With both the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge in stores, it is time to see if the newest and greatest flagship from the company is the ultimate handset champion of 2016.
Build Quality And Design
In spite of its extended display size, the S7 Edge is surprisingly compact. It sports a 5.5-inch screen, 0.4 larger than the one on the Galaxy S7.
When comparing it to its predecessors, the S7 Edge is not only more visually attractive, but also offers better grip and its designers (almost) eliminated the camera bulge.
We noticed the top quality of materials used in the build, including a Gorilla Glass 4 on both front and rear and an aluminum frame that gives it consistency. This may make it more crack-repellant, but it still has some way to go before competing with the "unbreakable" Moto X Force from Motorola.
You can get the handset in three color options: black, silver and gold, with measurements reading 5.94 in x 2.86 in x 0.30 in and a weight of 5.54 oz.
Users were somewhat surprised when Samsung announced that the S7 Edge will sport the same resolution as its smaller brother. With the Samsung Gear VR nearly here, it was expected that the premium flagship would sport a 4K screen. However, the resolution is far from disappointing.
"The S7 Edge display leaves nothing to be desired in quality when it comes to everyday use," reports Camila Rinaldi from Android Pit.
With its WQHD resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels, the phone holsters an intimidating 534 ppi density. Coupled with an exquisite color saturation and tweaked luminosity, it is one of the best AMOLED displays on the market. A special note goes to large viewing angles, which allow you to see what goes on the screen at a wide angle ranging from 80 to 85 degrees.
The dual-curved edge of the screen that gives the name of the device is not only aesthetically pleasing, but allows for additional features.
First off, you should know that Samsung used two types of CPUs on its Galaxy S7 devices. While international S7 phones work on Samsung Exynos 8890 chipsets, the US Galaxy S7s pack the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC.
Those who remember the overheating days of the older Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset can stay at rest.
"Samsung actually built a custom heat pipe cooling solution to dump as much of that heat as possible," says Ron Amadeo from ArsTechnica.
ArsTechnica benchmarked both CPUs that equip the S7 handsets and concluded that both are just as capable.
To back the processing power, the Galaxy S7 Edge comes with 4 GB of RAM.
Even if the standard storage space is of only 32 GB, the Samsung brought back the expandable memory option. With a microSDXC, you can balloon the memory on your device up to 200 GB.
The Galaxy S7 Edge supports CDMA, CDMA, LTE, LTE, WCDMA, WCDMA and Wi-Fi.
Even if Samsung did not put a removable battery in the Galaxy S7 Edge, the size of the power source was upgraded from last year's model. The S7 Edge packs a strong 3,600 mAh, which is welcome considering its ample display and powerful specs.
When looking at the main camera, we notice that it holsters a 12-megapixel Dual Pixel sensor, a bright aperture of f/1.7, LED flash and Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). The selfie snapper works on a 5 megapixel sensor.
"Pictures still look absolutely fantastic. They're packed full of detail, colours are vibrant yet accurate and you can get lovely blurry background when taking macro shots," notes Max Parker from Trusted Reviews.
The experts at DxOMark back the statement and go as far as saying that the camera on the Galaxy S7 Edge is the best one on the market.
Alongside the expandable memory, Samsung added a feature that its fans missed in the S6 series: waterproofing. The device is IP68 certified, which means that you can submerge it for 30 minutes in 4.5 feet of water.
"We want waterproofing for rain, spills, and for those rare occasions where you drop your phone in a sink/toilet/river - and in all these scenarios it should be fine," Paul Briden from Know Your Mobile points out.
Buyers of the Galaxy S7 Edge will get Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow pre-installed, with Samsung's TouchWiz on top.
Samsung's skin suffered a revamping last year, and was both smoothened and optimized. It should be noted that the OS still gulps a hefty 8 GB of internal memory. To put it bluntly, this reduces the available storage space from 32 GB to only 25 GB.
Navigation was significantly improved, as there is now an easy way to reach out to a favorite contact and the most-used app directly from the home screen. Swiping the edge of the screen facilitates easy access to those apps and contacts you are most likely to use.
"I liked being able to jump into the edge display navigation from any screen, without having to go back to the start screen as you would normally have to do," CNET's Jessica Dolcourt notes.
Pricing and availability
The official date when the Galaxy S7 Edge entered the market was March 11, but pre-orders were open since February.
According to Android Pit, Sprint has the best offer for the smartphone, selling the Galaxy S7 Edge for $728.
"AT&T is selling the device for $794.99, T-Mobile for $779.99 and Verizon for $792," according to Android Pit.
Be advised that that your data plan and location will influence the price that certain carriers practice for the device.
After reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Dolcourt of CNET concludes that it might just be the smartphone of 2016, at least for the Android ecosystem.
"The gorgeous Galaxy S7 Edge makes the best Android phone that much better," she affirms.