For the last 7+ years I’ve been an iPhone user. My unboxing going as far back as the iPhone 3G still exist on my personal Youtube channel if you dig deep enough. That all said I haven’t had an opportunity to really experience & review a flagship Android phone until now.
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge is one of their new phones in the flagship lineup & while it offers incremental improvements over last years S6 it’s one of the best phones in 2016 thus far.
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I’ve spent the last couple weeks testing out the S7 Edge while trying to use it predominantly over my 6S Plus. However thats for another story. Rather lets go ahead & focus on the S7 Edge & how it fared.
To examine the S7 Edge we need to begin by looking at all the new hardware changes over the S6.
The S7 Edge sports a bigger screen than the S7 coming in at 5.5 inches. A super AMOLED display that is covered in Gorilla Glass 4. Samsung’s display technology excels in the phone as it offers amazing edge to edge clarity. The saturation, contrast, and overall brightness really makes colors pop. Text is clear when reading web pages & you get that immersive experience as the screen spills out to the edge.
Screen Resolution- 1440×2560
Dimensions: 5.5 inches
Type: SUPER AMOLED
Another new aspect of the display is the Always On technology. While this is new for Samsung it’s something we’ve seen before in HTC’s phone. The idea is that it illuminates certain pixels while the screen is in sleep mode to display either a clock, calendar, or image. Constantly shifting the image in order to prevent image burn & save battery life. While the feature is nice, it isn’t something I decided to keep turned on.
Being that it is the “Edge” model you do get the dual edged screen. Which provides a much more immersive experience when it comes to viewing content then I thought. The edge of the screen can also be used to quickly access certain features on the phone. Think of it as shortcut panel allowing access to quickly open apps, see what contact is calling when the phone is faced down by a color array, and other quick shortcuts/tasks. While this is very customizable & can be useful in some instances I didn’t find myself swiping to use them that often. However in the end I’d rather have the edge model with it’s features & bigger battery/screen than not have it.
CPU, RAM & Graphic Processors:
Processor wise the S7 Edge is powered by a Snapdragon 820 Quad-core CPU in the US edition. It’s clocked at 2.15ghz & provides the phone with a lot of processing power.
Geek bench wise the S7 Edge benched as of this post:
The S7 Edge is packed with 4 GB of RAM to help run everything smoothly. As far as graphics goes an Adreno 530 chip powers all GPU needs & performs quite exceptionally.
Scoring a BaseMark X (Medium Settings) bench of: 40833
How do all of these numbers & specs translate into real life performance? Well in my experience the phone performed exceptionally throughout my test. Be it casual or intense usage of the device. Multi-tasking always ran smoothly & without any hiccups. Occasional 3rd party app-crashes but that can’t be entirely blamed on the S7 Edge itself. Overall the S7 Edge performed in all areas I needed to on a day to day basis. Never showing sluggish performance or noticeable dropped frames. While gaming isn’t something I do to much of on my mobile devices the S7 Edge did handle intense FPS, racing, and various other titles without any problems. So all in all performance was solid & something you’d expect out of a 2016 flagship phone.
Now all the performance in the world doesn’t matter if the battery doesn’t last. This is the one area the S7 Edge goes above & beyond and makes it well worth buying over the normal S7 model. The edge packs a 3600 mAh battery that will surely last you throughout the day. In my tests normal usage without any power savings easily got me through the day with 5-6+ hours of screen on time. Furthermore if I did enable the power saving features then I wouldn’t have to charge the phone at all by the end of the night. If I found myself in a position where I was lower than 10% the S7 Edge’s fast charging easily brought the phone up to 50%+ within 30 minutes. So if your looking for a phone that’s power is equally matched by its longevity than the S7 Edge is an obvious choice.
The S7 Edge brings a nice needed feature with expandable storage. For those limited to the 32GB model in the US have no fear as you can easily pop out the sim card slot to gain access to a micro-sd tray for your storage needs. So you can easily & economically add more storage to the S7 Edge without any problems.
Nowadays the most important feature arguably in smartphone is the camera. It can quite literally be a deal breaker for buyers & the S7 Edge doesn’t disappoint. I’d even go as far as dubbing it the best smartphone camera as of current in terms of both video & photos.
Spec wise the S7 Edge packs:
12 megapixel sensor
f /1.7 Aperture
4K Video Support
60 FPS Recording
Again while these numbers don’t tell the full story the experience of using said camera really blew me away. While they lowered the pixels from the previous S6 the pixels are bigger allowing for better low light shots & amazing auto-focus technology.
S7 Edge’s camera is quick to access, point, focus, and shoot. It excels in natural lighting conditions & does decent in low light indoors. Outdoor low light shots tend to be a bit noisy but still bearable. The real advancement in the camera comes in the auto-focus. Focusing right away & making it easy to pull focus from objects in the foreground & background make it a all around great smartphone shooter.
Sample Photos (Unedited):
Be sure to check out the video review up above to get some sample video shots of the S7 Edge in action. I can’t understate enough how phenomenal the rear camera performed be it photography or videography. However I can’t forget the front facing camera which comes in at 5 megapixels & performs just as great. The wider lens allows on the front facing cameras make selfies or front facing video a breeze. Samsung throws in some filters to spruce up the photos in typical fashion however these can be tweaked. Standard photos come out with a boost of saturation, contrast, and overall color which to the naked eye may make for better photos. In most blind tests I constantly had people choose the S7 Edge photos versus the 6S Plus.
All in all this is the camera to beat in the smartphone market as of now.
The S7 Edge comes in slightly smaller than the iPhone 6S Plus which I typically use on a day to day basis. Despite the 5.5 inch screen the phone still comes in at a great size be it in hand or pocket. The slimmer bezels & curved back make for a good fit overall despite how much fingerprints the back attracts.
Another feature that drew a lot of attention as far as build goes is the IP68 certification the phone has. The S7 Edge is essentially dust & water resistant which is definitely convenient & makes for a great party trick. You can completely submerge this phone & pull it out working without any hiccups. Saving you future troubles from any toilets, spilled drinks, or other water sources. However it does come at a cost. The built in speakers simply suck. They’re tiny sounding & distort at high volumes due to the sealing of the hardware for the waterproofing. Aside from that the S7 Edge is sleek & main focus comes in at the display & it’s quite a sight to look at. I’d advise a skin or case for those who phone is too slippery or fingerprint stained but other than that you have the solid base of the S6 improved upon in ways that make it more comfortable to hold & operate. All the buttons & external hardware feeling solid & built to last.
Being new to Android I had to stumble around a bit to get use to Marshmallow 6.0 however for the most part everything was easy to navigate around just different habits to get used to. The OS performed in line with the hardware & one aspect thats foreign to me coming from iOS was the customization aspect.
If I didn’t like the launcher, settings panel look & feel, or what have you I could easily toggle & personalize it to my liking.
The biggest drawback in my opinion with the S7 Edge had to be the Touch-Wiz UI samsung pre-loads it with. It just seemed clunky in my opinion & while the new hardware carries the animations very well there was still things I found unnecessary & better suited with a 3rd party launcher.
Setting panels were easy to navigate & access at a swipe. Toggling features on/off as needed. The biggest convenience came in Samsung’s pay technology which pretty much work anywhere credit/debit cards are accepted. New features like Game Launcher make it easy to access all your games in one organized app & provides an overlay option when playing games to make it easy to disable features that hinder your gaming experience. Again while I don’t game that often on my mobile devices it was a nice addition.
The greatest aspect of software when it comes to Android devices is your freedom to really put what you prefer on your device. Root it, go with 3rd party solutions, disable/enable what you like it really is up to you & that’s something that is a nice change of pace from iOS.
Breaking down simply lets take a look at what I felt were the pros & cons of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
- Amazing Camera (Best as of current)
- Incredible all day battery life
- Expandable storage option
- Solid build
- Great edge to edge display
- Touch Wiz UI
- Fingerprint reader while fast wasn’t always accurate
- Built-In Speaker
In the end the cons that did exist aren’t enough to dissuade me from re-buying the phone if it came down to it. The S7 Edge is an all around solid phone that took the S6 strengths & really built on them with newer hardware & slight improvements. Yes it lacks USB C & no IR support but they’re not lacking features that’ll break the deal you get with the S7 Edge. If your looking for a consistent quality shooter in a phone, powerhouse device that’ll last you the day, and immersive display than this phone is for you.
Now if your on the S6 keep in mind your phone is still great & by no means should you be rushing to upgrade. If your cycle is upcoming then by all means. If your in the market for a new phone then the S7 Edge should definitely be on your consideration list.
At DigitalDojos I try to answer the question of whether the product at hand in my reviews are worth the purchase rather simply slapping a rating on it. In this case without a doubt the S7 Edge gets my seal of approval & two thumbs way up.
Again if you are looking into the S7 lineup of phones spend the extra bucks & go with the Edge model if anything for the bigger battery you won’t regret it. In a land of smartphones Samsung takes a great phone & adds just enough to make it that much more powerful & current. Sporting the best camera in the smartphone game right now you can’t go wrong getting this current gen flagship device that’ll definitely be one of the definitive phones of the year.
If you are ready to pull the trigger help support DigitalDojos by purchasing it through our link & enjoy your new S7 Edge!