Not even a funky new curved screen could help us shake the feeling that last year marked the end of Samsung’s domination of high-end Android smartphones. The S6 itself was great, but not great enough to distinguish itself from rivals like the LG G4 et al. The S6 Edge decidedly less revolutionary than it first appeared once we’d had it in the office to test. So when the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge was revealed at MWC 2016 we were impressed, but overwhelmingly excited and desperate to get our hands on it.
Thankfully, our first impressions were once again wrong.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review: Design
You will either love or hate the curved edges of the S7 edge. Some in the office love them while others see them as another way to have your phone request an urgent meeting, with the ground.
The edges are as functional as they are fashionable. Swiping left from the right edge of the display brings up a variety of shortcuts which you can flip through and customise to your heart’s content.
Unfortunately for those with erm, chubbier hands, the edges can play havoc with how the display responds to touch. As we’ve said, this is a matter of personal preference and if you want an S7 edge we highly recommend going out and using one, just for a few moments to see if this is an issue for you.
Other than that there’s a 3.5mm jack for headphones or a headphone/mic combo, a micro USB port at the bottom and a hidden tray for your nano SIM and microSD card at the top.
The home button doubles as a fingerprint scanner and feels a lot faster than the scanner on the Note 5 did, in fact reading the fingerprint is an almost instantaneous process.
The only other fault that we might be able to point out is that the S7 edge’s high gloss finish is extremely prone to grubby finger prints.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review: Display
Onward to the main event, that 5.5inch display.
Not one of the 534 pixels found in every inch of the display is out of place. Couple this with the native resolution of 2560x1440p and you have a display that is ridiculously sharp and detailed.
The ‘always on’ display is also a lot more impressive in use than it looks on paper. It works liike a Pebble watch’s e-ink display: you can choose from the time (and a range of watch faces), a calendar and an image to festoon your locked smartphone’s screen. Then with nothing but a glance you can see the time, whether you have a text message, or missed a call. Yes, it may only save you a single button press, but it feels a lot more convenient than that.
The impact on the battery life is negligible and the brightness of the text on screen does adapt to the ambient lighting, with it becoming increasingly dimmer as the light dips. For those that hate it you can turn the feature off by pulling down the status bar and tapping the “Always-on” icon on or off.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review: Specifications
Traditionally, Samsung’s Note range has been the high performing staple of its smartphone stable, but the S7 edge looks to be shaking that up a bit, at least until details around the “Note 6” are revealed.
Inside you’ll find Samsung’s Exynos 8890 chipset with a big.LITTLE configuration of quad-core processors clocking in at 2.5GHz and 1.6GHz speeds with 4GB of RAM handling the opening and running of apps.
To understand just how incredible this little octa-core CPU, and the rest of the innards are, take a look at our benchmark scores.
Clocking in the highest Antutu benchmark we’ve yet seen, the S7 edge has proved that it is no slouch. The PC Mark score does show that the S7 strains when watching video and editing a heavy body of text but these are tasks that take up the whole screen and require just a bit more grunt to make sure they’re smooth. That said, the S7 does keep up with other flagships.
Operations are silky smooth and while we do only have limited time with the Galaxy S7 edge we are yet to find a hiccup, a bit of lag or anything that tarnished our experience.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review: Camera
Though the camera is smaller than the 16MP snapper in the previous Samsung Galaxy S6 range, the 12.2MP sensor it isn’t so much smaller that your photos end up looking like colourful mud.
In fact, the camera is phenomenal. You aren’t really sure whether you will use 4K video recording until you can record video in 4K, trust us, your Instagram and Vine feeds are going to start blowing up. Heck, even budding YouTubers could grab this and film their videos.
One of our favourite features, which we’ll file under “nifty”, is the ability to focus on certain objects in your view finder and blur either the foreground or background out. This is nothing new but it works really well and the focus responds quickly without going wonky too often.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review: Software
There are a total of seven bloatware apps installed on the S7 edge out of the box. This does include the Oculus app for VR gaming and movie watching and the Samsung Gear app, which if you have Samsung Gear and Samsung Gear VR.
For those of use that don’t, the option to download the app rather than have it installed already would be a nice choice, or you know, just leaving us to install our own apps.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review: Battery
The moment of truth for any smartphone, the rigorous and brutal battery test. Samsung claimed that the S7 would last a “full season of Game of Thrones” which amounts to about 10 hours.
So we tried that, and for 10 hours the battery persevered. With the display brightness set to 100%, Wifi on, and a Full HD video playing on loop the S7 edge lasted an incredible 10 hours. We’re gobsmacked because we’ve become accustomed to sacrificing battery life in flagship smartphones for
For those of us that aren’t using our smartphones so aggressively, you could get away with skipping a night of charging and still make it through the day without needing power.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review: Conclusion
The outstanding question is, “Is the S7 edge worth R15 000?” Because this is a very expensive smartphone indeed.
Our answer is yes.
The bloatware could be non-existent, and the edges are a matter of personal preference, but the the Galaxy S7 edge is well made, with out of this world performance.
While the iPhone 6s came close to perfection Samsung seems to have hit the nail on the head with S7 edge, and that makes it our new king of the smartphones.