Mobile Technology

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs. Galaxy S6

To upgrade or not? Gizmag compares the features and specs of the new Samsung Galaxy S7 (left) and last year's Galaxy S6
To upgrade or not? Gizmag compares the features and specs of the new Samsung Galaxy S7 (left) and last year's Galaxy S6
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Always-on display
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Always-on display
Camera aperture (rear)
2/27
Camera aperture (rear)
Battery
3/27
Battery
Build
4/27
Build
Camera megapixels
5/27
Camera megapixels
Color options
6/27
Color options
Processor
7/27
Processor
Dimensions;
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Dimensions;
Display resolution
9/27
Display resolution
Display size
10/27
Display size
Display type
11/27
Display type
Fast charging
12/27
Fast charging
Fingerprint sensor
13/27
Fingerprint sensor
Gear VR compatibility
14/27
Gear VR compatibility
To upgrade or not? Gizmag compares the features and specs of the new Samsung Galaxy S7 (left) and last year's Galaxy S6
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To upgrade or not? Gizmag compares the features and specs of the new Samsung Galaxy S7 (left) and last year's Galaxy S6
Liquid cooling
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Liquid cooling
MicroSD
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MicroSD
Optical Image Stabilization
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Optical Image Stabilization
Starting price (full retail)
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Starting price (full retail)
RAM
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RAM
Release
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Release
Removable battery
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Removable battery
Software
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Software
Storage
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Storage
Water resistance
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Water resistance
Weight
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Weight
Wireless charging
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Wireless charging

Samsung's new Galaxy S7 doesn't look like a radical upgrade over last year's Galaxy S6, but there are a few key changes under the hood. Let's line up old and new Galaxy, to see if it's worth the upgrade.

Size

Dimensions;
Dimensions;

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is just a hair shorter and narrower. The bigger difference is that, in a departure from the industry's universal affinity towards lighter and thinner, the GS7 is 16 percent thicker than the Galaxy S6.

Weight

Weight
Weight

Along those same lines, it's also strange to see a new flagship that's 10 percent heavier than its predecessor.

Build

Build
Build

We're still looking at a glass back with aluminum frame, but the Galaxy S7 now has a curved back – similar to what we saw on the Galaxy Note 5.

Colors

Color options
Color options

Samsung ditched the blue with this year's flagship.

You'll want to keep in mind that the GS7's silver option isn't yet on the entrée for any of the US wireless carriers. If you want that color and you're in the US, you'll have to go with the larger Galaxy S7 edge (not included in this comparison) .

Display size

Display size
Display size

No changes here – while the Galaxy S7 edge is now a 5.5-inch phablet, the standard model has the same 5.1-inch display size we saw on last year's model.

Display resolution

Display resolution
Display resolution

Resolution also stands pat at an incredibly sharp 1,440p.

Display type

Display type
Display type

No changes here, as Samsung sticks with a Super AMOLED panel for its new flagship.

Always-on display

Always-on display
Always-on display

Samsung is using that AMOLED tech to give the GS7 an always-on display – giving you quick access to time and notifications without doing anything. It's a bit like a smartwatch for your smartphone screen.

Fingerprint sensor

Fingerprint sensor
Fingerprint sensor

You still get a terrific touch-based fingerprint sensor (in the home button) for the GS7.

Processor

Processor
Processor

We'll need to get some extended time with a review unit before jumping to conclusions here, but the Galaxy S7 seemed very fast in our MWC demo.

That asterisk is there because only US, China and Japan get the quad-core Snapdragon 820 listed above. Other regions get an octa-core Samsung Exynos 8990 chip.

Gear VR compatibility

Gear VR compatibility
Gear VR compatibility

You can use either phone to power the consumer Gear VR headset that's currently sold for US$99. If you pre-order the GS7, you get a Gear VR on the house.

Liquid cooling

Liquid cooling
Liquid cooling

We suspect the Galaxy S7's liquid cooling is all about the Gear VR. Though Samsung's 2015 flagships didn't give us overheating problems inside the headset the way the Note 4 did inside the original Innovator Edition, a more advanced cooling system could give you virtually unlimited VR gameplay.

RAM

RAM
RAM

Like Samsung's late 2015 phablets, the Galaxy S7 jumps up to 4 GB of RAM.

Storage

Storage
Storage

US carriers are only offering the 32 GB variant of the GS7 (which is available in other regions), likely because of the next category.

MicroSD

MicroSD
MicroSD

Samsung brought back the microSD slot this year, so you can pop in your own card to augment the Galaxy S7's internal storage. It doesn't, however, use Android's adoptable storage (which makes external storage practically indistinguishable from internal storage), so it's mostly going to be good for things like photos, videos and music files.

Battery

Battery
Battery

The tradeoff of a thicker and heavier phone? You get an 18 percent bigger (higher-capacity) battery. We're looking forward to testing the uptimes on the new handset.

Fast charging

Fast charging
Fast charging

Fast charging is still in play with the new model, provided you stick with the stock Samsung cable (or another Qualcomm Quick Charge compatible cable).

Wireless charging

Wireless charging
Wireless charging

Ditto for wireless charging – and the fast wireless charging that works with Samsung's special ($70) charging pad.

Removable battery

Removable battery
Removable battery

The GS7's battery is still sealed shut.

Camera megapixels

Camera megapixels
Camera megapixels

We actually get a drop in rear camera megapixel count with the GS7, but we're more interested in the improved low-light photography Samsung is pitching for its new phone.

Camera aperture (rear)

Camera aperture (rear)
Camera aperture (rear)

One factor in the better low-light shots could be the new phone's slightly wider aperture.

OIS

Optical Image Stabilization
Optical Image Stabilization

Optical Image Stabilization is still around in the GS7.

Water resistance

Water resistance
Water resistance

In a throwback to 2014's Galaxy S5, the new Galaxy S7 has water resistance – this time rated IP68.

Software

Software
Software

The GS7 launches with Android Marshmallow (with Samsung's TouchWiz UI). That update is still rolling out for the Galaxy S6, though, so many current GS6 handsets are still on Lollipop.

Release

Release
Release

The Galaxy S7 launches on March 11.

Starting price (full retail)

Starting price (full retail)
Starting price (full retail)

As is usually the case, carrier pricing varies a bit – but these are ballpark averages. We don't recommend paying this much for the GS6 at this point – either full retail or in installments. It's still a great phone, but with a relatively small price gap between it and the newer model, it's just not a smart buy. You'll want to either look for a cheaper price on it, or go ahead and snag the new and improved GS7.

For more, you can hit up our full reviews of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S6.

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