So here it is, the day I thought would never happen,I finally made the decision to move on from the iPhone and onto a entirely different mobile platform, that being Android,the Samsung Galaxy s7 Edge as my smartphone of choice. Proclaiming to be well verse in technology, one would imagine I would've already embroiled in several Android smartphones that you see currently on the market. My loyalty to the iPhone was strong, I been the sole owner of several versions since its inception, I've never purchased any other handheld device.
Over the past few years or so, we've witnessed an industry shift from Apple being the dominant players smartphone market to companies such as LG, Samsung, Sony,Google and Motorola grace the market with some impressive smartphones, some besting what the iPhone have to offer. Giving consumers a wide variety of choices.
Though the iPhone have served me well over the years, it was undoubtedly time for a change. I've grown considerably unimpressed with each iPhone release, wanting more in features and functionality, more than what I was already used to.
Fast forward to present day now,the Samsung Galaxy s7 Edge has been in a possession for a two weeks, and I must say thus far I'm quite impressed. It offers up everything I'm looking in a smartphone, great design, impeccable hardware and highly functional.
Every published website on the has given the device pretty decent reviews, is it deserving? Lets find out in this review.
This is the Samsung Galaxy s7 Edge, and this is my review...
I can use a series of catch phrases and words in describing the Galaxy s7 Edge design, but I'll just keep it short by saying, its sleek, (nicely) compact, aesthetically pleasing. What we have here from Samsung is a clever design element that's infused on the s7 Edge when it comes down to its display, it curves further away into sides of the phone, probably it's main attractive design feature in my opinion. With its phablet size display, the curved Edge (hence the name) sort of makes the device more compact than what it really is, certainly more compact that its first generation model which is the Galaxy s6 Edge.
What surprised me the most about the Galaxy 67 Edge is in comparison to the iPhone 6s-Plus, its much smaller and narrower at 150.9 x 72.6mm with the 6s Plus measuring in at 158.2 x 77.9mm, strangely both of these devices have the same size 5.5-inch display. However, in viewing how thin each device is, the iPhone is slightly thinner than the Galaxy s7 Edge who's slight girth can be attributed to it having a much larger battery which we'll talk about later on in this post.
For me my favorite part of design on the s7 Edge is its very thin bezel adding to a high level of attraction to its display. Even on the top and bottom of the bezel, you'll notice how the frontal portion of the smartphone is nicely compact yet still leaving enough room for the home button, speaker and front facing camera.
We can over analyze every single dimension of the Galaxy s7 Edge all we want, but the determining factor here is the overall comfort, how it feels in the hands. I got to say, it feels very smooth in my palms, almost like rounded pebble.
Probably my only flaw with the s6 Edge in terms of design is the metallic portion being that is glossy have a tendency to attract a great deal of finger prints, your best course to take if you don't want to admire the smudgy finger prints is to purchase a protective case or keep a micro fiber cloth on deck.
Before we go on in discussing the display, I want to add that the button placement on the Galaxy s7 Edge for me is prefect, nice tactile that, yes gives you that is very clicky but at the same time very responsive. The home button unlike the iPhone does not protrude inward, instead it sticks outward which I don't mind. With the iPhone I found myself forcefully pressing the home button which seemed very unresponsive at times. And just so you know the home button on the Galaxy s7 Edge also is tactile and clicky.
That Display Though
Aside from the design, for me the biggest selling point on this device has to be the display, arguably the crispiest, brightest, sharpest display I've ever viewed on a smartphone. Lets talk pixels. Its packing a QHD 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, which equals to being 3,686,400 pixels to be exact, that's a awfully lot of pixels jam packed onto one 5.5-inch display. Yet despite the displays increased size to 5.5-inches there's still a high level of sharpness, thanks in part to its AMOLED technology which Samsung have Incorporated into their devices for 10 years now. A technology that seems to work extremely well with the Galaxy s7 Edge.
Visually, you can see a glaring difference in the contrast ratio with the whitest of whites and blackest of blacks that's very noticeable to the naked eye. Let me go in depth on what I'm saying. When you're dealing with devices that have AMOLED displays, images that appears visually very sharp,especially when viewing dark colors, or shades, darken backgrounds that are detail rich. Even when you adjust the displays brightness, there is still a great considerable amount of dark richness, intensive bright sharp colors that jump out on you.
The wild card feature on the Galaxy s7 Edge has to be the side display, which anyone can access by simply swiping your thumb right along from the right or left hand side of the smartphone, for me its on the right, but you can go into your settings and set it according to your preference. I honestly thought this feature would be wasteful and underutilized, but surprisingly I find myself using it periodically. You can access news, regular contacts, tools and other elements. The display being touch base is very responsive and fluid, no sign of any noticeable lag or dragging while navigating between applications.
I say score a 10 for the Galaxy 67 Edge display.
Its Hardware and Performance
Honestly, do we actually purchase smartphones base purely on its design? For the most part you shouldn't. But you'll be surprised at how many will drop cash on a smartphone because it looks aesthetically pleasing, and I can't say I blame them, smartphones today more than ever are sleeker, compact, with some models being ultra thin. To me it's somewhat a marketing ploy to get consumers to spend the money. But for power users like myself, its all about whats under the hood of the smartphone, the hardware, the potential of having raw power in the palm of my hands. I need a smartphone that can handle the rigors of everyday use, multitasking without any performance setbacks. Yes great design is one of the things I look for in a good smartphone, but its not the determining factor when shopping for a new smartphone. When its all said and done, the hardware and performance is what matters to most with me.
Speaking of which, what exactly are we dealing with here when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of it all. Lets break down its hardware specs, shall we.
It rocks a Qualcom MSM8996, SnapDragon 820 Exynos 8890 Octa chipset, when it comes to the processor though, here's where it gets real interesting, it has a Dual-core 2.15 GHz Kryo and dual-core 1.6 GHz, a Quad-core 2.3 Ghz Mongoose and quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex A53. As you can see there's plenty processing power to go around.
There's a reason why you have such beautiful sharp still images and video,it maybe because of its Adreno 530 and a Mali-T880 MP12 graphic chips. There is 4GB of of internal RAM, you'll find that amount of memory in some laptops, and It's probably the reason why the smartphone handles multitasking so well. And of course you have your choices in 32GB or 64GB storage capacities, this particular model I'm reviewing has 32GB.
So getting the hardware specs out of the way, the question that begs to be answered is how does the Samsung Galaxy s7 Edge perform under day to day use? Thus far I got to say it performs very well, in fact I don't know if I can fit enough words praise into one post in describing its performance. I'll say this, apps load at a rapid fire pace, the boot and restart times trumps the iPhone by a wide margin, I clocked an 8 sec boot time. Here's the thing though, there is actually true multitasking with this smartphone, no marketing stunt to get consumers to buy the smartphone. I can watch a video, surf the Web and take a call, all without shutting down a application.
So what's my gripe? Because there is one. Impeccable hardware and all, with true multitasking, with exuberant amount memory,yet the smartphone gets very hot under heavy usage. Not quite sure if there's an issue with software or maybe I need go into my settings and disable some apps the operate in the background I don't know, one thing for sure is if I'm engaging in several tasks on my smartphone that includes watching videos, the feels like a pebble that's been heated for several minutes.
All in all, this a high performing device who's hardware coincides well with the software.
The camera on my Samsung Galaxy s7 Edge, is by far the best I ever use on any mobile device, better than what I ever used on a iPhone, period. And that's saying something considering you can always count on the iPhone, that one device to have an excellent camera.
From reading all of the various published reports its to my understanding that Samsung has scaled back on its resolution from 16MP to 12MP, with decrease pixels and all it does not impede the camera's performance, instead autofocus is said to be much faster which it is, enabling users to capture images in low light conditions. From various pictures I've taken so far, the camera holds true to form and beyond.
About that picture quality, images I've taken thus far are of picture perfect clarity, whether or not your intended subject is far away or close up, the images jumps out at you with beautiful vibrant colors. Thanks in part to the camera having a much larger sensor than last years model (Galaxy s6 Edge), enabling it to absorb more light.
There is a great deal awesome tech behind the camera's ability to capture HD quality images, starting with the mentioned bigger sensor, but it also has a f/1.7 aperture lens, allowing more light to enter the lens. For me though, the cameras sophisticated focus system is the smartphones wildcard, the sensor itself includes two diodes that aids its direct focus on any subject, as a result, the focus speed is more enhanced and fast. When I focus on a subject, the finger barley taps the screen before the camera even finished locking onto its target, a testament to how responsive the display is.
Coming from a iPhone, there are some things that are new and refreshing to me, like for instance the default camera app is a lot different than what the iPhone currently has to offer, and I must say I like it. The camera app is easy to use yet flooded with lots of useful features, one such feature I like is Pro Mode. This gives users the ability to adjust the exposure values and shutter speeds, and will also select various focus settings, video collage, virtual shot and you can even engage in Live Broadcasting modes. I often found myself experimental with all of its features,something I never done with my iPhone believe it or not.
And yes there is the selfie pictures, which you won't see me do a lot of no matter what smartphone I'm using, but if you're wondering how is the 5MP front facing camera, I say it certainly does not disappoint in this area, like the rear camera the picture clarity is spot on perfect.
Life of a Battery
For me battery life is what makes and break a smartphone, and if it wasn't for the fact I'm so in love with Galaxy s7 Edge design and hardware, I'd say the battery within breaks this smartphone. Even with the battery being 3600 mAh which is a nice size battery cell, yet when using the device during an extended period of time that includes video streaming and web browsing, there seems to be a rapid depletion of battery life. So my advice to those who heavily partake in their mobile devices while on the go, keep your charging cable handy because at some point you'll need it.
During my battery test, I clocked 8 hrs of total battery life when the smartphone was put to random use, this includes such activities such as web browsing, playing a game, video streaming, or glancing through social media and emails. While in its idle state, that means minimally engaging with the device, I can literally squeeze a full day on one single charge. This of course is based on my own personal use, numbers can vary with different users.
Alarmingly, when under heavy workload the percentage can go from 100% to 80% in just under an hour and a half,ouch. To be fair, there are several factors that can contribute to the depletion of battery life, such as display brightness, location services, video streaming, which can be the main culprit of the rapid drainage of battery power believe it or not. But also one have to be reminded that this smartphone has quad-core CPU having more power to process information, which could be the contributing factor for the battery not lasting long under intense workloads.
One of the great things about Android is there are several power saving features you can implement to extend the life of your battery. One such feature I find very useful is the power saving mode, what this does is limits your vibration feedback, restrict location services, and will not it impede the performance of your smartphone. I personally use this feature when I have that brain freeze moment and leave my charger home. This feature also restricts background data, such as emails, message, music and so on.
As smartphones advance in hardware, it seems as though manufacturers like Samsung still haven't advance the life of the battery.
About That Software
Being that iOS was the only mobile OS I've ever used, one would think being new to Android would present somewhat of a software culture shock, and for the most part it was, but the adjustment phase was very brief. I found that Android is no different than Apple's iOS, you navigate through you apps by swiping your finger left, right and up, down, the entire mobile OS is very much similar to iOS .
The Galaxy s7 Edge is currently running Marshmallow 6.0.1 which is the latest iteration of Android, and like with most Android base smartphones there's a hinge of the manufacturers interface draped over the actual OS, meaning you're not getting the full stock version OS like you would with Apple's iOS. In the case of Samsung, its running Touch Wiz, the famed Touch Wiz I might add.
In the past, Touch Wiz , it was the one Android skin that was a bit of an annoyance, often seeming as though the entire mobile OS was watered down, not giving you that full Android experience. But according to the Android pundits and tech reviewers, Touch Wiz is vastly improved and less intrusive than its previous versions. But forget all of that, what does Daryl Skinner ( which is me) think about Android in its current form,that includes Touch Wiz and all.
Messing around with all its features, bells and whistles for a good two and half weeks, I got say there's a lot going here with the whole icon appearance, features and design interface, and for me that would be a good thing. There's plenty of compliments I can give here about Android Marshmallow/ Touch Wiz, but rather than bore you with the over praising, I'll give you some of my favorites features in this mobile OS.
The drop down notification rather being so statuesque and clunky like in iOS ( which is a matter of my unbiased opinion) it drops down seamlessly fluidly without interrupting whatever task you're partaking in. Then there's the ever so important settings features, its well organized, categorized perfectly,I can instantly find whatever feature I need to adjust or disable for an example, when I need to switch from 4G connection to WiFi, I can easily locate and go right to settings and click on the connections tab. Being a long time user of iOS, I often found it to be a tall task when I had to locate certain settings.
The interface which takes on a very opaque, cartoon style , its a style that if you observe very closely many platforms such as Windows and even Apple are mimicking and using on their devices. Its a style that I myself approve of because of its simplicity.
So its safe to say that overall I'm truly feeling the Android experience on the Galaxy s7 Edge, but there's a BUT to this. Though the software runs stable on fluid, there are some apps that seemingly doesn't work well with Android, case in point, camera apps for whatever the reason seems to work better on iOS, captured images are a bit more sharper and detail. My main music app that I use is Spotify, in fact it's the only app I use for my listening pleasure, yet on Android for some unforeseen reason I can't get albums to sync to my Playlist, while on iOS it works just fine. Those are just minor issues I had to deal with.
For the most part the entire interface I would say has a high degree of activity going on, it's not boring or vanilla like iOS. Put it this way, I found myself engaging in my smartphone more than ever, probably because Android is new to me, or could be that OS is just that much better than iOS, its more open, less constraining.
An alarming side note, something I'm not used to or will ever get used to is the amount of bloatware that was on the smartphone and the amount of deleting I had to partake in before I even started using the device. A plea to Samsung, please don't do this,thanks.
Then There's the Waterproofing Thing
Probably the best conversational starter amongst any die hard gadget hound when comparing smartphones would be the Galaxy s7 Edge ability to be impenetrable to water, thanks in part to its IP68 water proof rating .
What the rating means is I can literally submerge the entire smartphone in water and it would still function. Samsung states that you can the submerge Galaxy s7 Edge in over 5 ft of water for 30 mins. I personally seen test via YouTube where tech reviewers were submerging the device in water for over 16 hours and still the device functioned without any type of water damage.
Being the one of curious nature, I myself tried submerging the device in water for 15 mins and yes I can validate its claim as being water proof. A little advice, please don't try the 16 hour water test at home unless you have money at your disposal.
What I Loathe What I like
If you read this entire review up until now, you probably guessing that I must really like the Galaxy s7 Edge, its definitely one of the best, if not the best smartphone on the market, the praises are indeed well deserved.
With that said, the smartphone is not prefect and there are some issues that nag me. Here's what I loathe.The pricing of this smartphone is rather mind boggling expensive at $700, not cheap considering for a few dollars more you can purchase a high end laptop. With the Galaxy s7 Edge being so costly,I'm sure it'll cost a pretty penny to fix if by chance you submit this device to any sort of damage, so if you plan on buying this smartphone, protect it at all costs, invest in a nice sturdy protective case and screen protector.
Then there's the design, excellent I might add, but that nice glossy display and shiny metallic structure is prone to finger prints, many many finger prints. So definitely keep a micro fiber cloth handy, especially if you're one of those obsessive gadget owners who have to keep their devices nice and shiny.
Adding to the list of the loathe, we have the battery life, oh yes the same battery that's supposedly much improved from the Galaxy s6 Edge. The issue here is under heavy workloads, the battery depletes rapidly. In some instances the battery percentage level can go from 100 to 80 in less than a hour. To be fair, in theory I attribute this to the devices QHD display and much improved hardware which under heavy use drains may put a heavy burden on the battery.
Then there's the likes, impeccable design is that of shear genius, nice size display yet the smartphone fits perfectly in the hands, does not weigh down your pockets without giving you the feeling you're wearing a leg brace. Despite having a bigger battery, the Galaxy s7 Edge manages to still keep its streamline design.
Gorgeous display giving you the sharply crisp visuals, I would bet if you're gadget hound the display would be it's biggest selling point, it was for me.
The camera though, arguably the best I've ever used over any iPhone I've ever owned. Capturing images as I like to phrase it, intense clarity. Some of the best features and camera tech I ever used on a smartphone.
So as you can see I had a lot to say about this smartphone, this being my first Android base smartphone that is. I think for the most part I've made a wise decision going with the Samsung Galaxy s7 Edge, I have no regrets whatsoever. My advice to anyone thinking about jumping ship from iOS to Android, get a good Android smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy s7 Edge is indeed not a good,but a great smartphone, it has all the makings of greatness, a super sharp nice bright display, impeccable hardware, and a well polish design.
Yes its grossly expensive which may detour most from ever wanting to purchase this smartphone unless you going with the upgrade option with a known carrier, which is OK if you're like most who don't go on purchasing a smartphone every year.
Putting the some issues aside that includes and horrible battery and the device prone to finger prints, I'd say this is best piece tech I've purchased to date.