Just when you thought innovation in the Android space has become stagnant, Samsung surprises you with a few cool features with its new flagship phone, the S7 Edge.
The S7 Edge has a large 5.5in screen, which makes it bigger than last year’s S6 Edge (5.1in) but smaller than the S6 Edge+ (5.7in). We liked the bump up in size and the phone is still easy to grip as it has a curved back.
Before we go on, it’s worth mentioning that its twin, the S7, may not be making its way here as Samsung has yet to announce anything about it.
The S7 Edge has a curved display that goes all the way to the sides – Samsung calls it the Edge screen and it has been one of the more exciting innovations from the company since the introduction of the stylus for its Note phablet.
The Edge screen has received a lot of love this time as it’s more functional than ever. The slide-out menu can now hold five contacts and 10 apps. The limit for apps used to be only five.
What’s even better is that you can create shortcuts to specific functions within an app. For instance, you could create shortcuts to compose an e-mail message, shoot selfie and view bookmarks. This skips repetitious steps and also saves time.
You can also use the Edge screen to display news feed, latest scores for many sports, stock prices, reminders and Twitter feed.
One of the key features of the S7 Edge is Always On which displays helpful information such as the clock, calendar, missed calls and SMS when the phone is in standby mode.
Samsung is able to do this without impacting the battery life much because it uses an OLED (organic light emitting diode) screen. Unlike regular LCD screens, OLED only uses up energy for the pixels that are lit.
There are now even themes that support this feature so you can customise the look of the Always On feature.
The 5.5in screen has a QHD resolution of 1,440 x 2,560 pixels – it’s sharp, vibrant and looks better than the one on the S6 Edge.
Less is better
The S7 Edge bucks the trend of increasing the megapixel count for the camera. In fact, it only has a 12-megapixel rear camera even though its predecessor has a 16-megapixel camera.
Don’t let the megapixel count fool you, as this is the best sensor on a Samsung phone yet. The pixels on the new sensor are larger and each pixel houses two photo diodes so that it can autofocus really, really fast.
The larger pixel and wider aperture of f/1.7 allowed the camera to capture some excellent night shots with lots of details – we could, for instance, see the number plates on cars clearly.
It goes without saying that it performed wonderfully under normal conditions but we did notice slight over-sharpening in a number of the shots.
However, unlike the previous models, it doesn’t shoot in widescreen (16:9) by default but in 4:3 ratio. You can switch it to widescreen but the resolution will drop to 9.1 megapixels.
Marshmallow is the best looking Android yet and Samsung has done a good job in tweaking its TouchWiz user interface for the new operating system.
The company has also done a good job in beefing up its Theme Store and now you get many new ones every week.
It has done an excellent job in combating bloatware – it no longer pre-installs apps such as Group Play, ChatON and Samsung Hub. What’s surprising is that it has even removed the Music and Video apps, so little space is wasted.
This being the flagship phone, you don’t have to worry about performance. The S7 Edge runs super smoothly even when handling the most demanding games.
It didn’t have any problems with games such as Asphalt 8: Airborne, Need for Speed: Most Wanted and This War Of Mine, Final Fantasy IX, Clash Royale and Lara Croft: Go.
Also, it doesn’t heat up as fast or as much as the S6 when playing games.
There is now a Galaxy Labs feature which introduces experimental functions. For now it offers two features – one for removing the App Drawer so all apps will be displayed on the Homescreen and Quick Dial which lets you make calls by pressing down the home button and speaking the contact’s name.
The S7 Edge has a battery rated at 3,600mAh that allows it to last an entire day even with heavy usage. We mainly used it for finding our way on Waze, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and shooting lots of photos.
However, given the huge jump from S6 Edge’s 2,600mAh, we were expecting it to last much longer.
The fast charging support is another feature we like – we could easily charge the phone from around 5% to 100% within 1.5 hours.
The S7 Edge is the latest Samsung flagship smartphone to feature dual SIM card slots so that you can have one line for personal use and another for work.
The second SIM card slot also doubles as a microSD card slot – if you don’t need an additional line, you can use it to add as much as 200GB of space.
Water and dust resistance which was featured on the Galaxy S5 but was left out with the S6, has made a comeback, and it’s better than ever.
You no longer have to deal with the hassle of closing the plastic flap for the charging port as the S7 Edge is sealed from the inside.
However, we found the audio quality to be not as great, probably because sealing the components could have muffled the sound a little. In any case, it’s still very loud.
The Galaxy S7 Edge is one of the best Androids on the market, especially now that Samsung has made the Edge screen nice to use.
It also has a good display, great camera and decent battery life, and you don’t have to worry about water or dust with this phone.
The biggest stumbling block will be the price, as the S7 Edge is priced at RM3,099. But if you can afford it, you will be getting your money’s worth and then some.
Pros: Excellent build quality; superb camera; good battery life; fast charging feature.
Cons: Fingerprint magnet, speakers could be better; pricey.
Galaxy S7 Edge
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 6.01 Marshmallow
DISPLAY: 5.5in QHD Super Amoled (1,440 x 2,560 pixels)
CAMERA: 12-megapixel rear camera with OIS, 5-megapixel front camera
CONNECTIVITY: Micro USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
PROCESSOR: Exynos 8890 octa-core (quad-core 2.3GHz + quad-core 1.6GHz)
MEMORY: 32GB internal memory, 4GB RAM
OTHER FEATURES: Heart rate monitor, water and dust resistant (IP68), fast charging, fast wireless charging, Edge display.
DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 72.6 x 7.7 x 150.9mm
PRICE: RM3,099 (inclusive of GST)
RATING: 4 stars
Review unit courtesy of Samsung Malaysia Electronics, 1-800-88-9999