Better battery life leads our Galaxy S7 wish list
We recently asked what you fine folks want to see in the Samsung Galaxy S7, which we're expecting to see in the coming weeks, quite possibly at Mobile World Congress. (Though nothing has been announced, and anything is possible.) And your responses were as realistic as they were ... aspirational.
Well, we've got our own ideas about what Samsung needs to do with the Galaxy S7. And a few ideas of things we simply want Samsung to do with the GS7. Some of them might even happen.
But for the most part we've all centered on a few key details.
So without further ado, here's what the editors of Android Central are hoping to find once the Galaxy S7 is officially official.
Samsung got to a pretty good place with its 2015 phones — particularly the larger versions. The Galaxy S6 series was also a significant overhaul in a number of areas, most notably design and build quality. So I think we'll see Samsung refine and polish its flagship design in 2016, rather than taking another gigantic leap in any particular direction.
The popular microSD slot absolutely should make a return. It's entirely possible to create an Android phone that combines removable storage with great performance — just ask Sony or LG. The rumors of water resistance are also interesting, and entirely within the realm of possibility. Again, Sony's been doing this for a number of years, and the number of design compromises required to do this in 2016 should be fewer than when Samsung included it as standard back in the Galaxy S5 days.
Battery life is another obvious point. Samsung can't have not noticed the outcry over the regular GS6 and GS6 edge's dismal battery life, having spoken about how easy it is to charge since announcing the phones almost a year ago.
Samsung's already great at photography, so that's basically a given at this point.
More importantly, though, I'd like to see software that not only looks sharp — as TouchWiz generally does these days, weirded rounded icons or no — but performs well and is broadly bug-free out of the box. This is something Samsung has struggled with every year — it always seems to take an OTA or two to get a new Galaxy S phone up running as expected. Hopefully this time around Samsung will be able to have the GS7 fully tuned and ready to go out of the box.
For the Galaxy S7, I want to see Samsung come back to the flagship continuing some of what it learned over the last year, particularly with the launch of the Galaxy Note 5.
First up is battery life. We all sort of forgot about the situation as the year went on, but the cold truth is that the Galaxy S6 just didn't offer enough battery life to be competitive. Of course the Note 5 launched later in the year and battery was kept in check just fine, and I want to see some of that thinking come back around to the GS7 now. Whether that means going a tad thicker in the body to fit more battery, scaling back the software to be more battery conscious or a combination of several small factors — but no matter what, we can't have a GS7 with poor battery life like the GS6 offered.
Next, it's all about the software. While 2015 was a big year for Samsung in terms of smoothing out and adding consistency to its software, we still deserve a better overall software experience on the Galaxy S7. TouchWiz is still very overbearing and frustrating for a lot of people, and even though it "works" and does what most people want, that shouldn't mean Samsung should be resting and moving at a slow pace. It should be taking cues from other manufacturers with fewer design changes and fewer pre-installed apps — focusing instead on just a few great features that make the phone stand out.
Samsung has spent plenty of time, resources and money developing something that people will love with the Galaxy S7. Of that I'm sure. They are at the head of the Android pack when it comes to bringing new features, fresh new designs and (we can say it) something that's beautiful with each new iteration. All one needs to do is pick up the Galaxy S6 or S6 edge and you'll understand exactly what I mean.
You can argue all day about the added features and apps that Samsung puts into the operating system on their phones, but you would be wrong no matter which side you're on. Plenty of people clearly find value in Samsung's software. Others hate it. Nobody should stand on a soapbox and claim their opinion is the right one. But piling so many things into an already complicated piece of software like Android does bring a few challenges that Samsung needs to address with the S7.
Mainly, a smooth user experience and timely fixes for security holes.
I want to see both these issues addressed in the Galaxy S7. And I think Samsung can do a fine job with them. Claims about Google jumping in and "fixing" Touchwiz are fun to talk about, but rumors mean very little if they don't pan out when the product is released. Samsung is not just another company making consumer electronics. They have the resources to do just ab.out anything they put their mind to, and I think we should hold them to a higher standard. I want my Galaxy S7 to be more than just a pretty phone.
For the most part, Samsung did an incredible job with hardware last year. Their cameras were among the best we saw all year, displays continue to be something no other company can compete with, and the switch away from plastic was a solid move on Samsung's part.
The two biggest places I'd like to see Samsung address some problems are with battery life and software, and there's a good chance these are actually the same problem. The Galaxy S6 continues to have the worst battery life from any of the phones I used this year, and the thickness of the phone could certainly be sacrificed until capacity becomes acceptable, the software could always be better.
This past year Samsung opted to do things like embed Clean Master directly into the OS, instead of writing their software such that someone things extra management tools are needed. We've seen a lot of positive improvements in Android 6.0 to address performance, and if Samsung relies on the underlying OS more and continues to update that software like they've started doing with the Galaxy and Note lines this year there's a good chance things will be even better this year.
For me the Galaxy S7 comes down to one thing and one thing only: Battery life. And that directly relates to the inadequate battery capacity that was on the Galaxy S6. I was generally fine with performance. I was over the moon at the camera. TouchWiz I can work around. The size I very much enjoyed. But I just couldn't continue to use a phone that I had to charge before leaving the office, after a day spent on Wifi. Never mind trying to use the phone on the road.
If the Galaxy S7 is going to be my main phone for as long as I'm allowed to use a single phone (which almost always isn't long enough), it's going to have to last longer on a single charge than its predecessor managed to. Period.
Second, though, is monthly security updates. Samsung actually is doing second-best (OK, that bar is still set really low) at this — behind Google, of course. Samsung has a public blog detailing the updates, but it still has to contend with having something like one-hundred-million different SKUs, with the carriers getting in the way of many of them. Samsung's off to a better start than most. (Again, better than nothing, but not much.) Now it has to do better.