Galaxy S7 Edge Privacy Screen

Picture of Galaxy S7 Edge Privacy Screen

Editors' note (March 28, 2017): Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, the follow ups to 2016's excellent Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. Priced at $750 (£689 and AU$1,199), the Galaxy S8 features a beautifully curved 5.8-inch screen with an ultra-narrow bezel; facial recognition as an alternative way to unlock the phone; and Samsung's nascent Bixby voice assistant. The S8 Plus costs a bit more -- $850, £779 or AU$1349 -- and comes equipped with a larger body and battery, but is otherwise identical.

Samsung has instituted an eight-point battery test on its new phones in an effort to reassure customers that it has addressed the issues that plagued its exploding Note 7 last year. To see how the Galaxy S8 and S8 Edge stack up against their predecessors, check out CNET's side-by-side comparison. The original Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review, published in March 2016 and updated since then, follows. Here's the phone you should buy right now: This one.

What catapults the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge to such heights? Is it the excellent camera, the beast of a battery, the expandable storage or the seductive design that's worth more than the sum of its parts? Yes, and more. This phone kicks the already-fantastic (just slightly smaller) Galaxy S7 up a notch with a bigger battery and that wraparound design on both sides that never fails to draw me deeper into whatever I'm viewing or doing.

Everything about the 5.5-inch S7 Edge excels from the inside out, and Samsung has refined the extra navigation software that dresses up the screen's physical curves. There are of course a few minor drawbacks -- there's no such thing as a perfect device -- but something about it feels more organic than your garden-variety phone, more complete. If you've ever seen one of Samsung's curve-screen phones before, such as the S6 Edge, S6 Edge+ and Note Edge, you know what I'm talking about.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is the larger, sleeker of the two phones. Andrew Hoyle/CNET Samsung has put a lot of effort into making the secondary menu bar more useful: icons get bigger and there are more types of information you can show there, like a shortcut to your favorite apps and tasks. There's a speed dial to your favorite contacts, an optional pane for sports scores and news headlines, even a tool to pull up the flashlight and ruler.

These are handy, just use them sparingly. Is the Edge worth the higher price compared to the S7? If you have the cash, then yes. For me, the phone's shape is reason enough, like how a car enthusiast might upgrade to a leather interior. The extra cost spreads out if you pay by installments; even if you pay in full, the difference diminishes when you consider you'll probably own this phone for the next two years.

That said, you wouldn't be making the mistake of your life by going for a more wallet-friendly phone like the Google Nexus 6P or even the S7. But if you want the most stylish, most all-in-one phone that money can buy, you've found it. The S7 Edge starts at $750, £639 and AU$1,249. Read more about the S7 Edge's top-notch software and hardware in my full Galaxy S7 review, and read on below for more on the Edge's software, battery performance and specs.

Editors' note: This review was originally posted on March 8, 2016 and last updated on April 16, 2016.Navigating the Edge I liked being able to jump into the edge display navigation from any screen, without having to go back to the start screen as you would normally have to do. This was an easy way to reach out to a favorite contact and my most-used app. At first, it's fun to hit the nine-tab ceiling and try them all, but pretty soon I realized that if I didn't know exactly which pane I wanted, I wasted more time looking for it than if I had just gone to find the thing I wanted from the home screen in the first place.

Three or four of these add-ons hit the sweet spot. Also, some panels that I'd want just don't exist yet, because the companies haven't made plugins.Swipe, swipe and away! CNET

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The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge had a tough task when it launched in February 2016.  That's because it was following in the footsteps of its predecessor, a multi-award-winning phone, simply because it packed all the power of the 'normal' Galaxy S6 and yet... that curved edge. We weren't alone in loving it, whipping it out proudly whenever possible. But that was 2015, and the world wasn't going to be so easily wowed by the curved design of the Galaxy S7 Edge.

We'd seen it. It had been done. So what did Samsung do to make its new phone a real step forward? Well, unlike what it's done on the Galaxy S7, which looks (initially) like last 2015's model, the changes on the S7 Edge were brilliant, adding a zest to a design that could have quickly become tired.  It was so good in fact, we crowned it the "best phone of 2016". And even though the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has now been superseded by the Galaxy S8 Plus, it's still a top-notch smartphone.

The screen is larger than the Galaxy S6 Edge, yet somehow the phone doesn't feel too much bigger in the hand. The rear of the phone is curved too, making it sit nicely in the hand.  It's waterproof. There's a microSD card slot. There's so much power in there we're pretty sure we could strap it on the back of a speedboat and make our way across the Atlantic. Update: Good news for those who have hung onto their trusty Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge: Android Oreo is coming. some point. Samsung is currently trailing the beta software for the Samsung Galaxy S8, but it should make its way in the coming months. Better yet, you can get one of these still-awesome edgy phones for lower than ever with our curated selection of the best Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge deals If you've got your mind set on what's coming in 2018, you'll obviously be interested in the Samsung Galaxy S9, which is strongly suggested to be launching at MWC 2018 that takes place late February.

And that's even more possible because the battery – such a disappointment on 2015's S6 phones – is boosted massively too, giving us a handset that's able to last over 24 hours between charges. Sure, it's no longer the golden child in Samsung's smartphone line-up, and now plays second fiddle to the new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, but if your budget can't stretch to Samsung's latest smartphones (they are rather expensive) the Galaxy S7 Edge is still an excellent choice.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge price and release date Released: March 2016 Price at launch: £640, $769, AU$1,249 Now down to: £599, $669, AU$1,148.99 All this technology comes at a cost, and a pretty hefty one. At launch the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge was priced at £640 ($769, AU$1,249) SIM-free, but that has dropped since the introduction of the new S8 duo. On the official Samsung website the 32GB Galaxy S7 Edge is now available for £599 ($669, AU$1,148.

99) - but if you shop around you can find it even cheaper. In the US we've found the S7 Edge for around $520, while SIM-free prices in the UK has gone as low as £480. It still not cheap, but in our view, it's still worth every penny. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge specs Weight:  157gDimensions:  150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mmOS:  Android 7 (Oreo update coming)Screen size:  5.5-inchResolution:  1440x2560CPU:  Snapdragon 820 / Exynos 8890RAM:  4GBStorage:  32GB/64GB (with microSD)Battery:  3600mAhRear camera:  12MPFront camera: 5MP Design The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is a phone that lives and dies by its looks.

If you're only interested in the power then just go for the standard Galaxy S7.  The smaller, 'normal', model has got all the same smarts, but a slightly sharper screen thanks to packing the same amount of pixels into a smaller area. What it misses is the clever elements that Samsung's used on the Edge. The display curves further away into the sides of the phone than ever before, which means that even though you've got a phablet-sized display, the phone is as compact as possible.

Place it side by side with the iPhone 7 Plus or 6S Plus and you'll see what we mean. The amount of bezel used above and below the display on Apple's phone is almost laughable, especially when you compare it to how tightly packed everything is on the S7 Edge – and the Samsung has a much, much larger battery. The S7 Edge is shorter and narrower (150.9 x 72.6mm) than the 7 Plus and 6S Plus (158.2 x 77.

9mm), even though both devices have the same 5.5-inch screen size. The iPhone is however, a hair thinner at 7.3mm versus the Samsung's 7.7mm girth. It's also very similar in size to the LG G5 (149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7 mm), which again sports a 5.5-inch display - with the Android manufacturers really sticking it to Apple. One of our favorite parts of the design upgrade on the S7 Edge comes on the rear. A process called 3D Thermo Forming – which sounds like it's been named by a sentient marketing machine – enables the brand to curve the rear of the phone into a single metal rim that runs all around the edge.

It's a feature that was used on the Note 5 (and is also used by brands like Xiaomi) to really help the phone slip into your palm and remove any sharp metallic edges. Combine that with the same curve on the front of the device and you can see why it feels so smooth in the hand, almost pebble-esque in the way you can roll it around in your palm. Intriguingly, this has left some people with the impression that it's not quite got the same premium feel as previous Samsung phones.

By having less metal to grasp on to you're touching the Gorilla Glass 4 covering, which can feel a little like plastic due to its lightweight (but still very strong) construction. Tap the back of the phone and it lacks the sheen of metal, but in fairness that lack of metal allows for the wireless charging that's a key feature of the S7 Edge. That back does have one issue though: it's a fingerprint fairground, a veritable carnival for any crime scene investigators looking to nab you for some dirty villainy.

So many phones have that criticism thrown at them, but it's particularly true for Samsung's new curved phone. It's easy enough to wipe the sticky offenders off, but it's annoying to have to do it time and again. The camera protrusion on the rear has been reduced to just 0.42mm, which means it's barely noticeable when you're placing the phone down, while still being strong enough to help protect the lens.

And then you remember something else: this phone, with its elegant rim and clean lines, and complete with exposed ports, is waterproof. No, sorry, water-RESISTANT, as it's IP68 rated. That means it's still able to work after being dunked in fresh water for 30 minutes up to a depth of 1.5 metres, so you'll be able to use it happily in the bath, or beside the shallow end of the swimming pool, and not worry about dropping it.

It's less of a 'let's take our phone scuba diving to get some amazing pictures' feature, and more of a safety feature – and the phone will even refuse to charge if the port is too wet, such is its ability to manage moisture. Sadly, you're still left with a single speaker firing out the bottom of the Galaxy S7 Edge, which doesn't really have the most premium of sound; however, it's serviceable, and noticeably louder than other mono speakers we've used.

Overall, we can't speak highly enough of the S7 Edge's design. It feels amazing in the hand, and Samsung has managed to bring enough upgrades to make this look and feel like a completely different phone; and most people trying it for the first time will – even if they're not a fan – be able to appreciate something different in a world filled with black, rectangular slabs. Screen The display, while technically part of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge's design, is worthy of chatting about in its own right – simply because it looks so great.

It's the defining feature when you pull this phone out among friends, and while it doesn't elicit the same response that the S6 Edge's display did last year (like we said, curved displays are nothing new these days), it still gets a lot of approving looks, especially as it's combined with the rounded back. The QHD resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 still looks as good as anything we've seen on a smartphone.

Despite being stretched a little from last year, the 5.5-inch size still looks absolutely pin-sharp, and it's very hard to see any artefacts lying around on the screen. It's amazing to think that, two years after LG brought out the first mainstream QHD phone, we still don't have any dedicated content that can be viewed at this resolution. Despite that, however, I don't feel like the Galaxy S7 Edge really suffers, as that display makes viewing web pages and photos a really great experience.

The S7 Edge uses Super AMOLED technology, which Samsung's been chucking out for close to a decade now, and it really works well to make the phone look premium and the colors really pop. The contrast ratio – the difference between the whitest whites and the blackest blacks – is still pretty sensational, which is because when they're not in use, the pixels are turned off; with something like the iPhone 6S or the LG G5 you've got a display that just blocks out the backlight when the pixel is showing a black image, so there can be a small amount of light bleed-through.

The Galaxy S7 Edge screen also has the added benefit of the side display, which is accessed by swiping your thumb along from the right- or left-hand side of the phone's screen (you can specify which in the settings). Where this was a nonsense, useless feature in years gone by, the side display has a much more defined role on the Galaxy S7 Edge. You can easily get access to news, regular contacts, tools (the ruler, for digi-measuring is back – GET IN) and other elements that are currently in development.

Check out the Specs and Performance section of this review to hear a little bit more about this feature – or skip it entirely if you're bored of hearing us witter on about a piece of the display you can swipe.

Wilma Lawrence

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