Last year, Samsung set the bar a little higher for the smartphone industry with the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge; the first mass-marketed phone to incorporate a curved screen. Now with the release of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, the fine tuning of this remarkable device has begun.
The first thing to mention is that the Samsung Galaxy S7 represents the middle ground between it's two predessesors; the Galaxy S6 edge and the S6 edge+ in terms of size with a 5.5 inch display.
Comparing it to the previous edge models the design changes are obvious, and after a few minutes with the phone in hand you'll begin to wonder why the original edge models were not built in the same way. The Galaxy S7 edge offers a very comfortable grip and the camera bulge is almost non existent at just 0.46mm.
Premium materials like aluminium and Gorilla Glass 4 all contribute to the top notch look and feel of the S7 edge, while the metal edges are intentionally narrow to visually differentiate it from the iPhone.
The SIM tray and microSD tray sits at the top of the phone. Yes, that's right. Expandable memory has been reintroduced on the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge models, allowing you to expand the 32GB internal memory to as much as 200GB using a microSD.
One thing that did surprise me on both the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge is the use of a mono speaker, or maybe the lack of stereo speakers. It seems counter intuative not to have a good set of external stereo speakers on a handset like this with such a high-quality display. But for now, if you want stereo sound, you'll need to use the headphones.
Speaking of the display, the Galaxy S7 edge comes with a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with curved edges ...of course. The 2560 x 1440 resolution supports a pixel density of 534 (pixels per sq. inch). But what stands out about this particular screen is the colour; the saturation is rich and vivid and is honestly one of the best AMOLED screens I've ever seen. No problems with viewing angles either.
Samsung has also significantly increased the maximum brightness of the screen, which allows the Galaxy S7 edge to deal with high levels of ambient light and still be readable, even under direct sunlight.
Obviously this has an impact on battery life but you can always turn the brightness down at night or when you're indoors.
The edge screen functionality has also been updated on the S7. Sliding your finger from a tab on the right side of the screen allows you to access this.
Known as the link function on the Galaxy S6 edge – which allows you to add your top five contacts – this feature is
still included on the Galaxy S7 edge but expanded to include some addtional functions including website favourites. Think of it as your personal preferences folder. It's cool to have but probably not the deciding feature for purchasing this phone.
The Always-on Display feature is something that has been introduced for both the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge models. It's handy at times but personally, I don't need the information and updates on the screen to be 'always on'.
In terms of battery life, the Galaxy S7 edge comes with a 3,600 mAh battery. That's a full 1,000 mAh larger than the Galaxy S6 edge in terms of capacity. But with the increased screen size and Always-on Display, this increase is a necessity rather than a luxury.
Wireless and high-speed charging technology was something that was introduced with the Galaxy S6 edge and I'm happy to see that this technology has not been shelved on the S7 edge. The charge time on the cable connection using the charger that comes with the phone is a little over an hour to get from 5% battery to 100%. The wireless changing pad I find is more of a 'nice to have' accessory; it's great to leave on your desk or bedside locker and just drop the phone on it when you're not using it, although my kids have used the charge pad as a coaster on more than one occasion.
With the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge cameras, Samsung claims that the phones take photos that are 95% brighter than their predecessors. It's difficult to say whether this is 100% true or not without being a bit more scientific in the testing and using a controlled environment, but there's no denying that the shots are better.
The Galaxy S7 edge camera is of a lower resolution than the Galaxy S6 edge –
12MP versus 16MP –
but as I've previously mentioned, MP meand nothing without the light sensors and aperture to back it up.
In the case of the Galaxy S7 edge, there's dual pixel technology at work. The result, is that all of the pixels comprising the image sensor photodiodes are essentially doubled. In addition to creating better images this technology also allows for very fast focus; even with moving objects the Galaxy S7 edge focus is almost instant.
For me, the Galaxy S7 edge is one of the best phones produced by any manufacturer in the last few years. It is beautiful to hold and behold. The design quality and materials are excellent. The screen is vibrant and rich. The camera is fantastic. I can add extra storage and it's water resistant.
Sort out the lack of stereo speakers and turn the edge screen into something industry leading and you could well have a 'one phone fits all' smartphone.
Get your hands on the Silver Titanium Samsung Galaxy S7 edge exclusive to Vodafone at Carphone Warehouse now!