Unlocking and updates
You can buy your Galaxy unlocked in the states now, and it might be preferable to going through a carrier. Depending on your carrier, you may get a ton of bloatware pre-installed on your device that you can’t remove. Our Verizon review units, for example, came with nearly 10 uninstallable Verizon apps. The regularity of software updates is another thing you should consider when buying a phone. Both devices run Samsung’s TouchWiz on top of Android, so updates are likely to be somewhat delayed, and some carriers will hold them back even longer. Samsung has been rolling out Android 7.0 Nougat updates in selected markets, including the United States, but it’s not universal and there’s no telling how many more updates these phones will get.
Slow software, firmware, and security updates are essentially unavoidable with most Android phones. The only Android phones that will be regularly updated are likely Google’s Nexus and Pixel phones. That said, we recommend the Pixel.
Winner: There are no winners here
The main question you need to ask yourself is pretty basic: Do you like the edges or not? Most people agree that the curved edges on the Galaxy S7 Edge are absolutely stunning, but others prefer the more traditional look of the standard S7. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it’s entirely up to you whether you like the curves or not. However, there are some other things to consider when weighing the Edge against the regular S7. One of the biggest is comfort.
Last year, we were not a fan of the S6 Edge, because the sharp metal frame around the slim edges dug right into our hands when we held the device. Many users complained that the edge design just wasn’t comfortable. Samsung fixed the issue with the S7 Edge by adding curved glass to the back of the device. Much like the Note 5, the S7 Edge curves right into your palms, offering better grip and comfort. The Galaxy S7 feels great in the hand, too, and it is smaller than the Edge. The S7 measures 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm, while the Galaxy S7 Edge comes in at 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm.
That said, the S7 Edge is remarkably slender and petite for a phone with a 5.5-inch screen. It’s significantly smaller than the iPhone 6S Plus, which also boasts a 5.5-inch screen, and it’s not much bigger than the regular S7. In our view, this means you’re getting more screen with little size trade-off.
Both of these phones are comfortable and easy to operate one-handed, though they are both slippery fingerprint magnets because of their glass backs. In that regard, they’re tied.
We’re giving the win here to the standard Galaxy S7. Though both are comfortable, on the S7, we’ve had fewer issues accidentally touching the side of the screen and bringing up menus.
Winner: Galaxy S7
When it comes to durability, both phones are a glass-filled nightmare, but the S7 Edge is the one you don’t want to break. The phone’s dual-edge screen is expensive to replace — it will cost you $270 to get a proper repair that maintains the waterproofing. The back panel is curved, too, so you’ve got a double whammy if you break either panel. Although the S7 is equally fragile with its curved glass back, at least the front glass isn’t curved. It shouldn’t be as difficult or expensive to replace if you only damage the front, so keep that in mind if you’re one prone to butterfingers. The two phones are waterproof (IP68), though, which is a plus.
Regardless of your choice, buy a case!
Winner: There are no winners here
Both the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge come in gold and black color options, but if you opt for the Edge, you can get the stunning silver version. The Galaxies are currently on sale in the United States, Europe, Singapore, Australia, and South Korea. In the States, the retail prices are between $530 and $695 for the S7 and between $580 and $795 for the S7 Edge, depending on your carrier and how much storage you want. The Edge is generally pricier by $100, so if cost is of concern, be aware that you’ll pay more for that curved screen. Here’s the pricing at the big four carriers:
- AT&T: The Galaxy S7 costs $695 or $23.17 per month for 30 months, and the S7 Edge goes for $795 or $26.50 per month for 30 months.
- Verizon: The Galaxy S7 costs $672 or $28 per month for 24 months, and the S7 Edge goes for $792 or $33 per month for 30 months.
- T-Mobile: The Galaxy S7 costs $674 or $26 per month for 24 months, and the S7 Edge is $780 or $30 for 24 months.
- Sprint: The Galaxy S7 costs $29 per month for 24 months, and the Galaxy S7 Edge costs $21 per month over 24 months.
Winner: Galaxy S7
Overall Winner: Galaxy S7 Edge
Overall, we prefer the Galaxy S7 Edge. It’s more attractive to look at and use, has better battery life, has a bigger screen, includes useful edge software, and is just about even with the Galaxy S7 when it comes to every other spec or feature. It’s more attractive, more innovative, and in the end, it’ll be more useful. That edge panel makes a big difference if you use it to its full potential, and the edge will only become more useful as more developers get involved and create apps for it.
The differences between the Galaxy S7 and the S7 Edge are not vast, however. Both phones have the same specs with the minor exceptions of screen size, battery capacity, and the dual-edge screen. Price is another factor, though paying $100 more for the Edge is small potatoes, given what it provides.
The Edge offers something different that no other phone offers and it seeks to solve the problem of one-handed use on a large-screened phone in an interesting and intelligent way. Now that it’s comfortable to hold and Samsung’s opened up more pixels to edge panels, the Galaxy S7 Edge is the phone to buy.
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