Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Review
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has been a great experience and I believe is the phone to beat this year; at least until the Note 6 comes onto the scene. It seems as though Samsung listened to customers and did their best creating their latest flagship smartphone. If you want to the short answer of if the Galaxy S7 Edge is worth it, it is. If you want to know more about my experience with the Galaxy S7 Edge keep reading.
I won’t go as far to say Samsung nailed it this time with the Galaxy S7 Edge, but they sure did fix some issues from last year’s Galaxy S6/Edge; along with some nice improvements. The Galaxy S6/Edge had horrible battery life and some lag issues. Samsung has released some software updates, is about to get Android 6.0+ Marshmallow, and hopefully will continue to get better. However, I still wouldn’t recommend getting the Galaxy S6/Edge because battery life and such are not improved enough. All that said to say this, the Galaxy S7 Edge experience has been SO much better than the Galaxy S6/Edge! Last year I couldn’t wait to get rid of the Galaxy S6, but the S7 Edge I am looking forward to using for a while.
For this review I am presenting the Verizon CDMA version. For the most part the experience will be the same compared to the GSM/international version.
- Carrier – Verizon Wireless (for this review, but available for all carriers as well)
- Wireless Technology – CDMA
- Operating System – Android 6.0 Marshmallow
- Processor Speed – 2.2 gigahertz
- Internal Memory – 32 gigabytes
- Screen Size – 5.5 inches
- Water Resistant
- Phone Memory (RAM) – 4 gigabytes
Display Type – Super AMOLED
Screen Resolution – 1440 x 2560
Rear-Facing Camera – 12 megapixels
Front-Facing Camera – 5 megapixels
Battery Capacity – 3600mAh
Processor Brand – Qualcomm Snapdragon
- Storage – Internal 32GBs/ External SD card support up to 200GBs
After that mouthful of powerful specs you can really tell that this phone is top of the line. The specs that mean the most to me include screen size of 5.5″, SD card support, 3600mAh batter, and water resistant. Two of my favorite phones from 2015 was the Nexus 6P and Note 5; after using the Galaxy S7 Edge I prefer the S7E over those two devices. Now before you go getting your panties in a wad let me explain.
Don’t get me wrong the Nexus 6P and Note 5 are AMAZING devices and would not have problem recommending them to anyone and I would be happy to use either one as a daily driver device anytime. However, the GS7 Edge has become a great primary device to use every day and is a notch better than the Nexus 6P and Note 5; in my opinion. I’ll explain more in a comparison video/post, but long story short the GS7 Edge is better in a few ways and that’s where I want to take you. Let’s transition to the strengths of the Galaxy S7 Edge.
The Good About the Galaxy S7 Edge
How do I even start this section? There’s so much good to talk about with the Galaxy S7 Edge. Let’s start with my deal breakers.
The Camera – Samsung has provided us with the best camera tech in smartphones for years now. In my opinion they have been the boss in this department for at least a couple years at this point, even against the almighty iPhone. LG is next best. Samsung has spoiled me with the quality they provide in the cameras and software. So much so that if a camera from another device doesn’t live up to the standard of Samsung’s camera, I am quickly turned off from the respective device. A perfect example is comparing the HTC One M8/M9 with the Note 4/5. While much of the rest of the M8/M9 are great in areas like the front facing stereo speakers and performance, the camera was sub par at best and I lost interest in using the device. Same goes for the Motorola Nexus 6. LOVED the big screen, front facing speakers, and performance! However, the camera was not good at all, especially the front camera.
The Galaxy S7 Edge camera does not disappoint. The app is packed with great features and functions. The results look pristine. The camera simply is the best to date. I’m able to take great low light photos and video, has fun depth of field, and overall great quality with whatever you use the camera for.
My top favorite features of the Galaxy S7 Edge camera includes broadcasting live to YouTube, Hyper-lapse, Slo-Motion, and Pro settings. This camera is built for the novice all the way to the buff. There is no need to download additional apps to get the results or features you want.
The Galaxy S7 Edge camera is SO good that I trusted it enough to use it while recording my full video review of the S7 Edge in 4k and no audio cleanup. Watch the review to see for yourself.
Battery Life – The battery life on the Galaxy S6 was pretty rough. Long story short the S6 wouldn’t last me till about 2pm in the afternoon. Fortunately, the S6 had Quick Charge and juiced up rather quickly. If it was not for the fast charging I would have gotten rid of the phone a lot faster. The Note 5 seemed to have noticed the struggles of the S6 and somehow was fixed when it came out, which gave me hope that the S7/Edge would not suffer the same fate at the S6.
All that said, my worries are over about bad battery life with the Galaxy S7 Edge. The 3,600mAh battery has treated me well. There are days I am able to end the night with about 20% battery life left over after being on it all day. For reference, my usage looks like – using the hotspot, full screen brightness, social media, emails, calls, texts, photos, videos, sometimes a game or two, and other functions. I leave bluetooth, location, and NFC on. Pretty much I run my phones full throttle all day long. The GS7E gets me through the whole day, afternoon, and evening.
Screen – I’m not a screen nerd who gets off on the specs of screens on a device. My main focus is being able to see the screen in all conditions. I am outdoors quite often and I must be able to see the screen clearly. Otherwise, it becomes a big turn off for me. Samsung continues to deliver some of the best screens on smartphones! When in direct sunlight the S7 Edge gives a boost of brightness that makes the screen pop. I don’t think there has been a device (Samsung in general) that comes close to how these screens look in sunlight. On the opposite side of the spectrum the screen can get rather dim, which is great for those dark environments where you need to look at the screen without it being to bright that can distracting or hard on the eyes. For example, I can check a message at the theaters without everyone seeing my screen turned on.
Other than the screen being well lit or dim, the screen simply looks great while viewing images or videos. Plain and simple, the GS7E’s screen enhances the viewing experience in every way.
Fingerprint Sensor – Ever since the iPhone came out with Touch ID, it has been a coveted feature many users want to have on their devices. However, it took a little while for the development to reach Android devices that gave a similar good experience. Let’s face it, the Galaxy S5 and Note 4 fingerprint sensors were a pain to use! Along came the S6, Nexus 6P, and Note 5. Those devices caught up with the times and gave a great experience. Apart from placement of the sensor, the Nexus 6P’s fingerprint sensor works amazing. Personally, I like the sensor placed on the home button and the GS7E’s sensor works just fine. It’s relatively snappy and I love being able to unlock my lockscreen and go directly to the homescreen.
The security is obviously a nice feature to have, but I personally like using the sensor for convenience. It allows you to unlock the screen, use Samsung Pay, and log into accounts quicker. I am a fan of whatever cuts out steps to get to the task I am trying to do. The fingerprint sensor makes life a little easier because of that.
Audio – This point might not pertain to everyone, but I think it is worth telling because it boasts of the overall good quality of the device. I’m not talking about the speakers either, more-so the mic.
One of the ways I contribute to my church is creating video announcements. I use Powetoon.com for the visual aspect, but I use my device to record a voiceover. Samsung devices have produced pretty good audio recording quality. It definitely gets the job done. It’s quick and simple to hit record on Hi-Q MP3 app from the Play Store and export to Drive, then add the audio to an editing program. I can record the audio from anywhere, not to mention great noise reduction that results in a clear audio clip.
Speaking of the mic, phone calls are crisp and clear all the time.
As far as the speakers go, I would prefer front facing, but that’s not a deal breaker to me. I can deal with the placement on the sides. I’ll talk about the speakers a little further down into the review.
Software – TouchWiz has come a long way. There used to be a day where I couldn’t wait to root or come up with some way to mask the look of the OS. These days there are tons of ways to cover up the look of the OS skin included. Personally, I use Nova Launcher and I am able to change the icons and homescreen design. The rest of the phone still had the TW theme.
Last year Samsung introduced their Theme Store and it was like a god-send to me! At this point the user can customize the whole look of the OS skin. The menu, pop-ups, dialer, and more. Couple the Theme Store of Nova Launcher together and you can make the device look how you want it to look. My style is a stock Android theme with a fresh icon pack; along with the nice wallpaper.
Looks aren’t everything when it comes to TouchWiz though. While some of the haters out there will complain about how god awful TouchWiz is, chances are that they have not used it in a long time and back a few years ago I would agree. Now, TouchWiz has practical features that enhances the user experience. Stock Android is great in it’s own way, but it always needs to have features added on. As I said, it’s not all about looks.
TouchWiz camera app or aka Samsung’s camera app has every feature you’ll ever need already in the camera app. If you love using your smartphone camera, the Samsung camera app has it all. Stock Android aka Google Camera is very basic. While using the Nexus 6P or other phones like the Moto X Pure Edition, I had to download a 3rd party camera app to get features I needed/wanted.
TouchWiz makes it so you don’t have to be rooted. I can live without my Galaxy S7 Edge being rooted. However, phones like the Nexus 6P, Moto X Pure Edition, and other stock Android based phones, I had to root em to enjoy using the device. Granted there are some great ROMs out there, but some people don’t want to have to work on making the experience better. TouchWiz does that for you by including what you need/want installed on the device, ready to go.
Other companies like LG and HTC have OS skins that just don’t hit the spot with me. While they include more features than stock Android, they still lack in the UI department. HTC has toned it down with the 10 though. LG, well…keep trying.
That pretty much covers what I consider deal breakers. There’s still some wiggle room with some of the deal breakers, but what I keep in mind is if there is anything that distracts from a good experience from using the device I will look for another device to use. What are your deal breakers?
Other Things I Appreciate About the Galaxy S7 Edge
Water Resistance – I never knew how much I would appreciate having a phone that is water resistance until I gave it a fun it test is the down pouring rain one day! Knowing that the phone would not be damaged at all when wet was relieving and exciting! Water resistance allows more opportunities to use the phone in conditions that most others wouldn’t last in. The user doesn’t have to worry about getting caught in the rain, dropping in a puddle or toilet, forgetting it in your pocket when walking into the ocean, going for run, or any other circumstance that has water involved.
Personally, I don’t listen to music through the device speakers. However, I do watch plenty of YouTube videos and play games using the device speakers. I’ve heard the argument of there are plenty of bluetooth speakers or headphones that can accommodate the listening experience, but what they don’t consider is how people like myself watch and play. Typically, I will watch a YouTube video while I am home and not everyone around me wants to listen to what I am watching or playing. So I will keep the volume to where I can hear it and it’s usually just one video at a time. Therefore, I don’t want to go through all the trouble of connecting to bluetooth or wires to watch one less than ten minute video. If I play a game it’s for a round or two, then I’m done. I’m not looking for an audiophile experience while watching a vlog.
Basically, I just need to hear what I need to hear at the time I am using it. Granted I would love to have the same great sound like I get from the Nexus 6P, but I am not gonna lose sleep over it. The Galaxy S7 Edge speakers get the job done, even though I have to watch where I place my hands so I don’t cover up the sound.
Samsung Pay – This is what mobile payment should be like! Android Pay is great, but Samsung Pay takes it to a whole-notha level! Being able to use Samsung Pay at any payment terminal is simply amazing. I live in an area where tech like this is hardly seen practiced. The reactions from cashiers when I use my phone to pay for something is priceless. Recently, was in a gas station and the clerk said “oh that won’t work.” I smiled as the transaction was successful. She was in shock and loved that I was able to my phone.
Samsung Pay goes beyond NFC payment. All it needs is the magnetic strip card reader that you would slide your debit/credit card through. It’s so easy to use too! Simply swipe up on the screen from the homescreen shortcut, use your fingerprint (or pin), and hold the device over the card reader. Just make sure the clerk does their part by hitting their normal buttons as if you’re using a card.
More banks need to support Samsung Pay! The list is growing, but many banks have not caught up with the times yet.
Put it this way, Samsung Pay has become one of the features I would greatly miss if I were to make another phone my daily driver. Hopefully other device manufacturers will add mobile payment like Samsung Pay. This doesn’t need to be a Samsung only feature. I love using Samsung Pay!
Things I Would Change About the Galaxy S7 Edge
The Galaxy S7 Edge is a wonderful device and really gives the user a great experience, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect (is there such a thing or ever will be?). My 7 Disappointments – Galaxy S7 Edge video stirred up the fanboys quite a bit, but what they failed to realize is that there is nothing I hate about the device. Yes, some disappointments and things I would change, but by no means causes me to hate the phone. As a matter of fact, I think this is the phone to compare everything else to. Yeah the Note 6 will be out later this year, but the Note series is in a class of it’s own.
About fingerprints…plan to constantly wipe of the phone if you don’t plan to use a case or skin.
Preferably, another material to be used should have been metal, wood, leather…something other than a material that marks up so easily. Not too mention the home button tends to mark up as well. An issue that is not new to Samsung phones.
Color – This might not be a big deal to some, but for me I really like white as my color of choice. Up until this point I have been able to get white as my color for every Samsung device offered, but for some odd reason in the USA it’s not available for carriers like Verizon or Sprint. Only international variants include white as a choice. Why not have all the colors made offered to everyone?
I tried silver, but was able to swap for a black. Silver just didn’t do it for me, but black has been a nice alternative. I’m not into my phone being all shiny and mirror like. Rather, I like a sleek toned stealthy design. Not to mention this year Samsung made black actually black. Not that so-called black that was more like a deep midnight blue like the Note 5.
Unlocked – Phones like the Moto X Pure Edition and Nexus 6P can be bought from their own respective stores and added to ANY carrier. You don’t have to buy a Verizon version or whatever other carrier. If you want to switch services you can do so, but with the Galaxy S7 Edge you’ve got to be careful of what version you get. Not too mention it would be nice not to have a carrier logo on the device. I’m not too picky about the carrier logo because I cover it up, but it would be nice not to see it there. That’s really minor in perspective of just being able to add the phone on whatever carrier you want.
Being unlocked helps you sell the phone to a wider consumer base, bypass carrier stores, and allows easier ways to stay connected while traveling globally.
If Motorola and Huawei can add this feature to their phones that cost almost half as much as the Galaxy S7 Edge, why can’t Samsung who is arguably the best Android manufacture add this to their phones? It’s time to consider the customer.
Side Note – I would LOVE to see dual SIMs be added to these phones! I have a work and personal phone that are both Verizon. It would be SO nice to pop both SIMs in the phone and carry around one device, rather than two. The Honor 5X that costs only $200 off contract/full price has dual SIMs. Why can’t an $800 device have dual SIMs?
HOWEVER! Verizon offered a killer deal when pre-ordering the S7/S7 Edge, which was the choice of getting a FREE Gear VR or Gear S2 smartwatch! Gotta give em props for such a great promo!
In addition, Verizon offers the best coverage in my area and has been the most dependable.
Customization – While there are 3rd party apps that let you customize the look of your device, it would be nice for an OS skin to let you do this already. Nova Launcher allows to change the look and functions of the software experience. Going beyond icons and themes, I would like to see options to hide and place elements where you want em.
The status bar can get very congested fast. I’m not really referring to notifications as much as functions like NFC, bluetooth, sound profiles, and alarms. I would like to be able to hide those functions in the status bar to help clean up the look.
Other Notable Elements About the Galaxy S7 Edge
Charging – Wireless charging is nice, but not a big deal to me. Having fast wireless charging is definitely icing on the cake. The Galaxy S7 Edge did not come with the current charging type, which is USB Type C 3.0. Instead, it has micro USB with Quick Charge 2.0. While it’s great having fast charging speeds, it would have been nice to have the latest and greatest in the top flagship phone.
Game Center – You’re able to capture game play and export the video! So if you’re really good at some mobile games, you could start a cool new YouTube channel to show off your mad skills or if you just want to share some sweet clips to social media, then you’re good to go with the S7 Edge.
The Galaxy S7 Edge is the phone to beat this year, until the Note 6 comes along. The user is going to get a great experience with this device. If you’re a smartphone camera enthusiast, this phone won’t disappoint. All the problems from the Galaxy S6 have been fixed, including the battery life and performance issues. This is definitely a phone Samsung and their customers can be proud of.
I’m not sure if anyone else can outdo Samsung this year.
HUGE thanks to Verizon Wireless for providing the gold S7 Edge and Gear VR for review! Be sure to check out their current promos to snag a great deals! Promo Page.
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