- Stunning display
- Camera upgraded to work in all conditions
- Superb design
- TouchWz is a little laggy at times
- MicroSD card support minimal
Last year, Samsung released their award winning Galazy S6 Edge. People loved it. The curved screen which felt new was a breath of fresh air to the mobile phone market. Although yes it had been done similarly by LG with their G Flex models, the S6 looked beautifully sleek in the hand. But it got stale, very quickly, thanks to other flat panel phones taking over the leading smartphone. So what has Samsung done differently this time round with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge?
Quite a lot actually, which we will go into in the review. However, these various upgrades do come with a hefty price tag unfortunately. The phone comes in two different sizes starting from £639 (32GB) from Three Mobile and a 64GB which can be found for a variety of prices for various online retailers. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is an exciting phone, and one that could knock the likes of Apple from their top stop, despite the issues they are having with the Note 7. Don’t worry, I didn’t experience the S7 Edge blowing up in my hand or smoking while on charge.
Design wise not a huge deal has changed between the Galaxy S7 Edge and last year’s S6 Edge. The phone has got slightly larger, which is a good thing for multimedia consumers. The edges of the phone which curve into the backplate are much larger than the previous S6 which gives a false impression that the phone is actually the same size, when in fact the screen has become larger. The rear of the phone as well is slightly curved, making it a lot easier to hold in your hand. Although it’s slight, it is definitely noticeable if you’ve got both phones in your hands.
The S7 Edge measures at 7 x 15 cm with a depth of only 0.4cm which is a lot shorter than the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. This is due to the extremely narrow bezel surrounding the 5.5″ screen. The top and bottom bezels are extremely minimal, only giving room to the ear speaker for making calls and a smallish home button at the bottom. The touch sensitive back and ‘open apps selection’ button are still present. The camera protrusion has been reduced compared to last year’s S6 which is wonderful to see, especially when the S7 is put down on a desk.
Finishing off the back is the metallic design which looks as if it’s been moulded into the metal band that goes around the circumference of the edge. It looks like one complete piece. Last year’s S6’s metal band was a different colour to the phone, giving a front and back feel. We looked at a Black Onyx S7 colour setup which looks absolutely stunning compared to their other colours. There is also a Rose Pink and Platinum Gold colour scheme on the market.
One thing to look out for when using the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is the fact is a fingerprint magnet, especially on the back. The glossy finish will inevitably need to be wiped time and time again to keep the handset looking fresh. This isn’t much of a problem, as most phones on the market now come in a shiny finish, and users who will care that much will no doubt shove the beautiful phone into a case anyway.
The side buttons are in exactly the same place you would expect from a Samsung Galaxy S series phone, with the power being halfway down on the right and volume rocker being at the top of the left hand side. There is a speaker, 3.5mm auxillary input for headphones (hear that Apple? It’s still wanted) and the microUSB charging port on the bottom of the phone. The top is saved for the sim card and microSD card slot which needs a special tool to access. The tool is provided with the phone so no worries here.
One added feature not present on a Samsung phone in the past is its IP68 water-resistance rating. It can survive dunks in water up to 30 minutes up to 1.5m. This isn’t a phone that can be taken on a deep sea dive, but if you’re a person who likes to watch Netflix or text your buds on WhatsApp in the bath, then any accidents won’t damage your handset.
As mentioned earlier, the Edge feature of the Samsung S7 is nothing new. It won’t wow people into thinking you’ve got some super futuristic mobile as last year’s model did. But in any case, this is one of the sharpest screens on the market thus far, thanks to its Super Amoled display and crazy for a mobile high resolution.
Although the screen size has been increased to 5.5 inches, the QHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 flicking through the home screen at the different app icons you have on display looks so good! I can’t really believe that this is the successor of the older S6. That was good, but this seems phenomenal!
The contrast ratio, which is the different between the whitest white and blackest black is leagues ahead of the competition as the backlight actually turns off, rather than just blocking it out like it does on other handsets like the LG G5 and Apple iPhone 7. This gives users a much larger colour spectrum and a lot more detail within an image. This works fantastically well while watching content on things like YouTube and Vine.
A new feature brought to Samsung’s display on the S7 Edge is the Forever On feature. This is where when you lock the phone, the clock as well as a couple of Samsung’s own notifications appear without you having to unlock the device to check the time or where you’ve been pinged. Is it a handy feature? Not too sure as we haven’t been able to tell if it really affects the battery life of the handset or not in a drastic way. It’s great to look at, but seems like a bit of a waste.
Now I will mention here that there are two different types of Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge mobiles on the market, and as we’re in Europe, we’re looking at the Exynos 8890 octa-core CPU version. There is a Qualcomm SnapDragon 820 varient for people in the USA because of Verizon’s LTE bandwidth that they need to run their network. This is however only exclusive to America. To let you know, the Exynos version benchmarks higher than the SnapDragon varient, so HA! Europe wins!
But no, in all honesty, both processors are state of the art and are able to pull some pretty impressive figures from benchmarking software such as GeekBench and GFXBench. The Samsung S7 used for this review came out at 1853 on a single-core and 5550 on a multi-core benchmark. This is huge compared to last year’s S6 and even the likes of Apple’s iPhone 7 which scored a measly 3301 on the multi-core score. There are 4GB of RAM in both the Europe and US versions of the phone.
Menus feel fast. Zipping through them was an absolutely breeze, and I never waited for more than a few seconds for the most graphically demanding apps to open. There was some experience of stuttering, but not enough to put me off of this phone. It was only experienced when I was going through apps too fast for the phone. But 99% of the time, users won’t be zipping from app to app without taking a look at that app for a period of time, whether it’s reading a story or checking a text message.
The UI has been kept with TouchWiz, Samsung’s skin overlay for Android. It’s good. I found no complaints when using it and customisation options are plentiful. There’s nothing wrong with the way that the home screen looks, but if you are after some kind of custom looking skin, then check out the Huawei P9 and it’s Emotion UI.
Graphical performance playing through Real Racing 3 is faultless for a mobile phone. The game also runs extremely smoothly which is hard to find on lesser specced mobiles. The GFXBench score came out leaps and bounds at 15 frames per second through the Manhatten 3.1 benchmark video.
I know this has been said over many mobile phone reviews, but the camera on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is absolutely superb and I found it very hard to find a fault with the images I was producing. The only phone I feel beats its performance at the moment is the Huawei P9 with its Leica integration. The megapixel has been dropped admittedly, but it’s made up for it with improved low light performance and a much faster autofocus than the S6 ever had. I enjoyed my time with the Samsung S7 camera so much so that I am tempted to invest in my own to replace my S6 daily driver.
Most options you would expect to find on a high end mobile are here like Pro mode for adjusting shutter speed and aperture as well as the ability to shoot in RAW for post-processing reasons in Lightroom or Photoshop Camera RAW. Video shoots at 2560 x 1440 which produces some amazing footage. The image stabilisation which is also a feature helps when the camera is being moved around. No more shaky video on our Facebook feeds. I can’t wait.
Filters work really well, which is an Instagram-esque feature of the camera on the S7. Things like sepia, black and white, and even strange cartoon type images are able to be shot. Beauty mode for selfies has made a return. WHY SAMSUNG? It’s horrid.
Samsung has listened to their customers and made some pretty substantial additions to the phone that we love. Things like the microSD card integration and the larger screen in roughly the same sized package is welcome. The Always On display bugs me still, and see it as a pretty naff feature which will only sapp more battery life from the handset. The price is a little high too from the major phone companies and can be found cheaper if you search aroud online for one, but still, if you’re after a new phone contract and don’t mind paying a little premium, then the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is definitely worth a look. You will not be disappointed with the performance it can throw at you.