Samsung S7 Edge First Impressions

On Monday my old phone, a Droid Turbo, met up with an accident, and it became incumbent upon me to replace it. Fortunately, life had prepared me for this because I spend a lot of time looking at reviews of new phones just in case my current phone should be carelessly dropped, or hurled, or whatever, so when I walked into my local store to get another I had a pretty good idea of what my top candidates were. For the past few phones I’d been using the Motorola Droid line, and if the new Droid Z had been available yet, there’s a pretty good chance I’d’ve picked it up.

But it’s not, so instead I decided to pick up a Samsung S7 Edge, which aside from various good reviews, also came with a deal that threw in one of their VR goggle sets (I have to mail away for it, so I don’t have it yet). So I figured, what the heck. I’ve had it now for four days, which is enough time for some first impressions.

Briefly: So far, so good. There’s no doubt that it is the prettiest cell phone I’ve ever owned, although I will be first to note this is not a difficult competition to win — I’ve been going with the Droids these many years for their massive batteries and Motorola’s better-than-any-other-manufacturer take on Android skinning, not their esthetics, which can be summed up as “look chunky and don’t give a shit about it.” The S7 Edge, on the other hand, has a gorgeous, curving screen that falls away in a lovely fashion, and feels (especially coming from the Droids) deceptively thin and light. It’s a phone that you can pet and call your precious, basically.

But the good news, for me, anyway, is that there is more there than just the pretty screen — notably the 3,600 mAh battery, which means that like the Droids this is a phone that can actually go an entire day without needing to be recharged (this is where iPhones, also pettable, fall down in my opinion), which for someone like me who travels a stupid amount, is actually a critical thing. It’s also got the other hardware bells and whistles — better than retina-level screen, decent camera, fast processor and ample RAM — which make me happy. So it’s pretty and practical, which is nice. The phone also allows for expandable storage, which is great.

With that said, there are a couple of things anyone thinking of picking it up should know about. Specifically, if you pick up the “Edge” iteration of the S7, you should be aware that the fact the (yes) edges of the phone are now touch-sensitive may require you to retrain yourself in terms of how you hold the thing, lest your beefy mitts cause your phone to register touches where you do not intend, just by how you hold the thing. I’ve had this happen to me more than a few times already. It’s a small annoyance and definitely not a deal-breaker, but it’s something to be aware of. Also annoying and possibly more so: the positioning of the speaker at the bottom of the phone is in a place where it gets covered a lot by my hand, which means that as I’m listening to things, the sound would seemingly drop out for several seconds, just because I moved the phone in my hand. This is not pleasing to me.

My other complaints (mostly about the layout of buttons, both physical and capacitive) are less about Samsung’s choices and more about the fact that they’re not laid out like Motorola’s Droid phones, which were my last several phones, and thus are not where my memory tells me they are. This is a personal issue, and I suspect I will get over it.

So overall I’m happy with my purchase, although I am still getting used to Samsung’s interface not being Motorola’s. For anyone looking at the Edge as a possible next phone, be aware the edge aspect, while cool-looking, also requires getting used to. But if you can do that, it’s a lovely phone so far.

25 Comments on “Samsung S7 Edge First Impressions”

  1. I’ve used Samsung (the original Note) but I really disliked their heavy modification of the stock Android. I’ve switched a long while back to Nexus and then to Sony, which has mostly stock Android and a battery that can last for days—3 days is a reasonable number if I use the phone just for checking emails and small things, otherwise 2 days. One can even get 5 days if they are very ‘frugal’ with the use of the phone. But it’s not as “shiny” as Samsung ones, true.

    Enjoy your new phone!

  2. I have been in the Google phone camp for quite a while. I decided that I wanted the latest and greatest Android OS NOW vs. when ever the phone supplier want to do it, or not. This time around I went with the Nexus 6P (that’s p for PHABLET). Yes it is biggg but I do like the simple unencumbered apps, the speakers are at the top and bottom of the phone and on the front. The fingerprint reader is on the back but being left handed and my fingerprints are almost nonresistant because of the metal work I do, I don’t use that feature at all. The battery life is good and the screen very clear and crisp.

    SO, mr. scalzi, whatever your next reason for killing your phone, try a Google Nexus you might be surprised.

  3. We’re rolling into our third generation of Galaxy phones at work, and this year I’m getting an Edge. I do worry a bit about the too-tactile edge, but I wanted a slightly larger screen without going full on tablet. A friend got a suction-cup thingy for the back side, so he could hold the phone without gripping the edges. I’m glad to hear you like it and I hope I will too. It’s mine for two years whether I do or not.

    And yesterday’s picture of the flying cats was SO GREAT.

  4. Samsung does make some nice hardware. I find myself getting annoyed at their interface. Like a couple folks above, i’m used to stock Android or Cyanogenmod. I’m not sure how much of that is reaction to the actual merits of the OS flavors and how much is just me getting cranky about change as I age.

  5. re having the edge be touch sensitive…until the iPhone 5 I used to point to the fact that Apple put the power button on the top of the phone as an example of how they think about how people use the device. Why? Because if you want to show someone something on your phone and you hand it over, they’re gonna grab the sides…and turn the phone off when they hit the button.

    Then Apple came out with the 5 series and put the power button on the side (I think it was the first post-Jobs iPhone, maybe not coincidentally). They also put the speaker on the bottom which has annoyed me several times.

    Anyway, my wife loves Samsung and looked at the Edge 7 but she likes having a stylus so she went with the Note. I’ll admit that the most recent Note is the first Samsung is consider trading my iPhone for.

  6. Be sure to get that new Samsung the proper clear screen protector and a good case for it. You do not want to drop it and get even a crack along the edge because it will kill your screen display. That happened with my best friend who was stuck in the hospital. She dropped her Samsung S6 Edge about 3ft and the edge got a crack star a bit smaller than .5 inch. Couldn’t do squat to revive it. After getting the replacement, I dropped about $85 bucks and got both for it. They’re on the pricey side, but worth the investment. Obviously, let the guy at the store install the screen protector for you. For cases, the ones with corner bumpers are best. After that, it’s a matter of taste for what you prefer.

  7. Do yourself a favor and get one of the wireless quick-charge 2.0 pads. That plus the large battery and you will never think about your battery life again.

  8. Good info John, thanks for sharing your impressions. My wife and I have started looking at replacing our phones. We’ve been using Windows phones for the past few years and love the Windows UI. Sadly we’ve reached a point where the phones are starting to act up a bit. We’ve been putting off replacing because we hoped that Microsoft would release a new high end phone after buying Nokia. This didn’t happen. :(

    I’d been looking at the Samsung S7 Edge or the HTC 10, I think you just helped me reach a conclusion. I think the HTC 10 will be my choice. I don’t think I’d ever get used to how the phones edges work. Add to that the HTC 10 is cleaner interface/bloatware wise. Again, thanks for the review! :)

  9. I’m looking at the S7 (not Edge) because of the screen edge issue. I have a Samsung 8.4″ tablet that doesn’t wrap like the S7 Edge does, and I have problems with touching the edge of the screen on that. Although the extra screen size would be nice since I use my phone more as a web browser than as a device to talk on. But the Edge does have the 3600 mAh battery, while the S7 only has 3000, and since I won’t be able to carry a spare battery with me that might fave the Edge. I hope my S4 lasts a while longer so I won’t have to make the choice.

  10. I’ve been using Samsung phones for quite a while – original S, original Note, and now Note 3. I like several of their apps (S Health in particular), and now that you can disable most of the rest it’s pretty good. I have no opinion about their skin (TouchWiz, right?) because I’ve been using Nova Launcher since the S. It does everything I need (it had folders a couple generations of Android before it was in stock), stays out of my way, backs up nicely and the backup can be transferred to a new phone (where it goes weird because I don’t have all those apps installed yet, but that’s my fault). I do have to deal with Samsung’s setup for settings, which keeps switching, but not too bad. I’m looking at an S7 too, but I think an Active rather than the Edge or the plain one (as I mentioned in the post about the fall of the old phone).

  11. That’s cool, I guess. I always just get the latest iPhone when my current obligation is up. It works flawlessly out of the box and I don’t think about it much. When I do notice it I’m appreciative but I don’t get excited about it.

    Thats probably me and not the brand. Obviously a lot of Apple fans get excited about the next model.

  12. Wow! That was definitely a balanced tech review, from a ‘real’ person’s view. It’s time for an upgrade for myself, with those accidental cracked screens that are seemingly timed with new cell models. My choice for smartphones would be a Samsung, for sure. Iphones are fine, perfectly encrypted, and then there’s Siri, but Samsung for me. Thanks for the review, or shall I say, ‘preview’!

  13. I completely agree about the case. Once I put my edge in an Otterbox it became much easier to deal with the overly sensitive edges. The VR headset is neat, but when I got it there were patches for the APP that had not been updated and so nothing would install on my phone, and the only thing I could do with the headset is browse through the VR App menus.
    Luckily by the next day the app auto-updated and everything works fine…ish. The Apps on VR store are at the mercy of the developers, some of whom quickly developed crap, stamped it free, and posted it in the App store. Read reviews carefully before choosing your VR Apps, especially if you pay for them.
    If you have never used an Occulus headset before prepare for sensory overload. I have read Lock In so I know you have the general idea. Making sure you adjust the headset to give you as clear a picture as possible as it helps with the sensory issues.
    As far as battery charging issues goes, get an external battery charger. This is a link to the brand I have and it is amazing :\
    It charges faster than a lightening charger, holds a charge for a long time, and is good for about 3 charges before it needs to be recharged. The only draw back is charging the mobile charger. It is a USB charger which is fairly convenient, but it takes several hours to charge. The benefits are worth it in my opinion, between the charger and my old Galaxy S5, I could go about a week and half without a wall charger if I started with the mobile charger at full charge, and kept the galaxy on power save mode.
    Lastly and probably most importantly, make sure you get a good anti virus / malware protector for your phone. The Android OS is an open source system, which is great for Apps and young developers like myself; but it also great for young hackers looking to learn how to exploit systems. If you think you are being too careful you are not. A former student from my school found an exploit for the accelerometer in smart phones. Upon graduation she was immediately snagged up by a big company offered a big paycheck and promise of a bright future.

  14. They’ve removed the IR diode, so you can’t use the thing as a universal remote (something I only discovered after signing the contract). Also, the micro SD slot is back, but the removable battery isn’t.

  15. What are you me? Had a droid maxx and got an s7 edge this week as well for the same reasons. Complaints are the same too.

  16. I’m overdue for a new phone (still using the 2013 Moto X, which still works fine but is running Lollipop with no upgrade in sight). Sadly, most of the good Samsung phones are out of my budget. I’ve been looking at the Nextbit Robin or the One Plus 3.

  17. Yup, don’t want to pile on here, but these are voices of experience suggesting a protective case and screen guard. I got mine a week and a half ago, and already had to use my insurance. It’s the first phone I’ve damaged in at least ten years.

    The glass back and convex glass front are really gorgeous (especially compared to older Samsungs), but they make it much more likely that a fragile part will take the first impact in any kind of bump, while also making it more slick and requiring you to hold it a bit differently. Supposedly the scratch-resistant glass is actually more crack-prone than normal, too. The combination is treacherous.

  18. I, too, have the S7 Edge. I have had the S6 Edge+ right before this phone and the S6 prior to that. I also had the Iphone 6S Plus in between the S6 and the Edge+. I really do like the asthetics of the S7 Edge and the larger battery but it really ends there. I find myself NEVER using the Edge features at all, although I have them set up. It is just as fast for me to have a widget with similar launching features. The “edge issue” for me has NOT been eliminated by putting a case on (I still touch the edges when handing the phone to others or even just putting it down) . In fact, putting a case on is my most frustrating issue about the Edge design. I am an avid screen protector user and love tempered glass screen protectors. However, that is not possible with the S7 Edge. The tempered glass design just doesn’t work well with the Edge curve and a case. Film screen protectors look great and work great until you put a case on then they like to bubble up on the edges and the asthetics thing that I like so well is eliminated. I have recently purchased a regular S7 and I will see how I like not having the bigger battery. The S7 phone is still an attractive phone and I don’t believe the size will be an issue. I have read that the S7 still has a somewhat curved screen and the tempered glass screen protectors are sometimes smaller which can detract from the looks. We will see.

  19. I did that exact switchover just before Memorial Day weekend. I wanted a phone with a better camera and battery life than my beloved MotoX.

    You’re making me glad that I didn’t get the Edge version.

    Have you noticed that you need to tweak your swypes? And ignoring autocorrect is a lot more annoying!

  20. could not care less about phones but just wanted to say THANKS for the great new header photo with 2 whippety long-tailed kittens. :-)

  21. The VR package is shipping out pretty quickly. I received mine this week, which was about 2 weeks after I sent in the request. I haven’t set it up yet, though. Turns out I’ll need to remove my phone from the Otterbox case to connect it up. I figure I’ll mess with that later.

  22. Well get a nice case I have no problem with the edge you can change where the touches is in settings . the battery and cameras are Best