, curved S7 Edge variant are set to be two of the best-selling smartphones of the year "but if you want a good deal, you'll need to be savvy about where you pick up either of the handsets".

UK networks are offering a huge range of tariffs and data plans and SIM-free options are available, too, if you'd prefer to buy outright.

What are the best deals for the new Samsung handsets?

Best Galaxy S7 pay monthly deals

According to PC Advisor, the best places to find the Galaxy S7 on a pay monthly contract are Carphone Warehouse and its sub-sites mobiles.co.uk and e2save.com.

Carphone Warehouse is offering a price-match programme, meaning if you can find a better deal for an S7 on O2, Vodafone or EE, they’ll match it - and knock the first monthly payment from your bill.

Three separate deals on the Carphone Warehouse website are worth particular attention. Vodafone will do a 24-month contract at £36 a month with unlimited calls and texts and 11GB of data. There's a £79.99 upfront cost.

Similar deals are offered on O2 and EE, with the same unlimited texts, calls and £79.99 payment. O2 matches the £36-a-month rate but with only 3GB data, while EE comes in at £37.49 a month for a 5GB data allowance, so Vodafone has it covered.

Engadget points out a few offers that could take your fancy, too, pointing out a Tesco Mobile plan at £37.50 per month with a 2GB allowance and no upfront costs. They also warn that a lot of network operators aren't worth a look in at present, as the cheapest deals at launch are offering tiny data allowances, such as Virgin Media at £34 a month for just 250MB data.

Gizmodo notes a deal on the Carphone Warehouse-owned iD network, saying it's the cheapest contract out there. For £35.50 a month and with no upfront cost, the S7 can be yours with 600 minutes, 500 texts and 1GB data. Over 24 months, it represents £948 altogether.

As for the larger, Edge variant, Carphone Warehouse offers the same Vodafone deal but with an upfront cost of £149.99 – now £20 more than the equivalent plan on O2 and EE.

Best SIM-free prices

If you'd prefer to buy the phone outright and save money in the long run, going SIM free is an option.

You can buy direct from Samsung for £569 and for £24.58 per month, expect an upgrade after a year.

Engadget points out the very cheapest SIM-free S7, though, at £540 from Mobile Phones Direct.

The site also lists the best Galaxy S7 Edge deals. There's a premium to pay for wanting the larger, curved handset and the best price is found with Mobile Phones Direct, Buymobiles, and Unlocked Mobiles, all at £620, some £19 cheaper than direct from Samsung.

Samsung Galaxy S7: Is an S7 Active on the way?

24 March

Samsung's Galaxy S7 already has an IP68 waterproof and dustproof rating. But now there's evidence to suggest the company is to introduce a more rugged version of its latest flagship handset. The move is not without precedent - the last three versions of the smartphones all had "Active" editions, with the last one, the Galaxy S6 Active, also having IP68 rating together with a more rugged design and added shockproofing. Now, notorious smartphone leaker Evan Bliss has found evidence the South Korean tech giant is indeed working on a new version of its new device. 

 The tweet shows that US network AT&T is testing a Samsung Galaxy handset, but it's the codename of the device which gives the game away, says PC Advisor. It is referred to as G891A – the Galaxy S6 Active was codenamed G980A, strongly suggesting this is a successor device. However, PC Advisor adds that the revelation could lead to disappointment for interested customers in the UK as the new handset could be limited as an exclusive on AT&T Stateside. The leak is from a credible source, so it looks as if a third Galaxy S7 will emerge soon. A fourth could be on the cards, but reports of that come from a less reliable source: shady supply chain leaks claim Samsung is set to introduce a Galaxy S7 Mini to go up against Apple's new iPhone SE.

Samsung Galaxy S7: Is a Mini model on the way?

16 March

Samsung's latest flagship handsets – the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge - launched earlier this month and if rumours are anything to go by, spin-off handsets are on the way, too.

Reports in Taiwan, picked up by Sammobile, say the company is planning to introduce a Galaxy S7 Mini, a smaller device that would go head to head against Apple's rumoured four-inch iPhone SE, which the tech giant is believed to be unveiling next week.

The handset is said to have a 4.6ins, 720 x 1280 display, with either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 or Exynos 8890 processor mated to 3GB of RAM. It should get a 12 megapixel camera, too, and measure 9.9mm in thickness.

Sammobile admits there's "no concrete evidence to show Samsung really has the Galaxy S7 Mini in the pipeline", but the company has released mini versions of its Galaxy handsets before. If it happens, we can expect plenty of leaks and new rumours over the coming weeks.

The International Business Times notes there were also rumours of an S6 Mini alongside other spin-off handsets after the market rollout of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.

While Samsung released the S6 Active, a more rugged version featuring IP68 waterproof and dustproof ratings, the smaller S6 never emerged. The last Mini was 2014's Galaxy S5 Mini.

Apple's iPhone SE, meanwhile, is rumoured to be getting the A9 chip from the iPhone 6S, as well as the same 12 megapixel camera hardware and an NFC chip for Apple Pay. It will be the company's first new four-inch iPhone since the 5S was introduced in 2013.

SSamsung Galaxy S7: gold and platinum phones revealed

03 March

A London boutique is offering an opulent alternative for Samsung Galaxy S7 customers who find the handset's four colours options don't match their wardrobes.

For those in need of that extra touch, Truly Exquisite in Mayfair can arrange for the phone to come with coverings of liquid 24-carat gold, 18-carat rose gold or platinum.

Customers can order their gilded S7 and S7 Edge devices now, with delivery due 21 days after the official launch date of 11 March. The phones come in a "luxury wooden box", alongside a free Gear virtual reality headset and a charging mat.

They also come with a bigger price tag, although Pocket Lint reckons the shiny smartphones represent decent value, all things considered.

A 24-carat gold Galaxy S7 is priced at £1,700 plus VAT, while the price of the smartphone itself is £569. However, when bundled with a Gear headset worth £99 and a charging mat priced at £45, gold-plating that could cost "thousands and thousands" actually commands little more than £980 of the overall price.

Prices are slightly more for a rose gold handset, which costs £1,750, and the platinum will set you back at £1,800. S7 Edge phones are available at a £100 premium over the smaller, standard S7. Customers have to pay a 50 per cent deposit up front.

Since the prices are listed without VAT, Pocket Lint says the handsets will be targeting customers in the likes of Dubai.

The devices could easily be labelled as distasteful, but the International Business Times reckons the phones are actually quite modest, with "only the right amount of bling".

A waste of money, or a nice touch?

Samsung Galaxy S7: Specs, features and the best deals

2 March

Samsung has finally revealed its much awaited Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge handsets.

The revamped smartphone was revealed at the company's Unpacked Event ahead of this week's 2016 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and critics have begun to pour over the specifications.

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Design

The two handsets undeniably share many design cues not just with each other, but with the outgoing Galaxy S6 models. There are one or two changes though.

The biggest difference is seen on the S7 Edge. While the standard S7 remains a 5.1-inch handset, the S7 jumps up in size to 5.5ins. With that comes the biggest change in terms of overall design, too. The sharper, flat back is gone and is instead rounded off to meet the curved edges of the screen.

At the back, the camera module has gone on a diet to make it protrude less - the new models jut out just 0.46mm, meaning they sit more or less flush. Samsung has also worked on the overall exterior packaging and manufacturing standards of the phone, now being IP68 waterproof standard.

The phone can be submerged in water for up to half an hour and at depths of five feet. To highlight the return of water resistance, T-Mobile did an unboxing of the new handset completely underwater.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"91339","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

Unboxing videos are "not a new concept at all", says 9to5Google, but doing one underwater is a novel way to show off a new phone while highlighting one of its features in one of the most literal, yet entertaining ways possible.

Much has been said about Samsung needing to build a certain mojo around its new handset if it wants to take sales from Apple - and waterproofing is something the new Galaxy has over the current iPhone 6S.

Colour options slightly change, too. The S6 was available in white, gold, blue and black, with an additional green on offer for the S6 Edge line-up.

Now, customers will be able to spec their S7 in a shade of silver, black, gold or white. Perhaps Samsung will introduce exclusive options for the S7 Edge at a later date.

Display

The Galaxy S6's display won praise, so Samsung has a reputation to trade on. Both the S7 handsets have Super AMOLED Quad HD screens with resolutions of 2560x1440 pixels, but the smaller phone has a pixel density of 577 compared to the 534 of the larger Edge model. Alphr says there's "no reason to suspect that the quality is going to be anything other than brilliant".

One striking new feature is that the display is always on – even when the phone is off. Notifications, date, time and a personalised screen will always be shown, while using minimal power.

All in all, Samsung has delivered in an area their phones are becoming renowned for. According to DisplayMate, the Galaxy S7 actually has the "best performing smartphone display" you can buy and "matches or breaks new records" regarding colour accuracy, brightness, contrast ratio, viewing angles, ambient light detection and resolution.

And of course, don't forget the Edge's party piece in the form of that curved display – an interesting curio.

Hardware

Both phones will use an identical processor, but with two different specifications.

Samsung claims the S7 processor is "30 per cent faster" than the one used last year, with the CPU up to 64 per cent quicker. Pocket Lint says this suggests the company has switched back to Qualcomm and that the S7 is possibly using a Snapdragon 820 on phones set for the US and UK. The company did confirm that different territories will get a different chip.

Both phones have 4GB RAM while from launch, models will be available with 32GB and 64GB storage, though Samsung has confirmed that expandable storage is also an option on the new S7 phones. Micro SD cards up to 200GB in size can be used. The SIM card slot has two housings – one for the Nano SIM, the other for an SD card.

Owing to the fact the phones are different sizes, the batteries have grown and changed slightly. The standard S7 is fitted with a 3,000mAh battery, the larger S7 a 3,600 one. Both can be fast charged and wired or wireless charging is available.

Software

As suspected, the S7s will run Android Marshmallow 6.0, although Samsung has introduced a few new built-in apps and features, too.

Among them is Game Launcher, a dedicated hub for mobile gamers where they will be able to launch games and customise settings. Samsung has also incorporated the camera into the gaming experience so users can record their screens or themselves while playing.

On the S7 Edge, a new sidebar scrolling function allows for easier access to news, apps, contacts and messages. It was rumoured that the S7 could get 3D touch like features, but instead Samsung has introduced additional swiping features. Samsung Pay – the company's rival to Apple Pay – is also coming to the UK with the S7.

Camera

It's not just the way the camera fits into the chassis of the phone that has changed, there are big hardware revisions to the S7's snapper.

Rumours that the phone could actually ship using a camera with less megapixels than the Galaxy S6 have turned out to be true. The S7 uses a 12 megapixel camera over the 16  used on its predecessor, but the actual sensor is mated to revisited and improved hardware and Samsung say they've improved the camera's overall performance, particularly in low light, says PC Advisor. An aperture of f/1.7 combined with larger pixels means the camera will allow in 95 per cent more light for better results. The front-facing camera is still five megapixels, but also gets the f/1.7 aperture for improved performance.

Release date and price

Pre-orders are open now, with a general release date set for 11 March, although Pocket Lint says those who pre-order from a handful of UK network operators by 7 March will actually receive their new handset the next day.

The Galaxy S7 will set you back £569 if you buy the handset outright, with a £70 premium for the S7 Edge to come in at £639. Overall, both phones are £20 more expensive than the rival iPhone 6S, but a true 2016 model will be coming from Apple in September, with the reveal of the iPhone 7.

If you're interested in trying to get a bit of a deal on the S7, it has been confirmed that early pre-orders will ship with a free Gear virtual reality headset worth around £80. The phone clips into it so it should be a worthwhile accessory.

Key Rivals

The new Galaxy S7 needs to watch out for efforts from Apple and LG.                                             

The LG G5 was revealed the day after the Galaxy S7 event and in comparison to the evolutionary steps the S7 takes over the outgoing S6, LG's new LG flagship is quite an overhaul compared to its predecessor.

The design has been completely changed and it uses a modular system that allows users to attach robust accessories. There's a dual-camera setup and it uses a Snapdragon 820 mated to 4GB of RAM for comparable performance.

For now, the new Samsung phone is competing against the iPhone 6S, but the real battle is set for later this year, when the iPhone 7 is revealed. Samsung is aiming for a slice of the Apple pie with the S7 and the iPhone looks set for its first sales decline in history this year.

It's rumoured that Apple could introduce something radical to stop a potential exodus. A dual-camera setup could be an option, as well as waterproofing and an upgraded speaker set. However, it could lose its headphone jack in a bid to become even thinner. Interest around the phone will be huge, so Samsung has until September to push the S7 before Apple grabs the headlines.

Reaction

Given the Galaxy S6 was well received by the critics and the S7 is an evolution of the same ethos and design, it is no surprise the new model has won favour, although some commentators still highlight the challenges ahead for Samsung

Richard Goodwin of Know Your Mobile says that outgoing S6 "hit the ball out of the park" and that the S7's enhancements and refinements should make for a brilliant smartphone. However, Samsung didn't quite create a buzz around its last handset – something vital this time round if it is to challenge the iPhone. The S7 update is much like an iPhone S update, the site adds, making the challenge even harder. Samsung may have to look over its shoulder, too – the LG G5 may be hot on the Galaxy's tail.

Writing for Forbes, Gordon Kelly says "almost everything" about the two phones is great, but there is a potential deal-breaker: the expandable Micro SD card storage. Samsung has been praised for re-introducing the card slot, but all is not as it seems. The expandable storage can be used for the likes of photos and music, which are written to external storage, but not apps. The S7 will ship with a number of preloaded "bloatware" apps when it arrives next month and app-happy users may be disappointed at the lack of storage – especially considering the 64GB model won't be available in key markets such as the United States.

Overall impressions remain hugely positive, though. Trusted Reviews says the S7 Edge in particular is one of the best-looking smartphones made and that "Samsung's device just feels better designed" when compared to the current iPhone 6S.

While impressed by the phone's overall design and features, PC Advisor flags up potential cause for concern relating to Samsung's need to give the S7 a big push against Apple.

It may have been difficult for the South Koreans to follow up on the hugely positive feedback garnered for the Galaxy S6 and as such, the only real way to improve upon it has been the re-introduction of some features that went down well with fans. Samsung has "played it safe", says the website, especially compared to the radical overhaul LG has given to its G5 handset. So despite the S7 being a brilliant smartphone, S6 users may not be queuing up for an upgrade just yet.

Deals

The very cheapest UK deal out there is with Carphone Warehouse, signing up to the firm's recently introduced iD network, says Gizmodo.

You can get the new S7 with no up-front fee on a contract of £35.50 a month for 24 months, totalling £852 over two years. That gives you 600 minutes, 500 texts and a 1GB Data allowance. If that's not quite enough, a plan with 1200 minutes, 5000 texts and 2GB is also available at £39.50 per month - £948 over two years – still undercutting rival networks. What's more, as iD is run by Carphone Warehouse, early adopters will get a free Gear VR headset thrown in.

More established firms such as O2 and Three have pricier options, but all the perks of joining a larger network.

O2's cheapest contract is £944 over two years with £140 up front - but doesn't match the data allowances and talk time of iD, although the firm offers bigger, more expensive terms for the data hungry. It's most expensive deal is £10 up front and £59 a month, to make £1,426 over two years, and comes with unlimited calls and texts and a whopping 30GB data, as well as a £150 Jabra headset and all the standard O2 perks, such as 4G, ticket offers and the option of an upgrade after a year.

Rival Three offers a contract of £35 a month with a £99 upfront charge, making £940 total, with a 1GB 4G allowance and unlimited calls and texts. For unlimited data, you'll pay £29 up front and £56 a month for two years, totalling £1,373.

It is also the only network that offers unlimited data and has the most flexible data usage plans regardless of your package, letting you use your allowance in 18 countries without any roaming charges.

If you're after the larger, curved-screen S7 Edge, Vodafone appears to have the cheapest option of any major network.

However, it should be noted that it's a 12-month deal and many 24-month contracts will see you pay much less per month. Nevertheless, it is the cheapest way to secure a new S7 Edge, with an upfront fee of £279 and monthly payments of £54 pounds for a total contract value of £927. For that, you get 2GB of data and unlimited calls and texts.

iD offers two 24-month contracts squeezing in at less than £1,000. Both come with 600 minutes talk time, 5000 texts, and 1GB data per month. The difference comes in how you pay. The cheaper monthly payment - £35.50 – comes with a higher upfront charge of £80; the other deal sees an initial fee of £80 with a contract of £37.50 a month. Both total £930 over two years, with a free VR headset thrown in while stocks last.

Three offers S7 Edge plans for those with huge data requirements. The unlimited package comes in at £62 a month with an upfront payment of £50, totalling £1,488 over two years for unrestricted data access at home and 18 other destinations worldwide.

Samsung Galaxy S7: official video teases new features

19 February

A video posted on one of Samsung's official YouTube channels appears to reveal some of the features of the upcoming Galaxy S7 ahead of a planned launch event on Sunday.

Breaking rank, Samsung Indonesia uploaded Get Ready for #TheNextGalaxy - and the film seems to show the new handset in a number of situations, highlighting several features expected on the device.

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It shows Indonesian archer Dellie Threesyadinda working out with a new handset, showing off its wireless charging, water resistance and synchronicity with the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch. The minute-long advert is Samsung's most extensive play yet regarding the next handset.

However, Alphr isn't 100 per cent convinced she is using the new handset, arguing that nowhere in the clip is an explicit reference to the Galaxy S7 made and that the phone looks a bit like the soon-to-be outgoing Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. However, they do say there are resemblances between the video's handset and the one in the press renders leaked over the last few weeks, though.

The Independent is less convinced, pointing out that David Ruddock, the editor of Android Police, has tweeted to confirm the handset in the video is a placeholder.

However, they do think the advert makes reference to the features set to be on the next phone. Waterproofing and changes to the camera have both been heavily rumoured and are both referenced.

Samsung has had a hard time keeping things under wraps ahead of the phone's debut and the company's Indonesian subsidiary seems keen to push early information and hype up the launch – as well as the video, there is the discovery of an official teaser site for Sunday's Samsung Unpacked event.

It's unclear if the "leaks" from official channels have been accidental or part of an intentional plan to build up interest in the Galaxy 7 – something vital if Samsung is really to take the fight to Apple in the smartphone market this year.

With the official reveal just days away now, leaks are becoming ever more common, both in terms of what we can expect from the phone and the actual business side of the launch and what the phone will mean to Samsung.

Stealing an early march on Apple – the rival iPhone 7 won't be revealed until September, although an entry level device is reportedly to be launched next month – is certainly on the cards for Samsung, especially considering the rumours regarding price and the bonuses that will be offered. Hints imply that not only will the Galaxy S7 be cheaper than the iPhone, those who pre-order for delivery on 11 March will also receive a free Gear virtual reality headset.

Most recently, Know Your Mobile reported on a hands-on preview session for the phone in London, from which a new video has emerged.

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The secret pre-briefing for journalists confirms the Galaxy 7 comes with an Android Marshmallow 6.0 operating system, 12-megapixel camera, Micro SD card support and a larger battery.

Samsung Galaxy S7: leaks revela new colours and price drop

16 February

Freshly leaked press renders of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones have revealed the colour options available just days ahead of the official unveil, scheduled for the eve of next week's Mobile World Congress next week – as well as a new report suggesting the price of the phone when it goes on sale.

Samsung is due to reveal their next flagship handsets at the Unpacked event on 21 February, but few surprises as to what the handset will look like will be left in store considering a series of exposes have already divulged the designs in detail.

The most recent pictures come from noted leaker Evan Blass, who also posted the first press renderings of the Galaxy S7 in January.

According to the images, the phone will be available in black, silver, and gold guises – a change from the emerald, black, white, and gold pallet of the Galaxy S6, though TechRadar says it's still possible that the green and white tints could form part of the line-up.

Seeing the phone in these colours has also shone clearer light on the exact shape of the Galaxy S7, with Android Authority saying the back is "clearly more curved" than the outgoing S6.

Separately, a report by Dutch tech website Tweakers hinting at what the S7 and S7 Edge handsets could cost has been picked up my more mainstream technology sites, such as SlashGear. According to the tip, the standard S7 will cost around €699 (£540), with the larger Edge model coming with a premium of €100 more, for a UK price of about £620.

For that price, it's rumoured Samsung will be adding a Gear virtual reality headset for those who pre-order. The handsets are expected to ship on 11 March.

Forbes notes that the pricing strategy – if true – is aggressive and exactly the kind of approach Samsung needs to take if it is to take the fight to Apple.

The latest flagships will be "competitive" against the new iPhones when they arrive in September, and the leaked prices represent a €50 (£39) drop in comparison to how much the soon to be outgoing Galaxy S6 sold for when it was first introduced.

Compared to its key rival, the magazine adds that "If Apple keeps its pricing structure consistent for the iPhone 7 as it did with previous devices, then it will definitely be more expensive than the Galaxy S7."

Regarding European prices, the iPhone 6S and 6S plus are priced at €739 (£571) and €849 (£656) respectively, so if the Samsung prices are true, it could be a real steal over the Apple product, free virtual reality headset notwithstanding.

Forbes also picks up on a recent leak regarding the battery capacity of the Galaxy S7. According to several sources around the web, the Samsung device will come with a 3600 mAh battery – a 1000 mAh increase over the Galaxy S6 Edge.

With this increase, the S7 should be able to support around 24 hours of talk time, 18 hours of video playback, and around 69 hours of music on a single charge.

With the official reveal just days away now, leaks are becoming ever more common, both in terms of what we can expect from the phone and the actual business side of the launch and what the phone will mean to Samsung.

Stealing an early march on Apple – the rival iPhone 7 won't be revealed until September, although an entry level device is reportedly to be launched next month – is certainly on the cards for Samsung, especially considering the rumours regarding price and the bonuses that will be offered. Hints imply that not only will the Galaxy S7 be cheaper than the iPhone, those who pre-order for delivery on 11 March will also receive a free Gear virtual reality headset.

Most recently, Know Your Mobile reported on a hands-on preview session for the phone in London, from which a new video has emerged.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"91017","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

The secret pre-briefing for journalists confirms the Galaxy 7 comes with an Android Marshmallow 6.0 operating system, 12-megapixel camera, Micro SD card support and a larger battery.

Samsung Galaxy S7: VR headset pre-order bonus rumoured

12 February

Consumers who pre-order the hotly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S7 will also receive one of the company's Gear virtual reality headsets, according to several sources on the internet.                                  

Both the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge handsets are to be revealed at a launch event on 21 February, the day before the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where most rival device-makers will reveal their smartphones.

Customers will reportedly be able to pre-order the new handset from the reveal – and as an extra incentive, those who do so before 10 March will be given a free virtual reality headset to use with the phone if they register online.

However, Android Authority says it is not known if the device has been modified or updated at all for Samsung's next generation of devices. Nor has the 21 February pre-order date been officially confirmed, although previous form suggests order books will open the day the device is revealed.

Samsung offering the smartphone VR headset as an incentive is a win for both consumers and the company itself, says TechRadar.

First, early adopters of the smartphone will receive savings of £80 on an accessory that is "incredibly fun to use", plus the bundle offers a great way to get into virtual reality for those who do not wish to either go out of their way to get a headset or spend a large amount of money on one of the far more expensive dedicated devices, such as the £599 Oculus Rift.

For Samsung, it means more Gear VR devices will find owners just as the virtual reality headset competition, especially in the lower-cost, smartphone-compatible range, starts to heat up.

Critics say Samsung must generate hype around its new device and steal an early march on Apple if the Galaxy S7 is to truly take the fight to the iPhone 7, which is due to launch in September. According to Forbes, the South Koreans are closing in. In the United States, Samsung now has a 31 per cent market share to Apple's 40 – setting the company up for a decent run as its US rival.

Apple has yet to officially delve into investing heavily in VR applications for its smartphones, so providing early adopters with the technology is immediately something Samsung can exploit to get one over its key rival.

Samsung Galaxy S7: more leaks and new pictures of handset

09 February

New photographs of Samsung's next flagship handset – the Galaxy S7 – have leaked onto the internet, giving us our clearest look at the new phone yet.

Previous sneak peeks came in the form of official press images to be circulated by Samsung, but Alphr reports that hands-on photographs of the handset have now been posted on the web ahead of a reveal event on 21February, prior to the phone going on display at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The first picture, posted to Vietnamese website Review Dao, shows the rear of the S7. "Aside from the nice curvy back, the main thing to report here is the handset's new, slimmed-down camera hump," notes the tech website.

Samsung is rumoured to have decreased the total megapixel count on the S7 in comparison to the S6. Apparently, the new phone will use a 12-megapixel camera mated to better software and sensors over the 16-megapixel setup used on the outgoing model. The photo does not confirm the rumour, but the camera setup "does look different from its predecessor".

The second picture picked up on by Alphr, posted to Chinese social media website Weibo, shows the larger "Edge" model due to launch alongside the standard Galaxy S7 and is a hands-on of the next curved-screen phone. The Verge notes the colour of the handsets, saying the black casing is a change from the dark blue used on the S6 models, but everything else is "pretty much what you'd envision".

Allied to the new images are a series of fresh leaks. Most importantly, Tech Radar reports that according to "a source high up at one of the UK's major networks", Samsung has decided not to introduce an even larger S7 Edge Plus model to the UK or European market and instead will re-introduce its Note range of phablets.

The news could disappoint Galaxy fans, but Tech Radar says: "Not launching the brilliant Samsung Galaxy Note 5 in Europe was one of Samsung's strangest decisions in recent times so this news should please the many phableteers who've been left without an obvious upgrade this year." The Galaxy Note 6 will launch in the UK in August.

Lastly, 9 to 5 Google lists a recent leak regarding the kinds of accessories users will be able to buy when the S7 goes on sale. According to its report, several new case options with features such as a keyboard case and an "LED flip view cover" will be available. But the website says the most notable addition is the "Backpack case", featuring a 2,700mAh battery for huge talk-time and bundled with a wireless charging kit.

Samsung Galaxy S7 leak: launch date and pictures

05 February

Samsung is set to reveal its new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones on 21 February – one day before the Mobile World Conference begins in Barcelona, where it was previously thought the phone would be unveiled.

The date has been announced in a teaser trailer for the company's next "Unpacked" event.

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"The invitation includes an image of a shadowy cube with two edges glowing to form a '7', suggesting that we will indeed see the Galaxy S7 at this event", says The Verge.

However, the first press shots of the phone hit the internet prior to Samsung's announcement.

Famed leaker Evan Bliss posted the first two renderings of the upcoming phone on Twitter, confirming the design of the handsets, as well as their differing sizes.

Many critics have noted that on the face of it, the new phone could have been designed with an old S6 and some tracing paper.

"Unless there are significant deviations on the back or right sides, or the other colours end up being noticeably different, the phone looks nearly identical", adds Stuff.

"Small changes aren't usually Samsung's style. But the S6 had one of the best smartphone designs it's ever shipped, so it makes sense that Samsung is sticking with what works", says The Verge of the design.

ProductReviews.net adds that over the years Samsung has introduced major revisions to its Galaxy S handsets, "but maybe they are starting to go down the Apple route and only releasing major changes every couple of years". They expect a massive design overhaul on the Galaxy S8 though.

Despite the S7 appearing to carry over much of its design from its predecessor, it's the Edge where differences begin. The two renders confirm it is a larger handset, possibly measuring 5.5ins.

Techinsider does point out one subtle change though. The edges on the front and back of the regular S7 phone are ever so slightly more rounded than those of the outgoing S6.

They add that the leak only confirms two new Galaxy handsets for now, but that an S7 Edge+ is a possibility later this year, given than Samsung introduced an S6 Edge+ in August. Doing so could give the handset a bump in the eye of the consumer prior to the launch of the iPhone 7 later this year.

But for now, the two strong iPhone 6 and 6 Plus-like product line seems inspired by Apple, and it's rumoured Samsung could introduce similar pressure-sensitive 3D touch capabilities to the phones.

The event, in three weeks' time, will almost certainly see Samsung set a release date for its newest smartphone. According to 9 to 5 Google, Samsung will launch in the US on 11 March, but we won't definitively know a date for Europe until the reveal event.

Forbes notes the timing of the reveal, highlighting a potentially interesting battle between Samsung and Apple, which is heavily rumoured to be introducing a new entry level phone this spring.

Samsung could use this as an opportunity to damage its rival by starting 2016 off with strong sales of a new flagship model. Compared to the rumoured iPhone 5E, the Galaxy S7 will have "far more technical might, and should be a stronger seller", says Forbes. It could do noticeable damage to the Apple brand ahead of the iPhone 7 launch.

Alternatively, they argue, the Apple reveal leaves Samsung in danger of being dwarfed and could set them up for a strong showing when the iPhone 7 arrives in September.

In a separate article for the magazine, Ewan Spence mulls over the importance of the handset for Samsung and what kinds of strategies it must marry to the release of what seems to be impressive hardware.

He argues the leaks pointing to the new Galaxy S7 phones being extremely powerful and functional devices won't be enough for Samsung if it is to challenge Apple in 2016. It must focus on "telling the story of the S7, making the handset desirable and promoting Samsung as an innovator in the smartphone space," he says.

A slight swell in the figures on the specifications sheet of the new handset isn't sufficient, he argues; Samsung must present the Galaxy S7 as a whole package allied to a strong product range. "It needs to present everything a customer wants and a little bit more magic".

Samsung can achieve this straight from launch. If the Unpacked event, at which the S7 models will be seen, is presented in such a way that not only enthuses people about the handset but also gets word out to iPhone users that Samsung is making a serious competitor, the company can start to think about taking sales from Apple device as it begins to decline.

Running a tight ship will be key. Apple tends to be very good at hiding new products before their worldwide reveals, something Samsung could learn from. For instance, after releasing its shady trailer hinting at something coming, Samsung destroyed all doubts and speculation surrounding the S7 Edge by accidentally posting images of the handset – along with some feature details – online.

Although yet to officially confirm the next Galaxy line-up, Samsung  let the cat out of the bag on its developer's site, Alphr says, confirming the handset will be revealed with new ways to use the curved screen edges once it receives Android Marshmallow. The edges will contain information bars which users will be able to pop out on to the main, flat part of the display to find out the likes of stock prices, football scores or the weather.

"Much has been written about Samsung’s desire to keep its flagship devices a secret, but the South Korean titan has never really been able to do it", says BGR.

Samsung has since removed the images after the slip-up.

Samsung Galaxy S7: five features revealed in major leak 

29 January

An anonymous source claiming to work for Samsung has leaked a photograph of an internal presentation slide detailing some of the alleged features on the next Samsung Galaxy phone.

Samsung's next flagship handset – the Galaxy S7 – is due to be on sale in a matter of weeks and will likely debut at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona towards the end of February, so major leaks like this aren't out of the question.

The slide, which was sent to tech website Phone Arena, lists five of the features possibly coming on the S7. They "can't guarantee its authenticity", but say most of what has been revealed is in line with some prior expectations of the device.

Waterproofing returns

Samsung dropped water resistance from its S6 but, if the slides are to be believed, the S7 will bring back the IP67-rated dust and water resistance from the Galaxy S5.

With it plastic chassis, waterproofing the S5 was a simple affair. Using the technique on metal phones without compromising the overall design has been more difficult and manufacturers have been keen to develop methods to do this. It seems Samsung feels they now can. The iPhone 7 is rumoured to be introducing waterproofing with a metal body, too, so as a leak, this is believable.

Expandable storage

The S7 will be microSD-card friendly again if the slide is real. Like waterproofing, this feature was killed off on the Galaxy S6 and Know Your Mobile stresses how big a reintroduction would be for fans.                          

Cards up to 200GB will be compatible and the ability to change and boost the phone's storage contrasts to the rigid nature of the Galaxy's big rival – the iPhone.

Camera changes

Interestingly, the leak suggests the Galaxy's camera will actually drop in terms of overall megapixels, but several key additions to the hardware will result in greater abilities.

The camera will go from 16MP to 12MP, but will be mated to a new super-fast aperture for improved action shots and low-light performance.

"This could affect the level of detail in shots, particularly if they are heavily cropped, but it also allows Samsung to make it flush to the body of the phone," says Forbes.

4GB RAM

In order to deal with the high RAM usage of Android software, the Galaxy S7 is equipped with 4GB of RAM. If the phone uses Android Marshmallow, it will boost improvement further. Know Your Mobile says that it's an "insane amount for a smartphone. Expect performance to be off the charts".

Battery increase

Finally, the slides indicate a large increase in battery life could be on the cards, with the suggestion that the phone will come with 20 per cent larger reserves and 40 per cent larger batteries in the S7 Edge. iPhone users have often been left frustrated at the device's low battery capacity, so Samsung throwing the gauntlet down could spark Apple into action.

Samsung Galaxy S7: Release date, price, specs and rumours

22 January

Samsung's Galaxy range of S smartphones have been the company's flagship handsets since their introduction in 2010.

They have posed one of the biggest threats to Apple's iPhone hegemony and the current offering - the Galaxy S6 - has won over critics with its design and super-sharp HD Amoled display, featuring an impressive 576 pixels per inch.

The Galaxy S7 is said to be on its way - but what will it be like?

Handset

Samsung is tipped to bring out three different versions of the Galaxy S7 - a standard Galaxy S7 plus two others, which could be another curved-screen phone - the Galaxy S7 Edge - and a larger version, also with a curved screen and possibly called the S7 Edge+.

The Independent reports that the rumours of three Galaxy S7's launching this year were originally put out by tech writer and "famed leaker" Evan Bliss. They also note that Samsung launched an S6 Edge+, but the product was not received as well as its smaller siblings. This time, the company may well launch all three at the same time and hope to get the Edge+ formula right.

Design

As for the look and feel of the phone, if it carries on in the same vein as its predecessor, it will be hard to find a more compelling handset on the market. Alphr describes the Galaxy S6 as "a stunner" and a "beautiful phone to behold." It is slim, light, nice to hold and the Gorilla Glass front and rear give it a particularly enticing shimmer.

Protective skin-maker ITSkins leaked an alleged sneak peak of the phone, which can be seen on SlashGear. The renderings show a large and small device, not too different to the current sets.

The most solid leak suggests the base phone will be a 5.1ins display, sold alongside an Edge model using a 5.5ins curved screen. GSmarena reports on a leak from within Samsung's supply chain found by looking at Zauba, a website that tracks India's import and export industry. By searching for the rumoured model numbers of the phones, Zauba does indeed confirm that batches of the two different handsets have passed in and out of Indian customs and that the two devices measured 5.1ins and 5.5ins respectively.

Display

Standard S7 and S7 Edge phones are tipped to come with 5.2ins screens, according to a report from Asia Today and reported by Pocket-Lint. This would mark a small increase on the screen size of the current model, which measures 5.1ins. Larger "plus" models may come with a 5.8ins display.

There's conflicting rumours, though. Some suggest the sizes could split into three, with a 5.2ins handset at the bottom, a 5.7ins Edge model, and a 6ins Edge+.

Display quality has been a hallmark of Galaxy handsets and TechRadar says that current rumours suggest a 4k screen could be on the way.

Samsung is also said to be interested in introducing screens with similar 3D-touch capabilities to the iPhone and it seems likely that a pressure-sensing display is on the way.

Camera

Trusted Reviews says the Galaxy S7 camera is unlikely to change much from that of the S6.

That's not necessarily disappointing, though: the camera on the S6 is highly regarded. It's a 16-megapixel set-up with optical image stabilisation, autofocus and LED flash. It seems likely Samsung will stick to its guns in terms of raw camera-power, but there could be new software to optimise the hardware and possibly a new lens, which would result in the bulge at the back of the phone being less pronounced.

A rumour over at Android Geeks suggests new software will result in Samsung releasing their own rival to Apple's "live photos" on the next handset.

OS, chipset, and hardware

TechRadar says the S7 will "almost certainly launch with Android Marshmallow", the latest version of the operating system. They also point out a rumour originating in China that suggests the phone will have some form of liquid-cooling to ease worries it could overheat if higher-spec internal hardware is introduced.

There's also talk that two different chipsets could be available. The Snapdragon 820 rumours are strong but go against the firm's decision to stop using Qualcomm chips in the Galaxy S6 and instead rely on their own Exynos chips. There are suggestions that using the 820 after a brief hiatus – skipping the 810 – is more a reflection on that chipset's poor performance than anything else.

Plus a new audio chip is rumoured, to try and take the fight to HTC's efforts in sound quality, and there's talk of USB-C and microSD ports on the handset.

Price

Tech advisor notes that prices are not usually leaked before smartphone launches, nor is it the manufacturers who make the announcement. Rather, that is down to retailers.

But, they add, with the Galaxy S6 priced at around £599 on its launch – an expensive phone already – they don't expect a price increase and the next generation will go on sale at the exact same price.

This is in contrast to the Daily Mail, who say the new phone could be up to 10 per cent cheaper than its predecessor in a bid to entice iPhone users across.

Release date

The S7 could be with us very soon – as soon as February, says Alphr, although they also point out a leak from China's largest mobile-phone network China Mobile suggesting March. It's unclear if China is pointing to a later reveal or release in shops, but strong rumours suggest the phone will be seen for the first time at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month. Earlier talk suggested the phone could surface even earlier, but as January passes by, this now looks unlikely.

When it does launch, the Galaxy S7 has more to do than just woo potential adopters - it has to please the Samsung board and shareholders, too. Indeed, Forbes says the new phones have two tasks to complete for the company. First, they need "to stabilise the falling profits and revenue in Samsung's mobile division" - the company was disappointed with S6 sales, despite the high praise the handset received. Second, the phone needs to address the balance within Samsung's own portfolio. The S7 has to tempt users into splashing out so the company can rely on sales of more expensive handsets instead of the cheaper Galaxy A9.

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