Galaxy S7 & S7 Edge Hands-on Review!


I didn’t get to attend Samsung’s Galaxy S7 launch event due to my flight being delayed and being stuck in Dublin, Ireland but I did spend a few hours playing with Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge today at MWC and yes, that made up for all the trouble.

First, let’s talk about the design. Design on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge hasn’t changed much from last year’s S6 and S6 Edge. In fact, the only difference you can tell with naked eye is the fact that this year’s S7 and S7 Edge both come with curved back instead of being flat. This makes the phones a lot easier to hold and boy, I noticed the difference right away the first time I held it. It’s more ergonomic and naturally allows you to grip the phone. Other than that, you will notice the S7 has barely a camera hump compared to a huge one from last year. There’s also always-on screen just like the LG G5. Those damn Sam Spies at LG paid off.

Now, Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge haven’t changed much on the outside but it’s what’s inside that counts. Both phones run the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 for U.S. models and also Exynos 8890 octa-core models for certain countries with latest Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. With 4 gigs of DDR4 memory, you will not be disappointed with its performance and graphic-intensive games were running flawless while I played games with them. And did we mention IP68 water-proof rating? The S7 and S7 Edge both are water-resistant up to 30 minutes in up to 3 feet of water.

As for display, the S7 feature 5.1-inch 1440P AMOLED screen while the S7 Edge features 5.5-inch 1440P AMOLED screen. As usual, the screens are super crisp and brighter than ever, if you want the best screens on a smartphone, the S7 or S7 Edge will give you that. In my quick comparison with my Galaxy S6, the new AMOLED screens are indeed even brighter than last year, this also may mean more battery life through more efficient technology.

Probably the biggest addition is a microSD card slot and it’s pretty awesome that they brought it back just in time as with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, you can convert your microSD storage into internal storage. This means that you don’t have to buy the one with large storage, just insert your spare microSD cards and convert your S7 or S7 Edge up to 232GB phone. Take that Apple. Now Samsung says the new Marshmallow storage conversion isn’t supported yet, but I am hoping it is soon.

The S7 features a 3000mAh battery while S7 Edge features a much bigger 3600mAh battery. The batteries are much larger than last year and this will end up in longer battery life coupled with more efficient AMOLED screens this year. My biggest complaint with the Galaxy S6 was the battery life and I think Samsung may have just solved it as 3000mAh battery is a huge battery for the phone of this size. FYI, the Note 5 has 3000mAh battery so both S7 and S7 Edge should have longer battery life than even the Note 5. But I will have a full test of that in the near future..

For the S7 Edge, you will get a ton more edge screen features and you also have the option to change the transparency and the size of edge screen. You can add up to 9 different panels and there’s a ton more different panels this year. I really feel like Samsung has done a much better job with the edge screen as it’s more flexible with more features.

Camera on the S7 and S7 Edge have the fastest lens on the market today with an F1.7 back camera with 1.4 microns sensor size. This combination means better photos in low light and more bokeh for your photos. Samsung also demoed low-light performance comparison to the Galaxy S6 in a completely dark room and definitely it has improved a ton. The S7 and S7 Edge also feature Motion Photos that allows you to take quick 3-second videos automatically whenever you take a photo. This actually works well for taking quick videos while you take a photo. There’s also a new Hyperlapse mode which allows you to take hyperlapse videos and worked well also.
OIS also seems to have improved for panning shots. For video recording, you will get an option for 4K UHD, 1440P, 1080P 60fps/30fps, 1:1 1440×1440 resolution, 720P HD, and VGA.

For gaming, the phones come with a Game Launcher, which allows the user to disable notifications while gaming, lock Recents/Back keys so you don’t accidentally hit them while gaming, take a screenshot, record the screen, and much more. S7 and S7 Edge also support Vulkan API, which gives you 4 times faster gaming and low power consumption for games that support the API. In layman’s terms, you will be able to enjoy full 1440P resolution gaming while saving battery life. The game I tried was super high resolution, I could almost see every pixel while playing the game. I was really amazed.

Overall, I am very very impressed with Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. I also really dig the fact that Samsung decided to make the S7 a smaller 5.1-inch device and the S7 Edge with 5.5-inch screen. For people like myself who prefer bigger phones, S7 is much too small but I can accept S7 Edge. And if you like smaller phones, the 5.1-inch S7 may just work out for you.

I expected much of the same from last year and yes, design hasn’t changed much from last year but I really like the fact that battery has been upgraded, micro-SD card slot has been added, and the phones are now fully waterproof. I took my Galaxy S5 and S6 to Thailand last year but ended up using the older S5 for video recording myself snorkeling in Phuket, which worked flawless even in warm salty ocean water for nearly an hour. With the S7 and S7 Edge, you will be able to take your phone in more places and make videos/take calls while you swim.

Damn, now the biggest question is whether you want to get the S7, S7 Edge, or the LG G5. While I am impressed by LG G5’s new modular features and two cameras, both Samsung and LG has impressed me in its own right so it will all boil down to your personal preferences. I should have a buying guide video for you soon, so watch out for that.

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Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of Max makes Android tutorials and review videos for people who want to get high on Android over at his YouTube channel and Korean YouTube channel.