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Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review: Still Samsung’s best phone – but not for long

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Update:  The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is currently Samsung’s flagship phone, but it won’t be for long with the Samsung Galaxy S8 just around the corner. Normally, we’d expect the big unveiling to take place at the annual Mobile World Congress trade show, but this year it would appear that Samsung is giving Barcelona a miss, instead taking its time and launching later in the year.

This would make some sense in the wake of the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, which saw the firm recall all of the phones it sold and cancel production due to battery and charging problems. The last thing Samsung would want to do would be to rush out its next big handset. The Samsung Galaxy S8 may well turn out to be worth the wait, though, with rumours gathering that Samsung is planning to support S-Pen stylus technology in some shape or form in addition to the inevitable bump in power, and other specifications.

For now, though, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge remains the firm’s best phone, and it’s still one of our favourites, too. You can read the full original review below.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review: In full

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is the lost flagship of 2016. After the fuss over the launch died down earlier this year, it seems to have been forgotten, shoved to the back of the collective tech-industry consciousness. But it shouldn’t be, because the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is one of the best phones you can buy right now, and there are now several solid reasons, other than good looks, to buy it over its less curvaceous sibling, the Samsung Galaxy S7.

Indeed, on its own, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge doesn’t look anything special. Slide it up next to the Galaxy S7, however, and you’ll immediately spot the difference. This year, the S7 Edge has grown bigger (last year, the S6 Edge was the same size as the S6), and now has a 5.5in display.

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It’s a significant 0.4in larger than the standard S7 and, interestingly, a mere 0.2in smaller than the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ – Know Your Mobile went as far as to say the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge knocked the “build and design out of the park”.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge always on screen from another angle

The other big news is that, although there’s still no removable battery, Samsung has brought microSD expansion and water- and dust-proofing back to its flagship smartphone range. The Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge is compatible with microSD cards up to 200GB in size, with space for the card next to the SIM slot in the drawer that fits in at the top edge, while the phone is rated to IP68. The latter means, technically speaking, that the phone can be immersed completely in water up to 1.5m deep for up to 30 minutes. Drop it in the sink or the bath and it’ll survive, but a trip the bottom of the deep end at the hotel swimming pool might not end quite so well.

Cynics might suggest the lack of these features last year was a deliberate ploy, designed by Samsung to give customers a reason to upgrade this year. However, I believe it’s more likely to be a response to Samsung fans’ outrage following the launch of the S6 and S6 Edge. Removable storage had always been a stalwart of Samsung’s designs until that point – hopefully, this means it will once again become a permanent feature, never to be dropped again.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge rear

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge: Headline specifications

5.5in Super AMOLED screen, 1,440 x 2,560 Quad HD resolution
Octa-core 2.3GHz Samsung Exynos 8890 processor
32GB storage
Curved edges front and rear
IP68 dust and water resistance
microSD slot
12-megapixel rear camera with f/1.7 aperture, “dual-pixel” sensor and phase-detect autofocus
3,600mAh battery
Always-on screen
Internal liquid cooling
Smaller camera “hump” protrudes only 0.46mm
Price: £639 inc VAT | Buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge now from Amazon

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge: Design

So those are the major changes. What about the more minor ones? Well, there are plenty of those to cover, so I’ll start with the design, and it’s very much “as you were” on this front.

There’s the bigger screen, of course, but style-wise the phone looks very close to the S6 Edge. A glossy glass finish sandwiches a gleaming, coloured metallic substrate that catches the light in all the best ways, while the long edges of that 5.5in screen dip away to a slim, aluminium frame that runs all around the edges of the phone.

Eagle-eyed readers will spy that the very edges of the glass at the top and bottom of the phone are softly curved, but other than that – from the front at least – little has changed.

It still picks up unsightly fingerprints like mad, and the buttons and ports remain in the same locations: the volume buttons are on the left edge and the power button on the right, the combined SIM/microSD card drawer are on the top edge and the 3.5mm headphone jack, perforated speaker grille and micro-USB port are on the bottom. Yep, that’s right, there’s no USB Type-C here, presumably because Samsung wanted to ensure compatibility with the Gear VR.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge home button

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