The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge is perhaps the fanciest smartphone you can buy in the market today. The phone combines the raw power and speed of the Galaxy S7, with finesse and edginess of curved sides that makes the phone the hottest looking smartphone in the year 2016. Thanks to its high price, the Galaxy S7 edge is a bit of a novelty. You have excellent options like the Xiaomi Mi5, the Nexus 6P or even the iPhone 6s that you may be tempted to pick up, instead. However, if money is no bar, and you are totally in for choosing the Galaxy S7 edge. You would be getting a blazing fast phone with a crisp and sharp display and a camera that more often than not scores an MS Dhoni Helicopter shot for a six. Except, there are few things about the phone I would like to warn you about.
Having used the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge now for a good five days as my daily driver going from a Nexus 6P is like everyone; I was super psyched when I greeted the device with my work SIM card. However, as the time went on, some things just started to bug me a bit, I detail them below.
The Phone is a bit of a problem when holding
I am in the habit of taking my phone to bed with me, as I like to spend 20 or so minutes before going to bed, catching up on the Slack Channels I am a part of, emails, some Twitter and round it off with some YouTube videos. All of this, while lying down. Obviously when you go to bed, you wash your hands clean and as a result, the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge keeps slipping off (your fiction-less hands), as you ensure you hold it up in a way that your fingers do not cover the display, or you do not end up pressing something by mistake. It is nearly impossible. I always ended up, accidentally launching things or tap content I had no intention to or worse dropping the phone on my face.
YouTube videos would stop because mistakenly I would tap on the player as there is just no place for me to grip my phone thanks to large hands. There is a reason I am not really looking forward to a bezel-less phone, and this is the problem. Anywhere other than when lying on the table or a surface, the phone is a problem to hold without you catching a sneak peek of your hands, which end up touching some or the other thing on the display.
My Indian problems
I live in India, in Mumbai to be specific. If you did not know about the Mumbai climate, it gets hot here, and you have air humidity as high as 80 percent on a good day. For someone who travels by public transport, the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, especially in the gold variant, is an absolute magnet for every possible kind of filth you can think of. Thanks to sweaty palms that you inevitably have due to the air, the phone picks up a lot of smudges from your hands. Not only they make the phone look filthy, but if you forget to wipe the sweat patches immediately, they dry on the phone and rub them vigorously against your shirt and you end up leaving some scratches on the back. At all the times, you need to clean the phone with a fine cloth with the right amount of cleanser on it as it looks like there is no Oleophobic coating here.
That’s not all. The gold coloured phone, with glass, when used under direct sun, reflects the glory back into your eyes to the point, you actually want to put the phone back in. Mind you, the display is beautiful in the direct sunlight. You will love reading on it, but thanks to the long hours of direct sunlight we get in Mumbai, I would want to cover the phone with skin, before I take it with me on a long walk mid-day. The reflections may blind you. I feel, the black coloured device would be much better in this regard.
Samsung has definitely toned down TouchWiz when it comes to the Galaxy S7 and the S7 edge. In fact, this is the best form of TouchWiz that I used, and I have used nearly all of them. However, minor annoyances are still there.
When you are on your homescreen on the device, you can swipe right to bring up Flipboard-powered Briefing. This is grand, I love reading Flipboard, in fact, I have a host of feeds there subscribed. But hold it, you cannot even sign in here. If you want to read your personalised Flipboard feed, you need to download the application and then use it like any other application. The Flipboard feed on the left of your homescreen is only for you to read feeds that you manually build, and cannot login with your personal account. Why?
Apps are still a problem and not optimised
Not all apps or even webpages are made keeping the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge’s edged display in mind. As a result, you have apps and pages displaying content that weirdly bend with the panel. This is still okay as long as you just are reading through, but if there is a form with dropdown icons at the edges, you are in soup and a chilly one at that. It is a real pain to hold the phone in one hand, and using the same hand click on that dropdown, right at the edge of the display to fill the form, I promise the phone will slip out of your hands. It is a problem of the ecosystem. It will take time till the content is optimised for edged displays and maybe by the time the S8 edge comes, we would be in a better place. But till then, it’s a major problem.
That Center of gravity is slightly high
Center of gravity (CoG) is defined as an imaginary point in the plane or out of the plane of a device, where the net moment is zero or the phone basically can be balanced on one point. Instead of the whole moment and arm length way, a rather simple way of visualising CoG of a four-cornered object, not assuming any thickness is to draw two lines, one from each corner that meets the diagonally opposite corner. Where the two lines will meet, will be the CoG, assuming all mass is same. However, with Samsung deciding to keep the shape of the Galaxy S7, with thin width and taller height, the CoG is higher up than it would be on say a Galaxy S7 given the camera module adds some weight on top.
For anyone holding the phone in one hand, in a standard way, with the pinky finger below and three fingers on the back, the CoG just falls above your index finger. This gives you a feeling that the phone will fall out of your hands. The phone is not particularly top-heavy, but with a taller profile with not a lot of width, its CoG is higher than most of the other flagships. For this reason alone, we prefer phones with a smaller display and a reasonably closer ratio of length to width, like the S7. (Ratio of width to height of S7 is 2.04:1 and for the S7 edge is 2.07:1)
Those capacitive buttons
Why Samsung? Why? When you have a phone as tall as the Galaxy S7, with the length of about 151 mm, and a high-ish CoG, you are bound to hold the phone from the middle. Now to reach all the way bottom to hit those capacitive buttons, either you use the other hand, or you simply adjust the grip, praying the phone doesn’t fall off.
Hypothetically, if there was an option to move to on-screen buttons, the buttons would have been accessible much higher than reaching out to the bottom most chassis. Also, it prevents you from accidentally pressing the buttons, when you put the phone carefully down covering the display with your palm. While you can argue that capacitive buttons take away the estate from the screen, giving users the option to switch a bit like what OnePlus One did, is what would be ideal.
System-wide shinny theme
It’s 2016, and there is still no way to change the default theme on most smartphones today. Apple did help the matters a bit with a Night Shift and with Android N set to bring the same later this year, light themes are still a big problem. The Galaxy S7 edge is one of the brightest displays out there, and that panel is absolutely stunning to look at. Unless, you are in a movie theatre, and forget to tone off the brightness to absolutely minimum, you may end up troubling a lot of people. The Quick Settings icons located under the Notifications bar primarily has a white background, so does the Settings apps pages. Dare you to open any of them in a pitch dark environment, and you would not need a torch. You can go ahead and change the theme on your Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, but there is no preloaded system setting just to enable a dark theme or a Night Mode and move along. Another feature, maybe the Galaxy S8 edge will bring given it will most likely come with Android N.
While none of these issues, other than the gripping problem should sway your decision to buy the phone, they were enough for me to feel a little let down by a phone that is exquisite to be considered. It just leaves me with the thought that maybe the curved display right now is more of a show than anything else, and the smaller form factor of the Galaxy S7 in itself is the sweet spot to pick up.
The author is managing digital marketing efforts at price comparison website PriceBaba.com.