I got this unit few weeks back and has been using it since. Although, for my personal preference, I would prefer the normal S7 to the S7 edge, but it isn’t too bad. Galaxy S7 edge is a top-notch Android flagship device by Samsung. However, every flagship smartphones has its own flaw. The S7 edge is not exempted.

Packaging

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ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333

The packaging of the S7 edge is pretty simple. Open the box; you’ll see the beautiful S7 edge itself. Inside the box, Samsung included some pretty decent goodies. It’s good for Samsung to include the Fast Adaptive charger with the device as well, given the price point. Aside from the fast charger, Samsung is kind enough to include USB OTG adapter to ease your migration from the own device to the Samsung S7 edge. All you need is to connect your old smartphone to the S7 edge via OTG cable (which included) and transfer all your files to the new phone. Straight and simple. No software download or whatsoever.

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Build

Speaking of the S7 edge build, I have to say that I’m not really a fan. Having use the iPhone 6 and HTC One A9, my experience with the 2.5D glass has not been very pleasant, S7 edge included. Unlike the previously mentioned smartphones, the glass on the S7 edge is way curvy, thanks to its “edge” features. It’s a Gorilla Glass, but it’s not shatterproof, hence it’s not that tough. It is quite fragile in fact.

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The phone has a very slim metal body, especially on the side. At the top of the phone, you get your nanoSIM as well as microSD card slot. Like other Samsung device previously, the microSD card slot can be used as the second nanoSIM slot. However, on this Samsung S7 edge, you won’t need to restart your smartphone whenever you wanted to withdraw your microSD card due to the ejected nanoSIM. There’s one noise-cancelling mic also situated the side of the slot.

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The side of the device features the normal volume rocker as well as the power button. While the power button situated on the right side, the volume rocker is on the left, like the iPhone 6. Due to slim better, you might occasionally won’t feel the button whenever you’re searching for it.

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At the bottom, you get your normal audio jack, microUSB slot as well as the speaker. The mic also at the bottom between the speaker and the microUSB slot. I like that Samsung put the audio jack at the bottom, making it easier for you to slide in your phone into your pants pocket with the earphones on. However, I couldn’t say the same with the speakers. It’s already 2016 and manufacturer should start using the front facing speaker as default position, especially for flagship device.

The back of the phone feature a mirror-like glass. The glass is much fragile than display. It can easily scratch, and on my unit, there’s a few visible scratches even only after a few week. The S7 edge however is really nice to hold, even with one hand although it is quite big for mine. You’ll need to grip the phone properly, and make sure you don’t drop them.

Specifications

The unit I got is for the SEA market. Unlike, the US version which powered by the Snapdragon 820, the rest of the world will get the unit that is powered by Samsung in-house chip, Exynos 8890 Octa-core chip. In comparison, there’s not much change between the two, aside from the accompanied GPU. However, some says that the Exynos version is much superior to the Snapdragon with its battery consumption. With the Exynos 8890, the S7 edge comes with Mali T880MP12 GPU and with 4GB RAM that gives enough room for multitasking between heavy apps.

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Samsung has now stop production for big flash capacity storage; instead, they give the user option to add additional storage via the microSD card. With the S7 edge, you’ll get internal storage of 32GB, which is enough for you to tons of your favourite apps; however might not enough if you’re shooting a lot of 4K videos. For that, you need at least UHS-1 microSD card, which easily accessible nowadays. Even though Samsung stops you from using the microSD as internal storage (for you to fully transfer the app onto the microSD card instead of the internal memory) you still can do so with a little tweak. I’m not really a fan of microSD card; however, I might have to like it if I wanted to shoot 4K footage with S7 edge because the 32GB internal memory might not enough to cover it. At a point, Samsung decision to go back to microSD card is quite smart considering microSD card is a lot cheaper to buy rather than upgrading the flash drive to 128GB. Not to mention, Samsung recently release a 256GB UHS-3 microSD, which specifically made for 4K video shooting.

I would love to talk more of its LTE category that the phone support, but living in Malaysia really have no purpose on having faster Cat9 with its 450 Mbps download speed. I’m not even sure if the telco in Malaysia support up to the speed with their LTE connectivity. However, if you’re travelling a lot, the S7 edge support a wide range of LTE band all over the world. You will not have any problem accessing LTE network whenever you’re outstation.

Despite not using the mainstream Snapdragon 820 chip, the device hold itself pretty well in my opinion. I’ve use the S7 edge for almost a month and I barely notice any stutter or lags in animation or when I’m multitasking. The amount of RAM is big enough to handle gazillion of apps in the background. I usually didn’t really notice how many apps/Chrome tabs I have opened, but at the end of the day, I just clear everything in a tap. I don’t really need to, but it’s getting messy in my Overview Window.

Display

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One of the great thing on Samsung device is its display. The S7 edge is not an exception. The Super AMOLED display really shine. However, being at 5.5”, I feel the screen is a little big for my liking. I personally don’t really like big phones. I have small hands so it’s not practical for me. The edge screen does look nice, but I’m find it intrusive some times. Due to the curvy glass, at times you’ll see a line of light reflection at the corner.

The curvy edge however kills the bezel at the side of the phone, making it look really slick and slim in comparison of other phone in the market. The illusion of the edge display makes the bezel seems like diminish, however the bezel is still there if you look close enough. Although the edge screen looks nice in general usage, it has its own flaw. The curvy glass at the side causes the display to distort a little, in doing so the text will look weird at the edge of the display. It’s the same for videos too. If you’re watching video at full 16:9 ratio, the top and the bottom part of the video will have a line of distortion, not to mention the light reflection I mentioned earlier.

Despite these entire flaws, I still thing the S7 edge display is a great one nonetheless. It’s just a few quirks here and there and these changes on personal preferences. For me, it kind of irks me at some point.

Camera

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If anything that the S7 edge excels at, it should be its camera. As of now, the Galaxy S7 edge has the best camera for smartphone in the market, even better than iPhone. All this thanks to the Sony IMX260 sensor and the camera software algorithm. Samsung has come a long way on making the camera this good. Not to mention, unlike the iPhone camera, the camera on S7 edge is full of features. You can even fully customise all the setting like you’d do on the DSLR. However, the Auto mode is good enough for most cases.

The main camera has f/1.7 aperture with Dual-Pixel focusing system. All I can say for this new focusing system is that it is fast. It’s faster than any other phones with PDAF system. The big aperture of the lens also gives the sensor enough light to capture the image. These two combination gives the S7 edge advantage in low light situation. The image capture is vivid and crisp and you barely get any blur image under normal lighting. The back camera also have video stabiliser if you’re recording video at QHD and below. The option is however disabled for the 4K video recording.

The front camera isn’t half as bad. It feature the same aperture as the main camera, f/1.7. With the wide focal range of 22mm, the front camera is a very ideal for selfie, or even group selfie. The front camera also has HDR function, as well as fill flash. The display will be fill with slightly warm white when you use the front camera flash. It’s not exactly flash per say, but it does work in slightly lit environment. You may also record video at QHD resolution with the front camera. If you’re using the phone for video call or podcast, it should be clear enough.

Speakers

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This is the worse part of the phone. If the camera its forte, the speakers would be its Achilles Heel. The speakers is just normal in comparison to the rest of the device. It isn’t that loud either. If you’re watching video or listening to song, you better off use the provided earphones. In an open area, you can barely hear the sound, especially in noisy environment. The same goes if you’re pairing it with the Gear VR.

I do hope the next S series device would be pair with better speaker, front facing specifically. I don’t know why Samsung still opt for the iPhone-ish style speaker at the bottom of the phone. It doesn’t really serve any function, a single one at that gives no true purpose. You can’t really enjoy your 3D movie with the Gear VR with one-sided speakers. They should learn a thing or two from the Lenovo Vibe X3 or HTC.

Software

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In term of software, the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge has upgraded a lot from its predecessor. The infamous TouchWiz somehow has been toned down quite a lot to make way for the true Android experience. Despite the effort that Samsung did, if you’re an Android purist, you’ll never be satisfied with the TouchWiz experience. However, kudos to Samsung for at least trying to give the user better Android experience on the S7 edge.

One of the thing that I love on the S7 edge is the ability to change the screen DPI. Previously, you will always end up with the overly huge apps title bar as well as the notifications panel. On the S7 edge, you get the option to change and make it smaller as it should be. This goes well if you always set your fonts to the smallest setting as I do. For this improvement alone, I able to sacrifice my inner rage regarding the TouchWiz skins itself.

Edge Screen

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The edge panel has significantly improved as well. Samsung added new functionality to the edge panel on the new S7 edge. The edge panel footprint is larger than the previous generation and it can now display more information on the edge panel. It takes about quarter part of the screen so show the edge specific task or shortcuts or other information such weather, stocks etc.

The new edge panel features a lot of function that the previous generation. Although it is an improvement, the edge panels can only function around the features that provided by the Samsung Store. You can add additional features from the Samsung Store, but that’s all you can get. You can’t add tasks or panels from third party apps, and for me, these make the edge panel less intriguing for me to use. It does come in handy with the shortcuts though, but that’s what I mostly use it for.

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Gaming Mode

The S7 edge comes with handy Gaming Mode. It will load automatically when you launch the games, and there’s a bunch of function that will makes your game experience easier. I’m not sure if there this mode was there on the previous generation of Galaxy S series, but it wasn’t on the new Galaxy A7 (2016). Personally, the Gaming Mode is very useful on the device like the S7 edge due to the fact accidental button press (the back and the overview button) happens a lot, especially when you’re in the zone with the game. With the Gaming Mode, you can easily lock the button from being accidentally pressed, leaving only the Home button alone in case you need pause the game and run another app.

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While gaming, the Gaming Mode allow you to be in the zone without any interruptions with notifications coming in. The best part of it is that, all you notifications will go back to normal the moment you left the game apps. Unlike the typical Priority mode, you do need to turn it off manually once you’re done with your game. Additional functions included it allow you to easily record the games you’re playing, so you won’t need additional apps for it. Too bad there’s no streaming option for it yet, but we might see it in the future.

Performance

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Performance wise, the S7 edge performs wonderfully. Like its predecessor, the S7 edge live up to the expectations of being the flagship device. First, we ran the usual benchmark test using Vellamo. As much as how well the specs stated on the paper, how it perform in real life is a different story. However, S7 edge performs well with the test too. S7 edge scores at 6379 (using Chrome) on Vellamo, almost doubles the score of its predecessor, the Galaxy S6. It means you should have lag free experience when surfing the web with the S7 edge. The score jumps a little more when you use the stock browser, but I’m fan of Google, and Chrome handles all my stuff better than the stock browser. Nevertheless, I’ve never get hiccups when I was browsing the web on the S7 edge.

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S7 edge performance is not limited to that. Gaming with it is also a breeze. According to Epic Citadel, it could run smoothly at 60 fps-ish with the Ultra High Quality settings at full resolution. This device is a gaming beast with the specs. I played some of the games on it, and it ran smoothly. I never had any laggy feeling or even stutter. On top of all that, even though with the three continuous run of Epic Citadel benchmark, the S7 edge still stays below 60 degree Celsius. The device is barely warm with all the games I ran.

Battery

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A good phone is worth nothing if it’s dead. It’s useless to have high specs phone if it’s dead by the time you want to use it to call or message someone. However, with the S7 edge, you’ll never have to worry about that. A full charge could last you a day on average use. I am a fairly heavy user, especially with social media stuff. I tweet a lot, and I surf the web a lot too. Sometimes I played games and at times, I watch YouTube videos. Even with all these, the phone could last for 18 hours, with screen-on time for 5 hours. 5 hours is a very long screen-on time. All these primarily on data usage. You could make it last longer if you frequently connected to the Wi-Fi network.

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If 18 hours of usage is not enough for you, the S7 edge comes with the Samsung Adapter Fast Charging charger. With the original charger, top up from 10% to 40% in half hour. With that extra 30%, you could easily last a few hours out and about. Not to mention that, if you have QC 3.0 charger, it could be used to for the fast charging as well. I’m not sure if the QC 2.0 charger will work as well or not because I only have the QC 3.0 charger. A plus point to Samsung for giving out notification whenever the charging port is wet (because the phone is waterproof and all) and block the charger from short-circuiting the connection. Although, after some times, I do feel a little static on the metal frame of the S7 edge. It’s probably nothing but it gives me an uneasy feeling.

Conclusion

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Overall, the new Samsung Galaxy S7 edge is a really good phone. It worth to be call a flagship device and it’s certainly an improvement of the previous S6. The new S7 has significantly improves all the bad things that S6 had. However, I do hope for Samsung to tone down the heavily skinned Android OS and go with the Google’s version of the UI. The icons and the emoji on the S7 edge is heavily based on TouchWiz UI and I’m not really a fan of it. Nevertheless, with Android leeway for customisation, all that can be changed.

I would get one if my wallet permits me, but I’d go for S7 instead of the S7 edge. The edge features is still have a long way to go, but as of now, I don’t see the need for it. In addition, that edge features could make the phone much fragile. If still thinking of getting one, I’d say just get it. You won’t be disappointed by it because in my opinion, it is the best Android smartphone in the market right now, and you won’t get any Android phone better than this.


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