Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review: Look elsewhere in 2018
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review: Performance, storage and gaming
As for performance, that’s pretty much impeccable. In fact, there’s hardly any difference between this handset and the Samsung Galaxy S7 when it comes to raw speed.
That’s what you get when you give two phones exactly the same processor (the octa-core, 2.3GHz Samsung Exynos 8890) the same amount of RAM (4GB) and the same resolution display.
In every test, the S7 Edge performs to the same high standard as the S7, and that means it’s very, very good. Its Geekbench multi-core results are ahead of any other phone we’ve tested, including the otherwise all-conquering Apple iPhone 6s. In other tests, the 6s pulls out a lead, but the S7 Edge and its flat-screened counterpart are faster than any other Android handset.
In day-to-day use, I found general responsiveness to be incredibly good. The phone responded to all gestures instantly, scrolling animations were smooth as silk, and stutter-free playback in the most graphically intensive mobile games was the order of the day.
In slightly bigger news – because, frankly, there’s little need for more mobile power than the S6 Edge offered, let alone this beast of a handset – the battery is significantly larger.
It’s now 3,600mAh, a full 1,000mAh bigger than the S6 Edge’s comparatively wimpy 2,600mAh, and it lasted an age in our tests. In fact, playing back a video on loop (with the screen brightness set to 170cd/m2), the S7 Edge’s big battery kept on trucking for a huge 18hrs 42mins, a result that puts all its rivals firmly in the shade. Even the iPhone 6s Plus only lasted 14hrs 48mins. It’s a truly stonking result.
There are other performance-specific upgrades to take account of, too. With a renewed focus on mobile gaming, and perhaps also an eye on the problems rival manufacturers’ phones have suffered from overheating, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge now has an internal liquid-cooling system.
The aim is to prevent the phone from turning into a high-tech hand-warmer while gaming, which subsequently throttles the CPU and GPU speed to keep the phone from crashing.
In practice, it will still heat up if you put it under pressure. Run the full set of GFXBench graphics tests while charging, for instance, or pop the phone in a Gear VR, and the phone will still get uncomfortably warm (I measured it at a peak of 43°C). It’s good to know that Samsung is acknowledging the issue, though, even if not solving it entirely.
There’s more, too. Samsung is also including an app called Game Launcher, which is designed to help with the annoyances of mobile gaming. Fire it up, select a game and you’ll be able to not only cap the resolution and frame rate to conserve battery power, but also access in-game floating shortcut controls that allow you to suppress notifications, take screenshots and capture video of your high scores and achievements.
This doesn’t have any special requirements: your games don’t have to be installed via the Samsung app store, and once you’ve installed the app (it isn’t there by default, but Samsung recommends you install it), it automatically recognises the games you have installed and presents them in a list.
This is useful, but it doesn’t work perfectly all of the time. Some apps that aren’t games appear on the list, while other games don’t appear at all. What’s more, the frame-capping has less-than-desirable effects with some titles. Do this with endless-running game The Pit, and instead of reducing the frame rate, the game simply runs at a slower speed. There’s clearly some work to do with developers here.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge specifications
|Processor||UK spec: Most likely - Octa-core (quad 2.3GHz and quad 1.6GHz), Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa; Other regions - Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (dual-core 2.15GHz and dual-core 1.6GHz)|
|Screen resolution||1,440 x 2560, 576ppi (Gorilla Glass)|
|Screen type||Super AMOLED, always-on display|
|Rear camera||12MP (f/1.7, 1.4μ pixel size, 1/2.6in sensor size, phase detect autofocus, OIS, dual-pixel sensor)|
|Memory card slot (supplied)||Yes|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 4.2 LE, A2DP, apt-X, ANT+|
|Size (WDH)||73 x 7.7 x 151mm|
|Operating system||Android 6 Marshmallow with TouchWiz UI|