Just as surely as the days start getting longer and warmer as the calendar flips into Spring, we begin to get antsy as Samsung and Apple start their annual rollout of new phones. Not content with last year’s “must have” technology, we usually raid the Spring Break trip fund to pad Samsung’s and Apple’s bottom line by buying their latest and greatest.
This year was no different. When Samsung revealed the latest incarnation of its immensely popular Galaxy S line of phones, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, the question for us was not “if we should buy?”, but “when can we buy?”. And so, after dispensing no small amount of digital currency from our smart wallet (more on that gadget in a subsequent article), we bought the beautiful and curvy Galaxy S7 Edge.
Now we promise we are not geeky pervs, but, out of the box, we have to admit that the S7 Edge is one sexy smart phone. It is sleek and thin with the beautiful and vibrant display curving around both sides of the phone. The immediate effect that we noticed is that the viewing experience, whether internet, photos, videos, or even e-mail, is more immersive. The two-sided curved screen gives the impression of a never ending display that seems to lift the contents off the screen. The glass and metal body of the phone gives it a sturdy feel without being heavy. The 5.5 inch display is smaller than Phil’s previous huge Note 5 display but about the same as Bill’s iPhone 6Plus display, but not as large as Bill’s other phone the S6 Edge+. Phil thought he would have trouble adjusting to a smaller display, but the curved aspect of the display sort of masks its smaller size. Furthermore, the S7 Edge is a good fit for your hand (even if you happen to have smallish hands like a certain presidential candidate).
So the S7 Edge won us over with its sexy looks; but was it smart? In a word, “Yes!”. The S7 Edge, running the latest version of Android, Marshmallow, is quick and powerful. The battery life, which always seems to be a problem with our phones, so far has been phenomenal. Other reviews that we have read tout a 20-hour battery life. We haven’t pushed it that far, but we have not dipped passed 50% for day-long activity. One of the first things we did was to put in a security lock code (as everyone should do to protect your privacy and security). We were very pleased to try the fingerprint authentication to unlock the phone which works very well. Also, the camera, as is the case on most recent Samsung phones, takes stunning photos and videos.
Of course, the sentinel feature of the S7 Edge is the edge panel that you can bring up on the edge of the phone with a quick finger swipe. This panel is actually multiple customizable pages that you can bring up on the side to provide quick shortcuts to favorite apps, contacts, or even simple tasks (such as creating a calendar entry). Have you ever flipped through several screens on your phone looking for a particular app that you have no idea which screen it was saved on? It can be very frustrating when you have more popular app icons than can fit on the phone’s home screen. In this scenario, the Edge panel can serve as an extension of the home screen where you can put shortcuts to your favorite apps. Another feature of the Edge panel that we thought was cool is something called Edge “lighting”. With this feature turned on, when you get a call from a favorite person from your Contacts list, the phone will emit a color associated with that Contact.
Yet another unique feature that we like on the S7 Edge is the default display that shows when the phone is not active. Somehow Samsung has engineered the screen to emit a dim display even when the phone is “off” without draining the battery. This feature called “Always On Display” shows the date and time along with alerts for missed calls or incoming texts when the phone is inactive. Do you know how many times we “wake” our phones just to check the time or if we have missed a call? Samsung tells us the average user checks his or her smartphone 150 times per day. That number can be cut dramatically (and battery life can be extended significantly) by taking advantage of the “Always On Display” feature.
We were not thrilled that Samsung, following a pattern of recent releases, did not make the S7 Edge battery removable. As long as the battery continues to perform as well as it has so far, however, this “shortcoming” should not be a problem.Â Storage space is another limitation that vexes us on many digital devices. We were very pleased that Samsung brought back the microSD expansion slot on the S7 Edge so we can add more storage capability. Bill’s S6 Edge+ does not have this feature, and the processor is not quite as powerful as the S7 Edge.
So, after we prodded and poked our new S7 Edge to find out about all these cool new features, we decided to make a call. We are happy to report that the S7 Edge does indeed work as a phone. But it seems with each new release of these increasingly smarter smart phones, the main purpose of the device, to make phone calls, is an afterthought. Not a problem for us. We demand a lot more out of our devices; and, in the case of the Galaxy S7 Edge, the fact that it looks so good in doing what it does is just an extra bonus. In the words of Fernando Lamas, “It’s better to look good than feel good.” This phone looks good and feels good. In fact “it looks mahvelous.”