Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is a big upgrade over last year’s S6 Edge, with nearly every element altered and upgraded in some way, showing the brand is still working out how to best position the jewel in its smartphone crown.
It’s got a bigger display, more power, a huge battery increase and an improved camera – and on top of that the design has been refined to make it feel nicer to hold.
Given the S6 Edge swept up nearly every best smartphone award in 2015, will the S7 Edge really be able to match up?
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Check out our hands on and first impressions Galaxy S7 Edge video:
YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XdYornFde8
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The curvy counterpart to the Galaxy S7
- When is it out? Launched on February 21, on sale March 11
- What will it cost? A lot, even more than the ‘standard’ Galaxy S7
We’re expecting the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge to go on sale around March 11, although some retailers may manage to put it on sale a little earlier.
Pre-orders have begun though, so you can register your interest now and some outlets are offering free gifts too if you’re one of the first. You can even get a free Gear VR if you pre-order from Samsung directly.
While we’re still waiting for final confirmation on pricing for the UK and US, Australian pricing for the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge has been announced at AU$1,249 (approx. £624/US$892).
Design and screen
In terms of changes to the design of the phone, the S7 Edge might look similar to last year’s model from far away. But as you approach you’ll see that it seems more rounded, more polished and, well, more pebble-like than before.
That’s because of a new process Samsung is calling 3D Thermo Forming, which allowed it to bend both the rear of the phone and the display further than ever before, giving it a more curved feel in the palm and helping it sit more comfortably.
It’s a little taller than before, but that’s impressive when you consider it’s got a 5.5-inch display wedged in there – up from 5.1-inch last year, yet not feeling much larger.
That display being more curved around the spine than before is also a real asset, as the edges of the display pull further to the side and create a more immersive ‘infinity pool’ style effect.
In the short time the phone’s been available to fondle, nearly everyone we’ve spoken to has loved the new Galaxy S7 Edge in the hand. If it had USB Type-C at the bottom (sadly just microUSB) then the design overhaul would be complete.
Oh, and here’s another thing: it’s also waterproof, with IP68 rating to let you put it in 1.5 meters of water for half an hour, if you were so inclined. Maybe just keep it on your bedside table rather than dunking it in your water though.
While we await official confirmation from Samsung over the internal storage (which is likely to be 32GB) you’ll be able to get your hands on a microSD card and – wait for it – stick it in the SIM card tray slot at the top to expand the memory.
For some reason Samsung hasn’t chosen to use Android Marshmallow’s Adoptable Storage, which allows you to turn the memory card into internal storage and thus install apps onto that space.
But Samsung thinks it’s got the performance of the memory card down to a really impressive level, so you’ll be able to treat yourself to a 288GB phone if you so wished.
One of the big upgrades from Samsung is the battery pack in the back of the Galaxy S7 Edge. Where the S6 Edge went with a 2600mAh power pack, which frankly wasn’t up to the task, the S7 Edge goes all the way up to 3600mAh. Combined with the improved Doze Mode in Android Marshmallow (which allows for much-enhanced power management) and there’s a good chance this will be the longest-lasting Samsung phone yet.
Although given how poor the battery life was in the S6 duo after a few months, we won’t be holding our breath on that.
The camera on the Galaxy S7 Edge is certainly going to raise a few eyebrows – this is a phone that’s now ‘down’ to 12MP, from 16MP last year.
Samsung’s all about the technology this year though, with 56% bigger pixels letting in 25% more light than last year – so you’ll be able to take faster snaps (thanks to smaller file sizes shooting through the processor) and get more light out of them too, meaning you’ll get brighter pics with more detail.
Whether Samsung can communicate this change to the buying masses as an upgrade remains to be seen – dropping a spec is always a risky game (just ask HTC).
OS and power
We’re still waiting for official confirmation on the Galaxy S7’s CPU at its heart, but in western world we’re expecting to see the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 CPU (with liquid cooling inside to keep it nice and toasty-hand-free) coupled with 4GB of RAM.
Do we really need that much power? Probably not (unless you’re stitching together 360 degree video on the fly, which you can do thanks to the new Gear 360 coming from the brand) but such things are always seen as a must on new smartphones, so here’s hoping Samsung can find something to do with that extra power.
The operating system is the much-expected Android 6 Marshmallow, although as you can read above it’s not made use of all the features that Google’s new OS brings.
The interface has been upgraded with the Edge screen now proving to be a little more useful, thanks to double width news, sports scores and tools added into the mix – although where were these last year?
The new area for gaming means that you’ll be able to improve the play experience on the Galaxy S7 Edge. You can plop the games you’ve downloaded in the folder, then do things like alter the framerate and graphical processing in order to save battery on games that don’t need the extra grunt.
Or, if you’re in a particularly immersive game you can use the small Game Tools icon in the corner to disable alerts, lock the physical buttons, minimise the game briefly or even record your prowess. Not a game-changer as such… wait, it is.