Samsung announced the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge at the Mobile World Congress towards the end of February this year. India launch happened last month, with sales starting by mid-March as well. Unlike the S6 generation, Samsung only announced the Galaxy S7 and a single Galaxy S7 edge. The S7 edge in this generation comes with the same display size and resolution as the S6 edge+. So far there have been no announcements of further S7 variants, but with Samsung you never know. So let us see how the S7 edge performs.
Build and Design: 8.5/10
Samsung has not really done any major rework in terms of design philosophy on the Galaxy S7 edge as compared to the S6 edge+ smartphone and we quite like it that way. The new flagship comes with IP68 certification, which lets you submerge the S7 edge for around 30 minutes under 1.5 m of water. The other interesting design element that we noticed was that the camera module on the rear side is almost flush with the rear glass cover – which wasn’t the case with the Galaxy S6 series.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 egde feels good to hold in the hand, but its glass cover has a propensity to attract smudges, so much so that we had to constantly keep cleaning the glossy surfaces. Even when placed flat on the table, it is somewhat difficult to quickly lift the phone due to the dual curved glass edges. The Galaxy S7 Edge with its 5.5-inch display is slim at 7.7mm thanks to the dual-edge curved display. The Galaxy S7 Edge weighs around 157 grams.
On the left hand edge, you have the volume rocker buttons, the base has the 3.5mm audio jack, microUSB charging and data transfer port and the speaker grill section. On the right hand edge, you have the power standby button, while the top edge has the hybrid SIM card slot.
In terms of the overall build quality though Samsung has retained metal frame and the Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection on the front and back of the S7 edge. The metal frame tends to jut out just a bit, but there are no sharp corners around. It is sturdy and the IP68 certification gives it a definite edge (no pun intended) over the other flagships.
The Indian variant of Samsung Galaxy S7 edge comes with Samsung’s proprietary Exynos 8890 chipset which houses a 2.3GHz custom quad-core processor paired with a 1.6GHz Cortex A53 quad-core processor. It comes with Mali T880 graphics processing unit. All this is paired with 4GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. You can expand the storage thanks to the hybrid SIM card slot.
The phone comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and has the vintage TouchWiz UI. As we have noted before, Samsung has cut down on its bloatware. You do see some non-proprietary apps which will need to be updated and which can be uninstalled as well. There is a 12MP rear camera and a 5MP front-facing camera, both of which support an f/1.7 aperture.
On the connectivity front, you get a dual SIM slot which supports 4G LTE, 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-fi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS, NFC and so on. The S7 edge is powered by a 3600mAh battery which is non-removable.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge sports a 5.5-inch SuperAMOLED QuadHD display which gives it a pixel density of 534ppi and of course has the dual-edge curved display as well. The display looks quite sharp with vivid colours. As we have seen with most Samsung SuperAMOLED displays, there is a slight colour tinge noticeable when viewed from the sides. When using outdoors we noticed that the when reading a webpage any shadow falling on the phone’s display would give that area a certain greenish tinge.
The auto-brightness mode works fine and the phone is sufficiently bright. The black levels are deep which makes it a great tool to consume high definition videos. Samsung has also bundled the S7 edge with an Always-on display which lets you see the date and time along with all your notifications without having to unlock your device for the same. This feature can be disabled if you are not a big fan of it, but one thing we noticed was that the always-on display reduces the number of times you unlock your phone. Sometimes we just tend to unlock the phone or wake it up to see the time. The Always-on display bypasses that need.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge sports Android 6.0 Marshmallow along with the TouchWiz UI skin atop it. While the bloatware isn’t huge, you still find a lot of Samsung apps which you can do without. Samsung Pay has been pre-loaded as it is going to come to many new countries going forward. But we have no idea when it will rollout in India.
With the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, the edge user interface now has two columns of apps which lets you quickly access more apps by just swiping from the side of the edges. We noticed that we had to swipe two or three times before the edge user interface reacted. Samsung has also let more developers use the edge user interface and we saw an example of Yahoo News app and CNN as part of the edge user interface feature. Going into the settings page of the edge display, you can further customise the order in which the displays appear, have edge displays based on stock quotes, sports updates, news tickers and so on.
For gamers, Samsung has added the Vulkan API support. This basically helps the multiple cores take better advantage during gaming.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge comes with top end specs – the Exynos 8890 chipset along with 4GB of RAM is more than enough to ensure everything runs smooth. There was no noticeable lag while using the device, running high end games, multi-tabbed browsing, quick camera operation and more. The phone manages to perform well despite many apps being open at the same time. There is a slight bit of lag when you open tap on the multi-tasking button to go back to another app, but nothing that takes away from the overall user experience. Some of you may still find the TouchWiz UI not the most ideal skin, but as compared to two years ago, there are lots of improvements.
Call quality is great and the earpiece speakers are loud and clear. Listening to the caller even in traffic situations wasn’t an issue. The audio speaker at the base is loud but we would rather prefer to hear audio using earphones.
The finger-print scanner on the Galaxy S7 edge was a hit and miss affair, just like we have experienced with Samsung phones in the past. There were many occasions when we would need to doubly ensure that the finger print was properly registered. That defeats the whole purpose of having a fingerprint scanner, if you cannot open your phone blindly. Hopefully it can be fixed with a software update.
Gaming was smooth on the Galaxy S7 edge. Games such as Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 5, Dead Trigger 2 all ran without breaking into a sweat. Another thing that impressed was the heat management - while playing games for instance, the phone temperature did not cross over 40 degree celcius. But the phone does tend to heat up if you are out in the Mumbai or Delhi summer heat, but we noticed that happening with other phones such as the Xiaomi Mi 5, Oppo F1 and so on. As compared to the Galaxy S6 series, there is around 20-50% jump in benchmark scores depending on the benchmarks.
On the camera front, both the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge come with a dual-pixel 12MP rear camera and a 5MP front-facing camera. Both the cameras sport a maximum aperture of f/1.7 which looks quite impressive on paper. Samsung has ensured that the rear camera is almost flush with the body. Samsung Galaxy S6 series cameras were the best we tested last year. With the dual-pixel AF technology and a 12MP sensor, Samsung S7 edge has improved upon the focus acquisition speeds as compared to the S6 series.
Ok we will not keep this a suspense. The camera on the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge is in one word - excellent. There was really no issues we faced while testing the camera in any lighting condition. Normally the phone cameras excel with daylight and outdoor photography, but S7 edge maintains the consistency even in low light conditions. There were many areas where competing cameras couldn’t even see the scene and the Galaxy S7 edge just gave decently usable images. Images are packed with details and there is a decent amount of sharpness throughout the image. Low light images do show some amount of noise, but it is well controlled. Focussing speeds are some of the quickest we have seen in recent phone cameras. Even selfies in low light turned out to be usable, of course with some noise. The f/1.7 aperture really helps a lot with both the front and rear cameras in many different lighting situations.
Videos also turn out really well, although we were not so impressed with the image stabilisation part while shooting videos while walking. The iPhone 6 Plus / 6s Plus certainly offers better control with image stabilisation relatively. We noticed a slight glitch with two or three videos from among the many we shot, especially at the start when the video showed some skewing.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge comes with a 3600mAh battery which is non-removable - this is a big jump from the 3000mAh battery we had seen on the Galaxy S6 edge+. On regular usage, you can easily get over a day’s worth of usage. Even on heavy days where we had to live tweet from events, use both the video and still camera extensively, the Galaxy S7 edge managed to last a full working day with some 20% left to spare. There are power saving modes which you can use in case you want to get more juice out of the phone. The Samsung fast charging adapter ensures that the phone is fully charged from no charge in under 90 mins. PC Mark for Android gave us 10 hours 24 mins of on screen time which is impressive for a QuadHD resolution phone.
Verdict and Price in India
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge is priced at Rs 56,900, so it's definitely meant for a select group of buyers, who want nothing but the best from their phone. The Galaxy S7 edge does deliver on most fronts – display is good, performance is fast, camera is excellent, battery life will take you through the day. There were barely any major flaws that we found, except for the fingerprint scanner which did not impress.
Existing Galaxy S6/S6 edge users have no compelling reasons to upgrade, as those phones are still very capable. Those who are not fans of TouchWiz UI may look at the Google Nexus 6P as it offers a clean Android OS along with great overall performance. The Apple iPhone 6s/6s Plus are other alternatives to the S7/S7 edge. It is difficult to pick between the S7 and the 6s series as both excel at different things - if camera is your main concern, the S7 certainly impresses in low light situations over the 6s.
The edge display on the Galaxy S7 edge has certainly got more additions, but honestly we did not end up using it much. It takes time to get used to the fact that the edge screen can be used as quick access menu. The edge display features such as news and sports updates are quite cool though and we hope to see many more content partners getting on it. The main question is selecting S7 or the S7 edge. We would suggest you first try out the S7 edge at some electronics mall to see how important a value add the edge feature would be for you and only then opt for it. Else the Galaxy S7 at Rs 48,900 is a good deal - although you get a lesser battery capacity. If these budgets are still too high, you may consider the Galaxy S6 series which starts at Rs 33,900 - a good price for what’s on offer.
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