Samsung Appeals Back to its Base with the Galaxy S7
The disappointing sales of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge forced Samsung to rethink its strategy which alienated a lot of its core users. With the Galaxy S6 series, Samsung ditched the expandable SD card slot, removable battery, MHL video interface, and Qualcomm chipset and instead gave users a beautiful Apple-like design. With this move, the Galaxy S6 no longer had the same appeal to loyal Galaxy users and it's probably not a coincidence that iPhone sales has been doing well with many users converting to the iPhone from Android.
The Galaxy S7 aims to reverse this trend and appeal back to Samsung's loyal customer base. The S7 has maintained the metallic premium look that differentiated the S6 from its predecessors and the S7 Edge maintains the cool look of the S6 Edge. While the S6 used Samsung's own Exynos processor exclusively, the S7 uses the quad-core Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 for the US market and the octa-core Exynos 8890 outside of the US.
Samsung has also brought back the SD card in the Galaxy S7 due to popular outrage when it was taken out of the S6. Samsung doesn't reveal what SD card spec the S7 supports but the Snapdragon 820 does support SD UHS-I so it's assumed the S7 also supports SD UHS-I at least for US models. With the S7 supporting 4K video, it will be a lot easier to transfer large video files and photo collections using SD cards.
The Galaxy S7 also supports Android Marshmallow but doesn't take advantage of the new Adaptive Storage feature where Marshmallow based phones can use their SD card as internal memory for storing Apps, etc. Samsung heavily promotes an alternative internal memory standard called UFS and has also announced they will be selling external UFS cards to compete with SD cards.
The S7 also doesn't use the advanced USB Type-C power management features enabled on Marshmallow and unlike the Samsung Galaxy S5, only supports legacy USB 2.0 (480 Mb/s) speeds over a USB micro-B connector. S7 doesn't support the latest Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 standard but still supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 for fast charging with a charger that also support Quick Charge 2.0.
Other features of the Samsung Galaxy S5 that Galaxy continues to leave out of the Galaxy S7 are MHL video interface support and a removable battery. However, like the S5 which is IP67 certified (dust and water resistant up to 1 meter and 30 minutes), the S7 is IP68 certified (dust proof and water resistant over 1.5 meter and 30 minutes)- this water proofing feature was sorely missing from the Galaxy S6.
In the US, Samsung doesn't have their own store but you can stop by any Best Buy to see the latest products from Samsung in the Samsung mini store. The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge were on full display at this Best Buy like in Chandler, Arizona.
Unlike Apple which has a rich ecosystem of non-Apple products working with the iPhone, Samsung has created its own ecosystem of products which it promotes with the Galaxy S6 like the Gear S2 Smartwatch and the Gear VR Virtual Reality Headset.
It was also interesting to see the Galaxy Tab S2 showcased with a keyboard cover similar to how the Apple iPad Pro has been displayed at the Apple Stores.
Up close the Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge looks very similar to the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge.
Despite the '7' next to the name, the Galaxy S7 is more of an incremental change to the Galaxy S6 addressing a lot of the issues that helped contribute to lower than expected sales.
The Galaxy S7 is an important piece of the puzzle that Samsung is trying to solve to regain market share in the high end of the smartphone market where it competes heavily with the iPhone. If not successful, Samsung will continue to have to compete based on price with upcoming Chinese giants like Huawei and Xiaomi.