Camera technology has taken centre stage at Samsung’s launch of its new flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, which were launched on a stage ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain on Sunday.
The Korean electronics giant took the wraps off both the 5,1-inch Galaxy S7 and the premium, 5,5-inch Galaxy S7 edge at the high-profile event.
Many of the new phones’ features had already leaked prior to the launch, including the fact that they are both waterproofed — rated IP68, meaning they can be kept under water for up to 30 minutes at a depth of up to 1,5m — and have cameras that are well suited to low-light conditions.
Indeed, it’s the cameras in the S7 and S7 edge that Samsung senior vice-president for product strategy Justin Denison spent most time on during his keynote.
More an incremental update that a major overhaul, the new phones boast f/1,7 lenses, which let in more light for night-time or low-light indoor conditions.
Comparing the new camera to the iPhone 6s Plus, Denison said they offer “bigger pixels”, which, he said, means “better pictures”. Also, all pixels are used to focus, against fewer than 5% in the 6s Plus, he said.
Making it clear that the Apple devices are Samsung’s main target here (as if there were any doubt), Denison then showcased two images, one taken on an iPhone and the other on an S7, purportedly showing just how much better the Samsung phone is in low light.
The camera in the new phones is also “nearly level with the glass” on the rear, though not completely flush (here, perhaps Samsung could learn a thing or two from Sony’s flagship Z3 and Z5 series smartphones).
The premium-looking all-metal-and-glass phones feature an “always-on” display, which provides basic information, such as the time and notifications, without users having to flick the screen on. Third-party developers will be able to develop customised display information, Samsung said.
Those who need extra storage will be pleased to know there’s again a microSD card slot, which was missing from the S6 series (cards of up to 128GB are now supported to augment the decidedly average 32GB of internal storage).
Batteries are greatly improved over the S6’s 2 550mAh unit and the S6 edge’s equally weak 2 600mAh unit, with the S7 sporting a 3 000mAh battery and the S7 edge sporting a massive 3 600mAh power pack.
Samsung said its Exynos processor in the new phones is 30% faster than before, while the graphics processing unit is almost two-thirds more powerful. North American variants of the phones are powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. — © 2016 NewsCentral Media