February 24, 2016
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Historically, I’ve had a begrudging respect for Samsung flagships. I can objectively acknowledge the company makes very good, extremely popular phones, but I’ve never felt that the Korean manufacturer got everything right in a Galaxy S device. I’m not the easiest person to please, admittedly, but I’m finding myself irresistibly drawn to the Galaxy S7 Edge like never before.

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With every previous Galaxy S phone I’ve always found a few too many decisions I didn’t like, missing features I desperately wanted or gimmicky add-ons I saw no use in. Despite the way the world fawned over the Galaxy S6 Edge, even it didn’t tickle my fancy because I thought it was largely unnecessary. The edge was new but it had no real purpose. If anything, I thought the S6 was the better option.

Samsung's latest flagships all sport the formidable Mali-T760 GPU

The S6 Edge felt awkward with that sharp edge on the back, had a largely useless edge display, had dropped three popular Samsung features found in the Galaxy S5 – microSD support, water-resistance and a removable battery – and cost too much more money for what I saw as no added benefit. As good as the phone was in terms of performance and camera, it was still not a phone I would spend my own money on.

For fairly obvious reasons, I’ve been a Nexus user since the Nexus 4 and have rarely looked elsewhere for a daily driver. Sure, I review phones and familiarize myself with new UIs, features and settings of other OEMs but I always come back to my Nexus. But Samsung has recently started making the kinds of decisions I have been wanting for a long time: less bloat, fewer gimmicky features, a cleaner, faster, more refined TouchWiz and so on.

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The Galaxy S6 was a big step forward for Samsung, at least in my eyes. The design didn’t really appeal to me, but at least it replaced the atrocious design found in the Galaxy S5. TouchWiz went from a half-baked mess to a rebuilt and tidied up interface. The finger scanner was much better, there was less bloat and gimmicks and more of a focus on the core experience. But there were still too many things I didn’t like about the S6 for me to want it in my pocket long term.

But all that has changed with the Galaxy S7 Edge. The design is basically the same as the S6 Edge, and it still doesn’t really appeal to me, but the camera bump has been significantly reduced and a 40% larger battery crammed in. The addition of the curved edges on the back from the Galaxy Note 5 has made the device much more comfortable to hold and it even seems as though the glass back handles fingerprints a tiny bit better (although the new Galaxies are still pretty bad).

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TouchWiz has never looked better and Samsung has learned the valuable lesson of providing toggles and options for mostly everything. Android users don’t want features forced on them. We want the option to use the ones we want and get rid of the ones we don’t. The Galaxy S7 has so many customizable features and settings I can honestly say I could live with TouchWiz on the S7 Edge without hating my life. Even the Flipboard screen isn’t so laggy you want to die (but you should still disable it straight out of the box).

Simply put, the Galaxy S7 Edge is as close to the perfect smartphone as Samsung has ever come.

There’s app icon layout options for the home screen, an app drawer-less option, Always On Display, very nice game optimization settings, the S7 and S7 Edge have significantly larger batteries than their predecessors, have reintroduced the microSD card slot and added an IP68 waterproof rating.

The S7 Edge now has improved edge functions like customizable shortcuts and actions, a vertically scrolling news ticker and the promise of more now that third-party developers are encouraged to join the party. The S7 also has massively improved low-light camera performance and insanely fast auto-focus, thanks to the dual-pixel sensor. The Galaxy S7 Edge is, quite simply, the Samsung phone I have always wanted the company to make. For a long-time Samsung cynic to admit this fact demonstrates just how many right decisions Samsung made on the Galaxy S7 Edge.

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Of course, there are always a few things I don’t entirely like about any phone, no matter who makes it, and the same is true of the Galaxy S7 Edge. It’s just that the list is very short and pretty negligible. The lack of USB Type-C seems a strange choice (understandably made because of Gear VR compatibility), fingerprints are still a problem on the back and Samsung is still absurdly dedicated to a physical Home button.

I can’t tell you if the finger scanner is actually better because Samsung blocked access to lock screen options on the demo units (which are required for registering fingerprints). Battery life will largely remain a mystery until review units are shipped, even if the big capacity bump is very welcome and shows great promise. Simply put, the Galaxy S7 Edge is as close to the perfect smartphone as Samsung has ever come.

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As much as I’m happy to confess I want the Galaxy S7 Edge like I’ve never wanted a Galaxy device before, the last great hurdle for Samsung to win my admiration is to get Android updates out a lot faster. That’s a whole other kettle of fish though, and an argument best saved for another day. But as far as the Galaxy S7 Edge is concerned, I can finally say: Samsung, shut up and take my money.

What was your favorite Galaxy device? What do you think of the Galaxy S7 Edge?

Kris Carlon
Kris Carlon is a Senior Editor at Android Authority. He is a half-British Australian who lives in Berlin, travels a lot and is always connected to a laptop, phone, smartwatch or tablet (and occasionally a book).
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