Samsung Galaxy S7: 3 Rumors About the New Flagship Phone

John McDougall/AFP/Getty Images

John McDougall/AFP/Getty Images

It’s a new year, and with it comes the promise of brand-new smartphones from all your favorite manufacturers. One of the first that’s expected to be launched in 2016 is the Samsung Galaxy S7, which The Cheat Sheet reported recently is likely to make an appearance at Mobile World Congress in February.

What do we know about the Galaxy S7 so far? We learned in December that Samsung is expected to add a pressure-sensitive display, one that’s reminiscent of the 3D Touch display that Apple introduced with the iPhone 6s. The new flagship model is also rumored to include a high-speed USB Type-C charging port, and possibly a retina scanner — improvements that, for the most part, wouldn’t represent a major departure from 2015’s Galaxy S6, particularly because the S7 is expected to be offered alongside a premium version with curved edges, just like the Galaxy S6. The S7 is also expected to maintain the same external appearance established by the S6.

Rumors about what Samsung is planning for its next flagship picked up speed ahead of the device’s expected launch, and a few more about the Galaxy S7 have surfaced post-holiday. Read on for a few of the most exciting rumors about Samsung’s next flagship phone.

1. Screen sizes and updated cameras

As Dante D’Orazio reports for The Verge, a photo posted online claims to show the full specifications for one of the variants of the S7, sparking speculation that the phone will come in sizes up to 5.7 inches. The phone pictured appears to have the same 5.7-inch, 2560×1440 display as the S6 Edge+, though it’s unclear if the device has a curved or flat display.

The accompanying rumor indicates that the standard S7 will have a flat 5.2-inch screen, while the Edge variant will use a 5.5-inch curved screen. A rumor from a separate source seems to corroborate that claim, indicating that Samsung will release a 5.7-inch S7 model as well. With the Galaxy S6, Samsung uses a 5.1-inch screen for the S6 and S6 Edge, and a 5.7-inch screen in the S6 Edge+.

Other leaked specifications include expectations for a 12.2MP rear-facing camera and a 5MP front-facing camera. That would represent a drop in megapixel count from the S6, which features a 16MP sensor, though it’s possible that Samsung could be swapping that sensor out for a higher-quality one that offers better low-light performance. The S7 is also expected to have 4G of RAM and to be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 chip.

2. microSD slots and IP67 certifications (and another opinion on screen sizes)

After speaking to a source familiar with Samsung’s plans, Evan Blass reports for VentureBeat that the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will feature microSD slots compatible with cards up to 200GB and will have IP67 dust and water-resistance certifications — both features that were missing from the S6.

Further, Blass reports that whereas last year’s flagship phones had 5.1-inch screens, “this year only the flat S7 variant will retain that screen diagonal. The S7 edge was said to offer a larger, curved display measuring 5.5 inches.” The resolution of this year’s screens will reportedly remain the same, at 1440×2560 quad HD. It’s also possible that Samsung will integrate always-on display (AOD) functionality, which would enable a “glanceable” screen while consuming about 1% of the battery each hour.

3. Bigger batteries, new chips, same RAM

While neither S7 model is expected to offer users the ability to replace the battery, Blass reports that both models will receive a capacity bump: 3000mAh and 3600mAh for the S7 and S7 edge, up from 2550mAh and 2600mAh in last year’s models. The wireless charging time is expected to be just two hours for the S7 and 2.2 hours for the S7 Edge.

In contrast with other rumors that allege the new phones will be powered by a Qualcomm chip, Blass reports that his sources indicate the phones will be powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 8 Octa 8890, a system-on-a-chip that offers four 2.3GHz cores along with four 1.6GHz cores. However, Blass notes that Samsung often uses different chips for phones shipped to different regions.

Blass thinks that all regions should see the same 4GB of RAM and the same two storage options: 32GB or 64GB. He also projects that the new, 12MP camera module will be paired with a lens with a a maximum aperture of f/1.7, compared to f/1.9 in the S6.

Samsung is widely expected to unveil the Galaxy S7 before the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and to roll out the phones globally in March. The initial colors of the phone are expected to be black, white, and gold.

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