It’s been years since I’d had to use a Samsung Galaxy mobile phone. Even then, I held onto that hand-me-down bit of plastic that was the Galaxy S2 and TouchWiz combo until I could afford the HTC One. Has Samsung conjured up an edge over the myriad Android smartphones out there?
When I was first introduced to the Galaxy S7 Edge in Black Onyx, I felt the universe click. All was right again, it seemed. Amidst the plethora of space greys and rose golds, it was absolutely refreshing to be reacquainted with the timelessness of black – something I missed dearly since I drunkenly dropped my black iPhone 5 in the alleys of Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong.
It comes decked out with a 5.5-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED screen that is just plain gorgeous, bright, and displays colours as boldly as Korea’s vibrant KPOP music videos can go. The screen and the curved rear glass converge into the rounded aluminium sides all round – no chamfers here at all -, and together provide just enough heft to thoroughly make the S7 Edge the most beautiful mobile phone I’ve ever experienced in my life.
That edge though. I don’t use it, and I don’t see any use for it as I usually have all my necessary apps on the home screen in folders. I’m the kind who survives on 16GB phones – and thrives. I can see how it will help a number of people, provided it’s as intuitive as Samsung claims. Perhaps it’s my fingers, but I could never swipe properly enough to initiate the edge on first try. So that’s that for the edge.
Speaking of storage space, the S7 Edge allows for an additional 200GB to be added via its MicroSD card slot. For the fellow NS Men out there, reservist will never be boring again with all the Running Man and Descendents of the Sun you can cram into this.
The phone is dust and water resistant up to one and a half metres underwater so this is pretty much life-proof – if your life looks like an episode of Hoarding: Buried Alive. That said, if you happened to drop the S7 Edge onto a flat surface, you just might have a bit of trouble picking it up due to its slim edges. Maybe that’s why it’s so well-built and remarkably so compact that you can and should just leave it in your pant pockets anyway.
The S7 Edge’s camera and its buttons protrude every so slightly, and as much as I prefer them flush, they’re not an annoyance to be deal breakers. The phone doesn’t wobble on flat surfaces, and the buttons are tactile, if just a tad sharp to the touch. If there’s any con at all, it’s the fact that Samsung simply likes to position their buttons – capacitive ones inclusive – on the other side of wherever is standard on other Android phones. Please, just stop.
Have I mentioned it’s a physical wonder? As compact as it is, Samsung managed to put in a 3,600mAh battery that when coupled with Android Marshmallow’s software optimisations lend itself to a full, proper day’s use before needing a charge. The S7 Edge comes with Adaptive Fast Charging and also wireless charging because hey, the future is here. In this day and age where everything is amazing except battery life, I’m glad to report that even as an agency peon where days are 30 hours long, the S7 Edge always lasts long enough for me to get jobs done. That it still uses the already industry-old-school Micro-USB standard means you’ll probably be able to find an available charging source pretty much anywhere, anytime still.
Let’s talk performance. The S7 Edge is the flagship, so let’s just do away with the number crunchings. This thing flies. It’s fast. It multi-tasks like a beast and is probably more powerful than the computers that used to launch NASA spaceships of the early 90s into the dark expanse of the universe. Games run spectacularly on the S7 Edge. Emailing clients on this thing actually was less painful than usual. The S7 Edge never stuttered no matter what I threw at it, and that’s what you should expect from flagships.
That one physical home button is a mystery to me, but it is what it is and it functions well. The fingerprint scanner built into it works really quickly, but when you’re pampered by the lightest of touches on the Google Nexus 6P’s rear scanner and brought into the unlocked home screen immediately, pressing one more button is just a much less satisfying experience now.
It’s no secret to friends and family that I hate TouchWiz, so imagine my surprise when I went 2 weeks with the S7 Edge on stock everything and felt no urge to switch to the Google home launcher. It’s not necessarily the best, or the prettiest, but it’s enough. Samsung really reined themselves in within the last couple of years and for this, I applaud them. Congratulations Samsung, I survived TouchWiz. In fact, I may even like it a little now. Now if only your Android update schedule is respectable up to a maximum of 90 days. One can hope.
I won’t go into the speakers. The Nexus 6P has the greatest pair to date and I pride myself in never using them anyway so as not to annoy the general public. Ladies and gentlemen, I implore you to be kind and use earphones/headphones at all times for your own pleasures in public. Nobody needs to know the games you play or that your taste in music is possibly akin to a plank of wood’s.
Here it is. The most important part to all you aspiring photographers. Just how is the camera? Well, there’s no other way to say this – the S7 Edge has the best camera on a mobile phone right now. It launches faster than you can complete this sentence, has probably already snapped 3 shots by now, and the next version probably takes images of premonitions. Technically you just can’t go wrong with this camera. Talent though, doesn’t come in the box.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is a great phone. It’s the greatest Galaxy ever made and that’s enough reason for you to buy one right away and be happy with it for at least the next 30 months. Unfortunately, and this revelation may come as a surprise to you after getting this far, but the Google Nexus 6P exists and is now more readily available to geeks everywhere unlike before, and by virtue of its impressive OS upgrade timeliness coupled with a spectacular hardware showing by Huawei, the S7 Edge remains second fiddle in my book.
Considering my initial reservations of a Galaxy phone, Samsung, you still done good this time. At least in a world where a Nexus 6P did not exist, you’d be the best Android phone to have ever existed so far.