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March 12, 2016

Why I Won’t Purchase the New Galaxy S7 (or Edge)

by John_A

Samsung officially announced the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge at Mobile World Congress 2016 for release on March 11, 2016. Along with some other Android devices, namely the LG G5, these new models came with a lot of hype.

A deeper investigation into Samsung’s new flagships shows that hype is basically all there is. Yes, the S7 and Edge are sleek, top of the line devices running on Android’s latest Marshmallow operating system—but as Engadget’s own Chris Velazco stated so simply, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are beautiful, if unsurprising sequels. So these are great phones, but I’m a little let down. To be honest I have been a bit surprised, not by the awesomeness of the S7, but by all it’s lacking.

I have been using Samsung phones for about four years, since the release of the Galaxy S3. I’m currently equipped with a Galaxy S5 that I love. Heck if I could have Marshmallow on my phone, I probably wouldn’t even consider an upgrade. But I do see a bit of lag on my version of Lollipop, I know the phone could be faster and sleeker, and I’m a sucker for redesigned, new tech.

So why won’t I be purchasing the new S7 or Edge, even though the offer of a free Gear VR is compelling? I haven’t tested the phone, though test drives of the S7 and Edge are ongoing at Best Buy, but I’m underwhelmed by the specs and I don’t imagine the new Galaxy could be much better than my S5.

So the S7 and Edge both have a larger battery than my current S5, but a jump from the S5’s 2800 mAh to the S7’s 3000 mAh is pretty insignificant. Even the S7 Edge with a 3600 mAh battery is not compelling considering that the battery is not removable, so there’s no option for swapping.

Wireless charging is one of the cool “new” features of the S7 Edge, but I don’t really see a draw. Until charging becomes truly wireless, to the point where my phone doesn’t have to sit unused on something that looks like a coaster, I probably won’t use it. I’m perfectly happy having a plug sticking out of the bottom of my phone, because at least I can still use the device.

Scouring the news about the S7 Edge, one of the most common gripes users have with the S7 line is a lack of an IR blaster. An infrared blaster makes it possible to use your phone as a remote control, and guess what? My Galaxy S5 has one. It’s 2016, we shouldn’t have a need for remote controls anymore. Tech companies should be consolidating devices, not leaving out features that do just that. I use my phone as a remote all the time. When one of the most prominent first world problems is that remotes get stuck in the couch, having a phone that can act as a remote is amazing.

Then there’s the issue of memory. The S7 Edge and S7 come with one option for storage, 32GB of storage, and that’s it. Knowing how much Samsung (and my carrier Verizon) love bloatware, I’m betting I’ll get less than the 25GB of usable storage that PhoneScoop says I’ll get. The real problem is that even though there’s a micro SD slot and support for huge memory cards, that memory is not adaptable. That means that you’ll only be able to transfer certain things to external memory. In my own experience, I run out of internal memory even when I have a huge amount of external space.

How about the processor on the S7 and Edge? It’s got to be bigger than the GS 5, right? Wrong. Both the S7 and Edge come with a 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, which is undoubtedly zippy, but still smaller than the 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 that comes with the GS 5. I’m almost positive that despite the difference in size, the Snapdragon 820 is faster, but it’s about principle. I’m coming back to the question of: why would I buy a new phone just to downgrade?

One of the most lauded features of the S7 line is that it’s once again waterproof. With an IP68 rating, these phones are protected well enough for scuba diving, supposedly. The Galaxy S5, with an IP 67 rating is only good enough for snorkeling. So in that regard, I guess the S7 wins, but who really needs to go scuba diving with their phone? Realistically, a waterproof phone should be waterproof enough to survive a drop in the toilet and my phone has done that many a time, including once today.

Also, the sleek new designs of the GS7 make it look fragile. The GS5 is anything but fragile. If we take a look at a drop test comparing Samsung’s Galaxy line, we notice that the S5 fairs just as well as any of the other devices. It’s truly a more durable device than any other I’ve had. I have even dropped my phone off my apartment balcony (4 floors) and it survived (well… it still worked though it was severely cracked). If you want real scientific proof that the S5 is durable, peak the top YouTube comment on the linked video:
I don’t know how durable the new S7 line is, but with the Edge’s edge, I imagine that it’s prone to breaking. And breaking my high expectations is all the new S7 line has done so far. Prove me wrong, Samsung.

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