In anticipation of Samsung’s shiny new Galaxy S8, I’ve gone back to using the smartphone it is replacing, the Galaxy S7 Edge, and what I’ve (re)discovered is a device still very much worthy of the flagship title. A year after its release, the S7 Edge remains one of the very best smartphones you can buy, and that’s only going to get better once its price gets dinged by the S8’s arrival this month.
I really didn’t set out to re-review the S7 Edge; all I wanted was to remind myself what Samsung’s TouchWiz interface was like, so as to be able to best judge the company’s changes in the 2017 iteration. But then I started admiring the S7 Edge’s screen. And I got an appreciation for the battery life that comes from a class-leading 3,600mAh battery. By the time I’d taken a few decent photos with the camera, I was convinced sufficiently to swap my SIM card over from my beloved Pixel and extend this Samsung test drive.
Now, am I saying the S7 Edge is better than the Pixel? Or better than the upcoming Galaxy S8? Definitely not. But depending on how its price shakes out in your local market, the S7 Edge looks set to offer much better value for money. Think about the things you want from a premium smartphone: a universally high standard of quality across display, camera, ergonomics, and looks, with the biggest possible battery that doesn’t explode. Well, the S7 Edge checks off all those boxes in 2017 almost as well as it did in 2016.
I’d have preferred if Samsung had moved to a USB-C connector with its S7 family, but I worked around my hate for Micro USB by just using an Anker wireless charger with a USB-C port. Besides that small annoyance (which for most people is actually an advantage as it keeps compatibility with all the chargers they already have), the only other thing that could trouble a potential S7 Edge owner are the titular edges of the screen. It took me a while to adapt to them and stop accidentally activating on-screen items with my palm, but I got there.
Aside from Google’s pair of Pixel phones (which are awfully hard to buy even today) and Samsung’s own upcoming upgrade in the shape of the S8, I’d rank the S7 Edge ahead of all its Android competitors. That’s in spite of LG launching its new top-tier G6 phone this spring, which looks nice (and, in one variant, sounds terrific) but is weighed down by LG’s awful software. And in spite of HTC swinging and missing with the U Ultra, and Sony promising to have a new premium phone at some point before the end of the world. More to the point, the iPhone 7’s arrival last September has done practically nothing to alter the Galaxy S7’s competitive position: the iPhone 6S was a good phone with a good camera, and so was the iPhone 7.
We usually complain about the plateauing of smartphone improvements, which are now coming at a slower pace and in more incremental ways — but the upside of that deceleration is that you can pick up yesteryear’s flagship phone and still feel like you’re riding in the premium smartphone carriage. And that’s nice.