Samsung had something to prove with last year’s Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. It wanted to show the world that it too could make high-end smartphones with great design and premium materials, just like Apple and HTC have done for years. And it succeeded: the S6 models were by far the nicest smartphones ever to come out of the Korean giant’s factories. The cheesy plastic was ditched and replaced with metal and glass. This move did wonders to shake Samsung’s bad rap for making cheap-feeling, ugly devices. But they weren’t without flaws: high prices, the removal of expandable storage and waterproofing, and poor battery life disappointed many reviewers and buyers, and the S6 line hasn’t turned around Samsung’s sinking mobile business.
Now the company is launching its next volley, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The new S7 models don’t rewrite the book — they borrow liberally from the S6’s design and feature set. But they bring numerous refinements and improvements, and they restore features that went missing from the Galaxy S6 line. They are, very likely, the best phones that Samsung has ever made.