Today, you can walk into any of the Big Four U.S. wireless carriers' retail stores and purchase a sleek new Samsung Galaxy S7 or GS7 edge smartphone. Both new devices are without question two of the hottest and most capable Android smartphones on the market. And though the two GS7 phones share many similarities when it comes to hardware and software, they have a number of important differences.
The Galaxy S7 edge has a display with curved sides, for example. It's larger and has a bigger display; and it's a minimum of $100 more expensive this the more diminutive GS7.
How to pick between the GS7 and GS7 edge
Galaxy S7 edge curved display and 'edge screen'
The most notable differences between the two GS7 smartphones are the GS7 edge's curved screen and its "edge screen" features, which provide quick access to your most frequently used apps and contacts. The edge screen also has pages for creating new tasks, such as adding contacts, taking selfies or adding new calendar appointments. A news and information tab shows a list of top stories from Yahoo News, along with thumbnail images. And you can quickly listen to your favorite streaming radio stations via a Samsung "Milk Music" tab. The edge features are also southpaw friendly — left-handed users can move the edge tab from the right side of the display to the left.
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The GS7 edge got a significant upgrade over its last-generation GS6 edge and GS6 edge+ counterparts, as well. Samsung's new edge smartphone has a wider, two-column panel for edge features (though the curved section of the display isn't any larger), which means you can access more options on each screen. The increased space also makes the edge panels easier to work with.
The "people edge" and "apps edge" are by far the most useful edge screen features, and although they take some getting used to, they can save time by reducing the amount of navigation you need to perform to access your favorite apps, or initiate or resume conversations with regular contacts.
However, the GS7 edge and its curved screen have a couple of downsides. The display's curves can cause you to unintentionally launch apps or trigger functions when you hold it in the palm of your hand, with fingers wrapped snuggly around it, because the phone display extends along the side of the phone.
The GS7 edge is also somewhat slippery, thanks to its sleek, slick curved glass display, which means it can be easier to drop or fumble when you pull it out of a pocket or purse. Some cases alleviate the issue a bit, but to get the full value of the edge features, you need unfettered access to those curved sides. And as long as they're exposed, the phone can be slippery, especially if you have small hands.
Galaxy S7 edge is bigger and heavier
The GS7 edge is larger overall than the GS7, and it accordingly has a larger display. To be precise, the GS7 edge is longer than the GS7 (150.9mm vs. 142,44mm), wider (72.6mm vs. 69.6mm) and thicker (7.9mm vs. 7.7mm). It has a 5.5-inch screen, compared to the GS7's 5.1-inch display. And it weighs about 5 grams more.
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If you're still not happily aboard the "phablet" bandwagon, the GS7 might be a better fit for you. And it's also worth noting that both GS7 phones' screens have the same pixel dimensions (2560 x 1440), so the smaller GS7 has a slightly higher display resolution (577ppi vs. 534ppi).
Galaxy S7 edge has significantly larger battery than GS7
Samsung's last generation GS6 edge phone is plagued by inadequate battery life. So the company squeezed massive battery packs into the GS7 phones to make sure the new devices don't suffer a similar fate.
More specifically, the GS7 has a 3,000mAh battery (which is about 15 percent larger than the GS6 edge's 2,600mAh battery) and the GS7 edge has a whopping 3,600mAh battery (20 percent larger than the 3,000mAh GS6 edge+ battery). I haven't done a side-by-side comparison of GS7 battery life versus GS7 edge life, but it stands to reason the phone with the larger power pack will see longer life — the larger display, however, may also drain slightly more juice.
Galaxy S7 edge is pricier than GS7
The GS7 edge is about 15 percent more expensive than the smaller GS7. Here is the various no-contract retail pricing for the GS7 and GS7 edge, from the U.S Big Four carriers:
AT&T: GS7 edge $794.99; GS7, $694.99.
Verizon Wireless: GS7 edge, $792.99; GS7 $672.99.
T-Mobile: GS7 edge $779.99; GS7: $669.99
Sprint: GS7 edge, $749.99; GS7, $649.99.
As previously noted, the GS7 edge feels a bit more fragile than the GS7, as well, and because its display is curved, it could be significantly more expensive to replace a shattered screen.
Galaxy S7 edge has exclusive silver color option
Both versions of Samsung's latest Galaxy phones come in "black onyx" and "gold platinum." However, the GS7 edge has an exclusive color option: "silver titanium."
My GS7 and GS7 edge review units are gold and black, respectively, so I can't offer an informed comparison of the black and gold versus the silver, but if for whatever reason black is too dark for your liking, and gold too gaudy, you may want to consider the silver GS7 edge.
So is the Galaxy S7 worth an extra $100 or more?
Unless you simply don't have an extra $100, or don't want to spend the money, or the larger phone is just too big, go with the GS7 edge. The average smartphone owner keeps a new device for two years or more, and extra battery life alone should be worth what works out over that time period to be about $0.16 a day, or about $5 a month, more for the GS7 edge.
The GS7 edge has a larger display. It has a unique set of edge screen features that are genuinely useful. It's beautifully designed and just plain cooler looking than the GS7. And it comes in an extra color option.
Sure the GS7 edge might be a smidge more slippery and delicate than its little brother, but a quality protective case should address that concern.
You can learn more about both new Galaxy S7 phones on Samsung's website.
This story, "Is the Galaxy S7 or GS7 edge right for you?" was originally published by CIO.