With expectations for high-end smartphones getting higher every year, and the competition being fierce than it’s ever been, the market demands a device that lives up to its pricing and hype. So, does the latest Galaxy S7 Edge handset priced at Rs 56,900 lives up to the desires of its consumers? Well, we find out that in this detailed review of the device.
In 2016, demanding top bucks for a high-end phone means you can’t afford to screw up anything. These days the technology to create a phenomenal smartphone experience is within the grasp of all the major players. And the device that misses the mark will be chewed by the critics and competition alike. It is such environment in to which the Samsung Galaxy S7 Series is born.
If you haven’t read our detailed review of the Galaxy S7, well, you should start with that in this review of S7 Edge we would be referring it many times since most of the features are similar. Let’s dive into it now.
Design & Display
The South Korean manufacturer turned real design corner when they announced the S6 & S6 Edge last year, transitioning from tacky plastic materials of the S5 to the glorious metal and tempered Corning Gorilla Glass. So, it wasn’t quite surprising to learn at the launch event in Barcelona that company decided to stick with the winning formula. Comparing to the last year’s S6 Edge, which has a 5.1-inch display, the S7 Edge has a 5.5-inch display, which is identical to the S7. The Quad HD display, Super AMOLED and Always-On feature that we so much admired in our detailed review of S7. The only thing different is the pixel density, it stands at 534 PPI (Pixel Per Inch), which doesn’t create any big difference in the viewing experience. For someone who likes to watch a lot of videos, that’s me, a large real estate with such quality is what they need to Netflix and chill.
The back panel is easily prone to damage, and you need to hide the beautiful back panel behind a case to save it from breakages when you drop the phone. It’s also slippery hence can easily slip while operating one-handedly. Though, when it comes to compactness, the device fits easily on one hand. And why is that? Well, as far as we can tell, the company achieved that by keeping minimum bezels and offering curved dual edge display on the front and the curved edge on the rear. Overall, we felt the S7 Edge is a downright gorgeous device, in my eyes, it’s the best-looking phone ever and certainly makes iPhone 6S Plus look dated and boring.
TouchWiz hasn’t seen the better days as it has been seeing now; always getting a mouthful from critics, but this time around Samsung has finally made its custom Android skin worthy of being on a premium priced handset. Though, hold on for a second, we might have to thank the powerful processor. Spending after a couple of days with S7 Edge as a primary device, we have had quite smooth experience with the UI. Although, I can’t deny there were times when some default apps crashed unexpectedly.
Regarding the improved Edge Panel features, the company really went back to the whiteboard and fixed many issues that were with last year’s S6 Edge. It didn’t have a real useful feature of the dual edge panel, but the S7 Edge most certainly provides that. I can swipe out and get the sports scores, as well a stop breaking news headlines. There is a ton of customization available; the company has company quite far when it first introduced an edge panel functionality on the Galaxy Note Edge. At the end of the day, the TouchWiz has become so much better than it used to be. With custom themes, no app drawer option game launcher and cranking up the speed of animations has led this UI to be one of the most performing Android skins out there.
Hardware & Performance
The same hardware that you’ll see in its little sibling, the S7 Edge, comes powered by an Exynos 8890 chipset. In some territories, you’ll see Snapdragon 820 on both the Series handset, but as we said in the S7’s review, we are quite happy with Exynos processor, it yielded some amazing performance levels. Doesn’t heat much during heavy usage and multitasking is a piece of cake as it supports 4GB of RAM. Regarding the storage, it has a 32GB internal storage, and there is no 64GB variant provided, but you can expand the storage on your 32GB via microSD card slot. Yes, it has been back this time, unlike last year’s iteration. So is the waterproof and dust proof feature, it is rated IP68, meaning the device can take a deep of up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes and still would be fine, no damage. But I don’t recommend you take it to extreme.
Megapixels doesn’t matter no more, smartphone companies are focusing on important factors to their mobile cameras great. And Samsung is leading the charge by reducing the megapixel count to 12MP as opposed to 16MP on S6 Edge. Though, you wouldn’t think that it had fewer megapixels just by looking at the outputs. Although the actual amount of pixels is less in the sensor, but it has rather paved a way for Samsung to introduce Dual Pixel technology, meaning the sensor here is 1.4-micron pixel size. The fact is that, if the pixel size is larger, it can collect much more light, thus, resulting in better low-light performance. In this handset, the company didn’t have to give a separate Night mode. You can see in the camera samples shared that how incredible they are. Same goes for video recording and selfies; they were pretty fantastic as there is an Optical Image Stabilization functionality removing the shakes.
There is a large 3600mAh capacity battery featuring on the S7 Edge, which is exactly 1000mAh more than what was present on the S6 Edge. We had so much expectation from the battery life, but it all lead to nowhere. It hardly gave a whole day’s charge with a not so much good screen on time (SoT), on average we were able to achieve less than 4 hours of SoT if I’m being generous in not writing the exact number. But you can see the behavior of battery life from the graph shared below. The maximum SoT we got was about 5 hours but had to compromise with battery usage, which only last for 9 hours. That’s not a whole day’s charge. It was a pretty disappointing battery life on the Galaxy S7 Edge.
The latest dual edge screen handset, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, is a beautiful phone that addressed all the shortcomings of its predecessor. But there will be many critics and users who are annoyed at Samsung for not taking more risks regarding the design language. And for relying so heavily on the blueprints of the S6. For those looking to upgrade from Galaxy S5, HTC One M9, LG G3 or something around those lines, it is a great choice.
Notes from Editor-in-Chief (Amit Bhawani)
As much I like the S7 Edge’s Camera, I don’t recall the last time I had actually used the Edge Panels on the Phone. It’s again a Gimmicky feature that does not make a lot of sense, though there’s no issue with those enhancements that Samsung has offered but the problem of usability remains. There are two major sections that differentiate this Phone with the Galaxy S7, first being the Edge Panel, while second being the Edge Feeds. The Edge panel has some important shortcuts that are useful but if you don’t make a habit of using it, you would soon forget about those options, while the Edge feeds would only show when the screen is turned off & when you swipe your finger over the screen, again something that you would not regularly do.
Overall these Panels, Feeds & Notifications should not be actually considered when buying this Phone, rather, in my opinion, you should be buying this phone for the larger display and the curved edge display that look great while consuming multimedia or using the phone.
Apart from the above mentioned software related points, there is also a very Important thing to consider i.e. about the slippery back panel, that would easily make the phone drop from your hand and also break the glass panel. A friend who had just opened his phone package ended up dropping his phone and had received a large dent or shattered corner on his device, following which a case was used. Using this Phone without a case is idiotic, while most of the cases would just hide the design of the device, you could finally opt for a transparent TPU case that could not hide its design. In our case, we received a review copy of the VRSDesign case that we have been using to save the Phone from any damages.
Another pain point with this device is the Fingerprint scanner and its placement. Its located in the front, and based on personal preference, that’s something I do not prefer. Also along with this is the way it scans the fingers to offer access to the device, you need to either ensure the screen is ON to swipe and unlock or else press the home button and then swipe the finger to get access. Not something that is convenient enough, especially when you have switched from the Nexus 6P.
Finally, the S7 features the Always-On Display that just shows the time, calendar and limited information while its completely useless in terms of what it is supposed to offer. We did a comparison of the Samsung Always-On with the Motorola Active Display, and we are convinced that Motorola did a better job in this area. We got no notifications from the third party applications like Twitter, Facebook, Gmail or worse even the Missed Phone call Notifications on the display making it another feature that’s useless.