NEW YORK — Smartphones have become status symbols and statement makers — much like luxury cars. The new Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is a good example of this idea.
With a price tag of almost $800, customers are paying an ultra premium. And while the phone has tons of features that cater to nearly every whimsical need, many just seem superfluous.
After using the S7 Edge for about a week, I’ve come to love the way it looks and feels in my hands. It shines, it gleams. It’s sexy.
I also love how the phone performs. Everything feels instantaneous. Apps load incredibly fast. The fingerprint reader works with the slightest touch. The always-on display is really helpful. And the phone charges in less than 80 minutes.
On the flip side, the S7 Edge is a bit high maintenance. Compared to an iPhone 6 Plus, the phone I’ve been using for over a year, the S7 Edge seems more complicated than it should be without equally rewarding me for my extra effort.
Case in point: the unique curved edges of the screen. Aside from making the phone feel great, they don’t make the phone that much easier or better to use.
In fact, it sometimes feels like Samsung had to add features to justify the design. In other cases, the curved edge limits the usefulness of the phone.
For example, both the S7 Edge and iPhone 6 Plus have a 5.5-inch screen. But the way that the screen curves down on the S7 Edge makes it feel like it’s smaller.
The difference is barely noticeable until I watch a video or look at photos. Then it feels like the phone’s physical design crops some of the image.
There’s also the quizzical “edges” feature. Think of these as slim, interactive notification panels or extra homescreens that you can customize to show news, weather, or app shortcuts.
In concept, more shortcuts or alert feeds is a good thing. In reality, you’ll still need to unlock your phone to launch apps, view your calendar or send an email. And if your phone is already unlocked, the apps you need are on the first page of your homescreen anyway.
Samsung doesn’t need to justify its signature feature by cramming more functions into it and raising more questions about why it exists in the first place. The S7 Edge is a worthy competitor to Apple’s 5.5-inch phones, if not better in many ways.