The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are great phones, but no phone is perfect — here's what we'd change on these flagships.
After spending a few months using the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge every single day, the Android Central editors all have a good feel for the phones. There are upsides aplenty using the latest models from Samsung, but there are also a few things that rub us the wrong way.
Knowing that there are so many decisions that go into making phones this complex, the AC editors have a few suggestions for how we would fix the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge to fit our liking. Read on and see the changes we have in mind.
1. Phil Nickinson: Galaxy S7
I went for the Galaxy S7 this year. Prime. Proper. Whatever you want to call it. (I use both of those terms because they drive Andrew nuts.) For me it was about the size, and then the feel. That 5.1-inch display is perfect for my freakishly small hands.
Samsung's button scheme bothers me, but this is still the best phone out there.
The GS7 is, in my opinion, the best overall smartphone you can currently buy. It's got the best camera. The best display. Perfect size. Samsung Pay is very cool, since you can use it anywhere that has a regular card reader. Gear VR is a great little product. And then there's the waterproofing.
I'm still not crazy about the GS7's physical home button though. There's something about it actually moving that just bugs me. And I still say Samsung has the capacitive buttons in the wrong order. I can live with it, but I don't like it. Battery life has just been acceptable for me. (Some of that may be because I've got a Verizon model though. Networks matter.) But fast charging makes up for that. (I haven't bothered with wireless charging.)
All in all? It's still the best, despite the few small issues I noted. Let's see how quickly Samsung can bring it up to Android N later this year, though.
2. Jerry Hildenbrand: Galaxy S7 edge
I'm using the Galaxy S7 edge, which I still think is not only the best phone Samsung has ever built but one of the best phones ever built. Now that I've said that, here's why I might have to stop using it …
The edge screen is beautiful, but it kills usability with accidental touches.
The edge screen. I love the idea. I had high hopes that the new edge screen format from Samsung would get developers excited and we'd see something amazing to fill the space. We haven't (yet), but that's not my issue with it. It's the way it interferes with the things I actually want to be touching because my hand is accidentally resting on the edges. This became a real issue at Google I/O where I was too busy trying to navigate from one parking lot to another with my phone as a guide (that's where the I/O map lived) to worry about how I was holding my phone, and accidental edge touches killed me. During a break between sessions, I pulled the SIM card out from the S7 edge (even though it offered the best battery life of any in my bag) and dropped it into my BlackBerry Priv.
I hope Samsung can do something to make this issue a little better, but so far I think the updates to address it have actually made it worse. I love everything else about the phone — the big battery, the screen, the timely updates (gasp) and don't even hate the buttons on the front. I just need to be able to one-hand it while I'm wheeling around.
3. Andrew Martonik: Galaxy S7 & S7 edge
After spending my initial few weeks with the Galaxy S7 edge for review purposes, I knew it wasn't the phone for me. Just like Jerry, I haven't been able to get over the awkwardness of using a phone that randomly picks up touches from my palm as I use it. Swipe-in gestures are really tough when you only have one hand free, and other than looking really cool, the edge screen doesn't offer me much functional benefit — just downsides.
With that being the case, I've settled on the Galaxy S7 and I am quite smitten with this phone. The 5.1-inch screen with a thin, compact body is just the right size, and the battery life is notably better than the Galaxy S6. The camera is great, the screen is best-in-class and this phone is powerful enough to handle anything I throw at it.
The GS7 needs a better speaker, and I still don't enjoy the navigation keys.
But of course, there are still some issues even with my preferred Galaxy S7. The speaker is improved over last year, but still pales in comparison to phones like the Nexus 6P. The fingerprint sensor is fast, but still requires you to turn the screen on to use it — and being embedded in a home button flanked by capacitive keys is sub-optimal compared to a rear- or side-mounted sensor and on-screen navigation keys.
And then there's the software. While I don't have any major complaints about Samsung's interface at this point, I still dislike the slate of duplicate apps and the open door policy Samsung seems to have with loading up its phones with carrier bloat. I'm super glad that security updates have been rolling out, but the few things Samsung is still doing wrong in software put it a notch below what Google is offering in Android on its Nexus phones.
Even without these changes, can I still recommend the Galaxy S7 to just about everyone? You bet I can.
4. Russell Holly: Galaxy S7
I went with the Galaxy S7. As fascinated as I am with the things you can do on Samsung's edge display, the smaller of the two phones is what I wanted. After having used the Nexus 6P for a while, it was a nice change of pace.
Samsung needs to ditch the glass back.
The first thing I would change about this phone is ditching all the glass. I don't like how slippery the phone feels, I can't stand how easily the back scratches, and it's really the only thing about the phone I haven't been able to adapt to. Like everything else in my life, it'd be great if the battery were a little better, but the only real change I'd make in this phone is the glass.
This hasn't stopped me from recommending the phone to people, but that recommendation comes with a massive sidenote to buy a case immediately. I'm not a fan of anything that must have a case in order to be functional, so I probably wouldn't buy this phone for myself. For most other folks, though, this is the best Android phone you can get today.
5. Daniel Bader: Galaxy S7 edge
I've been using the platinum Galaxy S7 edge, and while I think it's slightly too big — my fingers would love it even more if the screen was 5.3-inches instead of 5.5 — it's definitely the most attractive and well-rounded Android phone I've used to date.
As Russell mentioned, the back scratches too easily — I've babied this thing, but somehow there's a nice big gash on the rear glass — and it's slippery, but I've yet to drop it despite my predilection for tenuous one-handed usage.
The fingerprint sensor and always-on display need a little work.
Mostly, the hardware is top-notch — super fast, best-in-class camera, and a screen you can legitimately use in the sun — but there are a couple of other things I wish Samsung would change. I've been spoiled by fingerprint sensors on devices like the HTC 10 and Moto G4 Plus that unlock the phone without first turning on the display. I get that the sensor is primarily a home button, but it wouldn't have been difficult for Samsung to implement such a two-tier unlock system. I am also dismayed at how poorly implemented Samsung's take on the always-on display compared to the Moto line and recent Nexus phones; despite it being sold as a feature, on the Galaxy S7 edge it feels very much an afterthought.
Finally, despite buying the phone directly from Samsung, it is still beholden to the terrible update schedule of the carrier it is locked to. This is a universal problem with many Android devices, but I was naive enough to think that Samsung would have overcome this issue by now and figured out a way to issue updates — even monthly security patches — on a regular basis, without carriers acting as intermediaries. While some carriers manage to get updates out quickly, it'd be better if the updates weren't up to them at all.
But, wow, that camera.
6. Your thoughts
These are our suggestions for improving the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, but we're sure you have your own thoughts, too.
Let us know how you would fix these phones in the comments!
- Galaxy S7 review
- Galaxy S7 edge review
- U.S. unlocked Galaxy S7
- Should you upgrade to the Galaxy S7?
- Best SD cards for Galaxy S7
- Join our Galaxy S7 forums