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DEMO VERSION: Galaxy S7 review: a return to old ways

Samsung Galaxy S7 special features

Always-on

Always-on displays are the “in thing” for 2016: both the S7 and LG G5 house this technology. 

Always-on means a portion of the Galaxy S7 display remains permanently active. This part of the display can contain calendar information, the date and time, notifications and much more. The implementation of this feature caused concerns over the effect it would have on battery life. It’s small, but it is noticeable.

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The Always-on S7 display. / © AndroidPIT

According to Samsung, the always-on function consumes little power because only individual pixels are activated. But I could see the effect it had on battery life, so I disabled it.

Dust and waterproof to IP68 certification

After a two-year wait, the Galaxy S series is again dust and waterproof. This time, instead of just surviving temporary immersion, the Galaxy S7 is now capable of surviving in 1.5 metres of fresh water for up to one hour.

Thus, it has a better class of protection than the Galaxy S5 and far better than the Galaxy S6, which promised no protection against these elements.

During my test period, I doused the Galaxy S7 a number of times without problems. What is particularly clever is the handset’s recognition of wet connections: attempt to plug in your charging cable while a drop of water is in the USB port, and the S7 will prevent the charge to avoid short circuits.

Game Launcher and Vulkan

A brand new feature of the Galaxy S7 is Game Launcher. This software feature, unique to the Galaxy S series, acts as a home for all of your gaming activities.

Installed games are collected here and it also houses other game-related functions such as the ability to take screenshots, record gameplay videos, and post these to social networks.

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The Game Launcher saves energy, enables screen recording and can minimize a game. / © AndroidPIT

Game Mode may be interesting for more “hardcore” gamers, as enabling this means all notifications can be disabled and all power and resources can be directed to the game in question (a feature which might become even more necessary as the S7 ages).

Since the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge are among the first smartphones that the new Game API Vulkan supports, we can continue to expect more realistic graphics in Android games which will be optimized for these devices.

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Game Launcher on the S7 Edge. / © AndroidPIT

Fingerprint sensor

The Galaxy S7 holds a fingerprint sensor within its physical home button. The S7 supports Samsung Pay, which is already available in the US and is rolling out in the UK and Australia soon. What’s more, the wireless payment service currently has the edge over Android Pay, as it is compatible with existing payment terminals (to integrate with Android Pay many older terminals will need to be replaced in stores).

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Samsung has already delivered numerous accessories with “always-on” support. / © AndroidPIT

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