2015 wasn’t a good year for Samsung. The Korean company lost ground to its perennial competitor Apple as well as other smaller rival companies like Huawei after last year’s offerings failed to capture the market’s imagination. In fact Samsung managed to lose $44 billion of market value when its stock price declined for six straight months.
It’s a performance that is, for the most part, deserved. Much like Apple, which coasted on prestige and legacy for a long time before realising that it was losing to Android smartphones, Samsung too started slacking off after its flagship Galaxy smartphone began dominating palms everywhere, releasing yearly iterations that just seemed like the previous version with a fresh coat of paint.
Samsung has finally woken up from its slumber with the new Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.
Now I’ve been critical of Samsung for a long time, mainly of its rigid top-down corporate culture that was choking innovation. “The CEO decides which direction to move in, and there’s no discussion – they carry out the order,” NUS professor Chang Sea Jin told Bloomberg Businessweek in an incisive profile about the company. Its stagnation showed in the Galaxy smartphones.
So I was quite impressed when I played with the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge at the launch event. The company brought back expandable memory in the form of an SD card slot. The screen colours were more lifelike similar to, dare I say it, the iPhone instead of being an oversaturated mess, like a crayon painting of a six-year-old child. The new Galaxy smartphones also introduced dual SIM capabilities, especially useful for folks who travel regularly for work or for play.
The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are also the first smartphone models in the world to introduce dual pixel technology for consumers. What this means for you is that you’re basically holding a DSLR in your palm, and it genuinely raised my eyebrows – snappy autofocus even in low light conditions, true-to-life colours and seriously sharp images.
Samsung also created specialised phone covers for the two models, the most attractive being the LED cover that’s similar to the HTC Dot View case. While the company is not the first in the market to introduce this nifty technology, it’s certainly getting a leg up on its other competitors.
Finally the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are truly water- and dust-resistant. Instead of having to plug the holes on the phone with a rubber cap like what other Android phones tend to do, the company has made rubber seals that sit flush with the phone so that there are no unsightly bulges.
I’ll update this article with an in-depth review when I get the chance to use the phones for an extended period of time but my few hours spent with Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge during the launch event made me excited. And in a world where we’re constantly inundated with tech products almost daily, it takes a lot to get my pulse racing. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge certainly did.
You can register your interest for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge from 26 February at 10am onward at the respective telco websites. Successful pre-order customers will receive a complimentary Samsung Gear VR. Phones are available from mid-March onward at $998 for the S7 and $1,098 for the S7 Edge without plans.