Customers are demanding. Vociferously so. They expect every new iteration of a device to be a revolutionary departure from it’s predecessor. Kind of how Indians expected Tendulkar to score an unbelievably beautiful century every time he stepped on a cricket pitch.
When people saw the Galaxy S7 line, the immediate reaction was “Samsung seems to be toeing the trend of not reinventing a device and marginally improving the previous one instead, just to keep the sales going – as Apple does with its ‘S’ devices”. Not true.
First, the two S7 devices released in 2016 are not old wine in new bottles.
Second, it does not seem like a bad idea to give to the customer an improved version of a device that they already like, such as the S6 and the S6 Edge.
So while the S7 and S7 edge essentially have the same blueprint as the S6 and S6 edge, however we need to appreciate the Samsung has taken those blueprints and improved them in almost every way possible.
Why? Well, what happens when you improve something that is already very good? You inch closer to perfection, and the S7 Edge indeed is very, very close to that.
It is a near perfect phone which I believe is going to be tough to beat even for the upcoming iPhone 7 (or whatever Apple ends up calling it).
The Galaxy S7 edge is blessed with stunning design, and an absolutely beautiful display.
The screen measures in at a 5.5 inches which is significantly larger than the outgoing Galaxy S6 edge’s 5.1 inch display. And despite this significant increase in size, the pixel density is still at an appreciable level.
Add to that, the S7 edge has a phenomenal Screen-To-Facial-Area ratio of 76%, beaten only by the Galaxy Note5!
The iPhone 6s Plus only comes in with a 67% ratio, and the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium Dual racks up only 71%.
What does this mean? Well, you get to see a lot more information and content on the front of your phablet, than you would on other phones. Plus, the edge technology (that has a fair bit more content now, than it did on the S6 avatar – however App Developers really need to jump on this opportunity and leverage it for all it’s potential!)
There is not a lot else different from the previous phones. Still, the overall quality on this display is sufficient to make it one of the best displays on a smartphone today.
The screen is not a 4K, but the QHD display and it looks very good. The pixels are vividly visible and everything looks beautiful on it. Excellent colours and contrasts. Something that the device really needs, given Samsung’s push in the VR direction (of which the S7’s are major players).
Samsung here has not opted for the IPS LCD panel and has stuck with the AMOLED technology. This is better in some ways as the AMOLED is much more vibrant and is better at showing off the blacks. The one disadvantage of not using an IPS LCD panel is that the viewing angles are not as great. Yet, AMOLEDs represent colors beautifully, distributed with clear whites and deep blacks.
While the sunlight visibility is not a staggering problem thanks to the vibrant and bright AMOLED panel, however the screen does seem to be a tad too reflective. It is not disastrous but considering the quality of the display otherwise it certainly becomes something to note.
Samsung has included the Always-on Display mode which takes advantage of the fact that AMOLED screens can select individual pixels to charge, which means that the screen can show you the time and date and a couple of other things while the screen is actually switched off.
This is a good feature but it still needs some work as there is not much customization available, not can you select the apps you prefer to get notifications for in this passive mode.
Historically, Samsung has always lacked in the area of device design. The Galaxy S2 all the way up to the Galaxy S5 were some of the most powerful devices of their time, yet none of them were lookers.
Samsung’s heard the derision and has clearly taken on the challenging battle to change that perception. Things started looking up with the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge, and with the S7 edge Samsung seems to have found a designer they should hold on to, and award him an island of his own (hold him captive there, if needed). ‘Cos the S7 edge is a looker, and how!
The S7 Edge is amazingly gorgeous – some call it probably the best looking smartphone ever made.
The amplitude of its beauty can be rightly conveyed simply by saying that it makes even the Apple iPhone 6s look dated, blocky and boring.
The phone has a metal rim that sits in between two Gorilla Glass 4 slabs. There is a lock switch on one side and two separated volume keys on the other. It has a clean back is slightly curved to meet the metal chassis (via a process Samsung calls 3D Thermoforming) and has a now flush camera sensor, heart rate monitor and a Samsung logo. The camera module has also been remodeled in order to make the phone sit flat on its back, despite the curves.
The top of the phone houses a Sim tray and a Micro SD slot too. Yes it does have expandable storage due to a lesson that Samsung learnt with the S6.
Moving ahead, the audio jack has been interestingly placed at the bottom of the phone. I have been hearing that it is considered a good thing, but i can hardly see why. Fundamentally, how having your earphone pin sticking out of the bottom while you’re listening to music on the bus or when checking your Facebook, would be convenient is unimaginable. I never agreed when Apple changed it on the iPhone and I can’t see why Samsung is following suit.
Moving on, the bottom also has a USB port for charging. Did you notice the letter C missing. You sure did and Samsung sees it fit not to include the USB type-C as was rumoured. But it’s only a matter of time, I guess.
The front of the phone has an elongated home button under the display which also houses the Fingerprint scanner.
Overall, the curved back and the device’s dimensions come together to provide more ‘gripability’ and the manufacturing process made the phone feel like an awesome unibody unit. And the additional weight people talk about regarding the S7 edge undoubtedly comes from the back-and-front glass (and possibly better metal in the chassis). Either ways, it’s welcome and not really noticeable.
Full marks to Samsung on the design and build quality front.
Okay, let’s get this straight – it seems that Samsung went to the most upmarket hardware store, and looked at only the top-most shelf of the most expensive aisle. And what they couldn’t find, they made.
The specs on the S7 edge are those that one would die for; consequently everything seems right with the phablet.
Samsung has made a switch from the Qualcomm’s popular Snapdragon and brought in a self-designed, developed and produced Exynos chip. This shift seems to have been timed due to ongoing issues with the Snapdragon 810’s heating issues as well as the fact that back when the 810 was touted as the king of the jungle, the Exynos 7420 actually topped the performance tables!
The CPU runs 8 cores and four of them run at 2.6 GHZ while the remaining four run at 1.59 GHZ.
The phone generally is very fast. Normal tasks like opening up mails and apps and switching between different windows does not seem to challenge the capabilities of this device in any way. Also, there is no game which can challenge this phone into going into overdrive or drench all the resources of this device. Everything is very smooth and efficient.
And while we say that, there is bound to be heat generated with all that processing going on under there, so Samsung’s proactively put in a heat-pipe with copper innards, to drive heat outwards and away (the ‘water-cooled’ mention in Samsung’s spec sheets seem a misnomer). Nonetheless the set up seems to work, for the most part anyway. The phone does get hot when installing lots of apps and when it’s fast charging, but aside from that it manages to stay mostly cool.
There are some niggling issues here and there, but that is because of the TouchWiz overlay. More on that in a bit.
TouchWiz aside, the Samsung S7 edge is currently the fastest phone around.
If there’s something Samsung could’ve done with all that hardware and glass, it is to stick with TouchWiz. And they did precisely that.
While the Galaxy S7 edge runs the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow, it comes cloaked in Samsung’s TouchWiz’s robes. Never very popular, it has always been heavy and a saddled with loads of unnecessary things – in fact this infatuation of Samsung to cram in every possible thing into the device, resulted in the creation of a term in it’s honour – bloatware.
With time, however, TouchWiz seems to have improved and while has become cleaner, smoother and lesser of an impediment.
There are lesser unnecessary bundled apps (we didn’t want to call them useless), thanks to which, the Android elements make an appearance somewhat as what Google intended them to feel and perform like. A lot of the apps are cleaned up and most of them look attractive.
Even after some major shredding done to the TouchWiz it still is very heavy. It eats up about 7.1 GB of the 32 GB available internally. Add to this the pre-installed apps and you are left with just 20 GB of free space to start with!
Samsung – get with the program, guys!
The S7 edge sees a reduction in the number of camera pixels – it has ‘only’ 12 megapixels as compared to the 16 megapixels on the S6. But that’s not the optimal measure of success of the camera.
There are loads of improvements made to the hardware and the underlying image processing software. Together they are significant changes which makes this camera one of the best in the market.
It’s really good to see Samsung strive to rectify the problems with the low-light shots. This is a problem that most modern day smartphones have and it has been a while that it has existed. Other manufacturers and consequently customers just make peace with the deficiencies and move along.
It is really high time to make amends in this area. Samsung seems to be one of the first to attempt it. It has inculcated a new tech called the Dual Pixel that is specifically targeted towards improving low-light shots. What it does essentially is that it gives every pixel two photobodies to capture light, and also help the autofocus to work fantastically well. Resultantly, the S7 and S7 edge can focus much faster and much more accurately than others.
Overall, the output is that low-light shots now look much less lurky and details are much more visible. With the S7 Edge the picture detail in the low-light shots is much better because the graininess seems to have reduced significantly.
While the Dual flash tech is designed specifically for improving the low-light shots, but the day-light shots benefit from it as well – we believe this phone has the best autofocus on a smartphone or phablet.
The good thing for the users here is that the battery on this phone is much bigger than that on the S6. It houses a 3,600 mAh battery which can prove very useful, especially while used for entertainment purposes.
The speakers on the phone are good and provide for a decent audio experience.
The jewel in all this are the Graphics Processor, again the top-of-the-line option available at the time, and of course, the fantastic display.
The output is simply amazing and it certainly provides a wonderful experience especially while playing games or watching videos.
The one negative that I hold against this device is the placement of the audio jack which is at the bottom. This really does seem a bit awkward while your earphones are plugged in and you’re using the phone.
Other than this, the device offers you very good entertainment and the 5.5 inch screen with minimal bezels provide eye-watering experience (in a good way!).
Security is the next battleground and Samsung’s getting ready for it.
The Galaxy S7 edge has a fingerprint scanner built into the home button and the scanner is plenty good – it’s fast, it’s accurate, and multifunctional.
Other security elements from Android and Samsung continue – remote device locking, remote wiping.