Read about the pros and cons in our Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review
In 2016, Samsung made more than one update its Galaxy S line than an overhaul. Infact, from the surface, customers will be hard to say that nothing has changed. But once you dive into the details, there are some valuable improvements.
This is especially true of S7 Edge, which now boasts a phablet-sized display and a much larger battery. Now is the perfect Android smartphone? We will see in our Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review.
Model: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
What we liked:
Bright and vibrant S-AMOLED curved display is a sight to see.
Dual autofocus pixel camera is lightning fast and impressive, even in low light.
Samsung reintroduce expansion of microSD and IP68 water/dust proofing into the Galaxy S line.
What we didn’t:
Glass design makes the Galaxy S7 Edge one of the “MORE” fragile smartphone out there.
Samsung TouchWiz UI(User Interface) still malfunctioning the software experience.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Specifications
- Display: 5.5″ Super-AMOLED QHD (2560×1440)
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (quad-core, 2.15 GHz)
- Memory: 4GB of RAM
- Storage: 32GB/64GB internal and up to 200GB microSD expansion
- Rear Camera: 12MP Dual Pixel, f/1.7 aperture, 1.4µm pixels
- Front Camera: 5MP, f/1.7 aperture
- Battery: 3,600 mAh (non-removeable)
- Software: Android 6.0.1 with TouchWiz user interface
- Colors: Black, White, Silver, Gold (depending the market)
- Price: $792
The S7 Edge carries Samsung’s same unique dual-curved screen concept.
Samsung launched its fancy dual-edge curved screen concept last year on the Galaxy S6 Edge, and it it seems to be a good investment, because this year we are back with the familiar S7 edge look. As for the design, little has changed, but it is not necessarily a bad thing. Samsung combination of glass panels and metal frame still makes for one of the most sexiest smartphones out there. 🙂
However, this time, the Edge got a sizable display increase, to 5.5″ (compared to its predecessor’s 5.1″ screen). For some reason Samsung thought this move was fitting on the S7 Edge but not on its sibling, the non-curved Galaxy S7, which still remains at 5.1″.
The front and back panels are still Gorilla Glass 4 protected. The unit for this review is Silver Titanium (new this year), and it has this mirror-like shine.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Silver Titanium
That said, Samsung’s design still leaves fingerprints. You will also need to be very careful on the surface you keep the device. Although Gorilla Glass 4 is resistant to scratches, but still it can happen. The glass also makes the phone slippery (and certainly you do not want to a device made from glass). The sloping edges don’t help this fact because they reduce the grip of the hand. It is highly recommended to use the phone with a case to avoid stories that touch.
Two subtle but notable design changes from last year are a curved back (on the sides, like on the Galaxy Note 5) and a more-flush camera module.
Samsung new camera sensor is thinner and less noticeable.
The soft curves makes it possible for the phone to rest nicely in your hand, and the infamous camera hump is now a thing of the past. Physical button placement has not changed. We still have metal volume buttons on the left and the power button on the right side. The size of the Home button on the front was slightly increased (for better fingerprint recognition and usability). Capacitive Back and Recent App buttons continue to light up around the Home button (and stay hidden while not in use).
The fingerprint scanner/Home button is slightly larger but capacitive buttons are unchanged.
The bottom of the phone is also unchanged. We still have a bottom, mono speaker and 3.5mm headphone jack. A notable mention is that Samsung forewent the newest USB Type-C standard for charging/data and keeps on with the tried and true microUSB port. The competition have moved on, so this may be a concern to those who like to be on the cutting edge.
The SIM tray is still top-mounted, but now has a extra slot for a microSD card.
The S7 Edge still has a micro USB port and bottom-mounted speaker and headphone jack.
The top is mostly bare, save for antenna lines, a microphone, and SIM tray. Thankfully, Samsung listened to customers and reintroduced microSD expansion (added as a slot on the SIM tray). Not only that, but water/dust resistance is also back (debuted on the Galaxy S5 but taken away on the S6). The entire phone is sealed up tightly with an IP68 rating (can theoretically survive up to 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes).
The Snapdragon 820 powers the Galaxy S7 in the U.S.
Simply said, the Galaxy S7 Edge is a powerhouse. Under the hood lies the latest and greatest from Qualcomm, the quad-core Snapdragon 820. This is paired with the boosted Adreno 530 graphics chip and 4GB of RAM. Suffice to say, the software is super responsive and always seems to ask for more.
App launching is snappy and user interface (UI) navigation is satisfyingly smooth. It’s not 100% fluid, though. Occasionally, a hiccup/stutter shows up, but it’s very minimal. And we would attribute that to Samsung’s heavy UI rather than the chipset.
Last year, the S6 Edge was available in up to 128GB of internal storage. However, this time you’ll only see U.S. carriers carry the lower memory 32GB variant (a 64GB version of the S7 Edge exists in other markets). But this is because you can now tack on up to a 200GB microSD card.
Samsung’s Super-AMOLED displays are a sight to behold. It can be said (arguably) that these panels substantially surpass competitor’s displays, and I believe it. The colors are vivid, images are sharp, and the panel can get super bright. I have no issue whatsoever with outdoor visibility.
The dual-curved edges add another dimension to the viewing experience.
The curved screen on the sides amplifies the screen’s eye-candy. It’s certainly subtle, and many should question if it’s worth it (the Edge variant runs about $100 more), but it does add an extra dimension to images. It looks like content falls off the edges, similar to an infinity pool.
However, this neat feature still bears the same ergonomic issue from last year. When handling the phone, your fingers get very close to touching the display, and many times does by accident.
While the curved edges are cool, they still make for accidental touches.
A new feature this year is an Always-On display. Several phone manufacturers now offer this feature, so we’re glad that Samsung has joined the club. Always-On displays information on the screen while the phone is on standby (the time, date, battery level, missed calls/messages).
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge camera performance is all-around quick and the software offers loads of shooting modes.
The S7 Edge’s camera is another standout feature. Samsung didn’t have to, but made substantial improvements (at a slight cost of megapixels, now at 12MP). The sensor is brand new, and is thinner, has larger pixels, and even faster auto-focus (AF). The lens’ aperture is larger, at f/1.7, and the pixel size is 1.4µm. This means that low-light performance is stellar. Additionally, Samsung introduced a focusing system dubbed Dual Pixel. In short, each of the sensor’s pixels are split in half and can assist in focusing. This makes AF lightning quick; you can barely see it happen.
Samsung’s camera interface remains largely unchanged. You’ll get Auto HDR, camera effects/filters, and a bunch of shooting modes. One change is that the native aspect ratio is now 4:3.
Shooting modes in Samsung’s camera interface
A battery that consistently lasts over a day.
Battery life was a common complaint with the Galaxy S6 line last year. Because the S7 Edge is now larger, there’s more room for more capacity. But I don’t think anyone was expecting this much: 3,600mAh. This should be plenty for even hardcore users. I would call myself a moderate-to-heavy user and consistently get a day and half worth.
My usage consists of common apps, like Chrome, Maps, Camera, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Google Play Music, and Feedly, and panel brightness averaging about 75%. Idle battery drain is about what I’d expect, you’ll lose a few percentages overnight.
If you’re in a bind, Samsung includes two tiers of power saving modes. It’s also worth mentioning that the S7 Edge is wireless-charging capable. Many flagships have given this feature up (even Google’s Nexus 6P), because of the move to metal builds.
Notifications drop-down and quick settings layout. Home Screen of the latest TouchWiz UI.
Samsung’s UI, TouchWiz, is aesthetically unchanged from last year. You’ll still see bubbly icons and colorful accents all throughout. But with a new phone of course comes the newest version of Android. In this case, it’s Android 6.0.1 (aka “Marshmallow”). This means that you’ll get some of Google’s latest features, like a new permissions system and Now on Tap.
Multi Window can split the screen between two select apps.
You do get a sense of refinement to TouchWiz. UI navigation is fluid, and stuttering is very minimal compared to last year’s experience. Scrolling in the Recent Apps carousel or within an app is a touch smoother on the pure Android Nexus 6P, but the S7 Edge is not far off.
TouchWiz does offer several benefits to the Android experience. One glaring feature is Multi Window support – something stock Android has yet to incorporate. There is also a theming engine that gives the allow freedom to drastically alter the look of the UI.
Additionally, because this is an Edge variant, Samsung created a quick shortcut panel that you access from swiping on the edge. The options are more expansive than before. Aside from favorite apps/contacts, you can also include news, stocks, sports scores, calendar events, and weather information in the panel.
The S7 Edge packs more edge functionality, but still nothing that you couldn’t do without.
Galaxy S7 Edge Review Final Words
At first glance, it may not seem like the S7 Edge is a worthy upgrade, but we found a different story in our experience. Small phone lovers may not like the size increase, but we feel it was a benefit. The phone’s handling is improved (more material to grip onto) and we now have a considerable battery. Put this together with a brillant S-AMOLED display and an amazingly fast, high quality camera, and you have yourself a winner.
Some may still not prefer the TouchWiz UI, and I can sympathize with that. But fortunately, it’s not as bad as before. Also, the curved edges and slippery glass back don’t make for the most ergonomic phone design. Our recommendation is to slap on a case and you’re set.