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The evolution of Samsung's flagship series: from the first Galaxy S to the hot new Galaxy S7

Posted: , by Peter K.

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The evolution of Samsung's flagship series: from the first Galaxy S to the hot new Galaxy S7

Just like Rome, which was not built in a day, it took Samsung some time to become the major smartphone manufacturer that it is today. Undoubtedly, the main driving force that kickstarted Sammy's rise to the top of the market was its flagship smartphone lineup. Indeed, ever since its inception, the pioneering Galaxy S and its successors have been the workhorses that made the company a household name.

The seventh generation of the Galaxy S flagship is fresh out of the oven, and we can't help but look back at the past and draw parallel lines between the previous Galaxy flagships and the new ones. Samsung has truly gone a long way, indeed, and we can only be excited about what's coming. So, without further ado, let's explore the evolution of the most successful Android-powered smartphone lineup so far!


Samsung Galaxy S

Released: June 2, 2010

The very first Samsung Galaxy S was announced in 2010 and it quickly became clear that Samsung has a best-seller in the cards. Actually, Samsung sold way more than 20 million units of the phone, which undoubtedly warranted that it will be the forefather of a new device lineup.

Specs-wise, the phone was a monster for its time. It arrived with a huge 4-inch Super AMOLED display, which was among the biggest ones around. Samsung relied on its own 1GHz Hummingbird chipset, which made a debut alongside the Galaxy S. While its plastic design was not as good as the one of the metal Samsung Wave, it still laid the foundations that almost all upcoming Galaxy smartphones sat upon.

The Galaxy S was not a perfect phone by any means, as it had certain issues and quirks, but regardless, it is one of the more notable phones in Samsung's history and undoubtedly among the best phones of 2010. Many, including us, consider as the best Android had to offer in 2010.



Samsung Galaxy S II 

Released: April 28, 2011

The second flagship in the Galaxy S series, the Galaxy S II, had the tough job of repeating the success of the Galaxy S. Spoiler alert, it did. Actually, it took Samsung merely 55 days to sell more than 3 million units worldwide, and in 5 months, over 10 million Galaxy S II units were shipped worldwide. Additionally, the phone was proclaimed as "Smartphone Of The Year" at MWC 2012. 

And indeed, what was not to like about this one? It was the thinnest phone in the world at the time of its arrival, measuring just 0.33” (8.49mm), and also came with an immensely speedier hardware and vastly improved Super AMOLED display in comparison with its predecessor. One of the more serious issues with the Galaxy S II was its design - uninspiring and stale, if you will, though this got addressed with the Galaxy S II's successor.



Samsung Galaxy S III

Released: May 22, 2012

If the Galaxy S II had a tough job of making a name on the market, it's safe to say that the Galaxy S III had to accomplish a true feat. The public's expectations for the third Galaxy S flagship were quite high in 2012. Shortly put, the it was expected that the handset will pack enough hardware punch to sit atop the Android food chain and sport head-turning new design. Well, it met one of these for sure. Spoiler alert: it was mostly the hardware expectation.

True, the Galaxy S III didn't look half-bad at the time, but its plastic, "nature-inspired" design was a far cry from the anticipated ceramic body that many wanted to see. Well, it was not the highest-quality device around in 2012, but it certainly was one of the most capable. With the gorgeous display and super-fluid performance, the Galaxy S III shone with its refined TouchWiz UI and overall user experience. 



Samsung Galaxy S4

Released: April 27, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S III. Hold that image in your mind, now imagine a similar device with a slimmer profile, more powerful hardware, and... better in every other way, actually. That's the Galaxy S4 for you. Apart from switching from roman to arabic numerals, the S4 came with a larger display, speedier SoC, improved camera, and even more feature-rich TouchWiz UI, while being even more compact than its immediate predecessor.

On its own, the Galaxy S4 was a great phone, but was it a worthy upgrade for the S III owners out there? Probably the upgrade was not that compelling, even more so when yuo remember the differences between the SII and the SIII. Still, for those who were just then jumping on the Galaxy bandwagon, the Galaxy S4 was one of the best phones for its time.



Samsung Galaxy S5

Released: March 27, 2014

With the Galaxy S5, Samsung decided to spice things up. Although the design remained mostly the same, the handset was the first Samsung flagship to be water- and dust-resistant, borrowing these features from the S4 Active. The "glam" design of the rear cover was not the most appealing thing out there, but still, it did its job fine - it attracted attention.

All in all, the S5 was yet another re-iteration of the winning formula that was presented with the SIII, with the focus being on actually useful hardware and software features. True, gimmicky functionalities were still part of TouchWiz, but Samsung had toned them a bit this time around. Still, the Galaxy S5 remained universally critiqued for its uninspiring design.



Samsung Galaxy S6 & S6 edge

Released: April 10, 2015

Keeping an ear close to the ground, Samsung really stepped its design game with the Galaxy S6. Glass and metal, intertwined in a slim body that is as eye-catchy as it gets. We should mention that it's a fingerprint magnet, too, but that's a minor gripe to be dealing with. Also, the beloved removable battery and microSD card got nixed, which led to some critiques. 

In every other way, the Galaxy S6 was a substantial evolution step. A specs monster no matter where you look, the handset was no slouch in the hardware department. Software-wise, it showed us that when Samsung wills something, it's more than capable of achieving it - toned-down TouchWiz, almost no unnecessary and gimmicky features, and a top-notch user experience is all you got. 

The S6 edge, on the other hand, introduced the dual curved display feature, which was a first for Samsung and the industry as a whole. It was arguably the more interesting smartphone, with the screen being among the chief differences between the two phones.



Samsung Galaxy S7 & S7 edge

Specs | First look              Specs | First look

The newest additions to the Galaxy lineup is hot out of the oven, but already forms up as a worthy successor to the S6 and S6 edge, respectively. This time around, Samsung differentiates the two by throwing in a larger display and battery in the S7 edge, not to mention the 'edge' display and its added level of functionality. By setting the two phones apart this way, Samsung has covered the two most important market niches - it has a more compact regular smartphone and a larger, more curious one. Both of these pack a punch and seem to be bringing the Galaxy experience to a whole new level. 

By employing the very same design as last year's S6/S6 edge, the new Galaxy S champs seem to prove that Samsung is content with what it did last year. Indeed, you should never change a winning team, just improve it on all fronts. And by the looks of it, the team will be a winning one for the time being. 


Samsung Galaxy S
4.82 x 2.53 x 0.39 inches
122.4 x 64.2 x 9.9 mm
4.16 oz (118 g)

Samsung Galaxy S

Samsung Galaxy S II
4.93 x 2.6 x 0.33 inches
125.3 x 66.1 x 8.49 mm
4.09 oz (116 g)

Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung Galaxy S III
5.38 x 2.78 x 0.34 inches
136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm
4.69 oz (133 g)

Samsung Galaxy S III

Samsung Galaxy S4
5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches
136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm
4.59 oz (130 g)

Samsung Galaxy S4


To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.

Samsung Galaxy S5
5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S6
5.65 x 2.78 x 0.27 inches
143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm
4.87 oz (138 g)

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S7
5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches
142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm
5.36 oz (152 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
5.94 x 2.86 x 0.3 inches
150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm
5.54 oz (157 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge


To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.

50 Comments
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posted on 01 Mar 2016, 02:48 7

1. w1000i (Posts: 66; Member since: 22 Jul 2015)


The only common thing in all Galaxys is the LAG or Lack of smoothness

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:01 36

6. Tarox (Posts: 103; Member since: 17 Feb 2015)


blind fanboy detected

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 06:28 4

39. Onami (Posts: 16; Member since: 29 Mar 2014)


As an Android user I thought it is true somehow.
SS hardware is in the top-notch level but their software is really something else.
Comparing to HTC, Sony and LG UI, Touchwiz is a big disappointment. You guys can try the 6.0 update on S6, the animation is getting better but still not as good as HTC or LG. In the multitasking, it handles well games and 3rd apps but if you try with more Samsung apps you will the how bad the result is. It would be better if SS ship their phone with Google stock Android.
Sr for my English.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:35 2

18. NoToFanboys (Posts: 1206; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


Hi timetraveler, have you come from 2014?

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:44 14

22. tedkord (Posts: 10675; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


That's not the phone, it's your brain.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 11:20

44. QWERTYphone (Posts: 654; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)


This article is a FAIL for not mentioning the greatest phone of it's time, and the last good design from Samsung.
THE GALAXY EPIC with it's SLIDER QWERTY KEYBOARD.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 14:42 1

46. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8939; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


The only thing the S have in common is that isn't true of all of them. So stupid to keep repeating the same BS. The S5 and S6 are as smooth as butter.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 17:56

48. iLovesarcasm (Posts: 494; Member since: 20 Oct 2014)


S5 works so smooth and looks rugged.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 15:17

47. Shocky (unregistered)


There is no lag on the Galaxy S6, just as smooth as my Pixel C.

I use both daily and there isn't any difference, except for gaming performance of course where the Pixel C destroys the Galaxy S6. :-)

If you haven't tried touchwiz with marshmallow on the Galaxy S6/Note 5 and the Galaxy S7 of course, you really don't know what you're talking about.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 02:55 13

2. dil2abu (Posts: 305; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)


S2 - Best design
S5 - Worst design
Edge is in a different league..

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:15 3

8. Wiencon (Posts: 1818; Member since: 06 Aug 2014)


I am probably the only person on Earth that likes S5 most :<
Black version looks awesome, it's just that cheap plastic that destroys great design for me

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:35 2

19. rick_mobile (Posts: 237; Member since: 13 Dec 2010)


I like the S5 also, it's my favorite one, I lasted the longest with the S5 than any other phone.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 04:00

26. sleepypandaeyes (Posts: 41; Member since: 12 Apr 2015)


the cheap chrome ruined it for me, it just comes of so easily. The s5 neo isa step up but I prefered the band aid back loool. Black felt the nicest but I had the cheapy white version :-(

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 08:04

43. Sidewinder (Posts: 413; Member since: 15 Jan 2015)


The fake plasticky metallic plated frame killed the looks of the s5.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 17:57

49. iLovesarcasm (Posts: 494; Member since: 20 Oct 2014)


I like S5, rugged and yet smooth. S6 is so girly.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 05:36 5

34. Zack_2014 (Posts: 377; Member since: 25 Mar 2014)


Actually S3 had the worst

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 07:01

41. S.R.K. (banned) (Posts: 678; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


I was about to post the same.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 02:59 1

3. Nibbler1 (Posts: 30; Member since: 03 Apr 2015)


Galaxy s3 and s4 was such a crap, laggy touchwiz with functions thant nobody needs, oled with dead black spots, cheap plastic that easily wore out and s**ty battery life , only camera was good.But I must say the galaxy s7 package looks very promising.I might give Samsung a new chance.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:20 6

11. aho13 (Posts: 97; Member since: 10 Sep 2014)


I don't think so , if you compare s3 or s4 to 2016 model then you are right . but going back to 2011 or 2012 , what Samsung offered was new , laggy after time but no one offered it before . compare the S2 to iphone 4 ,the iphone was slow but not laggy and didn't offer anything like what samsung did multitasking or bigger screens or OTG or microsd card or removable batteries .

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 06:29

40. Cicero (Posts: 861; Member since: 22 Jan 2014)


Nope! My S4 is still working and looking great. Now I'm waiting (for more 7 days) for S7 Edge to come. Sorry for the S4 retired because it was a good piece of tech to acompaig me thru last years.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 02:59 2

4. Tarox (Posts: 103; Member since: 17 Feb 2015)


Interesting to see that contrary to the trend in market Samsung is making the phones smaller and smaller in the last years, especially when it comes to width.
Great for comsuner.

I also find the bump in thickness good for us consumers. More Battery > Too thin phone

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:01

5. AkoSiKuting (banned) (Posts: 88; Member since: 09 Dec 2015)


ROFTLMAO, Sammy really need to try harder for this, my stomach gonna explode XDXD

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:21 1

12. MrElectrifyer (Posts: 2366; Member since: 21 Oct 2014)


And what do you think of your herd master's static lineup?

https://db.tt/EMEiIoKG

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:29 4

15. TerryTerius (Posts: 1594; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)


Do you have anything constructive to add, or are you only here to post pointless comments?

You could at least coherently attempt to list what you dislike instead of trolling.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:38 3

20. NoToFanboys (Posts: 1206; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


Have you reported him? I feel like I'm the only one reporting that troll/racist/homophobe/idiot.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:43 1

21. TerryTerius (Posts: 1594; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)


I rarely do so in general, but I will in this case for such obvious trolling. This is the first time I've seen a post by this person, so I was unaware of all that.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 04:51

33. NoToFanboys (Posts: 1206; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


Oh I see, his previous comments are mostly composed of trolling, racism (mostly against chinese) and in sometimes homophobic

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:46 1

23. tedkord (Posts: 10675; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Sounds like extreme jealousy.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 07:03

42. S.R.K. (banned) (Posts: 678; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


That's what I've been saying to him. But no reply, makes him a troll.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:08

7. BobLawblaw (unregistered)


S2 with the official extended battery pack was the dogs bollox. Battery lasted days..

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:17 1

9. fancollo (Posts: 41; Member since: 30 Dec 2015)


i didn't own all of them, but the S2 was for me the best phone i ever had during that period. the camera etc was amazing. i didn't care about lag, i was amazed at what could be done without using a PC. design is really very personal, but the S2 is the one i liked most.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:19 1

10. BradyCrack (Posts: 515; Member since: 29 Dec 2015)


You can see how much the galaxy copied the iPhone back in the day.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:30

16. spiderpig2894 (Posts: 584; Member since: 10 Jan 2012)


It's really not a surprise since Samsung admitted they copied Apple for the Galaxy S.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:24

13. MrElectrifyer (Posts: 2366; Member since: 21 Oct 2014)


Haven't owned anyone of them, or any Samsung SmartPhone for that matter...thinking the Note 6 would change that and be a great upgrade to my Phablet experience.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:29 2

14. Marduch (Posts: 53; Member since: 04 Feb 2015)


For me the S4 design definitely rules them all due to its narowest bezels and general compactness. Especially the S4 botom bezel with the decently small and not too rounded home button is elegant when you compare to S6 and S7´s infantile thick bottom bezel and big and rounded home button.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:32 2

17. TerryTerius (Posts: 1594; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)


I honestly think bezels are something that only techies actually care about.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 04:04 2

27. MDave (Posts: 115; Member since: 09 Apr 2015)


You may be right. Otherwise iPhones wouldn't sell. A 5.5" phone in the body of a 6" one...

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:51 3

24. RebelwithoutaClue (Posts: 2753; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


One of my friends is using my old Samsung S3 Amber with a brown leather Noreve cover running Blissrom Lollipop and it does the job well. Only changed the battery and it was good to use. She isn't a poweruser, but for calling, texting, whatsapp and facebook, it works more than quick enough.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 03:52

25. Jimrod (Posts: 1094; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)


Well that original Galaxy S obviously didn't copy the iPhone at all because only Apple copy! How did Apple manage to go forwards in time and copy Samsung from the future? Please explain Fandroids, I'm confused...

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 04:14 5

28. TerryTerius (Posts: 1594; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)


It copied. No one cares, that was six years ago. Literally no tech company is immune to the accusation of borrowing features from their competitors (which is decidedly a good thing) and occasionally design choices (which is highly annoying). That's the way any industry through all of human history you can name works. Smartphones are no different.

I don't really think you want to get into a contest of naming who copied what features from who. The list for Apple is a mile long, just as it would be for Microsoft, Google, Samsung, or anyone else. It only benefits the consumers, and no one in the real world gives a damn anyway.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 04:17 1

30. tedkord (Posts: 10675; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


People inside the RDF care deeply.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 04:40

31. Jimrod (Posts: 1094; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)


I know, I'm just making a point because on this site you'd think only Apple copy based on the comments...

I'm a product designer by trade and fully understand that everyone uses existing design as inspiration, you can't avoid it. How much is "inspiration" and how much is openly copying is open to debate.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 04:16 3

29. tedkord (Posts: 10675; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Maybe they used the same method HTC used to copy the iPhone 6 with their M7.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 04:41 1

32. Jimrod (Posts: 1094; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)


Nah, the iPhone 6 looked s**t compared to the M7, Apple wanted to make an uglier phone.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 05:40

36. submar (Posts: 415; Member since: 19 Sep 2014)


Great answer for the question.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 05:37

35. bubbadoes (Posts: 815; Member since: 03 May 2012)


7 phones of the Sos year after year. toyish gimmicky touchwiz. samsung bloat and overpriced. ok. they gave good cameras. but 800. no way

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 05:42

37. Chuck007 (Posts: 1054; Member since: 02 Mar 2014)


Damn... I'm still in awe how Sammy can take the base design of the S6 (which was no slouch but frankly not entirely sharp looking) and make it sexy.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 06:07

38. fyahking (Posts: 859; Member since: 28 Jan 2015)


S captivate with removable aluminum back was nice as well.

posted on 01 Mar 2016, 14:37

45. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8939; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


I still have my S3 and my wife's old S4. Even today they are equally as fast/slow as they were then. The S4 is on 5.01 which is the very last update and since its VZW, I can't root it anymore to install anything else. I did root my S3 to get 5.01 on it and its a bit slow, but not as bad as I seen some old phones try to run newer stuff.

The SIII sold over 50M in one year which isn't bad for a 3 year model. The original S, outsold the original iPhone. The SII als had more sales vs the the second iPhone as well.

I also remember how the iPhoen crowd has said, no other OEM would be able to use a single model name and have equal success as Apple. Well after the SIII sold 50M, it proved other OEM's could.

Even the Note as outsold several older iPhone models. Of course to be fair, smartphones at this bout were now well established thanks to Apple an so any very good phone would do very well.

Even though the S4 outsold any previous S, I don't feel it was the best model. To me the S5 was the best. Physically it just looked like a larger S4. But the display was the prettiest I'd see for the time. The colors blew my mind. If I had an S4 like my wife did, I certainly would have gotten the S5.

The S is awesome! But the Note is more awesome. The only phone better than my Note 5? The Galaxy S6 Edge+. But only coming with 64 of storage is a joke.

posted on 03 Mar 2016, 20:39

50. frankharris (Posts: 2; Member since: 15 Jan 2016)


Samsung galaxy has an awesome evolution from weaker specifications up to s7 edge with monstrous specs. Technology is truly changing from time to time.

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