Samsung Galaxy S7 edge long-term review: Still the best Android phone

With the Galaxy Note 7 no more, Samsung is putting all its might behind the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge. Well, mostly behind the Galaxy S7 edge, since it has been the more popular option from the beginning. If you want proof of the company’s bias towards the S7 edge, just consider the fact that only the curvy S7 is being launched in the Coral Blue color option. Not that there is anything wrong with it, as the S7 edge is a complete package with no competition in the market of Android smartphones (even the iPhone 7 falls behind in things like camera quality and overall design).

It’s been almost eight months since the Galaxy S7 edge went on sale, and since it is the best option for consumers after the Note 7 in the Galaxy lineup, we thought a long-term review was in order. After all, a smartphone doesn’t remain the same as it was on the first day after even a month of usage, and we thought putting up our experience with the device after eight months of constant use should be useful for those who are thinking of picking one up now. An especially important question this long-term review will answer is whether the Galaxy S7 edge is a good option today or if one should wait for the Galaxy S8, which will probably go on sale by April next year.

Well, let’s not waste any time and get started! (Don’t forget to check out our original Galaxy S7 edge review for a full rundown of its features and hardware.)

Let me begin this review by saying that the S7 edge’s performance hasn’t held up that well after so many months. It’s surprising – the Galaxy S6 lineup and the Galaxy Note 5 still work quite well more than a year later, but the S7 edge now suffers from quite a few stutters and lags from time to time. It’s something everyone here at SamMobile has noticed on their S7 edge. The phone still performs great overall, but there are times when pressing the home button won’t instantly take you to the home screen, or when clicking on an app doesn’t open it as fast as you would expect from a flagship phone.

The camera still launches quickly when you press the home button twice, but there can be some delay with this as well if you try to launch the camera when the phone is locked. The software slowdown has also affected the fingerprint sensor. The sensor itself is rather fast at detecting your fingerprint, but there are instances where the thing you want to do happens with a slight delay after your fingerprint has been detected. A factory reset fixed the performance issues for our executive editor Asif, but should you really need to do that here in 2016 on a flagship smartphone?

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My S7 edge has also picked up a lot of scratches over the months, mainly at the back (just look at the image above). The surprising thing is, the scratches have popped up even though I have been using my phone with a case since the beginning. A couple of scratches might be the result of me putting the phone on odd surfaces to take the photos you see here on SamMobile, but Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4 is clearly weak when it comes to preventing scratches. It’s not just a problem on the S7 edge, however – almost every company’s flagship phone today easily picks up scratches, which is a shame considering the money consumers are spending to buy these premium smartphones.

But scratches aside, the Galaxy S7 edge is still the most beautiful Android phone on the market today, thanks to that Edge screen. Whether you find the Edge screen useful or a gimmick is entirely up to you, but when it comes to looks, the S7 edge continues to be number one in the industry. Yes, a few Chinese phones are also coming out with dual-edge screens, but none of them look as well made and beautiful as the S7 edge. It helps that Samsung’s Super AMOLED display is the best in the business, and it’s still impressive to see after all these months.

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I should also note that after using quite a few other Android devices as a part of my office job, I have realized that Samsung’s auto brightness algorithm is the best there is. While it can be a bit eager to automatically change brightness levels even when you don’t want it to, the S7 edge is more accurate at detecting when you have moved into an area with too much or too little light. While other smartphones will simply stick to your last brightness setting, the S7 edge will actively adapt to the surrounding light. This is especially useful when you’re using the phone in bed at night, a scenario where Samsung’s displays also win in terms of how dim they can go.

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Battery life is another aspect that holds up well on the S7 edge after all this time. I can still make it to late evening with anything but heavy usage, although idle drain seems to have increased over time. I never reach for the power saving modes, which should tell you something. Of course, given the nature of my job, I do have a charger with me almost everywhere I go, but on most days the S7 edge gets me through my work hours with ease.

What about the camera? Since the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge were launched, we have seen devices like the Apple iPhone 7 and the Google Pixel hit the shelves, and all of these devices have been lauded for their camera performance. But even after all these months, the S7 edge’s camera remains top notch and the best overall. I’ve tested both the iPhone 7 and Google Pixel, and the S7 holds its own in daylight photos and blows away the competition in low light. That Dual Pixel technology helps in ultra quick focusing, and the speed with which the S7 edge continues to take pictures is second to none.

In fact, the iPhone 7 Plus, other than its ability to take bokeh pictures with its dedicated secondary camera, falls behind Samsung’s camera in pretty much every scenario. As for the Google Pixel, the S7 edge falls behind when it comes to detail in some low-light shots, but makes up for it by bringing in much more light thanks to the f/1.7 aperture and optical image stabilization (the Pixel doesn’t have the latter). It’s only in the selfie game that Samsung finds itself falling behind, but only just and because the S7 edge (and regular S7) have a lower-resolution front camera.

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Should you buy it?

Well, it depends. The Galaxy S7 edge remains an excellent smartphone half a year later, and if you really must buy a new smartphone now, the S7 edge is the best option (especially thanks to its lower price compared to the competition). The Android 7.0 Nougat update will breathe new life into the device with new features and a revamped user interface (newer than what you saw on the Galaxy Note 7), and there’s pretty much nothing else out there that can offer you the complete experience the S7 edge provides.

But we have to consider the fact that the Galaxy S8 will be arriving in less than six months. With the Galaxy Note 7 off the market, Samsung is probably going to hit it out of the park with the S8, and anyone buying the Galaxy S7 edge today might be disappointed seeing something much better come out in just a few months.

If you really must buy a flagship smartphone right now, you can’t go wrong with the Galaxy S7 edge. But if you have any high-end Samsung smartphone from the last two years, it would be best to hold onto your cash and save up for the Galaxy S8, which we are all expecting to bring with it the Galaxy Note 7′s perfection sans the explosion-prone battery.

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M. C
3 months 2 days ago

The king of all times.
Samsung Galaxy s7 Edge.
(Exynos 8890)

Blaze7
5 months 26 days ago

This is one of the crappiest phones samsung ever made,who ever says this phone is a beast must didn’t have the note 7.(besides the so called explosions). As others have stated the edge screen on this thing is terrible, lags so much even after all the tweaking, development mode etc. ,Fragile and it definitely is not good in sunlight because I use just about everyday driving sitting on GPS holder ,gets hot. Just one of the worst phones I had to trade for n7 I’ve ever had. Samsung better bring it hard with the note/s8 .and please writer.. this phone is still not the best android phone…only reason these articles are saying this is because samsung messed up on the note 7and the these writers have to try to back up samsung to make them look good after that mishap. ( P.r. stunts )

Ducati916
5 months 25 days ago

Haha. Seems like your 7 edge has a issue. Mines has been a beast since day one the camera the screen. Know issue. And my gold edge has held up well . Love this phone . Oh and the touch issue is a easy fix…get a damp case on your $800 PHONE

Blaze7
5 months 25 days ago

Ha ha ..no. seem like I have my opinion which is actual fact.

billywongwashere
5 months 27 days ago

Not sure about lag or stutter that is a big issue with my normal s7. I’ve had it since release date and it’s still running very smoothly and no lag. I have noticed from friends with android phones in general it’s all about how you set up the phone.

I m one of those ocd freaks who keeps the widgets to minimal with no flip board news or widgets on my screens apart from the a calendar and clock/weather.

Those with crazy widgets that is constantly running to track this and that has introduced pretty much a way to brick your phones performance.

Also a good thing to do is use the cm cleaner lite version to removed junk once a day. This seems to help with the speed or at least file space (32gb is not enough and one of the major down fall for the s7).

Other tip will be to enable developer mode andd turn off all the animation

Ahmedgalaxy01
5 months 27 days ago

S7 edge king of kings
Ihave it’s monster ❤❤

tswfootball
5 months 27 days ago

I agree with you to a certain extent. This was definately the case a couple of years ago when Samsung refused to update 1 year old phones(or in terms of the Note line only a couple of months) to their latest version of TouchWiz.

BUT they seem to have changed course now.. They did update the s6 to the touchwiz running on s7. Lets see if the s6 gets the new touchwiz on the nougat update as well. If they do, I’ll start to believe in Samsungs update policy again.

Blaze7
5 months 24 days ago

Well said..

j2001m
5 months 27 days ago

No lag on beta

il buono
5 months 27 days ago

I’m a current Moto Z Play owner and I previously owned the Note 7. I was hoping I would be sticking with the Note for longer than I did, but that obviously went downhill. I’ve been missing the experience so much that I ended up ordering an S7 Edge yesterday. This will actually be my third S7 Edge. The Pixel XL has been tempting, but not at its current price for the 128GB model.

tswfootball
5 months 27 days ago

I agree with the performance issues. This was especially evident during the update with October months security patches. Slight hiccups and Sometimes the phone would wake up only a couple of seconds after when pressing the power button.

Seems to have improved a bit with the November update though..

It’s not a deal breaker but it’s a bit sad to see Samsung still struggling to optimize their software over long term use. It’s not as bad as it was on Samsungs phones pre s6/note 5 but it should be better.

Another thing is that the phone is really cumbersome to use without a case.. I always get accidental touches on my s7 edge without a case. So I hope they fix the edge display for the next generation. You should be able to use this phone without a case..

With those negatives aside. As you said, the complete package is really great. The display is still amazing, the brightness levels are really good and you can see the phone in any lighting condition basically. The camera is amazing. Battery life is above average.

Blaze7
5 months 24 days ago

I agree.

SenorSjon
5 months 28 days ago

A co-worker just got a S7E, but I can’t get used to the edges and text/icons ‘falling’ off the screen. It is a fingerprint magnet as well. I’ll pass and hope for the Note8.

MStuart
5 months 27 days ago

Exactly this. Media is willing to ignore the elephant in the room because the curved display makes for pretty pictures in superficial reviews, but the truth is that it’s just a usability nightmare.

 
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