How the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge pulls off its curved display

by: John DyeMarch 8, 2016
1.2K

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That the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the S7 Edge are described as different “variants” or “models” of the same smartphone can be a bit misleading. The technology that goes into making the S7 Edge’s curved display is by no means simple, and it impacts how the internal components of the device can be structured and organized. Today, the Korean IT reporters over at etnews have given us a pretty substantive look into how Samsung pulled off the S7 Edge’s Quad-Edge curved display.

That’s right, Quad. Although even the most superficial followers of the S7 Edge are aware that the device has a gently curved screen on the left and right, some who haven’t handled the device themselves may be surprised to learn that this curved surface is applied to the top and bottom of the phone as well. Although this design choice provides a smooth, flattened lozenge shape that fits nicely in the hand, it has design ramifications that cascade through the smartphone’s guts, forcing the developers to very carefully and deliberately manage space. The result is a highly efficient piece of mobile tech.

samsung galaxy s7 first 48 aa (2 of 38)See also: Samsung Galaxy S7 unboxing and first 48 hours34

It’s worth noting that Samsung has decreased the bezel on the S7 Edge by significantly compared to the device’s predecessor, meaning that this year’s flagship has 40 percent less non-operating area on its screen than last year’s model.

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To get this level of physical smoothness around the edges, Samsung actually uses 4 steps of curvature (depicted above) which keeps the edge of the device from feeling like a sudden dropoff. The curved display is a modified version of the original Flexible AMOLED technology which we first saw hit the market in 2013, but the introduction of Quad-Edge display has resulted in a radical decrease in bezel space. Naturally, this creates less room for circuits and electrodes that the device needs to operate the display. To maintain a high resolution (which requires more electrodes and more elaborate circuit structures) Samsung had to develop a way to reduce the spacing between circuits, allowing more of these to be packed together inside the device.

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Furthermore, Samsung has managed to improve both the camera and the battery life on the S7 Edge. Since battery tech hasn’t made much improvement over the past decades (compared to similar tech), Samsung solves the battery problem by improving resource management. Having a nice camera could be problematic, especially since the manufacturer wanted to include Dual Pixel Image Sensor technology (which we’ve never seen on a smartphone before, and which allows quality photos to be taken even in low light scenarios). To compensate for this, Samsung carved out a relatively large 8.6mm U-shaped groove in the top right of the smartphone, where the camera is housed. The components that usually reside in this area have been situated elsewhere in the device, thanks to improved circuitry density.

What do you think of the Galaxy S7’s curved display? A worthwhile design element, or a perk that, while impressive, is fundamentally a gimmick? Let us know your opinion in the comments below!

Samsung-Galaxy-S7-Edge-19Next: Teardown of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge reveals some pretty slick camera tech39
  • McLaren F1P1

    It’s worthwhile although my eyes which are very sensitive to glare can’t handle it! Well crafted though!

  • On the Note Edge it was certainly more of a gimmick than anything else.

    Now… The S7 Edge? They did it! That’s why I would bet the edge is going to sell more than the normal S7… That’s the best looking device I have ever seen (and I’m not a fanboy). I have the disappointment of the year, oneplus 2

    • I pre ordered it today. I had the Note edge too. I would disagree with the gimmick part of Note Edge though. I found the edge pretty useful for tasks switching. For the S7 edge it’s a real beauty. Also OnePlus 2 is good but the Oxygen Os has a lot of Bugs.

      • Couldn’t have said it better. If you had the experience and say it’s not a gimmick I belive you. More than believing, I am happy with that because if it is really useful, imagine the usefulness combined with the beautiful “2.5D” screen that the S7 edge has!

    • Myra

      Samsung Phones and Tablets are now on sale only at NewSmartphoneDeals:com

  • Happy

    Excellent! Now add USB-C, removable battery, infrared, adoptable storage, etc. and then ask any price. This half-baked device you can keep for yourself. There is Apple and we don’t need another planned obsolescence specialist.

    • Dominick Wheeler

      USB-C is the future, but it isn’t the present. Personally, I prefer the ubiquitous nature of Micro USB, so as long as I have fast charging, Micro USB is OK in my book. Removable battery is nice, but not really necessary when you have a large capacity battery. I get the whole easily user replaceable argument, but most manufacturers will replace it for free within that year. I do however completely agree with the Adoptable storage bullshit. You add enough bloat with touchwiz, don’t take out STANDARD android features. Their argument is the same as when they took out the SD card in the first place: “Muh confused consumers”. Their exact quote was something like “our consumers understand how an SD card should behave and we want to maintain that consistency”. Roughly translated: “Our consumers are too stupid to accept change and can possibly mess up their phone because they don’t understand what they’re doing by pressing random buttons”

      • Happy

        When you have the majority of the flagships and smartphones in general coming out with USB-C, I wouldn’t call this future. USB-C is the present and microUSB is the past no matter what Samsung’s planned obsolescence team is trying to convince us. I still remember the BS excuse of Samsung not to upgrade S3 because there was not enough RAM. Well the S3 is rocking Kitkat, Lollipop and Marshmallow happily via custom ROMs. Quick charge will not maintain the capacity of your battery constant over year or two. Current battery tech deteriorates with time so if you have 20 hours between charges on day one it will be 14 at the end of the year. If battery is removable 15-20 euro at most will get your capacity back to 20 hours. So no – I’m not buying this argument. And no Samsung will not replace it for free just because it is slightly lower in capacity. At least not here in Europe.

        • An Droid

          Another spotty faced, pencil neck geek, who thinks he is more knowledgeable than Samsung engineers.

          • Happy

            Have you ever worked in a big tech company? Obviously not. It is not the engineers who are calling the shots. The engineers are the ones setting the technical boundaries. The ones who decide on the device features, etc. are the marketing department based on extracting most money from the customers – in short and long term. And in the case of behemoths like Samsung and Apple also the planned obsolescence departments. They have absolutely no interest to sell you the perfect phone. They have interest to sell you a phone that is outdate as you walk out of the shop so they can sell you another phone soon.

          • An Droid

            Ok, so what you are actually saying is that you don’t have a clue, but that you are a good conspiracy theorists.

          • James Theodore Retuya

            The idiot who calls himself happy is just that, an idiot. I advise against interacting with someone with so low a level of intellect. Stupidity can be contagious.

    • James Theodore Retuya

      Usb-c is not nearly universal enough to be significant at least in the next 12 months. And then you call it a half-baked device just for that? Apple sucker spotted. Get a life, turd.

  • AvalancheRyder

    100% gimmick. There is zero functionality added by having the curved screen (unless you count the added glare as a “feature”). And by functionality, I mean features enabled by the Edge screen that could not be included with a device with a non-curved screen. There’s no reason things such as People Edge couldn’t have been included in the non-curved version of the device.

    • saksham

      i must disagree as the edge technology is now open to developers so they add more apps to increase functionality of the edge . there are also about 5-6 key features preintalled . and btw its the best looking phone of the decade (maybe century) contrary to that ugly g5

      • AvalancheRyder

        They may add more functionality to the Edge, but can there be any features that NEED a curved screen to function? I’m pretty sure the answer to that is no, but I’d love to be proven wrong. I’m not trying to hate, I just don’t see what a curved screen provides that a flat screen couldn’t.

    • Dominick Wheeler

      It’s not very functional, but it is signature design. LG (up until the G5) had their buttons on the back look, Apple has the “slab with just one button” look, and now Samsung is pulling off the “pretty glass phone that curves elegantly” look. I agree that the same features could be implemented on a flat screen, but the curve gives Samsung an identity. Seeing that curved screen instantly makes a user think “Samsung Flagship”.

  • saksham

    and the good thing is that when u look at the screen it doesnt look like the phones has edges so u dont get distracted by that sexiness

  • PhatmanXXL

    Sammy stole that tech from Apple

  • Dan Smith

    I’m coming to you now from my S7 edge… its practically perfect. Honestly. The edge display doesnt do much, i’ll give you that (especially seeing as the edge functionality is now mostly on the flat portion of the screen) but its all about aesthetics. When i held the iPhone 6 next to my old galaxy S6, there was something seriously sexy with the iPhone, it just felt more… right in my hand… samsung has nailed that feeling with the S7 Edge, its gorgeous.

    My personal issues lie with the camera sensor being 4:3 as opposed to 16:9, i just feel like seeing as 99% of the time you’ll be viewing an image on a widescreen display you might as well take a widescreen image! I’m also going to miss the IR blaster and when, oh when, IS SAMSUNG PAY COMING TO THE UK?!?!

  • alex2792

    I got my s7 Edge last week and so far I’m loving it.

  • Mark Washington

    I love this article Samsung needs a commercial with your voice reading this article in a Jony Ive style.