Samsung Galaxy S7 And Galaxy S7 Edge Review: Hot Android Hardware

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Galaxy S7 And S7 Edge Design And Build Quality

OK. Maybe we lied a little in the intro. Upon closer inspection, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge have more than a few more mechanical and functional upgrades under the hood, so lets step through them here, along with a discussion of industrial design aesthetics and build quality. First and foremost, like the previous generation Galaxy S6 line, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are densely-packed devices. They're made from polished aluminum and glass with brushed aluminum chamfered edges. They're brick-rigid with absolutely no flex so they'll be no bendgate going on here, ever.
Galaxy S7 Edge
The Galaxy S7 Edge, like the Galaxy S6 Edge, has a double curved edge display that's .4 inches larger than the previous gen, though slightly smaller, at 5.5 inches, than the 5.7-inch Galaxy S6 Edge+. And those beveled edges and curved display, also just like the GS6 Edge, make the phone really easy to hold and operate with one hand. However, there are caveats here with both the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge designs. 
Galaxy S7
The Galaxy S7 is a smaller device with a 5.1-inch display, and though it has flush edges on its front face, the back of the device also has beveled edges like the GS7 Edge. However, while both phones feel great in the hand and have a super-premium look, they are very slippery. It's a real catch-22. Their super-polished designs look great and are surprisingly rugged, with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 strapped on the top side, but that sexy smooth goodness will let them slip right out of the palm of your hand if you're not careful. I don't know about you but my work usage model with a smartphone has me on the go at times and I simply wouldn't trust myself without a solid bumper on these devices, even if just a thin, clear plastic sheath.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Back2
And that's a shame. You'll want to protect these beauties, but to do so, unless you are sure-handed all the time, you'll need to cover-up some of that beauty with a good phone case or bumper of some sort. Beyond the safety factor, the mechanical designs of these two devices have a lot in common with the previous generation, and that's a good thing. However, we're still left with a single, bottom-located speaker port--a minor quibble in our opinion.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Back

12MP Dual Pixel Camera Senor And 1.7f Aperture Lens

Back to those new features. Samsung saw fit to upgrade the camera sensor on these new phones, now opting for a 12 megapixel shooter with a super fast auto-focusing capability thanks to what Samsung calls "dual pixel technology," which is basically an advanced phase detection mechanism. Every pixel in the new sensors can be used in the phase detection process, which can help improve and speed-up auto-focus. Only a small fraction of pixels on Samsung's previous-gen sensors could be used for phase detection. The results are impressive and definitely a boon for smartphone camera photography (results on the forthcoming pages) where spur of the moment shots are like mini life documentaries these days. Finally, the optics are also new here with both front and rear facing cameras sporting f1.7 apertures for excellent low light response.

The Always On Display That's A Little Sparse

Another new addition is that both the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge now have an always on display setting that allows you to show the time, date, calendar and notifications at all times. Samsung claims the display uses only about 5% battery life over an 8 - 10 hour day, so it's a nice feature to have with little trade-off. However, this feature with the GS7 and GS7 Edge is more limited versus say the Moto X Pure Edition or Google Nexus 6P's quick glance implementation, which include notifications that you can actually interact with, without fully waking up the phone. Regardless, it's a welcomed feature that may save you from hitting the power button a few more times during the day.
Samsung Galaxy S7 And Galaxy S7 Edge Always On Notification Screens

Combo SD Card And SIM Card Slot

And finally, that feature you've all been waiting for since Samsung opted for a completely sealed design (yes those new, big batteries are not user serviceable, like most phones these days, save for LG devices), the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge both have a combo SIM card and SD card slot that allows for additional storage expansion up to another 200GB. So, fire and record away shutterbugs and video mavens.
Samsung Galaxy S7 And Galaxy S7 Edge MicroSD Card Slots

Not To Be Forgotten, That Delicious Super AMOLED Goodness

We would certainly be remiss if we didn't consume at least a small slice of Internet bandwidth discussing the displays on both the the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, but we'll keep it concise because really, not much needs to be said. Hands-down these are the two best smartphone displays currently on the market, in our educated but still humble opinion. Brightness (even in sunlight), contrast, color saturation, color balance and viewing angle capability with Samsung's current generation Super AMOLED technology blows every other smartphone display out of the water currently, iPhone Retina or otherwise. Lay either one of these devices down next to any other smartphone on the market right now and it's game, set, match - Samsung. And that's not over-stating it either.

OK that's a wrap on the hardware front, let's look at #TheNextGalaxy on the software side...

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