Samsung last month announced their latest flagship devices. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge step things up again this year, and this time Samsung have taken feedback from the fans regarding last years S6 and some of it’s drawbacks. We’re very interested to get things rolling, so let’s take a look at some of the main specs and move on to some photos of the device itself.
- Screen: Curved 5.5″ Super AMOLED with 2,560 x 1,440 resolution (534ppi)
- Camera: 12MP Dual Pixel, f/1.7, Smart OIS; 2160p video capture and 5MP, f/1.7 front facing camera
- Chipset: Exynos 8890 with 4GB of RAM; 32GB internal storage with microSD slot
- Connectivity: Optional dual-SIM (hybrid slot), NFC + MST for Samsung Pay, microUSB 2.0
- Battery: 3,600mAh, Fast wired and wireless charging
- Misc: Fingerprint reader IP68 certified water resistance
Straight up we can see some important features, and also the screen size is up compared to last years Galaxy S6 Edge. This time the S7 Edge is more closely matched to the S6 edge+
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
The box has a magnetic clasp and unfolds to reveal the device and the rest of the contents. Inside the box we get the adaptive fast charger, a sim-tray removal tool, a MicroUSB cable, a USB OTG adaptor and finally a set of Samsung earphones.
As we mentioned, the device is very similar to the S6 Edge Plus from 6 months ago. This time around Samsung have launched the edge with a large display, likely avoiding the launch of an S7 edge plus later on. The display of course has a dual curve with both edges of the display featuring a slight curve for a that rather beautiful looking effect.
The back of the design is where some slight, but very welcomed changes are made. The back now includes a slight curve of its own. A subtle change, but an important one that makes for a much better and easier grip. The camera bump has now been lessens to a fair extent; making it only a slight bump out of the device.
The lesser camera bump is managed by Samsung increasing the thickness of the device compared to last years S6. Something we haven’t see Samsung or any of the big phone companies really do, and it’s more about getting things thinner and thinner each year.
A slightly thicker device allows for a bigger battery as well. The S7 Edge has a nice huge 3,600mAh inside.
The bottom of the device is mostly unchanged compared. We have the 3.5mm headphone slot, MicroUSB connection, microphone and single speaker. We can also see the gaps in the metal for the antennas.
The back also includes the dual flash, and heart rate sensor. From the top we have the dual sim-tray and thankfully the MicroSD slot.
With every new launch of a Samsung device, we get a new version of TouchWiz. Samsung’s custom UX has had a few issues of the years, but with every year has gotten better. This year is no different. While a vanilla Android experience will typically always offer the best performance, we found this years TouchWiz pretty much perfect. Everything was smooth, and nothing has changed in regard to layout or customization options.
The newest addition to TouchWiz is the Game launcher. This is basically a folder for any games it finds, or ones you add yourself. It makes for a easier way to sort your games into one area. It also includes built in market support for finding new and popular games. This goes with the new game tools function that the S7 supports, which we detail below.
Themes are supported within TouchWiz and we have taken a few screen shots to show you how a theme looks and what kind of changes it has over the traditional theme..
The edge panel is an exclusive feature of the S7 edge, which offers a swipe to reveal panel. The short cuts are customizable and new ones are available all the time. The standard panels include Weather, Favourite contacts, quick tools, and more. Below are some shots taken of the edge panel, and some of the different panels available.
The edge panel can be a nice addition, but does take some time to get use too. The devices size also prevent any real usage using the panel with one hand, which is really only when the panel becomes handy.
Last year Samsung had a new camera app alongside the Galaxy S6, and we were promptly impressed with the extent of its offering. The S7 launches with the same impressive camera app and it contains the same great features.
The main layout contains the most used features like HDR on/off, flash, resolution, timer, and effects. Like the past few years, users can record video or take a picture at anytime, even while recording video (some video modes disable this however)
The app includes a lot of different modes, , but the pro mode is where users are given fill control over the camera’s settings. This includes ISO, Shutter speed, and White Balance.
We’re very happy to see such an extensive camera app. This takes great advantage of what the S7 offers in terms of photos and videos.
The included 12MP sensor on the back of the S7 may first come across as a downgrade, but let’s be clear, the MP count is not what makes a camera great, at least it’s not everything that makes a camera great. This year Samsung are bringing something new to the smartphone arena.
Dual Pixel technology is not a new to the world, but this is the first time we have seen it on a smartphone. This technology allows for extremely fast phase detection focusing by using every single pixel to determine depth and focus on image/video. We can confirm that focusing is not only fast, it’s actually more impressive than we expected. It’s the closest to instant we have seen and is the smoothest experience with focusing on a camera phone we have seen.
Samsung have also changed the pixel size to 1.4m and this makes for much better low light shots, and improves photo quality in general.
Below are some images taken with the Galxay S7 Edge.
Now it’s time to take a look at some videos taken with the S7 edge. The camera supports many different modes and features, so we have included as many of them as we can.
Performance is an important factor for new smartphones, of course users want their new device to be capable of dealing with their day to day tasks. Nowadays we see the performance from flagships take big leads over their predecessors, but ultimately we have not really seen the need for such high end performance.
Most new devices from even mid-range markets can handle nearly every tasks effectively. However, that may not always be the case, and likely as the years go by, your device will need be powerful enough to deal with future apps that require more from the chipset.
A numerical rating system is the only way to truly tell just however powerful your device is, and here we can see the numbers from the S7 edge.
|3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited||27520|
|Geekbench 3 Single-Core||2141|
|Geekbench 3 Multi-Core||6481|
|Vellamo Browser (Chrome)||7437|
|Vellamo Browser (Samsung Browser)||7319|
Unsurprisingly the S7 edge is showing some of the biggest numbers we have seen to date. Clearly Samsung still want their phones to keep the ball rolling and make mobile hardware as fast as possible.
Gaming has always been the most demanding in terms of power, so it’s also a great way of telling how well your device performs. Like with all of our smartphone reviews, we put together some gameplay performance videos with the Galaxy S7 edge.
Finally, we have a device that was intentionally made bigger to accommodate a larger battery, or at least made bigger and can fit a larger battery. The S7 is now 7.7mm thick and includes a 3,600mAh battery, which is the largest we have seen in a flagship phone from Samsung.
Our test below is aimed at medium to heavy usage, with more emphasis on the heavy side of things. We also kept the Always-on display active during our tests.
|Phone Calls||20-30 Minutes (possibly more)|
|Text message/Chat/Emails||Throughout the day (checking) and 20-30 sent|
|Photos||10-20 (possibly more)|
|Video recording||20-30 Minutes|
|Internet browsing||Throughout the day (around 30-40 minutes total)|
|Connectivity||WiFi and 4G; mostly 4G|
|Screen Brightness||50-percent (with Always-on Display activated)|
After the 12 hour period, we came away with over 40-percent battery left. This is bar far the best we have seen from a Samsung flagship and with only small tweaking the battery was capable of 2 full day usage without any charge in between. Props to Samsung.
We have spent a a few weeks with the Galaxy S7 edge, and it’s now time for the conclusion. Below is our usual breakdown on the review.
Last year Samsung went in a different direction then their previous flagship devices. The S6 launched with the focus being design and aesthetics. Samsung clearly wanted to make a device that looked the best it could. The S6 truly was a beautiful device, but it’s looks were dampened by the removal of some important features. The lack of expandable memory, removable battery and any form of water resistance were a sign that Samsung were picking fashion over function.
This year Samsung have learned their mistake. Their choice for a great design continues with S7 sharing a near identical design to the S6 from last year. Our S7 Edge is more closely matched with the S6 Edge+. Samsung instead of simply focusing on design, made sure to include the important features that were missing from last years flagship.
As beautiful the S7 edge is, it would mean nothing should expandable memory still be missing. Thankfully it has returned, and we also get internal water resistance as well. Samsung brought the elegant design of the S6 to the S7, but managed to include two of the three missing features. No removable battery is still a concern, but is now understandable with the IP68 certification.
The design of the S7 is beautiful and can only truly be appreciated when you hold the device in your hand. Samsung added a subtle curve on the back, which makes for a much nicer feel. The S7 edge is by far Samsung’s most beautiful looking device, but more importantly, we have a fashion and function no longer competing for our attention.
As we mentioned above, the s7 edge launches with a larger display that makes it more closely matched with the s6 edge+ from six months ago. Samsung have always managed to step up their display quality with the release of every new flagship device, but the S7 hasn’t seen much of a leap over the S6 or Note 5. The display does feel brighter, and make no mistake, the lack of much difference is not a bad thing. The S6 and Note 5 had the best displays available, and the S7 is no different.
Sunlight has always caused issues for mobile devices in the past, but Samsung have done a great job making the display easily visible, even in direct sunlight. As the weather gets better and better, we get more days were this type of scenario is more common. The auto settings for the display did a great job making this more visible when necessary.
The new 12MP with dual pixel technology is where Samsung have truly taken the Smartphone camera market into something new. We have seen phones with insane MP counts, and great zoom lens, but none compare to new camera from Samsung.
Focusing has been made as close to instant as we have seen, but more importantly, it’s much more fluid and has zero issues focusing on the right targets. Samsung also increase the pixel size, which is nothing we haven’t seen before, but along with the dual pixel tech; it makes for the best camera we have seen on a smartphone.
Both photos and videos are full of detail and excellent colour reproduction, and we really have to commend Samsung for really taken the camera phone game into a new era.
Performance is important, but lately we have felt that these new flagship devices are bringing more power that we have been capable of benefiting from. Sure faster processors, and better GPU’s are nice, but until we get something to take advantage of them, we’re left with numerical benchmarks to gauge just how good these things perform.
Thankfully the S7 includes either the Exynos 8890 or Snapdragon 820 chipsets, both of which provide the best performance we have seen. Everything on the S7 was smooth and performed without any hiccups. Gameplay was also expectedly without jitter.
So it’s safe to say that you won’t be running into performance issues with the S7 for a long long time.
It’s also important to note that the S7 edge provided some of the best battery life we have seen from a smartphone. It’s great to see a device like this launch with a large battery, and cleanly the Exynos 8890 chipset is running very efficiently. No matter how good a device is, if the battery dies, it becomes a paper weight. Making the device last longer is one of the most important features, and thankfully the s7 edge has it pretty damn good.
That’s it for our review of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. We happy to say that the latest flagship from Samsung is not only the best from them, but is also the best phone on the market. The design is both elegant and beautiful, the display and camera are the best we have seen, and the battery life is long lasting. Nearly everything we would ask for from the best smartphone.
The Galaxy S7 edge from Samsung of course gets the gold award, and we highly recommend it to anyone looking for the best smartphone avaialble.