Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review: Is there really an edge?

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Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge have been highly anticipated. Rumors started not long after the Galaxy S6 launched but really cranked up after the arrival of the Galaxy S6 Edge+. That said, there are some high expectations for both of these phones, which might make some feel like the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are quite underwhelming. Unfortunately, that’s what rumors do: get the anticipation up so high that the phone will never meet expectations.

Putting all that expectation and anticipation aside, Samsung has created the perfect phones. Not only do they have a premium build, but they also just feel right in the hand. Samsung has also listened to a lot of customer demand and brought the microSD card slot back. Samsung is providing the perfect package, though in all honesty, the Galaxy S7 Edge isn’t for everyone.

Follow along below and you’ll find out why!

Check out these Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge guides:

Design

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The Galaxy S7 measures in at 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm and weighs 157 grams. That said, it’s significantly larger than the Galaxy S7, and rightly so. It features the new Edge display and also houses a much larger battery than its little brother.

The phone feels really nice in the hand. There’s definitely a premium build here, featuring a metal frame and glass back. Unfortunately, this does make the Galaxy S7 Edge a little slippery at times. I actually dropped the smartphone on concrete because of this, cracking the display just the slightest. With that in mind, a case is highly recommended.

As far as buttons and ports go, Samsung is using the same layout as it has in the past: two volume buttons on the left side, a power button on the right, and then you’ve got the home button below the screen sitting inbetween two capactive buttons. You can find the micro-USB slot at the bottom of the device, and sitting to the left of that is a 3.5mm audio jack. Lastly, the SIM card tray sits on the top of the device, which also houses the added microSD card slot.

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Overall, the handset looks really nice. The model I picked up was the Black Onyx color option, and it looks very sleek. I couldn’t picture myself with any other color, as a white is more keen to showing off all the dirt on the handset and so on.

Hardware

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED (2560×1440) display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a 12MP rear camera with f/1.7 aperture, 1/2.6″ sensor size and a 1.4 µm pixel size, a 5MP front camera, a 3600mAh battery, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, and Bluetooth 4.2.

Performance

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The handset has a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display, with a resolution of2560 x1440 and 534 pixels per inch. It’s a gorgeous display, as is most of Samsung’s Super AMOLED panels. Colors are very deep, vibrant, and detailed. Being the Galaxy S7 Edge, it does have the Edge display which adds some neat character and dimension to browsing the web and navigating other applications.

The only complaint that I’ve come across with this display is that there’s quite a glare in direct sunlight, and maximum brightness doesn’t seem to help much. A small complaint, but one nonetheless.

Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge, at least in the U.S., is sporting a quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor. It’s fast, reliable, and is able to handle anything you throw at it, especially paired with that 4GB of RAM. I was disappointed to find out that Samsung didn’t enable Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology in the processor, but instead is sticking with version 2.0. The phone still charges quite fast without getting too hot, so it’s a wonder as to why Samsung left that out.

Lastly, the sound in the phone is phenomenal. It’s able to get quite loud, but doesn’t sacrifice quality. It still sounds crisp and clean, even at maximum volume. While these are all good aspects about the phone, the battery, in my opinion, is worth the extra $150 or so for the Edge variant.

Battery

Samsung launched both the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge at the same time, and as you can imagine, the Galaxy S7 Edge has a much larger battery at 3,600mAh.  Does that mean it lasts longer? Not necessarily. It is pushing more pixels having that larger screen, but ultimately, it comes down to how much of a power user you are.

As far as practical use goes, I usually only use my phone for calls, texts, email, and occasional banking. That said, I’ve been able to get almost two full days out of the battery. However, days when I’m doing more on it (e.g. videos, social media, etc), it’s able to last well into the evening.

While there are a lot of complaints to be had about the Galaxy S7 Edge (more on that below), the larger battery makes it very much worth the purchase.

Software

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The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is running Android 6.0.1. This is the first device I’ve owned that has had Marshmallow, and boy, I can say there’s a noticeable difference in speed/performance. Now, the Galaxy S7 Edge does have Samsung’s TouchWiz overlay over top of Android. Supposedly it’s been toned down, but it’s still loaded with a lot of proprietary software that cannot be removed.

Samsung has really done a great job this time around. It’s fast and there’s little to no stutter in animations. It just works and it’s a very great experience. However, TouchWiz isn’t without its pitfalls. I have yet to use any of Samsung’s propietary applications, such as Samsung Gear, Samsung Milk Music, S Health, S Voice, and even Samsung Pay. The annoying thing is that these applications cannot be removed. It’s quite frustrating, considering that 10GB of storage is already used up straight out of the box.

My other complaint is more Edge-specific. The Galaxy S7 Edge is a neat device, largely because of its innovative Edge display. Unfortunately, much of the software related to the Edge, at least in my experience, isn’t useful at all. You have things like People Edge, Tasks Edge, and other Edge features, none of which have I found useful. Maybe I’m more old fashioned, but I much prefer just dialing a number to reach someone over going into People Edge, the supposed “shortcut” to contacting a favorite/frequent contact.

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If the idea of these features was convenient, Samsung didn’t make the mark. Whether you’ve created a shortcut to an app in Tasks Edge or a shortcut to a contact in People Edge, there’s really no incentive for using this extra software. In fact, it takes about the same amount of time to get what you need to do done in the traditional way than going through the “Edge.” In my couple weeks of using the handset, the Edge software really has just felt like more bloatware because, well, it’s just not useful.

I’ve turned all of the “Edge” features off on my device because it isn’t useful; I’d much rather use it like a normal device.

Overall, the software is speedy and looks nice, but the amount of useless trash on the phone is atrocious.

Camera

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The camera is one of the Galaxy S7 Edge’s best features. I wasn’t so sure about it at first, with Samsung dropping the megapixel count to just 12 from the original 16 on previous handsets. Samsung has proved that the megapixel count isn’t everything though, as the Galaxy S7 Edge takes gorgeous photos.

How is Samsung able to do this? Well, the handset has the aforementioned 12-megapixel camera, but also has a Dual Pixel Sensor, which can focus both quickly and accurately. This new camera sensor is also able to capture a lot more light, offering a lot more detail in your photos. This is because of the brighter f/1.7 lens and larger 1.4µm pixel size.

In the real world, the phone really does take gorgeous photos, especially in a lot of light. The sensor is able to capture a lot of detail, reproduce colors accurately, and in some cases, I’ve found it to be better than the iPhone 6’s camera. The video below really shows you just how good the camera is.

We’ve also got some of our own samples for you to take a peak at in the gallery below. Be sure to click on them so you get the full size image.

Closing

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge doesn’t have many faults. It might be Samsung’s best device yet. It feels nice in the hand and is easy to use for having a massive 5.5-inch display. However, I’ve found that the “Edge” isn’t very useful, and if that’ll bother you, the Galaxy S7 is obviously the way to go. In my case, though, I wanted the larger 3,600mAh battery that came in the Edge variant, which made it worth it to me.

I’d highly recommend the phone to anyone. It really is the perfect phone for those that are looking for a quality build and good software experience. It’ll be particularly interesting to see how it competes against the LG G5, considering that Samsung was able to launch their two flagships a good month before LG has been able to.

[Samsung] [Best Buy] [Amazon] [Newegg]


About the Author: Brad Ward

Brad is a tech enthusiast, writing and tinkering with all things technology since 2011. He currently bounces between the LG G3 and his beloved Moto X! His interests include reading, entrepreneurship, the gym, and of course, queso.


  • russell conrad lewis

    I’ll be the “bad” guy… how dirty could a tech guy get… dirty fingernails put out there for all to see are… well, gross and disgusting.
    Good review though.

  • hindsight

    they forgot stereo speakers huge

  • Ron

    When reviewers constantly whine about installed apps and taking up memory it is very clear that they are iphone users. Who really cares about the on board memory when you have removable/expandable memory ?. Do you think apps alone without music and photos is going to use the remainder of the memory? Really?. I can’t recall at the moment but it may even be possible to install apps on the SD card making your argument even more unnecessary. As for the edge features, like everything android, you have a choice. Use it or dont. The newer version is way more useful than the original iteration.

  • ChuckN007

    I think that my Galaxy Note 5 is the best Galaxy so far. But the Galaxy S 6 Edge Plus is a close second. I like the larger Note screen and the S Pen. The S 6 might have a slightly better camera in low light.

  • Jeena Bittenbender

    Sounds like an amazing device. Samsung’s are made to last. I still have a working Galaxy S2 that I bought 3 years ago, almost 4 and I was using it as my daily driver until 3 weeks ago.