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
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
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
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.