The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge was unveiled to the public at the Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona together with its younger brother, the Galaxy S7. During its unveiling, Samsung released the specs of the device; which includes a 5.5-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED curved edge display with a 1440x2560 resolution and 534ppi index. The device is powered by two different processors-- the US model houses a Quad-Core Snapdragon 820 processor while an international model comes with an Octa-Core Exynos 8890 processor; both are paired up with 4GB of RAM and the ARM Mali-T880MP14 GPU. There is an onboard storage of 32GB with a microSD card slot for up to 200GB memory expansion. On the back of the device is a 12MP camera with 4K UHD video capture. A secondary camera is available in front with a 5MP sensor. The phone also comes with a non-removable Li-Ion 3,600 mAh battery with support for Fast Wireless Charging. Compared to its predecessor, the Galaxy S7 edge comes with support for Samsung Pay, an “Always On” display feature, and IP68 water-resistance rating. The device unboxes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS and will be available in Black, White, Silver and Gold.
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Samsung is putting a lot of its marketing muscle behind the Galaxy S7 Edge. What does this phone bring to the table? For starters, it is large and flashy along with being more expensive. That size might be an issue for some people, but it does come with an increase in battery-size and an eye-catching curved screen along with numerous software features.
The screen is excellent
It performs well
It is waterproof
It comes with pre-installed software that some may find cumbersome
The back glass shows up fingerprints
The only option is 32GB
The edge screen software is not particularly useful
Full Review: The Galaxy S7 Edge from Samsung
Modern smartphones are far more advanced than those from just five years ago. This is due to the rapid pace of innovation in the industry. The power of components along with external design and the user experience have made great strides in recent years. Those advances have greatly increased consumer expectations so that they expect and want major improvements with each new product released.
Initially, it may appear that Samsung's strategy with the Galaxy S7 Edge may not meet those expectations. On the surface, it looks a lot like the Galaxy S6 Edge+, which is six months old. The metal and glass materials look similar and the screen size is also similar. Of course, it has the same dual curved display. It also has many of the same features like speed, a vibrant screen along with the ability to charge wirelessly and the software that Samsung users know and love.
The S7 Edge now has expandable storage, a larger battery and waterproofing along with basic improvements to the software. As a bonus, it gets an improved low-light camera despite the fact that the camera on the Galaxy S6 Edge was already excellent. Samsung made improvements only in the only areas that were lacking in the S6 Edge.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Specs
Below are the various improvements that make the Galaxy S7 Edge powerful enough to handle any task thrown at it.
To start, the S7 has a larger screen coming in at 5.5 inches when compared to 5.1 on the S6 Edge. The display technology is still Super AMOLED and the resolution is 2560x1440. The RAM has been bumped up to 4GB and users get new processors as well. Options include a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 or Samsung's Exynos 8 octa-core processor.
There are actually two different processors out there, depending on where the phone is purchased. In the U.S., China and Japan, the phone will get the Qualcomm processor. Everywhere else will get the Samsung instead.
The other two important spec changes include the battery and the amount of storage. The only option is 32GB of internal storage. That is paired with a microSD slot that can take cards up to 200GB. Users who want everything internal, no longer have that option. The new battery is 3600 mAh which is 1000 mAh more than the Galaxy S6 Edge's capacity and 600 more than the one in the Galaxy S6 Edge+.
Hardware on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
A lot has been said about the fact that the S7 Edge does not look a lot different from the S6 Edge or S6 Edge+. It is true that while the appearance is impressive in its own right, the current version can easily be mistaken for its predecessors from 2015.
Users who were fans of the smaller S6 Edge may be in for disappointment as the S7 Edge is larger than the S6 and offers less metal to hold. It has less metal because of the new curved glass back. However, they may welcome the reduction in size if they are accustomed to the 5.7-inch screen on the S6 Edge+. One benefit of that smaller size is that the phone is narrower making it easier to reach across it.
Those who have no experience with any of the curved S6 smartphones are in for a special experience. Its beauty is hard to deny regardless of which phone they are coming from. The changes made to the latest iteration are more function-focused than form-focused. The curved glass at the back provides a better surface for gripping and the fact that it is a little thicker means that there is space to accommodate a larger battery. The extra thickness also shortens the bump on the back from the camera to 0.5mm.
The phone is constructed like a solid, high-quality device with even weight distribution and without being excessively heavy. The machining of the metal and finishes are of the highest quality. Every usable part has been constructed with simplicity in mind and is located where a user would expect them to be. This includes buttons and the headphone jack. There is nothing strange or gimmicky about this smartphone.
Samsung's focus on simple design can be seen in the fashionable finishes available on the Galaxy S7 Edge. There is also a gaudy gold version that is eye-catching and will appeal to certain buyers. There is a more conservative black version that is less glossy and a white model (international only) that strikes a balance between the gaudier and more conservative finishes.
Those finishes lead in to one of the biggest complaints with the S6 edge: the fingerprints. This phone is a major fingerprint magnet and shows up fingerprints and smudges very clearly.
This is largely due to the fact that the back of the phone is a solid pane of glass that accumulates finger oil. Added to that is the mirrored finish that makes it extremely difficult to keep clean unless the user wears gloves every time they handle the phone. The glossy finishes may look good in pictures but they quickly detract from the phone's appearance once hands have been on them.
One area of the S6 Edge that Samsung did not need to improve was its display. While many focused on the phone's curves, the display is actually one of the best ones on the market. It has the same display as the S6, just larger.
Regardless of size, the screen is excellent in all respects. It has brilliant colors, great viewing angles and text is extremely clear. While it is possible to argue that the colors are over-saturated and unnatural, users may want to leave it on the default setting just because of how good it looks.
One of the best features is the amount of control that users get over the screen’s brightness. They have the option to make it make very dim to reduce nighttime eyestrain or to make it extremely bright during the day. If automatic brightness is left on and the phone is used in bright sunlight, a special display mode will come on to make it even brighter and easier to see.
Software on the Galaxy S7 Edge
While there have been leaks about Samsung overhauling the Android interface, it should be pointed out that the Marshmallow interface is still much like the Lollipop interface. The Lollipop interface improved on its predecessors without dramatically departing from them. TouchWiz on Marshmallow comes with some subtle design changes. For instance, the unnecessary 3D animations are gone but the rest of the interface is identical to what would be found on an S6 Edge that is still on Lollipop. The settings menu, default apps and keyboard are almost identical to what they were before. While some may still complain because the interface is not stock android, it is difficult to make the claim that it does not work due to how much Samsung has refined it.
The move to Marshmallow has also brought about the changes to base features that come with the new OS. Those include the doze feature and app optimization, which are built in to provide better battery life. Also, runtime permissions can let users know when apps are accessing different parts of their phone.
New Features on The Galaxy S7 Edge
The new display is always on and can show one of various clocks along with other options. This feature uses only one or two percent of the battery over the course of a day and keeps users from having to turn the phone on to check the time or date.
Surprisingly, the phone has a couple of major gaming features including a launcher. In addition, there is a "gaming tools" option that allows users to control certain gaming features while inside a game. The keyboard has also been improved significantly and now has better timing and autocorrect.
Cameras on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
The Quality of Images
Improvements include a camera sensor that makes individual pixels larger as well as very fast focusing times. Much of Samsung's marketing has revolved around low-light photos and the S7 Edge does excel in that area. The camera does not try to make low-light scenes brighter, which is good. The camera also does well in bright light and takes pictures that have crisp edges and vibrant colors.
The interface is essentially the same as that on the S6 Edge, which is a good thing since Samsung's camera interface is one of the best. It is simple and the camera's most important features are readily available with everything else just a tap away.
Buyers get multiple video modes with the S7 and are able to shoot in 1080p all the way up to 4k. Digital image stabilization is available for when shooting in resolutions lower than 4k.
Waterproofing on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
The S7 Edge can remain fully functional even when submerged in three feet of water for 30 minutes. While most people would not leave their phone underwater for this long, it shows that this phone can stand up to accidental submersion and spills.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge in Daily Use
How Long Does the Battery Last?
One of the issues that some users found with the S6 Edge was its shorter battery life. That has been rectified with the S7 as its battery has been boosted to 3600 mAh. This allows it to last a full day for most users. It should be able to provide at least 12 hours for very heavy users.
How Well Does it Perform?
This phone can handle any task that can be performed on a phone, including resource-heavy games and multitasking. It is possible to run two apps at the same time without this phone slowing down.
Given the small size of the speaker, it provides a decent enough experience and is loud enough for most purposes though it may not be ideal for listening to music.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge looks good despite the tendency to acquire fingerprints and performs like the high-end flagship that it is. Buyers will get a phone that is fast, and can provide a full day of battery life while also being waterproof. In addition, Samsung's software (including the Edge software) has improved considerably since the Lollipop version.
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