Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review
Samsung has now played around with a few curved screen smartphone and what felt like a bit of a gimmick is now a legitimate technology. Although the Galaxy S6 was the best phone of 2015, it was missing key features like expandable storage and waterproofing. Those are now back and the dual edge screen has more functionality so the Galaxy S7 edge is a serious contender for best phone of 2016. Here's our full and in-depth Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review. See also: The 20 best phones 2017 and Best Phone Deals.
Update January 2017: According to Samsung its Android 7.0 Nougat beta programme for the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge is now complete, and the OTA update should begin rolling out to devices later this month. Keep in mind that the below Galaxy S7 edge review was written with it running Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are two of the first flagship phones we've reviewed this year so it's just the beginning in the fight for best phone 2016. However, it's so far so good for the Galaxy S7 edge which is an improvement on its predecessors – the Galaxy S6 edge and Galaxy S6 edge+.
Samsung has settled on a single size for the Galaxy S7 edge and the phone looks dramatically stunning with its dual edge screen design. Once again, there's a combination of metal and glass which looks sleek and premium but also feels slippery and gets grubby a bit too easy. Although it looks similar, it's now fully waterproof without the faff of things like port covers. Also see: Best Samsung phones 2016: What is the difference between Galaxy Note, Galaxy S, Galaxy A and Galaxy J?
Another major feature has been returned so fans will rejoice at the inclusion of expandable storage through the Micro-SD card slot. That's two out of three and although the battery is still not removable, it is bigger. A larger battery cell means longer battery life and we really don't mind that the phone is a bit thicker to enable this (and make the camera bump smaller).
Helping out with battery life, according to Samsung, is a new processor and although we expected the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 model in the UK we've actually got the Exynos 8890 chip. There's a whopping 4GB of RAM and the Galaxy S7 edge breezed through our benchmark tests setting some new records.
As you would expect, the Galaxy S7 edge comes packed with other tech including a fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor, but the IR blaster has been dropped which will be a shame for some. A bigger deal is being made around the camera which has fewer pixels than the Galaxy S6 at 12Mp but Samsung touts amazing low light performance with the f/1.7 aperture and 'Dual Pixel' technology. We're really impressed with the camera and although it's one of the best on a phone, it's perhaps not as good in the dark as Samsung makes out. Also see: Best MiFi 2016.
A feature which isn't as big as we thought is the 'Always On' screen which is simply a software feature which shows some basic information on the display to avoid you unlocking the phone. It's handy but doesn't do as much as we thought and there's a small amount of control over it. That said, there are plenty of cool features hidden away in the settings which you'll want to explore including some existing ones like Smart Stay.
You can read our full and in-depth Samsung Galaxy S7 review.
The Game Launcher is one software feature which helps you be a better player by doing things like blocking notifications, lowering the framerate to save power and record the screen while you play. It's the dual edge screen which makes the Galaxy S7 edge stand out and the key difference when compared to the regular model. It's still a luxury but Samsung has refined and improved what it can do with new edge panels and greater control.
That's an overview of the Galaxy S7 edge but we're going to go into a lot more detail below. Use the links below to help you navigate to the different sections of the review.
Design and build | Hardware and specs | Dual edge screen | Always on display | Processor, memory and benchmarks | Storage and Micro-SD | Fingerprint scanner | Connectivity and sensors | Battery life and charging | Cameras | Software and apps
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review: Price and rivals
Priced at £639 from the official Samsung store, the Galaxy S7 edge is one of the most expensive smartphone on the market (short of luxury ones from the likes of Vertu). If you're contemplating buying it over the regular S7, it will cost you an extra £70 which isn't much of a premium to gain the dual edge display.
In terms of competition, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is the closest on price at £599 from Sony's online shop. That phone is also a rival on the size, as is the iPhone 6S Plus which is cheaper for the equivalent model at £619 but goes all the way up to £789 if you want 128GB of storage.
A new Coral Blue option is now available in the UK via Vodafone. It says: "Customers can pick up the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge in Blue Coral on a half price pay monthly tariff for the first 6 months as part of Vodafone’s biggest- ever Winter Sale. This means it’s available on a Vodafone Red 6GB Bundle at £23.50 per month for the first 6 months then £47 per month for the remaining 18 months (with a £10 upfront cost). This includes unlimited texts, unlimited minutes, 6GB of data and 500MB of inclusive roaming data. Furthermore, customers who purchase a Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (in any colour variant) by 28 February will be able to claim (via Samsung) a Samsung Gear Fit2!"
Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide