Samsung recently introduced the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, two brand-new smartphones that may be the most exciting products the company releases in 2016. But that doesn’t mean that the rumor mill that’s constantly reporting on Samsung’s upcoming products has slowed down. Read on to catch up on the most exciting Samsung rumors to surface this week.
1. The Galaxy S7 could have a “Chipgate” of its own
Last year, Samsung made an interesting change with the Galaxy S6, choosing to stick with the Exynos 7420 chip in all models, breaking with its tradition of providing European and U.S. customers with phones powered by Snapdragon chips and offering Exynos-powered models to shoppers in Asia. But Edoardo Maggio reports for 9to5Google that Samsung is returning to using two different chips in the Galaxy S7, which may have a chip scandal of its own (though Maggio reports that it’s probably not a controversy that users will really notice).
The choice to use different chips in different models of the Galaxy S7 creates significant discrepancies between the two models’ performance. While there’s just a 5% difference between the two models as far as CPU power, a major 32% gap separates the superior Snapdragon 820 from the under-performing Exynos 8890 with regards to GPU. However, Maggio notes that the Exynos chip is still “plenty fast,” and the experience offered by the two models shouldn’t vary much in day-to-day use. And while that might make a difference when it comes to gaming, where graphics performance and loading times are important, Maggio thinks that the imbalance shouldn’t hinder the average user.
However, Jacob Siegel reports for BGR that while the big differences in the chips’ graphics performances may not make a big difference at launch, that could change. As software becomes more resource-intensive over the course of the devices’ lifetimes, the Exynos phones could fall behind. It’s also troubling that it’s almost impossible to know whether you’re buying a phone with a Snapdragon or Exynos chip. If Samsung ends up with its own version of the iPhone’s “chipgate” scandal, that could prevent some users from buying the S7 or S7 Edge altogether.
2. Not all cameras in the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are the same
As Cam Bunton reports for 9to5Google, Samsung has used different cameras in different models of the Galaxy S7. It’s been discovered that some S7 and S7 Edge models ship with a Sony sensor, while others use Samsung’s own camera sensors. Both cameras boast the same resolution, features, and video recording capabilities, and there’s no evidence yet that either sensor is superior to the other. Some users assume that the Sony sensor is superior, but Bunton notes that Samsung has made significant strides on the optics front over the past 12 months. That makes it more difficult to assume that there’s a performance gap until we see side-by-side shots.
Bunton reports that there doesn’t seem to be a clear pattern as to which version of the phone has which sensor. While many Exynos-powered models are equipped with the Samsung sensors, some have been found to use Sony sensors. Last year, buyers of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge faced the same situation. But no major differences were discovered between Samsung’s sensors and Sony’s, and while there were a few minor discrepancies in image quality, they weren’t significant enough to be noticed by a general consumer.
3. You may not be able to replace the screen on your Galaxy S7
Abner Li reports for 9to5Google that according to a teardown, it probably isn’t possible to replace a cracked screen on Samsung’s new Galaxy S7. During a teardown, iFixit gave Samsung’s latest flagship phone a three out of 10 repairability score. It’s difficult to get into the device in the first place, and once you’re in, it’s even more difficult to replace one component without damaging another.
The battery is physically difficult to remove and clearly isn’t intended for replacement. It’s also very difficult to repair the display and digitizer, micro-USB port, microphone, and soft button LEDs. Replacing a component that’s prone to failing, like the USB port, is likely to damage the screen. And iFixit notes that it’s probably impossible to replace a cracked screen without destroying the display thanks to the adhesive used.
4. The Galaxy Note 6 could get the same upgrades as the Galaxy S7
Erik Pineda reports for China-based Yibada that Samsung’s flagship tablet for 2016 may get some of the same upgrades as the Galaxy S7. Looking at the technology that Samsung integrated in to the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, it’s possible to deduce the upgrades that the Galaxy Note 6 is likely to get when Samsung releases it later this year. He reports that the Galaxy Note 6 is likely to mirror the Galaxy Note 5’s 5.7-inch screen, but to gain a more compact build. Since the S7 and S7 Edge are water-resistant, the Note 6 is likely to gain the same feature.
Samsung is also likely to make the same camera upgrades to the Galaxy Note 6 that it made with the Galaxy S7, and the Note 6 is likely to be equipped with the same 3600mAh battery used by the S7 Edge. The Note 6 could also gain the microSD card slot that Samsung reintroduced with the Galaxy S7, and Samsung is likely to support the native Android Marshmallow feature of adoptable storage, which is not supported by the Galaxy S7. Pineda reports that the Note 6 is likely to be unveiled no later than August 2016, and if Google released Android 7.0 N by June, then the Note 6 could run the next version of Android out of the box.
Christopher Morris reports for ValueWalk that Samsung may launch the Galaxy Note 6 sooner than expected. While the S7 is, arguably, Samsung’s most important phone, the Note range has taken on increasing significance as Samsung equips those devices with top of the line specifications. Samsung is likely eyeing the latest rumors about Apple’s upcoming iPhones and looking to stay competitive when it comes to high-end smartphones, which could make the Note 6 especially important.
5. Samsung seems to have a powerful tablet on the way
Williams Pelegrin reports for Digital Trends that benchmark tests reveal that an unnamed but fairly powerful Samsung tablet is on its way. The device, referred to only as the Samsung SM-T585 was revealed by results of the GFXBench benchmark test, which is designed to test a device’s graphics abilities, but also reveals its internal hardware. In this case, the test revealed that the SM-T585 will have a 10-inch 1920×1080 display, which means that it’s a tablet.
The tablet is powered by Samsung’s Exynos 7870 chipset, which includes a 1.7GHz octa-core processor and 2GB of RAM. Pelegrin notes that the chipset is relatively new, and is reportedly going to power one variant of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy J7. The tablet will also be equipped with 16GB of internal storage, an 8MP rear-facing camera, a 2MP front-facing camera, and an array of sensors and connectivity options. Pelegrin notes that it’s unclear so far what branding Samsung will choose to sell the device under, though the Galaxy Tab 5, Galaxy Tab E, or the Galaxy Tab A are all possibilities.
6. Samsung may refresh the Galaxy Tab 3 Lite
Williams Pelegrin reports for Digital Trends that Samsung may give its budget-friendly Galaxy Tab 3 Lite another go in 2016. The rumored updated version of the tablet was first spotted on Zauba, a site that tracks products being imported to and exported from India. It was identified as the SM-T116IR and was being shipped to India for testing and evaluation.
Specifications released through GFXBench reveal that the refreshed version of the Galaxy Tab 3 Lite will use the same 7-inch 1,024×600 resolution display as the original. But the updated version will use the quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor, the same chip that powers the Moto G 2015. It will also feature 1.5GB of RAM, a 5MP rear-facing camera, and a 2MP front-facing camera.
7. Samsung may shut down Milk Music
Janko Roettgers reports for Variety that Samsung may be preparing to shut down its Milk Music streaming service. Roettgers reports that the move would be part of a larger strategy for Samsung to revamp its music offerings, which could include the acquisition of Jay Z’s Tidal service. The shutdown would come two years after Samsung unveiled Milk Music as a competitor to Pandora, with personalized radio stations. Milk Music was originally exclusive to owners of select Samsung phones, though the company later launched Milk Music on the Web, and expanded the service to smart TVs. However, it never released apps to run on phones made by other manufacturers.