Samsung is just about to release the next installment in their flagship series, the Galaxy S7. It will undoubtedly have a premium price tag, but how much better is it than last year’s model? And if you already have an S6, is it worth the upgrade? Let’s take a look at how the Galaxy S6 and S7 stack up against each other.
The Galaxy S6 was a big improvement over the comparatively unattractive S5. The S5 was all plastic with cheap looking fake metal painted around the edges. The metallic paint the S5 had just looked cheesy, let’s be honest here. The S4 was pretty much all plastic too, but it looked a little classier than the S5. The S6 on the other hand took Samsung’s style to a new high, and the S7 carries that torch for another year.
Both the S6 and S7 have aluminum and glass bodies that look much nicer than any of the previous S-series models. The glass and aluminum design feels much better in your hands. It’s by all means a step up in build quality. Plastic may be a bit more durable when it comes to drops, but you ought to be protecting your phone with some kind of case anyway.
The S6 and S7 look very similar. Samsung reduced the camera sensor bump on the back of the S7 to almost flush. It has a slight ergonomic curve that allows it to fit naturally into your palm. Otherwise they look pretty much the same.
Storage space and battery power
One of the key differences between the S7 and its predecessor is that the S7’s storage space can be expanded with a microSD card. The S6 lacks a microSD card slot. In order to slim up the sleek and elegant S6, Samsung reduced the battery size compared to the one used in the S5. Many S-series fans griped about the cut back in battery life, and as a result, Samsung pumped the S7 up with a larger, 3000 mAh battery. The drawback in stocking the S7 with a big battery is that it has to be thicker. The S7 is 7.9 mm vs the S6’s 6.8 mm. The S7 is a bit heavier too at 152 g versus the S6’s 138 g.
Unlike the Galaxy S6, the S7 is waterproof. This is a great bonus if you live in a tropical climate that gets a lot of rain, or if you or someone close to you is prone to spilling drinks.
The S7 features an Always On display that allows the time, date and notifications to be seen on screen even when the phone is asleep. The Galaxy S7’s AMOLED screen allows individual pixels to be used without turning on the rest of the screen. Always On display should have a minimal effect on battery life, especially with the bump up in capacity.
In the S7, Samsung has introduced a new type of camera technology that they call “dual-pixel.” Even though the S7’s camera has only 12 MP instead of 16 MP like the S6, Samsung claims that the picture quality is better on the S7. The S7’s camera also focuses up to four times faster. The S7 has a lower aperture at f / 1.7. That means it can capture more light and thus take clearer pictures in low light conditions. The front facing camera on both devices captures 5 MP images.
Processors and RAM
As expected, the S7 got an upgrade in processing power. The Galaxy S7 packs a Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 AND an Exynos 8890 Octa. It uses a dual-core 2.15 GHz Kryo, a dual-core 1.6 GHz Kryo, a quad-core 2.3 GHz Cortex-A53, and a quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A53. The S6 on the other hand has a quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 in combination with a quad-core 2.1.0 GHz Cortex-A57.
In addition to the extra processors Samsung packed into the S7, it has an extra gig of RAM at 4 GB. The use of multiple processors and 4 GB of RAM should provide top notch performance no matter how many apps you left open at the same time. Plainly put, the S7 is a state of the art POWERHOUSE. The S6 should not be underestimated though, as it is incredibly snappy as well.
What they have in common
If you expected these two smart phones to have more similarities than differences, then you’d be right. They both use microUSB chargers, not USB type C. They both take nano-SIMs, and they have virtually the same screen (on paper at least). The screen size on both phones is 5.1 inches with 1440 x 2560 pixels and 577 ppi. The S7 does have slightly less bezel though, so the screen to body ratio on the S7 is a tad better at 72.1% vs 70.7% on the S6.
The S7 ships with Android v6.0 Marshmallow. The S6 is currently still using Lollipop 5.0.2, but will soon be upgraded to Marshmallow. Both models make use of Samsung’s proprietary user interface of course, TouchWiz.
S7 vs. S6 Pros and cons
- Supports microSD cards
- Has a bigger battery
- Has more RAM and more processing power
- Supposedly has a better camera
- Is waterproof
- Will certainly have a premium pricetag (i.e. it’s expensive!)
- Is a bit thicker and heavier
- Price is significantly lower and is likely to keep dropping over the next few months
- It’s a bit thinner and lighter
- You can buy one right now as it’s already in stores
- It’s quite similar to the S7, and has enough power and technology to hold you over for a long time
- Less RAM and processing power
- Lacks dual-pixel technology
- Lacks a microSD card slot
- Has a smaller battery
- Not waterproof
All the above being said, the Samsung Galaxy S6 is a fantastic phone. Just because the S7 will be available very soon does not mean you ought to buy that instead. Truth be told, they are very similar. None of the new additions to the S-series this year are mind blowing. Nothing sets the S7 way above the S6. The S6 is so much better than the S5 in pretty much all categories except for battery life. The Galaxy S7 didn’t get a dramatic makeover the way the S6 did over the S5. If money is an issue, the S6 will not disappoint you. It’s a highly capable device that when compared to the S7, is just barely less favorable.
If you are dying to get the newest installment in the S-series, then obviously the S7 should be your pick. There’s not really any reason to choose the S6 over the S7 except for its price. Since you’ll be paying top dollar with the S7, the S6 will provide a better value. As is the case with any smart phone series, last year’s new-and-hot is this year’s value buy.
The S7 is in fact better all around, but the S6 is still an awesome phone that is now being sold at a more reasonable price. If you already have the S6, it makes more sense to wait until the presumed release of the S8 next year. If you’re using the S5 or even the S4 though, now is a great time for an upgrade if you’re willing to fork over the dough.