Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Review
Is the evolution of the S6 any good?
- Well built
- Good camera
- Unique design
- Water and dust resistant (IP68)
- Edges can cause usage issues
- Seems expensive for the sake of it
It's priced to ride the coat tails of the iPhone. But while it is a very good Android device, there is much better value to be had elsewhere.
Price$ 1,249.00 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 1 store)
Samsung’s mobile division has been feeling the squeeze recently. Last year’s top-tier smartphones, the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge and 2014’s Galaxy S5 all failed to meet sales expectations while competitors like China’s Huawei continued to eat away at the low-to-mid range end of Samsung’s business. Now Samsung is looking to the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge to reinvigorate its sales in 2016. But how good are they?
Eye catching design
What makes a good smartphone? For many people it’s the camera, battery life, screen and speed but from a vendor’s perspective it first and foremost has to look good and feel great in the hand - especially when people are paying top dollar for the handset.
The S7 continues the design language of its S6 predecessor, but with some subtle improvements. The edges of the phone are now curved making it easier to hold in the hand, the bezels have been narrowed and the protrusion of the camera lens has been reduced to a point where it’s almost flush with the metal back.
But when it comes to looks, the S7 Edge is the star of the show with its curved screen which seamlessly melds into the metal alloy frame. It’s a head turning piece of design that is just as impressive as it was last year. The curved screen also makes bezels invisible when watching content. With a 5.5-inch screen, the Edge veers into phablet territory, but it feels much smaller in the hand than the iPhone 6 Plus.
Our main qualm is that the smartphone is a fingerprint magnet so be prepared to give the phone a regular wipe down. Thankfully, this year’s models are water and dust resistant so you can even give it a rinse if you feel brave enough. Some people in our office also complained about regularly and sporadically hitting keys with the palm of their hands on the side of the screen which will annoy some.
Not much has changed in the screen department. It’s the same Quad HD Super AMOLED 2560 x 1440 display from last year, however, it is noticeably brighter this time around and performs better under direct sunlight as a result.
The screen never really shuts off – an Always-On feature keeps the time, date, calendar, missed calls and text message notifications displayed on screen whenever the handset is not in use. Unfortunately, it won’t display notifications from third party apps.
AMOLED technology consumes relatively-little power when the screen is dark so you’re actually likely to save more battery life having Always-On enabled as it stops you from having to wake up the phone every time you want to check for notifications. We found this to be consistent in our testing, where it only consumed about 1% of the battery-life every hour.
Samsung omitted the microSD card slot in last year’s model but now the SIM card tray has been expanded to accommodate one, allowing you to add up to 200GB of additional storage.
If you plan on taking many pictures and shooting a lot of video (particularly in 4K) this is a handy feature. However, it’s worth remembering that microSD cards will only work with apps that specifically support external storage. For example, Spotify and Google Play Movies allow you to use the microSD card for storing offline content, but Google’s own Play Music service does not.Read more: The best smartphones of 2015: What a year for comebacks
Under the hood you’ll find Samsung’s Exynos 8890 Quad-core processor with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. In terms of raw compute power, Samsung’s Exynos chip is largely comparable to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor which is what you’ll find in most other Android-powered heavy hitters coming out this year.
The absence of a Qualcomm chip does mean that the S7 misses out on the newer Quick Charge 3.0 tech which offers ‘four times faster charging’ than version 2 which is what we get here. Still, we were able to go from dead flat to 50% battery in just 40 minutes using the included charger on the Edge which boasts a decent 3600mAh battery. Expect faster charging results with the S7’s slightly-smaller 3000mAh battery. Both handsets also offer integrated support for fast wireless charging.
The jump in battery sizes on both handsets resulted in noticeably-longer stamina with the Edge lasting more than 24 hours of fairly-heavy use which included close to five hours of screen-on time. When the day was done, it still had 12% left in the tank. The S7s also include Samsung’s excellent Power Saving and Ultra Power Saving Modes. The former dims the screen and makes little difference to operation while offering hours of extra battery. The later significantly reduces functionality but can stretch battery life out by days.
The camera was one of the real highlights of last year’s S6 and the S7 builds on that foundation by ramping up the autofocus speeds and low light performance. In doing so, Samsung has had to drop the megapixel count to 12, but we think the tradeoff was well worth it.
In our testing, we found the S7 camera focused faster in low light and also captured more detail without blowing out the highlights compared with last year’s effort. The S7 also captured more of the scene and with better sharpness than the iPhone 6 Plus. What’s more, the faster auto-focus made capturing moving subjects a less-blurry affair.
Samsung’s image processing does tend to over sharpen the image which can become noticeable when you start to zoom in on images. However, as far smartphone cameras go, this is as good as it gets.
TouchWiz meets Marshmallow
Samsung has long been criticised for its kitchen-sink approach to its custom Android interface, TouchWiz, but since the S6 it has been reining the clutter in with a cleaner and more-streamlined UI.
The S7 launches with Android 6.0 Marshmallow which means you get features such as Google Now on tap, but you also get a number of other useful TouchWiz extras. Some favourites include the ability to run two apps in split-screen mode, identifying unsaved numbers and ‘Adapt Sound’ which actually makes a noticeable difference to the audio quality when enabled. There’s also a game launcher which allows you to turn off alerts and optimise battery performance during gaming sessions.
The main problem TouchWiz suffers from is duplication - do we really need two app stores, two browsers, two email clients, two photo viewers and two messaging services? There are also some bundled apps from Microsoft which can’t be uninstalled.
But the extra software weight doesn’t appear to hold the S7 back. It’s still slick, fast and very stable. We’ve been testing the S7 Edge for an entire week and in that time we only experienced one app crash.Read more: Sony Xperia X Performance review: Sony’s most disappointing product in years
Samsung hasn’t reinvented the wheel with the S7 and S7 Edge. They are iterative updates which build on the strengths of last year’s offering while also addressing shortcomings. The S7 and S7 Edge have improved battery lives and cameras along with new features like water resistance and expandable storage. If you’re trying to decide between the two models, our recommendation would be to spend the extra $100 and get the S7 Edge unless the shallow sides are likely to bother you.
Both handsets don’t come cheap, however, with the S7 retailing for $1,149 and the Edge coming in at $1,249. The price sting is somewhat softened with the inclusion of the Samsung Gear virtual reality headset that comes bundled for early buyers.
For those that can look past the cost, this is a handset that is hard to put down.Read more: Review: HTC One X9 and OPPO R9 - mid-range Android phones
- Is this the best value phone on the market? Moto G4 Plus review
- Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7
- Samsung officially announces the Galaxy Note 7 and a refreshed GearVR
- Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review
- Apple iPhone 7 full, in-depth review: Value depends on your relationship with Apple
- Sony Xperia XZ review: turbo-charged last-gen phone
Join the newsletter!
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Apple iPhone X
cloudandco Smart Cane
Toys for Boys
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Bose SoundLink Micro
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Xbox One X
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 LG 65E7T Ultra HD OLED TV review: The South Korean thoroughbred is still first past the post
- 2 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 3 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 4 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 5 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
Latest News Articles
- Amazon Alexa and Echo set for Febuary launch
- Businesses jump on Amazon’s Alexa after Australian launch date revealed
- Aussie brands jump on voice-interaction bandwagon following Amazon Alexa's local launch
- Two Lenovo ThinkPad X1 tablets are available for an all-time low price
- Is your PC vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre CPU exploits? InSpectre tells you
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- CES 2018: Belkin go big on wearables accessories and wireless charging
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- CES 2018
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSenior Information Security ConsultantNSW
- FTSenior PMO AnalystOther
- FTJBOSS Application Server LeadOther
- CCMachine Learning SpecialistACT
- CCCyber Security Team/stream LeadVIC
- CCSharePoint DeveloperACT
- CCProject ManagerQLD
- FTSenior Consultant - .NET DeveloperQLD
- CCDevops Engineer - AWS and cloud infrastructureVIC
- FTInfrastructure Manager / Service Delivery ManagerVIC
- FTDigital Producer | High Profile Website | 6 Month ContractOther
- FTDevOps & IT Operations | Trading & Finance | LinuxOther
- CCHadoop DeveloperACT
- TPIT & Systems Support OfficerQLD
- TPScrum Master | Cloud MigrationQLD
- TPDigital Project ManagerNSW
- CCSenior Development DBA - OracleNSW
- TPProject ManagerVIC
- FTCRM Dynamics 365 ConsultantOther
- FTBusiness Analyst - Operational Performance ReportingOther
- CCGenesys ConsultantACT
- FTSenior Change Analyst / Change Manager ( Banking background)Other
- CCIteration Lead - Telco - Melbourne CBDVIC
- FTIT Support / Desktop - Level 1 & 2Other