Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge… wow

IMG_0021When it comes to Samsung flagship smartphones, you know you won’t be disappointed. Well except when it came to the Galaxy s4… I never wholly liked that phone, but that is for a different review. Today I’m talking about the fantastic Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, and I’d like to say a big thank you to my wonderful partner, my gorgeous Cath for allowing me to use her device for this review, and even coming up with the review idea itself.

It looks so damn good and feels even better in the hand. It’s premium materials of glass and metal are near perfect and are only complimented by the shape given to the phone, with the curved edges of the screen and super thin bezels you get the feel of a thin device with a solid build. It doesn’t actually matter which colour you get the S7 Edge in, as they all look as pleasing as each in their own right. I say near perfect because everyone has their preferences, but for android fans or for someone who wants high end, this choice is phenomenal.


Hardware

Starting with the outside of the device itself we have the power button on the right of the device, volume rockers on its left and home/fingerprint scanner on the very front bottom and front top includes a 5mp selfie shooter. There’s also two touch sensitive buttons on the bottom, for going back and for recent apps, they light up when touched. The micro USB port, 3.5mm jack and speaker are all on the bottom of the Galaxy S7 Edge. And on the rear there’s an amazing 12mp optically stabilised camera capable of 4K recording flanked by an led flash. The screen is a pin sharp 5.5 inch SUPER Amoled display with a whopping 534 pixels per inch!

Inside is a power house of a phone. There’s differences depending on the model you’re using (country dependant) so I’m sticking with the UK model this time, the SM-935F to be exact. This particular S7 Edge houses an Octa-core CPU (4×2.3 GHz Mongoose and 4×1.6 GHz Cortex-A53) paired with 4GB ram. More than enough for anyone’s blogging, mobile gaming, browsing etc. Powering this device is a 3600mah non-removable battery that lasts and lasts. This battery is wireless charge enabled and supports fast charging 2.0, damn right? The S7 Edge is IP68 certified, this means it is dust/water resistant over 1.5metres deep for up to 30 minutes, happy swimming. In terms of hardware this device has all the bells and whistles but it isn’t cheap. You’re probably better off on a contract if you’re a little strapped.


Software

So far the Galaxy S7 Edge range is updated to android version 7.0 Nougat, this includes a decent security level and latest features by google, even before Samsung stick their own on. It’s extremely smooth running and zippy with no lag seen by myself. I won’t go into massive detail as there’s so much to say so I’ll just say my favourites. Samsung have stuck their own Touchwiz one launcher on top of the android system, giving it theming options and much more. The theming goes system deep too, changing the colours and design of all menus and even Samsung apps like messaging. Some features are useful like splitscreening two apps and the edge panel, the edge panel being so useful it’s unreal. You can have mini apps and all kinds of info on the edge panel, re-order how they show and even install new ones. From things like wiki facts, the weather, news, quick app launch icons etc, it’s a simple yet effective quick tool of the android world.

Let’s face it Samsung have had a bad past with bloatware, with their apps, settings and heavy ui. But these days since the Galaxy s6 and later, I like to think the bloatware is pretty much gone to an extent and touchwiz is a smooth as butter and any apps you still don’t want can now be disabled. It all adds up to a fantastic Samsung/Google powered experience, these two companies really need to get together for some serious hardware and software monsters.

Going on further we know that the software provided by Samsung has become in leaps and bounds better, especially if you look at the newly released Galaxy S8 range (Bixby and the new touchwiz), but that’s for another blog. For now all I can say is well done Samsung on your massive improvements over the years, please stay top dog.

Overall Experience

All in all the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is a great premium phone with its design and features. It’s a high powered smartphone with great software by both Google and the manufacturer. It’ll do anything you need with ease and swiftly, whether its gaming, work docs, blogging or media related stuff. It feels great in the hand and even better to use.

Thanks Samsung for your wonderful devices, keep pumping them out!

The gear link today goes straight to my go to for mobile phones, Carphone Warehouse. Choose contract or sim free in any colour you want. Hope you enjoyed my review today. Stay tuned for more soon.

Gear: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Twitter: @kyleedgee

G+: Kyle Edge

Budget with Xperia XA

Here I’m reviewing the Sony Xperia XA F3111. I’ll mention the good and bad points of this mid-ranger device and hopefully help you in the choice of purchasing it or not. 

Unfortunately Sony seem to be lacking in the smartphone game a bit these days. Personally I can’t see exactly why except for one reason, since the first Xperia Z, I must admit their android range has been so ‘samey’. None have shined through with an exceptional difference or brought anything new to the table, it has carried on in the X range too. This is sad because the truth is, overall the Sony Xperia range is actually damn solid, providing great smartphones. Maybe one day they’ll be considered top dog again. 

Hardware

Starting with the outside of the device the Xperia XA has a solid build of glass and plastic with a touch of metal on the sides. This is probably to keep cost down, remember this is a budget/mid-range smartphone. However it feels good in the hand, easily handled and not slippery like some high ends can be. The front panel is a nice 2.5D full glass piece which reaches side to side. 2.5D means that the two side edges of the glass are rounded to give a more comfortable, premium feel but isn’t quite like the Galaxy Edge devices. Although the back is only plastic it is hard to tell until you get scratches overtime, well at least I first thought it was a metal back, this phone certainly looks the part. 

The rear camera is a decent 13MP shooter with a miniscule flash underneath it and it’s paired with an 8MP front shooter, surprising because that’s a good amount of megapixels for a budget device. On the right side you’ll find your power button, volume rockers and physical camera button as standard, each give a good satisfying click. The left side is where you’ll find the nano sim slot and memory card slot under the same flap. The Xperia XA supports SD cards up to 256GB in extra storage, you may need one as the device only has 16gb built in of which some is already used by the system installed. You have a standard 3.5mm jack up top and the micro USB charging port on the bottom. I would have liked to have seen USB type C but it wasn’t chosen. Inside we have an octa-core processor (quad core 2.0ghz cortex-a53 and quad core 1.0ghz cortex-a53). This is paired with only 2GB ram, for the price this device was when brand new, I’d have expected 3GB ram but it seems to be enough to handle everyday tasks well. 

Software 

As many of you will know by now this device is powered by Google’s Android system. This means its already sold with the great and large app store everyone loves and many services to suit anyone. Just like any other android they’ve made, Sony have its own ‘skin’ over the top with tweaks and settings to make it how you’d like. It’s called Xperia Home, and it looks great, it has done since the first Xperia Z and only matured nicely through to the current Xperia X/XA range. 

The inclusion of themes for Xperias makes the experience only better too as you can download others off the play store easily, the level of customisability is near perfect. One down side is it can lag at certain points, if heavy background tasks are running or you’re on a ram hungry app (looking at you Facebook), then expect a slowness in multitasking and games. This is partly due to only having 2gb ram installed on this particular phone, and the amount of extra bloat-ware installed by Sony. You can remedy this somewhat by un-installing some of the pre-installed apps and disabling others that won’t go away so they at least don’t run in the background, this will also give you a bit more storage back. The great thing about the XA and even the X etc is that Sony puts in small tweaks that do a lot. For example the extra camera features. These include the camera apps (found within the camera app itself), these allow you to do more when taking shots like add stickers, panorama, play with augmented reality and download more from the play store. Sony have always been good with the cameras within their smartphones, the quality of the photos and video taken on the XA are fantastic for the price you pay. Don’t expect 4k super vivid quality you get from high end phones though as you’re not paying the premium price here, but what you do get is very good for everyday shots and memories. 

Overall Experience 

For a budget/mid-range phone like this you’re getting a solid and great looking phone that looks the part but underneath it all it does lack the umpf that Sony has for a while now. It’s small battery does actually last though and it’s main features including camera, sound and screen are more than enough to keep you happy, minus the fact it’s only 720p. Here you’re getting what you pay for, it generally runs well and completes any tasks you need doing fairly quickly and easily. 

I’ve completed this entire page on an XA today, I’ve used it myself and I must say, it’s a damn decent phone to settle with if you’re not going for the premium phones. It’ll certainly last long and do what you need it to, as long as you’re not after the bells and whistles.

Gear link: Sony Xperia XA f3111

Twitter: @kyleedgee

G+: Kyle Edge

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