Ben WoodsEurope Editor
Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional online poker player. You can contact him via Twitter or on Google+.
Samsung has unveiled its latest flagship devices and while a short hands-on leaves me excited to spend more time with the device, I can’t help but worry about long-term durability.
The new devices very much follow in the footsteps of their predecessors, keeping the larger screen size of the later ‘+’ models but bringing a more rounded edge to the sides of the rear casing.
The result, particularly on the Edge version, is a less sharp angle where the front and back meet. It’s altogether more comfortable to hold.
Samsung’s also worked to reduce the overhang of the camera on the rear of the chassis – it’s not completely eliminated but it is a little shallower than on last year’s model.
While my testing time with the S7 and S7 Edge was limited, they both performed as you might expect from high-end, premium-priced flagship devices from one of the world’s largest manufacturers.
The screen is as bright and vibrant as Samsung’s Galaxy range has taught us to expect, and now offers an ‘Always On’ option that displays certain specific info, like the time, date and charge on the screen at all times.
My initial reaction is to worry about the potential impact on battery life, but a spokesperson says it has been optimized to minimise the issue. Ultimately, it’s designed to make you unlock your phone less often. Samsung says the average person unlocks their phone 85 times each day, with many of these just for the time or date.
The low-light performance of the camera is another of the areas in which Samsung has focused for the S7 models – with initial results seeming encouraging. Without the opportunity to look at images on a larger screen, it’s hard to vouch for the low-light quality, but it was considerably faster to focus and capture the image than the 2015 S6 Edge.
There’s also a bunch of new gaming-related features and options to cut down on interactions, help you maximise your gameplay time and even let you broadcast yourself playing live on YouTube.
Other new features for this year include the return of a microSD slot, water-resistance and a larger battery – with the first and last particularly likely to please power users.
It’s the battery that worries me the most, however.
I have a Galaxy S6 Edge, and it’s performance is now so poor that I consider it virtually unusable. If I was to use it consistently, I’d not get more than a few hours use out of it – and it lags horribly when switching between apps, opening Web pages or pretty much anything else.
After a few months’ of using the handset, I wrote an updated review noting the concerns. Since then, things have only gotten worse.
The S7 and S7 Edge+ are beautiful handsets and they now offer such a complete set of features on paper, that it’s hard to find much to quibble about.
Nonetheless, with a premium price tag guaranteed, I just hope they’ll still be going strong more than three months after launch this time.
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