The number of companies making smartphones is growing, but it still seems to be largely a Samsung or Apple world. The latest offerings from the Korean tech giant go on sale today and the highlight is the Galaxy S7 Edge, which is about to raise the bar for mobile devices to new heights.
Here's the seven reasons the Galaxy S7 Edge is the new smartphone to beat.
Best screen around: The reviews are already in and they're mostly raves for the Quad HD super AMOLED display that wraps around the curved screen of the Galaxy S7 Edge, which measures 5.5". The display performs well in direct sunlight and offers top-notch contrast between the darkest blacks and vivid colors. With a resolution of 2560 x 1440, the S7 Edge has a pixel density of 534 pixels per inch, which helps keep images crisp and clear on a display that's more compact than its biggest competitors, including the iPhone 6s Plus.
Really waterproof: This isn't the first waterproof flagship phone from Samsung, but unlike its predecessors, you don't have to fiddle with rubber plugs to ensure all the ports are water-tight. Just about the only time you have to make sure it isn't wet is when it's charging, because the USB port needs to be totally dry and... you know, that whole water and electricity problem.
Really powerful: The Galaxy S7 Edge will be getting different chipsets depending on the market, but the pairing of 4 GB of RAM with either a top-notch Exynos processor made by Samsung or Qualcomm's most powerful Snapdragon silicon setup yet packs plenty of power. Of course, this is likely to change in the months to come, but for right now, this should be the most nimble smartphone available on the mass market.
A camera to rival the iPhone: For years now, the iPhone has been the gold standard for smartphone photography, but the new sensor in the 12 megapixel rear shooter is built to excel in low-light conditions, something that has previously been a claim to fame of the iPhone. The Galaxy S7 Edge also uses an auto-focus that's reportedly so fast you'll question that it's even working.
Better battery and charging: There's plenty of early reports of the S7 Edge's big 3600 mAh battery lasting two days on a single charge. When you're depleted, it can also charge up to full in under an hour and without any cables, using an optional wireless fast-charging station.
Always-on Screen: This is a feature where Samsung is playing catch-up, as a number of phones have featured screens that "pulse" or otherwise show a limited amount of information like the time and notifications without the power button needing to be pressed. It helps make the Galaxy S7 Edge a more complete package and Samsung claims it has almost no impact on battery life.
Innovative gimmicks: One of the knocks against Samsung over the years has been its habit of bloating its gadgets with weird eye-tracking and other gimmick features that often don't work as advertised or just don't make much practical sense. But lately, some of those gimmicky features have started to stick, like the curved screen and the Edge interface that gives the phone its name. This year the big push is the phone's integration with Gear VR, Samsung's virtual reality platform developed with the help of Facebook's Oculus. Also, Samsung Pay is set to launch, giving the company a trio of forward-looking new technologies designed to keep pushing the boundaries of what a smartphone can do.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is officially on sale now in a number of markets, and it's not cheap. Full retail price starts at $792.