Rumor roundup: Samsung bringing back microSD slot, larger batteries to Galaxy S7

After a self-induced stumble with the Galaxy S6, Samsung is reportedly adding back features it removed: Expect the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge to have expandable storage, water resistance and more power.
Written by Kevin Tofel on

Amid the slew of products that Samsung is introducing at this week's Consumer Electronics Show, you won't find the next Galaxy flagship. If the company holds to form, however, it's just around the corner with a likely introduction next month.

Given that sales of the Galaxy S6 line haven't grown Samsung's bottom line, it's clear that some changes need to be made. And some of them will be a return of features that Samsung stripped out of prior models, much to the chagrin of many Samsung fans.

Trusted supply chain sources tell SamMobile that the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will have 5.1- and 5.7-inch displays, helping to differentiate the two models.

Those screens may have an "always on" function that uses just one percent of battery life per hour. I'd guess that that's not a fully active display but intelligent use of Samsung's OLED screen tech that can show information by only lighting some of the screen's pixels.

More importantly, however, is the reported return of the microSD card slot to at least one, if not both models; something Samsung removed with the Galaxy S6 line, which didn't sit well with many potential buyers. That addition should be helped by Android 6.0 which provides improved support for external memory cards. You can virtually merge the additional capacity with internal storage as if it were all one and the same.

How Samsung broke the Galaxy S6 in order to compete with the iPhone

Several sources, including Venture Beat, have suggested that Samsung will backtrack on the image sensors in both Galaxy S7 handsets, moving from a 16 megapixel sensor to one capable of capturing 12 megapixel images. That may sound counterintuitive since the Galaxy S6 line ranks among the top handsets for taking pictures.

But as we all (hopefully!) know by now, more megapixels doesn't necessarily mean better images.

Case in point: The 12.3 megapixel sensor inside Google's Nexus 5X and 6P take excellent pictures by using sensors with larger pixels. The lens and aperture also have much do with image quality - as does imaging software - and the Galaxy S7 are expected to use an f/1.7 aperture to allow more light to hit the sensor.

SamMobile's sources also suggest Samsung will make the Galaxy S7 phones water-resistant as well; another feature found on the old Galaxy S5 but removed for the successor handsets.

Unsurprisingly, Samsung is expected to use its own processor inside the phones - the Exynos 8890 - along with 4 GB of memory. Samsung has previously used Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips for some models but last year moved to its own processors for the flagship line.

And to address any potential complaints of battery life, Samsung is said to stuff a 3,000 mAh power pack in the Galaxy S7 while the Edge version will have a higher capacity 3,600 mAh battery.

Assuming all of the above is true, it's clear Samsung realizes that removing standout features from its flagships isn't the way to go. Instead, it should be building on functions that buyers want and finding other ways to stand out from the sea of smartphone choices.


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