News by Luke Jones on Tuesday February 23, 2016.
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We have already seen LG?s new G5 flagship, a smartphone that aims for innovation. Samsung was never going to produce something as fresh with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, and so it proves with the two flagships revealed at MWC. Sure, fresh innovation may be missing from these handsets, but instead Samsung has set about perfecting devices that were already among the very best on the market anyway.Here we will focus on the Galaxy Edge, a smartphone that manages to cover every base. Design Last year Samsung introduced the double edge screen concept for the first time, while the Galaxy S line as a whole went through a radical overhaul, ushering a sexy metal build for the first time. It was unlikely that Samsung would change too much with the Galaxy S7 Edge then, and that is the case. The S7 Edge is almost identical to its earlier sibling, but up close there are some very minor changes such as a slightly curved body heading into the edges, making for a more comfortable hold. Ergonomically it works well, the device is should be big with a 5.5-inch screen, but the Galaxy S7 Edge is actually quite small and feels fantastic in the hand. Samsung has also done a good job keeping the premium look and feel, the metal side frame sandwiched in glass is sumptuous and the company is so much better since it looked to premium materials. Last year's Galaxy S6 Edge lost the water and scratch proofing found on the Galaxy S5, but Samsung has reintroduced it with this model, with a rating of IP68. Samsung is avoiding saying this is actually water resistant, but with that rating you should be able to submerge the handset with no problem. Other subtle changes include the home button (which doubles as the fingerprint scanner) is flatter than it was last year, while the camera lens doesn't protrude quite so much. One of the biggest casualties of Samsung's design overhaul last year was the omission of a removable battery, and that has not changed with the Galaxy S7 Edge. Luckily the company has sort of made up for it with a huge 3600mAh battery, but we would still prefer a removable juicer. Display We were among those who thought the original Galaxy S6/Galaxy S6 Edge was among the best ever smartphone screens on the market. So, the company did not have to change too much in terms of quality, although the Galaxy S7 Edge does get a size bump to 5.5-inch. It is still a Super AMOLED panel with 2560 x 1440 Quad HD resolution, and is typically bright, as we have come to expect from Samsung. Sadly, the edge curved screen is still something of a novelty, a design idea more than an actual feature rich addition. Sure, you can do stuff with the edges, such as see basic notifications, but ultimately the curve is simply too small for any real deep functionality. Software Opinion time. We think Samsung's TouchWiz UI is the single worst thing about the company's devices and we wish the Samsung would ditch it or just improve it vastly. That will irk some who will cite Sammy's admittedly upward curve in the quality of its software in recent years. Yet, we still find TouchWiz too boggy and clumsy. We will have to wait for a full review to say whether new upgrades to the TouchWiz interface meet our desires, but first impressions are solid. Samsung has admittedly done a great job in toning down its UI, making TouchWiz simpler, and just more elegant. The UI is nowhere near as obtrusive as it used to be, so hopefully the famous lag found on Samsung flagships is now gone for good. While we described the Edge screens of the Galaxy Edge S7 as novel earlier, Samsung has tried its best to eek some more functionality out of those small curved strips. Not everyone will need to use the curved edges, so then they serve only as a nice aesthetic touch, but for those who do want to use them, they are useful enough in giving notification and letting you reach contacts easily. Processor Memory After ditching Qualcomm entirely last year in the wake of the Snapdragon 810 overheating problem, Samsung has returned to a two iteration model for its flagship devices. That means the United States variant of the Galaxy S7 Edge will get Qualcomm's quad core Snapdragon 820 chipset and other regions will get the handset that packs Samsung?s own Exynos CPU. Benchmarks are currently pushing in favor of the Snapdragon 820 as the superior silicon, but then benchmarks are not everything, so we will wait for a full review to test day to day performance. As for RAM, the Galaxy S7 Edge comes with the now standard 4GB that is found in most flagship smartphones at the moment. 32GB of native storage is also a standard these days, but Samsung has won back a lot of people by reintroducing micro SD card support, so you can now expand the storage memory. Camera Samsung has developed into one of the premier mobile camera providers, but then again this is a hugely competitive field at the moment and most companies are thriving in this department. However, the Galaxy S7 Edge certainly doesn't fall behind the pack, even though the company has decreased the megapixel amount to a 12MP lens. Of course, megapixels are not everything, as Apple has been proving for years, and Samsung seems to be aiming for the less is more approach too. It is a dual sensor f/1.7 aperture lens that comes with all the features (both hardware and software) we have become used to, such as optical image stabilization. Wrap Up Samsung has done what it needed to do, updated the Galaxy S7 Edge slightly. The company did not need to do anything other than improve on what it already had, in terms of design, hardware, and features. The S7 Edge still stands out as an aesthetic masterpiece, while it keeps pace with its numerous rivals in terms of everything else. We can argue that those already rocking the Galaxy S6 Edge, and especially the S6 Edge +, have very little reason to upgrade. In that respect, Samsung may pay for updating the S6 Edge so quickly into its life, but that does not detract from the fact that the Galaxy S7 Edge is a stunning smartphone.
Luke Jones is the Managing Editor at MobileBurn.com and is the person you need to speak to about the content on the site. Luke studied creative writing at degree level before carving out a reputation as a freelance tech writer. He settled here at MobileBurn, where he reviews devices and contributes to the news, as well as overseeing the site's content and direction.