SAMSUNG GALAXY S7 EDGE BATTERY LIFE
3,600 mAh battery, fast charging, Qi/PMA wireless charging
The Galaxy S7 Edge packs a 3,600 mAh battery that’s much larger than the disappointing 2,600 mAh cell sat inside the Galaxy S6 Edge and it performs so much better for it. Galaxy S7 battery life problems!
Battery life still isn’t perfect though. The iPhone 6S Plus can go a few hours longer and the Moto X Force will last an extra half a day, but even if you’re a heavy user you shouldn’t have to reach for the charger until bedtime.
With moderate to high daily use the S7 Edge tends to leave me with around 25-35% battery life at the end of the day. It drops much more suddenly during intensive tasks – 30 minutes of Hitman Sniper took it down 15% – but it has exceptional standby time. Leaving it unplugged overnight only ate through 2% thanks to Android Marshmallow’s excellent Doze feature.
One hour of Spotify streaming over a 4G connection uses up 5% and an episode of House of Cards on Netflix 10%. They’re both good, if far from amazing, results.
If you want to squeeze even more out of the battery then there’s a few power saving modes to choose from. The regular ‘Power saving modes’ gives you about an extra hour, while the ‘Ultra power saving mode’, which turns the whole device into something more akin to Nokia 3310 than a modern day superphone, doubles the time you can keep on going for.
There’s still no removable battery, but the S7 Edge does benefit from adaptive fast charging. You can get up to four hours of use from a 10-minute juice up and it’ll fully recharging in about 90 minutes. You’ll have to use the bundled cable and power block though, not just any charger you have about the house. It is also compatible with wireless chargers, both Qi and PMA standards.
SAMSUNG GALAXY S7 EDGE – ANDROID 6.0.1 MARSHMALLOW, TOUCHWIZ AND SOFTWARE
Once a thorn in the side of the Galaxy series, TouchWiz has slowly gotten cleaner, smoother and better. With the Galaxy S7 Edge, the skin has finally reached the point where it’s no longer a serious negative against the phone.
Granted, it’s not as sleek as vanilla Android Marshmallow, but it’s starting to come mightily close. There are fewer useless bundled apps, fewer ‘bleeps’ and ‘blops’ and fewer childish icons. The theming engine from the S6 is still around, so you can do a pretty good job of making Android look just the way Google intended.
Most of Samsung’s default apps have been cleaned up, to the point where they’re *gasp* attractive. The Phone dialler has some nice animations, S-Health is very capable for tracking how much you move and eat and even the once hideous S-Planner (basically a calendar app) is surprisingly feature rich.
One really nice new addition to TouchWiz is the Game Launcher. This is best described as a super-charged folder for your games, with a few nifty added features. Aside from organising everything, it lets you ‘go-all-Twitch’ and stream your latest round of Clash of Clans, quickly save a screenshot of your latest highscore and pause notifications while you’re in a game.
Game Launcher can also be completely disabled, so if you don’t like the feature, it’s not forced upon you. Something that probably wouldn’t have been included a few years ago.
There are still quite a few apps that you’ll wish could be removed. Microsoft’s suite of Office and Skype apps come pre installed, and if you don’t plan on using them the best you can do is disable them, which doesn’t delete them from the system memory. Plan on using Chrome instead of Samsung’s default browser? You can’t even disable that so it doesn’t show up.
Even though it has been severely stripped back, TouchWiz is still one of the heavier Android skins. 7.14GB out of the 32GB of internal storage is already eaten up when you switch on the phone, add to that the pre-installed apps and you’ve only about 20GB free to you to use. Comparing a clean 32GB Nexus 6P with the S7 Edge, you’ve got an extra 1GB of storage on the Google handset.
Marshmallow’s adoptable storage has also been disabled, which makes Touchwiz’ hefty footprint all the more annoying. Adoptable storage lets you combine the S7 Edge’s internal storage with a microSD card’s. It’s great, and lets you use install all your apps to the expandable storage.
Being fair, Samsung isn’t the only company to turn the feature off. LG has done the same thing with the LG G5, claiming people wouldn’t be able to quickly change out and swap microSD cards if it was enabled. You can still moves certain apps and your media to a card, but it’s nowhere near as seamless as it should be.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review
Samsung had a real issue on its hands with the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge: both had batteries that were smaller than the Galaxy S5’s, and which struggled to last the day on a single charge.
Performance was worse than the Galaxy S5, which was the first Samsung phone to not die in a heartbeat, and it was a real disappointment as the brand pursued a design win over functionality.
So on hearing that the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge packed in a 3600mAh battery, I had high hopes that it would be able to hold on better than anything before it – and largely, that’s true.
Usually a new phone takes a few days to ‘warm up’ to optimal battery life, but the S7 Edge was pretty bullet-proof to start with. I noted that in the first three days of use I had around 15-25% battery life by bedtime.
And that was after some pretty intensive use – configuring a few settings, trying out all the different screen and color modes, using the camera, plugging the phone into the Gear VR and showing it off to all the family (who kept watching the same blooming dinosaur video… I must know everything there is to know about that massive-tailed megalizard).
The Galaxy S7 Edge lost 10% battery overnight, which is a little high, but I did have the always-on display enabled though – a repeat test with it turned off (and do not disturb mode enabled) saw the battery drop just 2%, demonstrating that the S7 Edge is pretty good at not drawing too much power when it’s asleep.
This is partly to do with upgrades to the Exynos chip, but also thanks to the upgrades that Google has brought to the table with Android Marshmallow – the new Doze mode is more efficient at making sure your phone isn’t constantly waking up and checking the network to see if there’s any more information to feed you.
I appreciate that the balance is hard to achieve: giving you the information you want when you need it, but knowing when the battery could be saved at less critical times. However, it’s good to see that the S7 Edge makes a real step forward here.
Its battery basically felt a little less ‘slippy’ compared to previous years, where I’ve noted that just having the phone in my pocket would cause the battery to drain for no reason. This was all the more maddening considering that the Galaxy S6 pair could destroy our benchmark tests, seemingly able to view movies, play games and stream YouTube better than anything around.
However, after a few more days the Galaxy S7 Edge started to show the telltale signs of poor battery management once again, dropping a few percent here and there rapidly when running multiple apps – noticeably faster than something like the Huawei Mate 8, which is an absolute tank when it comes to battery retention, thanks to a militant attitude to app use when the phone has gone to sleep.
Let’s talk numbers here: we ran our standard battery test, charging the phone to 100% and then running a 90-minute full HD video at maximum brightness with various apps syncing wirelessly in the background, and seeing how much the battery dropped.
Intriguingly, the Galaxy S7 Edge fared just as well as its predecessor, showing a very impressive 14% drop. Samsung’s claim of 13 hours of HD movie watching seems a bit over the top, but then we did run the test with the phone connected to Wi-Fi and cellular, as most people would do; enabling Flight Mode would have improved things even further.
You can choose to have the basic power saving mode kick in at any point from 25% downwards, and this helps to eke out a little more battery life.
Ultra power saving mode is there for emergencies, but I’ve found this is best used when you know you’re going to need the phone running for long periods of time well before things get critical – it doesn’t seem to extend battery life too much if you enable it when you’re down to single digits.
What does that mean overall? Well, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge offers decent battery life, no doubt about that. It beats many other phablets out there in terms of power management, with the iPhone 6S Plus in particular losing out in the battery test – Apple’s device does seem a touch stronger in general power management, but it’s very close.
The Galaxy S7 Edge also comfortably beats the 5.5-inch LG G5 and 5.2-inch HTC 10, which both struggled to see out a full day’s use on a single charge, as well as the newer iPhone 7 Plus.
So battery life is an improvement on the new Edge. Are you going to feel like you’ve got one of the longest-lasting phones on the market? No, because Android still isn’t set up to work that way.
Amazing battery life comes at the cost of notifications. If you want a phone that can completely shut them down, something like the Huawei range does a great job – but you’ll get angry when you miss yet another chat notification because the phone has gone to sleep again.