15 May 2016

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge: First Impressions


As is the propensity with me around this time of year, I've gone and got myself a new smartphone. This year's edition of 'What's in John's pocket?' is the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Read on to find out my initial thoughts of Samsung's 2016 flagship smartphone.

Design


Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge gold platinum
One is beautiful, the other not so much.
This thing is beautiful.

One of the reasons I chose the S7 Edge over the Nexus 6P or even the standard S7 was because this phone is darn pretty. Beauty is subjective of course, but in my humble opinion, this is the best looking smartphone out there and one of the prettiest looking pieces of tech I've ever set eyes upon. It is that good.

I catch myself constantly picking it up and admiring it, how the screen display melts off the sides like an infinity pool, the gentle curves along the sides on the rear of the phone, the proportionate size of the bezel on the top and bottom, its feel and weight in the hand: substantial but not overly so, weighty but not cumbersome.

Sporting a 5.5" QHD AMOLED display makes this a larger phone than average but it's not too difficult to hold or manoeuvre thanks to the lack of bezels on the sides and the aforementioned curves on the front and back, which allows your hand to naturally contour around it. Layers of glass on the front and back make this more slippery than say a Motorola or OnePlus but it's not nearly as slippery as I had read from reviews. Still, it's definitely something that I will be holding and handling with care.

Speaking of the glass, this phone is one fingerprint magnet. If you're someone who likes to keep your devices unblemished then you'll constantly be wiping this phone clean.

The buttons are sturdy and feel well made, especially the home button, which has a very satisfying click when you depress it. The sim card/microSD card tray sits nearly flush with the body, the camera lens and housing are perfectly aligned, the speaker holes millimetrically identical. As a past user of Motorola, LG and old Samsung smartphones, the quality in which this phone has been put together is outstanding and praiseworthy. Excellent job Samsung.


Display



5.5" display: probably a bit too big for my liking (around a 5.2" display is ideal). Thankfully, the quality of the panel makes up for this issue. Coming from the LG G4, which also has a 5.5" QHD display (albeit an IPS panel compared to this AMOLED), I wasn't expecting much of a difference but this screen is brighter, more vibrant and a bit sharper. It doesn't get as dark as the G4's, but asides from that, viewing content on this phone is an absolutely pleasure. 

The curved edges help when sliding in menus from the sides (a favourite of Google's new material design language in Android Lollipop and Marshmallow) but they can get a bit annoying as there is no palm rejection software. As a result, at times, you're tapping things expecting something to happen but alas, nothing, until you realise a bit of your palm is touching the edge. It's not a major issue but certainly a slight hindrance and annoyance.



Other notes



  • Still too early to review battery life but definitely seems better than the G4 (it should as it houses a 3,600 mAh battery compared to the 3,000 of the G4). Can get through a whole day fine and the software also offers power-saving modes.
  • Camera is super-fast to open up with a double-tap of the home button. Snapping photos is also speedy and the autofocus is brisk as well. The protrusion of the rear camera housing is hardly noticeable, pretty much negligible. 
  • Samsung software is leaner than in years past thankfully but there are still a number of apps I wish were gone. Some can be disabled, some cannot, none can be uninstalled. It's still not the prettiest UI but at least they have altered some of those cartoony looking icons.
  • Quick and responsive, minimal lag. I am using the Google Now Launcher though which makes things even quicker. 
  • Having not used a fingerprint scanner before, unlocking the device took some getting used to and a number of 'No match' displays as I adjusted to the best position. Hit rate is definitely a lot better now, around 9/10. Unlocking the device takes less than a second although it doesn't seem as fast as Touch ID - I need to test that more.
  • Fast charging is fast. (Not always a given...)
  • Edge screen is providing me with some functionality, notably a shortcut to ten apps as well displaying a neat clock during the night. 

So my initial impressions thus far are certainly impressive. The software still needs work but having taken a hiatus from Samsung since the Galaxy S2, to come back to the family and experience the S7 Edge has been very welcome.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment down below.



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