Review roundup: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge impresses

Unless you're living beneath a rock or in a pineapple under the sea, you're probably aware that Samsung has released new Galaxy flagship handsets. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones are in reviewers' hands now. We scoured the internet for the juiciest morsels of information about the new handsets, and here's what we found.

First off, the news is universally good. The reviews focused almost entirely on the S7 Edge model, since it's the one that changed the most from the Galaxy S6 line. All reviewers had very high praise for the handset's shape, build quality, and exterior design. The S7 Edge seems to be just the right size for a phone—not too big or too small—and reviewers say the overall shape makes it very easy to hold and pocket. The glass back, although gorgeous, is apparently a fingerprint magnet.

The screen on the handsets is reported to be top-notch. It's described as being extremely sharp (at 577 PPI) and very bright, so it's easily usable outdoors. Since the screen uses OLED technology, its black level is a big fat zero, too. The S7 uses the OLED screen to implement an "always-on" mode that shows the time, weather, and other bits of information while the phone is locked, all with minimal impact on battery usage. This feature received a mixed reception. While it's undeniably useful, Samsung's software is set up so that one can only get phonecall and message notifications in always-on mode if they're using Samsung's own dialing and messaging apps.

All the reviewers praised the S7 phones' waterproofing, too. Gizmodo said this feature lets users rest easy when using the phone in adverse conditions. One reviewer even took a 10-minute phone call in the shower, an interesting way to benchmark a phone. The handsets are also smart enough to detect when the charging port is wet in order to avoid any electrical mishaps.

Battery life is another high point, particularly for the S7 Edge model. That phone got a battery capacity upgrade of almost 40% over its predecessor. Reviewers reported that the Edge easily lasted a whole day under intensive usage. The handset's fast-charging feature also comes in handy, as Wired pointed out—10 minutes of charging seems to be good enough for five hours of usage. Wireless charging is a convenient side-kick, too.

Every review we surveyed described the S7's cameras as among the best smartphone shooters around, especially when it comes to photography under poor lighting conditions. The fast autofocus got top marks, too. Overall, the S7's cameras rate even more highly than the iPhone 6S Plus', which is no small feat. The only consistent complaint was that the phone had a tendency to produce slightly overexposed shots.

Samsung's addition of a microSD slot to the phones didn't go unnoticed, either. The S7 phones support cards as large as 200GB. That extra space will come in handy, since the operating system and preinstalled applications take up about 9GB of USA S7s' 32GB of storage. The microSD card integration isn't perfect, however. Despite shipping the phones with Android Marshmallow, Samsung didn't enable the "flex storage" feature, which allows external storage to be treated like the phone's internal memory. As a result, users still have to manually manage the location of individual apps.

Software has eternally been Samsung phones' weakest link, and the S7 models seem to be no exception. The company still insists on shipping its TouchWiz skin over stock Android and duplicating applications. Preinstalled carrier apps make matters even worse. The Verge says the bloatware on the Galaxy S7 "almost [ruins] what is otherwise a great phone." Because of all the software bloat, reviewers seem to think that the S7 feels pretty fast on its own, but it still can't quite keep up with Apple's offerings.

Still on the software front, the S7 Edge's, erm, Edge curved screen apparently hasn't graduated from "interesting gimmick" status yet. Although Samsung has improved this feature's usefulness, nearly every reviewer we surveyed ended up ignoring it. The Edge screen doesn't seem to have much utility beyond serving as a shortcut bar, and reviewers complained about the phone's annoying tendency to detect touches to its edges as swipes. It does look neat, though.

Comments closed
    • albundy
    • 4 years ago

    “One reviewer even took a 10-minute phone call in the shower”

    Will it work with their head in the toilet bowl too? seriously, they couldn’t find a non-special needs reviewer?

    “reviewers complained about the phone’s annoying tendency to detect touches to its edges as swipes”

    yeah, that’s a big dealbreaker. the last thing i want is to pocket dial someone.

      • ronch
      • 4 years ago

      “reviewers complained about the phone’s annoying tendency to detect touches to its edges as swipes”

      Happens with my Asus Zenfone 6. If I have my fingers too close to the edge, touchscreen response sometimes goes nuts. When I move any fingers away from the edges, things return back to normal. Have to keep my fingers away from the edges.

    • EzioAs
    • 4 years ago

    Apparently I’ve been living under a rock this whole time. 🙂

    • bfar
    • 4 years ago

    I’ve had two galaxy’s. They’re good phones but Touchwiz and all the bloat are deal breakers. It’s like skid marks in an otherwise clean lavatory, you’ll just move on.

    When will manufacturers learn that stock android will sell phones?

      • derFunkenstein
      • 4 years ago

      When someone else sells phones with stock android. Motorola isn’t the dominant player, Samsung is.

      • TheMonkeyKing
      • 4 years ago

      I switched my wife to the Nexus 6P and she’s so much happier with it being stock Android with no Verizon bloatware.

    • Chrispy_
    • 4 years ago

    I remember my SII, and fighting the touchwiz on the SIII, S4, S5, Note 2 and Note 3. Not fun, but they’re decent enough phones once you de-Samsung them.

    Friend got an S6 and shattered the glass back on day 2 by bending forwards to pick something up with his phone in his pocket. A Faulty USB charger killed it a few months later and he received a replacement, which also shattered with a 2′ drop onto office carpet tile from a desk in less than a week.

    This, and the myriad of cracked iPhones with glass-to-edge front and back I see daily reassures me that the Droid 2 Turbo is the phone of the decade so far. Indestructible so far and battery capacity that puts most other phones to shame without it being a total brick (not that I’d mind if it was, I used to carry around brick laptops and brick phones all day without a grumble).

    • ronch
    • 4 years ago

    The OnePlus 2 won’t be killing this flagship, that’s for sure.

    • rechicero
    • 4 years ago

    When “easily lasting a whole day” is a hight point for a flagship cell phone I understand the world is crazy… or maybe I am crazy for hoping for something better than that as a “normal feature”.

      • morphine
      • 4 years ago

      We’ll just pick the thinner, prettier phone anyway.

      — The rest of the world.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 4 years ago

      Motorola seems to be the only manufacturer that cares, and even then, only with Verizon-exclusive devices. The Droid Maxx 2 is the same thing as the Moto X Play with a bigger battery, and the Droid Turbo 2 is the Moto X Pure with more battery. Unfortunately they also carry Verizon-exclusive apps and Verizon’s…err, “methodical” view of software updates.

        • rechicero
        • 4 years ago

        And I live in Europe so… I hope the Z3 Compact is still selling (or something equivalent, that means NOT the Z5 Compact) when I need to buy a new phone…

      • TechCtrl
      • 4 years ago

      Have no need for these expensive flagships. My Chinese phone with its 6000mah battery serves all of my smartphone needs.

    • jessterman21
    • 4 years ago

    Hey, I thought the new guy was supposed to handle this roundup!

    • brucethemoose
    • 4 years ago

    I’ve heard reports that the S7 is quite fragile, with cracked screens after a relatively short drop. Also, wrestling Touchwiz off the phone or installing custom ROM is something I don’t want to deal with right now.

    But I’ve personally watched a family member drop her HTC M7 on a hard floor almost every day for years, and I’ve heard great things about Sense… I was set on an S7, but maybe I’ll wait and see what HTC has this year.

      • tipoo
      • 4 years ago

      That would surprise me a bit, the S6 did really well in a lot of different drop tests. Even when it did crack, the Edge did especially well because it made the cracking far more localized, rather than shattering the entire screen.

      You’ll always get some percent that shatter on drops that seem minor, so I wonder if this will be a larger issue or is just statistics being statistics.

    • tsk
    • 4 years ago

    Curious to see how the exynos 8890 stacks up to the snapdragon 820.

      • brucethemoose
      • 4 years ago

      Why do non US/EU versions of the phone (and other recent flagships) get a different SOC anyway? Is core count that much more important in the Asian market?

        • willmore
        • 4 years ago

        The last time someone looked into this, IIRC, the answer was that only Qualcomm chips supported the odd LTE used in the US. Not authoritative.

      • tipoo
      • 4 years ago

      Weird thing is, Canada is supposed to get the Exynos? I don’t know why…Usually it’s an NA model and a world model, why the US/Canada SoC separation?

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