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Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge: Bigger, better, just as sexy (hands-on)

Those two curved sides will help the larger Galaxy S7 Edge stand out against 2016's top phones -- including Samsung's own S7. Read all about it!

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It didn't take me much time with Samsung's two new phones to already prefer the Galaxy S7 Edge to the perfectly good S7 launched here in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress show. Not only does the Edge parade a showier design with a screen that curves around on both right and left sides, it also gives you more to do with that space (see specifics below). This bonus pack makes the phone surprisingly immersive.

While it shares the same internals as the S7, the Edge has a larger screen -- 5.5 inches versus the S7's 5.1-incher -- and its slim, balanced design has more in common with the 5.7-inch Galaxy S6 Edge+ launched just last August. I do like Samsung's software refresh, which makes icons on the secondary "edge" menu larger and more diverse.

The Edge, right, is the larger and more tricked-out S7 phone.

Josh Miller/CNET

All this extra attention reinforces that the Edge is Samsung's favorite, too. It's this curved version that gets three color choices while the S7 gets two. I certainly liked the hardware and software revisions I saw in my S7 Edge demo, but if you already own an S6 Edge or even a newer S6 Edge+, you should be able to safely skip the upgrade.

Battery life, meanwhile, looks very promising. At 3,600mAh, the S7 Edge's battery is more capacious than the S7, the Edge 6+ and even the Galaxy Note 5, which was a real marathon runner. (Of course, we'll need to make sure real-world usage lives up to the promise.)

Samsung faces stiff competition in the premium quarters as well as challenges from cheaper phones with fewer frills. By making its more distinctive S7 Edge the larger phone, Samsung is likely justifying the phone's higher price compared to the smaller S7, which it's positioning as its more affordable of the set.

The S7 and S7 Edge are available March 11, with preorders beginning February 23. Samsung hasn't announced pricing (though it's safe to assume the Edge will be the costlier of the two), but it will do you a deal: If you buy either S7 before March 18, Samsung will give you a free Gear VR virtual-reality headset with a six-game bundle. The Gear VR will work with both new S7 phones.

New and notable features

  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow software
  • Size: 5.5-inch screen with 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution (versus 5.1-inch S6 Edge and 5.7-inch S6 Edge+ with the same resolution)
  • Either 32 or 64GB of storage, depending on the region
  • MicroSD card slot for extra storage (up to 200GB)
  • 12-megapixel camera (get the story below)
  • 3,600mAh battery (versus 2,600mAh on Galaxy S6 Edge, 3,000mAh on S6 Edge+)
  • Water-resistant (IP68 rating)
  • "Always-on" display shows time, calendar or images from the lock screen
  • Larger icon size for curve-screen menu (called the edge display)
  • More tools on the edge display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor (Samsung's Exynos chipset in some regions)
  • Dedicated gaming feature makes it easier to record sessions and screenshots; a do-not-disturb mode blocks incoming notifications
  • Colors: black onyx, gold platinum, silver titanium

Read about the camera app and more in my first take on the S7 here.

What's new on the edge display?

The edge display is Samsung's name for a second menu of shortcuts and informative tiles that live on either side of the phone, hidden from view until you swipe it out with a virtual tab. The S7 Edge picks up a few new tricks -- all good, small additions.

Larger grab tab: The swipe tab gets a little bigger and easier to target with your finger.


Icons on the "edge display" become larger and easier to tap; Samsung also supports other brands, like Yahoo's "edge" app.

Josh Miller/CNET

Larger icons: When you open the menu, wider icons take up more space on the screen, making them easier to read and interact with. In some cases, they'll spread out into two columns, like to show stock prices or sports scores.

More to do: In addition to columns for people and apps, the S7 Edge gets new swipeable categories for tasks and for third-party app developers. Like always, you can customize what you see in the edge display, and can access thumbnails from any screen when the phone is unlocked.


Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge LG G5 Apple iPhone 6S Plus Google Nexus 6P
Display size, resolution 5.5-inch; 2,560x1,440 pixels 5.3-inch, 2,560x1,440 pixels 5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels 5.7-inch; 2,560x1,440 pixels
Pixel density 534ppi 554ppi 401ppi 515ppi
Dimensions (inches) 5.9x2.9x0.3 in 5.8x2.9x0.3 in 6.2x3.1x0.29 in 6.3x3.1x0.28 in
Dimensions (millimeters) 150.9x72.6x7.7 mm 149.4x73.9x7.7mm 158x78x7.3 mm 159x78x7.3 mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 5.5 oz; 157 g 5.6 oz; 159g 6.8 oz; 192 g 6.3 oz; 178 g
Mobile software Android 6.0 Marshmallow Android 6.0 Marshmallow Apple iOS 9 Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Camera 12-megapixel 16-megapixel, 8-megapixel wide 12-megapixel 12.3-megapixel
Front-facing camera 5-megapixel 8-megapixel 5-megapixel 8-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K 4K 4K
Processor 2.15GHz + 1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor Apple A9 chip (64-bit) 2GHz eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
Storage 32GB, 64GB (varies by region) 32GB 16GB, 64GB, 128GB 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Expandable storage 200GB 2TB None None
Battery 3,600mAh (nonremovable) 2,800mAh (removable) 2,750mAh (nonremovable) 3,450mAh (nonremovable)
Fingerprint sensor Home button Home button Home button Back cover
Connector Micro-USB USB-C Lightning USB-C
Special features Curved screens Pull-out battery, two rear cameras N/A "Pure" Android
Price off-contract (USD) TBA TBA $749 (16GB); $849 (64GB); $949 (128GB) $499 (32GB); $549 (64GB); $649 (128GB)
Price (GBP) TBA TBA £619 (16GB); £699 (64GB); £789 (128GB) £449 (32GB); £499 (64GB); £579 (128GB)
Price (AUD) TBA TBA AU$1,229 (16GB); AU$1,379 (64GB); AU$1,529 (128GB) AU$899 (32GB); AU$999 (64GB); AU$1,099 (128GB)

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