The Galaxy S7 Edge is technically almost identical to the regular Galaxy S7, except for its dual-curved edge display, and a larger capacity battery. It’s by far our preference over the Galaxy S7, though, and is without a doubt one of the best looking, most comfortable to hold, and accomplished smartphones yet to be released.
For this reason alone, it’s obviously a worthy upgrade over last year’s Galaxy S6 Edge, a phone we had various doubts over, despite its sexy design. But are the differences major enough that you’d want to grab the S7 Edge as soon as possible? We find out by putting the two Edge phones head-to-head.
First, lets compare the specifications before going in for a deeper investigation.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
|Size||149 x 72 x 7.62 (mm)||142.1 x 70.1 x 7.0 (mm)|
|Screen||Dual-edge, 5.5-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED||5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED|
|Resolution||2,560 x 1,440 pixels||1,440 x 2,560 pixels|
|OS||Android 6.0 Marshmallow||Android 6.0 Marshmallow|
|Storage||32GB, 64GB||32GB, 64GB, 128GB (non-expandable)|
|SD Card Slot||Yes||No|
|Processor||Qualcomm MSM8996, Snapdragon 820 (U.S. Models),
Exynos 8890 Octa (International Models)
|Octa-core 4×2.1GHz + 4×1.5GHz 64-bit 14nm Samsung Exynos|
|RAM||4GB LPDDR4||3GB LPDDR4|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, HSPA+, NFC||Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, HSPA+, NFC|
|Camera||Front 5MP, Rear 12MP||Front 5MP, Rear 16MP|
|Bluetooth||Yes, version 4.1 LE||Yes, version 4.1 LE|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, barometer, compass, gyroscope, heart rate monitor||Accelerometer, barometer, compass, gyroscope, heart rate monitor|
|Battery||3,600mAh (non-removable)||2,600mAh (non-removable)|
|Charger||USB 2.0, PowerMat wireless||USB 2.0, PowerMat wireless|
|Colors||Black, White, Gold, Silver||White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Green Emerald|
|Marketplace||Google Play Store||Google Play Store|
|Availability||AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular||AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Cricket, and U.S. Cellular|
|DT Review||4 out of 5 stars||3 out of 5 stars|
Power, battery, and storage
Samsung chose one of its own Exynos processors to power the Galaxy S6 range, supposedly due to problems with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor. For the S7 Edge, Qualcomm’s back in the U.S. models with its Snapdragon 820 octa-core processor, which runs cooler, faster, and more efficiently than previous versions. Buy an international model, and it’ll be equipped with a Samsung Exynos chip, which is expected to perform identically to the Qualcomm model, but we have yet to put it to the test ourselves.
There’s also 4GB of RAM compared to the S6 Edge’s 3GB, but best of all, the S7 Edge has a MicroSD card slot, so you can increase the either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage space you got on the phone. That’s a massive change in direction for Samsung, having abandoned external storage options over the past few years on its S-series devices.
The battery remains stuck inside the phone, though, and while the capacity is now 3,600mAh over the S6 Edge’s 2,600mAh, we’re not expecting to get much more usage. Samsung says it’ll return up to ten hours additional talk time, but we only got a day’s worth of moderate phone use during our review. That’s better than the S6 Edge, though, which often struggled to make it through the working day.
It’s no contest between the two. The Galaxy S7 Edge romps away with the win here.
Winner: Galaxy S7 Edge
Design and display
Samsung didn’t need to work on much to perfect the design for the S7 Edge, because the S6 Edge was absolutely stunning in the first place. It’s just a few problems that let it down. Primarily, the Edge’s sharp looks were exactly that: sharp. Not so with the S7 Edge, it’s more rounded, has a curved rear panel, and is infinitely more comfortable to hold. It’s even thinner and has a larger display, yet it’s very compact. In fact, the iPhone 6S Plus dwarfs the S7 Edge, even though the two phones share the same size display.
The S7 Edge is heavier than the S6 Edge, but that’s not a bad thing. The phone’s still slippery, so some added heft makes it feel more secure in the hand. You won’t want to drop it though, because the phone’s still made of glass and will shatter on hard impact. However, the body is IP68 water and dust resistant, so it won’t mind getting wet, which is something the S6 Edge wouldn’t like at all.
The bigger 5.5-inch screen strikes a great balance between the 5.1-inch S6 Edge, and the 5.7-inch S6 Edge Plus. Not too small, and not too large. The Super AMOLED screen is still a beauty, and the 2,560 x 1,440 pixel resolution is identical, but the pixel density drops slightly due to the larger display size. Not that you’ll notice, plus the new always-on information screen makes up for any tiny drop in quality.
Winner: Galaxy S7
Software and the Edge
The S7 Edge runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box, and an update has been circulating for the S6 Edge for a while, bringing it in line with the newer device. It adds enhanced functionality for the Edge display, which is slid in with a swipe along the phone’s side, where you’ll find all sorts of shortcuts, a news feed, and quick access to apps. Its has increased the Edge display’s usefulness considerably.
However, both phones have Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface over Android, complete with many uninstallable apps, odd design choices, and alternative apps that Samsung wants you to use instead of the standard Android versions. It also slows down the update process, potentially leaving phones vulnerable to security risks. The experience is very similar on both devices, and while not terrible, it could be improved on both phones.
An on-paper win is already in the bag for the S7 Edge, provided you look beyond the fewer megapixels. The S7 Edge’s camera has 12 megapixels to the S6 Edge’s 16 megapixels, but the pixel size is larger, and the aperture now rates at f/1.7 rather than f/1.9. It also gets phase detection autofocus.
The S6 Edge took great pictures, and the camera is still excellent today, but it can’t compete with the S7 Edge, especially in low light. All those tweaks to the aperture and pixel size mean the S7 Edge takes fantastic pictures after the sun goes down, and the results are way beyond any Samsung camera before it. It doesn’t matter whether you choose the regular S7 over the Edge either, because the cameras are the same.
Around the front, the selfie cam has subtly been improved as well. The 5-megapixel sensor also has an f/1.7 aperture for better low light performance.
Winner: Galaxy S7 Edge
The Samsung Gear VR is probably the best smartphone accessory you can currently buy, at least from a major manufacturer, and it’s surprisingly adept at bringing good quality VR into your home. If you can’t stretch your wallet to buy the HTC Vive, then the Gear VR is the one to pick while you save up, thanks to a strong app store provided by Oculus, and high-quality lenses from the same firm.
Even better is that regardless of whether you upgrade to the Galaxy S7 Edge or the S7, the Gear VR will work happily with your S6 Edge and S6 Edge Plus. The $100 asking price is reasonable, and it’ll provide hours of VR fun.
Just slip your phone into the front of the Gear VR, and connect it using the Micro-USB charging socket. The Gear VR’s reliance on MicroUSB is the prime reason we didn’t see an upgrade to USB Type-C on the S7 and S7 Edge this year. That may change next year, so be aware you may need to eventually buy a new headset if you upgrade your Samsung phone each time.
Overall Winner: Galaxy S7 Edge
It’s an entirely unsurprising victory for the Galaxy S7 Edge in this battle. It handily beats its worthy but flawed opponent from last year in most categories. It’s not a complete whitewash, though, and the S6 Edge can still hold its own. However, if you have the choice, Samsung’s latest and most attractive phone to date is the Galaxy S7 Edge, and it’s the one you should choose — not only over the S6 Edge, but over the S7 as well.
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