Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs Galaxy S6: first look comparison

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs Galaxy S6: first look comparison

Samsung did a very smart move this year, introducing the 5.5" Galaxy S7 edge in its high-end portfolio. Unlike the 5.1" S6/S6 edge and 5.7" Edge+/Note 5 combos that were launched together last year, this time around there will be a very distinctive difference between its handset with flexible dual-edge display, and its more orthodox S7 sibling with the flat screen. 

This way, the upgrader's dilemma of Galaxy S6 owners is becoming much easier when it comes to the Galaxy S7 edge as an option, as they will be moving not only to a phone with a flexible screen, but also to one with a much larger display diagonal this time, yet not a huge phone like the S6 edge+. That is why we pitted last year's S6 against the S7 edge at the MWC show floor in Barcelona, to ease your potential choice even further. Shall we?

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs Galaxy S6: first look comparison
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs Galaxy S6: first look comparison
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs Galaxy S6: first look comparison
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs Galaxy S6: first look comparison
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs Galaxy S6: first look comparison
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs Galaxy S6: first look comparison
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs Galaxy S6: first look comparison
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs Galaxy S6: first look comparison
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs Galaxy S6: first look comparison
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs Galaxy S6: first look comparison
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs Galaxy S6: first look comparison
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs Galaxy S6: first look comparison
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs Galaxy S6: first look comparison
Design


That the Galaxy S7 edge is the same fingerprint magnet as the Galaxy S6 shouldn't come as a surprise, as Samsung has changed very little in the choice of premium materials for the chassis. Both phones are built on a metal alloy frame, sandwiched between two layered reinforced glass pieces for a shiny finish that smudges really quickly with finger grease. On the grey version of the S7 edge that we have here those finger stains aren't that visible, as it resembles the mirror finish of the Xperia Z5 Premium somewhat, and the grease blends in, but on the dark glass of the S6 they sit pretty, so, if you like it, then you should've put a case on it, as Beyonce never said.

The design materials may be largely similar, but there are still subtle nuances, such as the new anti-corrosive coating that Samsung uses for the exposed metal frame of the S7 edge, which looks and feels different than what we have around the S6. Samsung says it developed a new coating material, as, unlike the S6, the S7 edge is waterproof up to five feet, so it had to demonstrate that corrosion can be stopped in its tracks in order to get the IP68 certification.

While holding the two handsets, we noticed that the larger S7 edge is actually more comfortable to keep, thanks to the tapered rear, compared to the edgy sides of the S6. Moreover, thanks to the flexible display that wraps around the sides of the S7 edge, it is only a fraction of an inch wider than the S6, so we'd say that the comfort of one-handed operation is comparable on both handsets, despite the fact that the S7 edge has a much larger display, as its screen-to-body ratio is also much better than on the 5.1-inch S6.

Display


We mentioned the great screen-to-body ratio of the S7 edge, and part of it, of course, is because it uses a flexible 5.5" Quad HD Super AMOLED display that slopes around the sides towards the rear of the phone, thus reducing the actual flat area to be more akin to a 5.3" display, rather than the sheet with 5.5" diagonal that has been used. 

The 5.1" Quad HD Super AMOLED screen of the Galaxy S6 has an orthodox glass, instead of plastic substrate, so it couldn't employ these bendy shenanigans if it wanted. The screens look vibrant and have great viewing angles, but, unfortunately, we can't tell you if there will be a difference in their sunlight visibility, as indoors they both were more than bright enough to comfortably use. 

Galaxy S7 edge has one more ace up its sleeve, besides the larger and flexible panel, as it also employs the new Always On feature of Samsung, that allows for date/time, notifications, calendar or message content to float around the panel, so that you have most basic info just a glance away at all times without even touching the screen.


Interface


Samsung's TouchWiz has reached new heights with the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow that is on the S7 edge - it is smoother, color-coordinated, and with a brand new fast browser to boot. Unfortunately, our Galaxy S6 unit still hasn't gotten an OTA update to Marshmallow, otherwise it would have the same goodies to boast with. 

What it wouldn't have, though, is Samsung's updated Edge UX - swiping from the S7 edge's sides can bring about the so-called Edge Single Plus display mode with a double-width column that can display contacts, app shortcuts, and even news bits for faster preview. Surprisingly enough, given the powerful hardware of the S7 edge, the interface is still stuttering here and there, just as on the S6, though this might be attributed to the non-final software version.

Processor and memory


Samsung's Exynos chipset rules the day in our two units, while the S7 edge is also available in a Snapdragon 820 variant for the US and some other markets. Exynos 8890 in the S7 edge is faster than the 7420 of the S6, and Samsung's new handset also has 4 GB of RAM, against the 3 GB in the S6. 

This difference in performance would potentially be perceived only with heavy gaming, rather than basic interaction with the phones, as we didn't notice the interface to be much more fluid on the S7 edge when swiping around and launching apps, compared to when we used the S6.

Camera


Galaxy S7 edge employs a brand new 12 MP camera sensor, which might sound like a regress compared to the 16 MP shooter of the S6, yet the story here is rather different. The new camera has 56% larger, 1.4 micron pixels, and 25% wider, f/1.7 aperture, which cumulatively results in almost double the light collected compared to the S6. Moreover, Samsung now employs Dual Pixel focusing tech, which, compared to the PDAF technology of the S6 provides even faster focusing in low-light scenarios.

We can attest that continuous autofocus is amazingly quick on the S7 edge indeed, compared to the S6 - there is almost no lapse when moving the focus back and forth while shooting video, for instance. The camera interface has stayed largely the same on the S7 edge as on the S6, while Samsung has included new modes like Hyperlapse, Motion Panorama or Selfie Flash.

Expectations


We wouldn't mince words here - if you are mulling the jump from an S6 to the new Galaxy S7 edge, we would wholeheartedly support you, even with these rather early and preliminary impressions we have from Samsung's newest phone with flexible display. Not only is it almost as comfortable to grip and operate with one hand as the S6, but it also offers a much larger screen real estate, an even faster camera, and something tells us the battery life will be much better, too, given the juicing capacity inside the S7 edge. 

Add to these the expandable storage option and waterproof chassis, and the only deterrent to move would remain the price. Unfortunately, that one is shaping to be almost double what you would pay for a new S6 now, yet it could very well be worth it, pending our thorough review of the S7 edge, which is soon to be in the oven.


Related phones

Galaxy S7 edge
  • Display 5.5" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3600 mAh(36h 3G talk time)
Galaxy S6
  • Display 5.1" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 7 Octa, Octa-core, 2100 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 2550 mAh(23h 3G talk time)

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17 Comments

1. pmsap

Posts: 105; Member since: May 26, 2015

PA, you did many articles comparing basically the same. What's of interest here is to know ne thing: will you have demonstration S7's prior to March 11th so we have a in-depth full review?

10. QWERTYphone

Posts: 654; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

How come no one is calling out Samsung and their fan bois for BLATANTLY LYING about not being able to combine MicroSD and UFS memory? Anyone who buys a phone from lying scumbag corporations like Samsung (2015+) and Apple who rape their clueless buyers with inferior/fragile/gimped phones that are made of glass and have no removable battery/ microSD with ridiculously inflated prices are complete idiots. After 7 years of being a loyal Samsung customer who bought EVERY new Samsung phone, I am HAPPY to be DUMPING Samsung for the LG G5.

11. joeytaylor

Posts: 957; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Uhhhmmmm.....you do realise that LG is doing the samenthing with the storage

12. Krjal

Posts: 401; Member since: Dec 19, 2013

Samsung never said they couldn't do it on the one device. It was only the rabid fanboys trying to make the loss of sd card slots a necessary or positive thing. Loyalty to a company isn't a smart thing these days. They're not run by friendly families from your home town. They're run by shareholders. Either way, people spoke with their wallets and the small savings Samsung made by omitting the sd card slot from the S6s and Note5 didn't offset the loss of sales. So here we are with memory card convenience once again :) I don't think you'll miss out on much if you go for the G5 though. Looks to be shaping up a winner for LG. I'm tempted myself but I'm addicted to oled displays.

14. pmsap

Posts: 105; Member since: May 26, 2015

What does that mean not being able to combin both?

13. mmmanuuu

Posts: 403; Member since: Nov 05, 2013

Phone Arena please give me a FIRST LOOK REVIEW OF GALAXY S7 EDGE vs NOKIA 1100

2. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

AAgAgafrst lookn f

3. MrHate

Posts: 313; Member since: Feb 09, 2015

Wait these two phones are almost the same and the S7 only fixed the bad things from the S6 without adding a lot. Rofl Samsung sucks. Always the same :) . Oh wait this isn't an iPhone..this is Samsung..Everything Samsung does is good. All hail Samsung for the phone of the century.

4. chop32

Posts: 7; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

First look #15

5. Tarox

Posts: 114; Member since: Feb 17, 2015

everytime I see this freaking S7 edge I love it more...

6. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3935; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I don't learn anything from first look comparisons just sayin.

7. Esteban4u

Posts: 75; Member since: Oct 15, 2013

Yeah, yeah, more of the same From Samsung. They're just adding the missing features from last year's model. This is the phone Samsung fans should get in order to have Marshmallow / Android 6.0. I've had it since last November on my Nexus 6P.

15. MDave

Posts: 210; Member since: Apr 09, 2015

I do have Marshmallow on my S6. And wireless charging :P

8. joeytaylor

Posts: 957; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

From displaymate....S7....best panel ever....855 nits max.....imoroves on the S6 and note 5

9. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Why not compared Edge model to Edge model. Gosh PA, you guys do stuff so backwards. It is so idiotic how you test, review and even compare phones. Why would you compare 2 phones that in this case have an identical older model and not do so?

16. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

So just for the heck of it, I went to the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S review to see how those phones were talked about as they too also have a dual-glass design. First thing I notice? NOTHING WAS MENTIONED ABOUT IT BEING A FINGERPRINT MAGNET, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS ONE. So question? Why is this the very first thing you mention about the Samsung device? Why do all your paragraphs mention whatever you're talking about in such a negative light? First...Design! The first thing mentioned? It's still a fingerprint magnet. Actually it isn't, because of its design, people will have a case on it or a skin. How is dropping the megapixel in a camera a negative? After all, how many frikkin articles did you all write trying to praise the iPhone for having a crappy @$$ camera, and saying megapixels don't matter. Until at least the S6 which it mattered because it has better pictures right? Just like the Lumia with the 20/41MP cameras take better pictures than nearly any phone...right? The S7 vs the S6? The S7 has some significant improvements for a only year newer model. Improved water resistance, improved audio, improved camera that actually takes a nicer picture than the previous model, improved UI, improved design language even minor, improved battery efficiency and larger battery, improved display and newer features. The latest model has at least 10 things the previous model didn't. How many things did the iPhone improve over the previous model? Less than 1/2. Why do you have to be so critical of a single OEM? Samsung isnt the world. They make nice phones and they do it in a competitive manner. Some some half-assed overpriced piece of junk that most OEM's are selling. Get over it, any OEM known for making great products can be beaten. It is a continous game. If you rest on your laurels and dont compete because yyou have customers locked into your brand using every illegal trick in the book, even to the pint of actually breaking a customers phone to force them to only use you and buy your product, makes you evil and I don't want to be associated with such a product, no matter how good you think it is. You guys need to stop being so bias against or for an OEM. You jobs are to relay tech news to us in a manner that is educational and reasonably fair. After all, if you guys hate Samsung so much and love Apple, why not be like Cult of Mac? Just only report on Apple stuff and see how many visitors you get.

17. soldier820

Posts: 115; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

as much as i wold love to have the s7, i have to wait for the note6. Lets go samsung bring out your note

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