A few weeks ago Verizon contacted me to test out the brand new Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. For being pretty tech savvy, keeping up to date with phones has never been my thing. I had a flip phone for most of college and used a BlackBerry for years. Only after I found it swimming in my drink did I upgrade to an iPhone. So when Verizon reached out I jumped at the opportunity. All of my hardware is Apple, but I LOVE Google. My dream job is to be a Product Manager at Google. (Heyyyy Google – here is my resume). So I was stoked to test Google’s Android operating system.
The Galaxy S7 Edge is b-e-a-u-tiful. I am working with an iPhone 5c – so in comparison, the Galaxy is so much bigger and the screen is crazy clear. I actually had people ask if the fake app sticker was still on the phone. I wanted to write a good review of the Galaxy S7 Edge, so I went all in. I snapped, texted, emailed, called and Facebooked from my Samsung for two weeks. So, did I like the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge? YES!! This phone is amazing, I even asked if I could buy the one I had been demoing! But will I switch from the iPhone to an Android device? Probably not.
Sorry Apple, but the Galaxy S7 Edge camera is the bomb.com I LOVED taking photos with this phone. With a 12MP rear camera with dual pixel and a 5MP front camera, photos are essentially perfect.
Selfies – I took maybe 100 selfies over the course of two weeks. Snap a selfie and edit to your heart’s delight, smooth out your face, widen your eyes, there’s even a way to make your face skinnier. For a while I kept thinking “Damn this phone takes the best selfies” – then I realized all the face editing features were also available to set, before taking the photo. I had the face smoothing and eye brightening turned all the way up. Whoops. Want to take a selfie in the dark? Not a problem with the front flash.
Look how smooth our faces are in this selfie taken in a bar with the front flash
Regular pictures – The pre and post editing and setting options are endless. There are so many settings that I didn’t even get to try them all. My favorite feature of the camera was the ability to shoot in advanced mode. You can adjust the white balance, aperture and focus. This picture of the flower in the snow was shot in advanced mode. Night photography or just taking a photo at a in a dark room is a dream with this camera. The dual pixel technology makes your night photography really pop with our being to grainy.
Comparison of my iPhone 5c to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Taking a photo – While the settings and editing capabilities are strong, I really loved the different ways to take a photo. Double tap the home screen to quickly pull up the camera. Hold down for rapid fire pictures. Want to take a selfie, but not shake the camera when pressing the button? Turn on hand recognition. Just hold your palm up to the camera, wait till it’s recognized, then move it. Boom! Selfie.
The Rest of The Phone
What makes Android’s operating system, so different than iOS is that it is completely customizable. You can do anything you want to do. On an iPhone, your experience is fairly restricted; for example, on your home screen, all your apps must align in a grid – whereas on Android devices, apps can be placed can be wherever you want. You can even add a super helpful Google search bar or weather widget to your home screen. Your password – 4 numbers, a scribble, or a thumb reader. Don’t like the default messaging app, try Samsungs.
However, all of this customization can lead to confusion. Figuring out my idea notifications settings or which type of keyboard I wanted to use was very difficult. For real – you can download different keyboards! I switched from the standard to a Google keyboard and even tried out the Swipe Keyboard.
Sometimes simple is better. The iPhone OS offers three standard ways for an app to send you notifications; four if you include the red circle on the app icon. For Android apps, there seemed to be no standard. Some apps have a little red dot notification feature on the app icon, some did not. Some had big pop-up windows alerting you of a message some had more discrete ways of alerting you. At first, I couldn’t get the text message notifications working as I would have liked, so I would often go awhile without realizing I had received a text. But like with all new technology it takes time to adapt, and by the end of my two weeks I had tweaked all the settings and found what worked best for me.
A few areas that need improvement…
- Autocorrect & Autofill – Autocorrect kept pulling in email address from my address book when texting. For example, when I would type the word, “Denver”, any email address with Denver in it would pop up in my text as an autocorrect and autofill my text .
- The Edge Screen – This beautiful curved screen is just that beautiful… not really sure why we need it. Sometimes the top left corner navigation buttons were hard to tap because of this curved screen.
- Bitmoji – I could not figure out a keyboard integration that made it easy to send Bitmojis, and this made me sad.
- Screenshots – The Edge Screen has this fancy sideswipe shortcut menu, on the right edge. I didn’t really use it, but it’s pretty cool feature. HOWEVER, when you take a screenshot – which you can do by swiping your hand across the screen – the EDGE bar is in your photo! Like wtf? So in my Instagram’ing process, I typically find a few filters I like, take a screenshot, and then choose between them; but all of the photos have the tiny edge menu in the photo. This should not be part of the screenshot. See below.
VR head Set
On top of demoing the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Verizon said I could demo the Samsung Gear VR headset or the new Smartwatch. This photo of Mark Zuckerburg had just circulated the tech world, so I was dying to try out VR. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. The Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus, requires a bit of setup which equated to a lot of build up with no climax. All of the VR apps are run off of Oculus software, so you are forced to download their App store and make purchases through them. I watched some videos and downloaded the one free game and was not impressed. Most games are $5.00 plus. I do, however, see the potential. While I was demoing the Gear VR, Oculus released Rift. The Rift VR set comes with a joystick/gaming console which would really take the experience to the next level. Is it immersive? Yes. You can spin around in your desk chair and there is a VR environment all around you – but there’s no way to interact with it… so it left me wanting more.
Here is a super awesome picture of me trying to figure out how to use the VR set at work.