Samsung's special-edition Olympics phone splashes out with color (hands-on)

We go hands-on with the same phone Samsung is giving the world's best athletes for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt

Editorial Director / CNET Franchises, How-To, Performance Optimization

Jessica Dolcourt leads CNET Franchises, How-To, and Performance. With over 15 years in journalism, her experience includes mobile phone and software reporting and reviews, and delivering advice on expansive topics ranging from personal finance to travel and home. Jessica got her start at Download.com and holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).

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If Olympic fever is upon you, then pay close attention. Samsung is selling its splashily colorful, Games-inspired phone starting July 18 for a sum we still don't know. It's a bummer not to have a price yet to pair with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Olympic Games Limited Edition, as it's laboriously known, but at least we've now had a chance to see the phone in the flesh.

A variation on the Galaxy S7 Edge, this special-edition handset just happens to be the same one Samsung (as an official Olympics partner) is giving to all 12,500 or so athletes. But the company is whipping up excitement by also making 2,000 of these handsets available in select countries, like the US, Brazil, Germany and South Korea.

Samsung's Olympics phone goes for gold: Check out this special edition Galaxy S7 Edge

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What you get is simple, but fun. Tiny statements of color dress up the black phone and correspond to colors on those iconic Olympic rings -- you get blue on the back, a red power button, green volume rocker, and yellow-gold front. Inside, a software theme surprises with lots of green, gold, blue and red tones on common screens (but not for third-party apps.) You'll also see a small echo of white rings on the lock screen, which you can display on the home screen if you apply some optional wallpaper. Other than all that, the Olympic edition is the same as the regular S7 Edge, hardware composition and all.

The jazzed-up phone comes in a sporty case with thick, sturdy zippers. You'll find headphones, a SIM card tool and the charger inside, but no surprising goodies like a case or VR games (the phone works with Samsung Gear VR) That's fine with me, but part of me always hopes for unexpected extras. We don't know what Samsung will charge, but if the phone winds up costing more for a few color accents, you'd be better off with a regular S7 or S7 Edge.

If you're itching for an even moodier take on the S7 Edge, check out Samsung's other summer spinoff, the one I like to refer to as...the Batphone.

In the US, Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge Olympic Games Limited Edition sells exclusively through Best Buy.

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