Though you might not have heard much about it from Samsung, one of the best new features in the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge is the way they handle auto-brightness.
Have you ever used a smartphone under sunlight and felt the display was either too dark or too bright? Conversely, does your phone look too bright or not bright enough in a dimly-lit room? While any phone will let you make manual adjustments, you might have to mess with those settings again later when brightness returns to normal.
It’s a nuisance, one that Samsung has reportedly eliminated with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. As Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate notes in his Galaxy S7 display shootout, both phones include a new feature called Personalized Automatic Brightness Control, which remembers your brightness preferences at multiple levels of ambient light. If you’re the type that fears battery drain from bright screens in direct sunlight, or hates having your eyeballs scorched while reading in the dark, you just make a single tweak to the slider. The phone then ties those settings to the current reading from its ambient light sensor.
Soneira says Samsung is the first to address what is one of his “major long-term peeves” about auto-brightness on phones, tablets and TVs. Because these automatic settings can be so unreliable, many users just turn them off and leave brightness at a high fixed level, hurting battery life.
Beyond the new auto-brightness feature, Samsung has also made a bunch of other display improvements in the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, as you’d expect from new flagship phones. According to Soneira, both phones set or tie records in absolute color accuracy, peak brightness, contrast in ambient light, resolution, contrast ratio, and viewing angles.
On the downside, neither phone makes any improvements in energy efficiency, as Samsung has in previous years. But both phones have much larger batteries than their predecessors, so battery life should still improve.
Why this matters: Personalized auto-brightness might not be as flashy as other Galaxy S7 improvements, such as always-on display notifications, wider-aperture cameras, and the return of water-resistance and MicroSD storage. Still, it’s the kind of gentle improvement you’re likely to appreciate over time, as you’re saved from countless tedious interactions every day.