We published a quick look at the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge earlier this week, but today we had a chance to really sit down with the phones and learn a few things. With that in mind, here's our full hands-on.
The hardware on the new S7 and S7 edge is going to be deeply familiar to those with a Galaxy S6, Note 5, or S6 Edge+ - the design features are only slightly evolved, with most of the changes being internal. That's not to say nothing's changed on the outside, though. Samsung specifically considered user feedback, particularly from the S6 edge, and made the phone feel softer and smooth to hold around the sides.
OPPO might have just blown everyone's mind with its Super VOOC fast charging technology, but that doesn't mean that the company's MWC announcements are over. SmartSensor is its new Optical Image Stabilization technology and it happens to be the smallest, fastest, and most precise sensor available on smartphones right now.
OPPO explains that SmartSensor is built on sensor-based OIS (or sensor-shift OIS) as opposed to the current lens-based OIS technologies in smartphones. Instead of using a motor to shift the lens around to compensate for movement, it keeps the lens stable but moves the sensor to counter the motion. It's also as thin as two sheets of paper, overcoming the size limitation when being implemented in modern smartphones.
The Galaxy S5 was water-resistant, one of the most hyped features of that particular Samsung generation. The Galaxy S6... wasn't. While the S6 and S6 Edge were huge leaps forward for Samsung in terms of both style and engineering, the loss of water resistance (not to mention expandable storage) was a bummer for some. T-Mobile employee Des would seem to agree, since he took advantage of the Ingress Protection 68 rating on the new Galaxy S7 to unbox the phone underwater. It sure beats the usual blogger's desk, right?
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For mobile payments to really take off, the functionality needs to be available to far more than merely the latest devices. For this reason, the SD Association, a non-profit that sets memory card standards, is pushing a means to use microSD cards to make otherwise incompatible devices compatible.
The SD association calls this technology smartSD. The technology apparently enables a secure element for Host Card Emulation, a necessary step for creating digital copies of payment cards the way we've seen in Google Wallet and Android Pay. SmartSD uses a device's native NFC, removing the need to embed such technology into the card directly.
Today at MWC, Sony announced four new connected gadgets which it hopes will let people look up from their phone screens more and engage the world around them. The products include a bluetooth earpiece, a wearable camera, a vertical projector, and a friendly robot, which are respectively called the Xperia Ear, Xperia Eye, Xperia Projector, and Xperia Agent.
Three of those products are actually just concepts: only the Xperia Ear has an expected launch date, and it won't come out until later this summer. The remaining products — the Eye, Projector, and Agent — are nowhere to be seen here at MWC and it will likely take some time for them to get to market, if they do at all.
Here at MWC in Barcelona this morning, Sony announced an all-new series of Xperia devices: the X series. Sorry, folks - no Z6 to be found here. But the X Performance may pique your interest regardless. We had a chance to play with the X and XA (the X Performance was not being shown, just dummy units), so let's talk specs and first thoughts.
Earlier this evening in Barcelona, we had our first chance to look at the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge in the flesh. Unfortunately, it wasn't under ideal conditions, and I don't feel comfortable putting down a large number of thoughts about the devices just yet. We need some more time with them. But, we did manage to record a video demonstrating the phones, as well as snap a gallery of photos for your perusal, should you be so interested. We'll have a full hands-on of the S7 and S7 edge later this week, but for now, here's our first look at Samsung's new flagship duo.
A thermal camera smartphone may not sound like the most useful thing to you in the world, but there's little doubt a niche market for such a thing probably exists, not to mention the undeniable cool factor. And by cool, I mean hot. As in heat. Temperature jokes. The CAT S60 (our announcement post here) features the same thermal imaging sensor found in FLIR's FLIR One dongles for Android and iOS devices, and that's a damn good system - we reviewed it.
By slapping it inside a smartphone, FLIR has eliminated one of the major complaints about the device.