If you’re looking for a new phone that has cutting edge features you’ll crave, you should check out the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. This phone looks, feels and acts like a device from the second half of the second decade of the millennium.
The S7 Edge features are both fun and functional, making this both a great toy and tool. The phone is customizable, so features you don’t care for can be adjusted to your liking. But you may quickly wonder how you lived without some of the best features of the S7 Edge.
The S7 Edge comes with the Android 6 operating system, a/k/a Marshmallow.
The design of this phone is impressive. If you think the days of stand-out phones are over, you haven’t seen the Edge yet. The build quality feels solid, perhaps because the back panel isn’t removable, nor is the battery. The rounded shape of the edges helps the phone nestle comfortably in the hand.
This phone qualifies as a phablet, with a 5.5 in/ 14 cm screen, but it’s light, weighing in at a mere 5.54 ounces/ 157 g.
The sound quality is excellent, when streamed through headphones or Bluetooth. The speaker on the phone is tiny and doesn’t make good use of the high-quality sound the phone is capable of emitting. The volume slider turns from blue to red at sound levels that may damage hearing.
The phone has 4 GB of RAM, making opening apps and using the phone fast and fluid. In my tests, I never encountered stuttering or lagging, even when multitasking, using multiple apps at once.
The phone I tested from Verizon was in the Silver Titanium color, with a shiny metal finish that quickly was covered in fingerprints. The exterior is bright and beautiful, when cleaned of fingerprints.
As the phone was named after its curved edge screen, you can expect that Samsung paid much attention to making the screen impressive. And they did.
Colors are bright, lines are sharp, and the display is rich in pixels. In Settings you can adjust the quality of the display, so you can watch movies and view photos on a richer display than you read email. By adjusting this setting you can get the highest quality experience you need while preserving battery life.
The curved screen that embraces the sides of the phone maximizes the display area, making bezels seem pre-historic. Watching movies seems more immersive when the video wraps around the edges.
Always On is a new feature that may either be a convenience or a feature you turn off. When the phone is turned off the phone screen shows the time, date and battery life of the phone.
This constant display can save you from having to turn on the phone to check this information, perhaps saving you from an embarrassing situation. No need to be rude when you check your phone (or watch) for the time. A quick glance to your phone can give you the information you need without breaching etiquette.
The Edge can also serve as a nightstand clock, showing the time without you having to touch the phone. A Night mode dims the light, keeping your room darker and saving battery life.
You can turn this off if you don’t like it. While you may expect this feature would drain the battery quickly, the battery drain is very slow. Perhaps because Always On only shows the clock and not constant notifications, the effect on the battery is minimal.
In Settings you can change the look of the Always On or choose a calendar or image instead of the clock. You can also change the clock from digital to analog and add a second clock.
Always On takes some getting used to, at first I thought that I was getting a notification and that’s why the screen was on. But I quickly grew accustomed to Always On and grew to like it.
Samsung has allowed developers to add this feature to their apps to allow notifications for Always On. Getting app notifications on the Always On screen would be very handy.
The S7 Edge takes advantage of its curved edges with Edge Panels, handy shortcuts to quickly access shortcuts to your favorite apps, contacts and news. Swipe from the right edge on any screen to open Edge Panels.
Tap the Settings icon to add or delete apps and contacts from each Edge Panel. You can add up to 9 Panels, but by the time you swipe to the 9th panel, well, you may as well have opened up the app without the Panel.
Create a Panel for your favorite Contacts to be able to make calls and send messages to them quickly. Make a Panel for your most-used apps, such as maps, camera, text messages, mail, etc. The Tasks Panel can help you create a contact, take a selfie set a timer or create an event. The Tools Panels gives you quick access to a ruler and a compass.
Customize your Panels by rearranging them. In Settings for Panels, tap the Reorder option in the top menu bar. You can also move your Panels to the left side of the screen.
You can organize the content within the Panels by dragging and dropping the shortcuts to the order you want them. Drag them up to the trash can icon to remove them.
Panels are such a handy feature that taking the time to set them up will save you plenty of time later. Expect to use Panels often in your daily life.
Samsung equipped the S7 Edge with a hefty 3600 mAh battery to power the bright screen and other features. You should be able make it through the day without having to worry about recharging the phone or running out of power.
According to Samsung, the phone lasts up to:
- 15 hours when using Wi-Fi or 4G data
- 19 hours when watching videos
- 99 hours when listening to music
- 14 days of standing by
Your usage time may vary, but this is a powerful battery.
In my tests, I put this phone through its paces. I streamed music and videos, took photos, adjusted settings, downloaded music and apps, connected to a Bluetooth speaker and checked email. Just for fun, I cranked up the display to the max: AMOLED cinema for the biggest and brightest display for most of the day. And I kept Always On on.
At the end of the day I still had over 40% battery charge left. Very impressive.
In spite of having a powerful battery, the Edge has advanced charging options. Wireless charging is available, though the charging pad ($70) is not included with the phone.
You can also use the charge cord included with the phone to rapidly charge the phone. With the phone powered off you can get a 50% charge within 30 minutes using that cord.
The S7 Edge comes with 32 GB of internal storage that’s expandable up to 200 GB with an SD card.
The S7 Edge is water resistant up to 5 ft / 1.52 m for up to 30 minutes. Think of this as reassurance if you drop your phone in a puddle, but not as a license to scuba dive with your phone in tow.
The Edge sports a 12 MP rear camera and a 5 MP front camera. Double-tap the home button to open the camera app.
Below are samples of photos I took with the S7 Edge.
For full resolution images, check out my Flickr album.
Gamers will appreciate many features of the S7 Edge, including the bright screen and powerful hardware. Beyond that, Samsung added another feature to make gamers feel as if they won: Game Launcher.
When you play a game, you can use Game Launcher to do things such as:
- turn off alerts while playing
- lock keyboard keys
- take screenshots
- record videos of game play
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is available from Verizon in 3 colors: Black Onyx, Gold Platinum, or Silver Titanium for $792.00.
Which features of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge are most appealing to you? What apps would you put in Edge Panels? Would you use the Always On feature of the phone?
Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!
Voice of America Learning English
If you’re interested in tech and are learning English, check out my weekly column on personal technology at Voice of America Learning English. This week’s article: Want to Choose Better Words?