• My Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review


    Last year, instead of releasing one Galaxy S flagship, Samsungís S line bifurcated into regular and curved versions with the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge. Later on, the Edge line split again with a Galaxy S6 Edge Plus.

    In 2016, Samsung merged the S6 Edge and S6 Edge Plus into, wait for it, the Galaxy S7 Edge.

    Last year, the GS6 and GS6 Edge werenít all that different so I thought the regular version was the smarter choice. However, this time around, the difference between them is more pronounced. The screen size on the Edge has grown from 5.1 to 5.5Ē with a few other changes under the hood.

    Is the regular version still the one to get or has it been supplanted by the Edge?
    What about the Samsung Galaxy S7?



    If youíre looking at the S7 Edge, chances are youíre also considering its more affordable sibling the Galaxy S7.

    There are 3 main differences; price, the display and battery life.



    Unlike last yearís GS6 and GS6 Edge, the difference in screen size is more noticeable. It doesnít quite feel quite as large as a flat 5.5Ē display, but it definitely feels bigger than the GS7ís 5.1Ē display.

    The Edgeís curved display does make it a bit harder to use. I suggest you pick up a case to give you more to hold onto though I guess you could say the same thing about the Edgeless GS7 too.

    The real reason to buy the Edge is for its huge 3600mAh battery. Even most power users will find it lasts the day for them. It lasted as a GPS in my car for 6hrs the other day with plenty of juice last over.

    Unlike last year where Iíd pick the ďregularĒ version, I think the Edge is the better choice this time around.

    What about the HTC 10?



    With its metal back, the 10 is even more solid than the GS7 though it lacks its water resistance.

    The Edge has a much brighter display which, to my eye, looks better. It also loses a lot less light off-angle compared to the HTC.



    You also get noticeable better battery life with the Edge plus it runs noticeably cooler (the Exynos one anyways).

    The 10 takes better pictures but the Edgeís launches and focuses a bit faster which makes it a bit more usable.

    Of course, while the 10 is a pricey phone, the Edge costs quite a bit more than the 10.

    This is a tough choice but Iíd probably go with the Edge.

    What about the LG G5?



    The G5 is an interesting alternative to the Edge. First and foremost, itís considerably more affordable.

    While it has a 5.3Ē display, when you consider that the extremities of the Edgeís display arenít that usable theyíre more-or-less the same size.



    What I like about the G5 is that I find it much easier to use than the Edge. The on-screen buttons and lack of a curved screen just make it much easier to handle.

    The G5ís display is pretty bright straight on but overall I think the Edge has a superior display.

    You also get more battery life out of the Edge.

    The G5ís wild cards are its cameras. The G5ís 16 megapixel ďmainĒ camera isnít as good as the GS7ís but the secondary 8 megapixel wide-angle camera makes for some very interesting shots.

    Here Iíd probably pick the G5 most of the time but the Edge is a good choice too.

    What about the Huawei Nexus 6P?



    Then thereís the Nexus 6P. The Nexus has better speakers and a larger display. It also has a much friendlier price tag and will receive updates much faster than the Edge.

    Otherwise, the Edge has a better camera mostly because it focuses faster and has optical image stabilization. It also has removable storage, more RAM, a faster processor and better display



    That said, given the difference in price, Iíd say 50/50 between the Edge and the 6P.

    Specs:

    • 5.5Ē LCD display
    • 2560x1440 resolution
    • 534PPI
    • 4GB RAM
    • 32GB storage
    • MicroSD
    • Samsung Exynos 8890
    • 12MP rear facing camera with phase detection
    • Optical image stabilization
    • 5MP Front camera
    • 3600mAh battery
    • Wireless charging
    • 802.11AC
    • NFC
    • BT
    • Android 6.0.1
    • Fingerprint reader
    • LTE bands: 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/18/19/20/25/29/30/38/39/40/41
    • 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9
    • 152g



    Body:

    You get a glass front and back with metal sides. It all fits together perfectly. The Edge is an expensive phone with a body to back up the price tag.



    Even better yet, the Edge is water resistant. This includes the headphone jack and charging port. You donít need to close or cover any doors to keep the water out.



    That said, if you drop it, all bets are off and Iíd try to keep it dry.



    The screen curves over the sides about half way. There are capacitive buttons at the corners of the bottom of the front. I find that these 2 design features make the Edge much harder to hold than it has to be.

    I guess the capacitive menu buttons are theyíre more intuitive to use than on-screen ones but boy, are they ever easy to press accidentally.



    The skinny sides also make it easier to accidentally press the screen plus it makes it less comfortable to hold.

    Itís really noticeable when youíre using the phone with one hand - you have to hold it very loosely to use it. It also hurts to hold it for a long time if youíre gaming or watching video because you have to be really careful you donít press anything by accident.

    I also noticed the Edge isnít the greatest phone to hand someone because again, thereís nothing to hold onto.



    The buttons all stick out enough that theyíre easy to find plus they click with a reasonably good feel.



    The home button doubles as a fingerprint reader. Make sure you use your finger at a lot of angles when youíre training it as I found it occasionally had some trouble recognizing mine.

    The camera bulge on the back isnít quite as tall as it is on the GS6 so it sits a little nicer if you put it on a table. Next to the camera bulge are the flash and heart rate monitor.



    Thereís a MicroUSB connector on the bottom so chances are you already have a bunch of accessories which can charge it.

    Display:



    In front is a large 5.5Ē 2560x1440 SuperAMOLED display.

    Itís extremely bright, almost as bright as the 6s Plusí display with excellent color, good viewing angles and extremely deep blacks. While SuperAMOLED displays struggle outdoors in direct sunlight the GS7 does well because itís so bright.

    The screen does shift a little off-angle but to be fair, every AMOLED phone Iíve tried in the past few years does this too.

    Compared with last yearís GS6 pair which were almost the same size, the Edge is a bit of a shift in strategy.

    Actually, last year Samsung had the 5.1Ē Galaxy S6 Edge and the 5.7Ē S6 Edge Plus. So the lineup consolidates both these phones into one model.



    If youíre comparing the Edge with other phablets, one thing to keep in mind is that the entire screen isnít always usable because the curved sides becoming less view-able the further along the sides you go. That said, often times you could say the same thing about a non-curved display.

    As good as the viewing angles are, the curved edge does cause some viewability issues. Theyíre not serious but the color shifts a tiny bit on the sides. Itís noticeable when youíre looking pictures.

    Samsung does try to add some functionality to the curved screen. Thereís a launcher which you can use by swiping the edge. Itís not useless but I mean there are so many ways to launch programs already. It can also display a ticker which sounds useful but really, is anyone going to use that? You can also setup the edges to glow different colours depending on the caller ID.

    There is an ďalways onĒ feature where the Edge displays the date, battery life, time and some basic notifications even when the screen is off. Since the Edge comes with an AMOLED screen where only the lit pixels draw power this has a minimal impact on battery life. Itís also a bit more dramatic than the same feature on the G5. The LG G5 has a LCD display so you can really see that the whole screen is lit up whereas the Edge doesnít lit up the whole room.

    Overall, while the display is excellent, it would be even better if it werenít curved. Think about it, youíre paying extra for a distorted screen.

    Camera:

    On the back is a 12 megapixel camera with optical image stabilization. The Edgeís trick is that each of these pixels is capable of phase detection. What this means is that the Edge has extremely fast focusing - even when there isnít much light. Indeed the difference between it and itís competitors is dramatic - even ones with infrared laser focus assist (a feature that doesnít really do much).

    It has an excellent sensor with good low light performance which takes high quality stills. Itís not quite as clean as the sensor in the HTC 10 but itís better than the iPhone 6s Plus.

    That said, in JPEG mode the GS7 tends to over-saturate pictures which results in annoying color at times.

    There are a lot of camera options but the software works quite well so itís reasonably easy to use.

    Itís also worth pointing out that the HTC 10 and G5 can only record 5 minutes of 4K video at a time while the GS7 can record more than 5 minutes of 4K video.

    Video looks good with excellent audio.

    Software:

    You get Android 6.0.1 with Samsungís Touchwiz overlay. These days overlays are becoming vestigial features and for the most part, Touchwiz is the same thing.

    Samsung does try to address this by removing some things from Touchwiz and making them optional downloads from their app store (another vestigial feature).

    Still, there's some new features. Samsung has their game launcher which is able to do stuff like turn the capacitive buttons off while youíre playing a game or record your game.

    Samsung also has their new Samsung Members which you can use to receive technical support.

    Performance:

    The GS7 Edge sold in Canada comes with Samsungís Exynos SoC while the ones sold in the ĎStates comes with Qualcommís Snapdragon 820. Apparently the 820 includes CDMA support which is still used in the US whereas in Canada, itís not that common.

    In terms of performance, theyíre both quite close.



    The real difference between the HTC 10/G5 and the GS7 Edge is how hot they run. After recording 6 minutes of 4K video the Edge is barely warm to the touch while the HTC 10 is a bit warmer (but not hot).

    As a Phone:

    The earpiece and speakerphone both have a volume boost feature so their maximum volume are above average. Iím not sure why more companies donít include this feature.

    RF performance is good.

    The Edge come with a large-ish 5.5Ē screen however, the large, 3600mAh battery more than makes up for this.

    SuperAMOLED phones tend to do very well on my Netflix test (50% brightness, 1hr of Netflix via WiFi in my office, maximum volume, power saver settings on default):



    The Edge knocked the test out of the park with a whopping 14.3hrs. While it doesnít actually last 2x as long as the HTC 10 in the real world, the battery life is still very impressive.

    I drove for 6hrs on the weekend and the Edge was able to provide guidance unplugged the whole time with a bit of juice in the tank left over afterwards.

    There is support for wireless charging.

    Media Capabilities:

    Thereís a speaker at the bottom. Itís very powerful with decent range and sounds like it has been tuned. It doesnít sound quite as good as the Nexus 6P or the HTC 10 but itís more powerful than the HTC so itís a good compromise.

    There is 32GB of built-in storage. If thatís not enough you can add a MicroSD.

    Conclusion:

    This time around Samsung made the Edge good enough to make it worth the extra dough over the regular flat version. While Iím still not sold on paying extra for a phone whose screen has been distorted on purpose, the huge battery really makes it worth it.

    Aside from some questionable ergonomics which are a result of the curved display and buttons which are too easy to press,

    4.5 Howies out of 5.

    Pros:
    • Water resistant
    • Fast Camera
    • Long battery life
    • Bright display
    • Display viewing angles
    • MicroSD



    Cons:

    • Not easy to handle
    • Expensive
    This article was originally published in forum thread: My Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review started by howard View original post
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. MaxJENSON's Avatar
      MaxJENSON -
      It's better than Galaxy Note7
    1. jimxx200's Avatar
      jimxx200 -
      Thanks for this awesome review! I got in on the free one month test (T-Mo) of the previous Edge version and while it's a great performer, I could not get used to the curved glass..slippery. A case would be a easy fix though. Thanks for your hard work!
    1. Tsepz_GP's Avatar
      Tsepz_GP -
      Thoroughly enjoying mine
      Its the Exynos variant, UI is incredibly smooth and battery life is amazing!

      Galaxy S7 Edge Exynos +128GB MicroSD
    1. njzfinest101's Avatar
      njzfinest101 -
      When is the "Black Pearl" 128GB edition of the S7 Edge coming to US market?
    1. BestCellular's Avatar
      BestCellular -
      I was trying to decide on a phone to change to (from my current LG v10) and it looks like I'll be getting the Galaxy S7 Edge! Thanks for the review!
    1. Tsepz_GP's Avatar
      Tsepz_GP -
      Quote Originally Posted by BestCellular View Post
      I was trying to decide on a phone to change to (from my current LG v10) and it looks like I'll be getting the Galaxy S7 Edge! Thanks for the review!
      Enjoy

      via Galaxy S7 Edge +128GB MicroSDXC