“It’s like an iPod but a phone.” Those were the first words I ever heard about the iPhone back in 2006, when Apple first announced their foray into cellular. I didn’t know exactly what that meant at the time — the only iPod I had was my frosty pink iPod mini — but I knew that I wanted it. (FYI, my phone at the time was a Motorola RAZR. How times have changed!)
When the first generation handset launched, I jumped on board and haven’t looked back. When questioned, I’ve often attributed my love for the iPhone and all things Mac to the fact that I hail from Cupertino, the quiet suburban town in Silicon Valley where Apple is headquartered. Most people accept this as a real answer. But the truth is, I’m so indoctrinated into this Apple cult, I’m a little mystified — er, make that, intimidated — by everything else.
When the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge was released this year, it arrived with lots of fanfare. “The best smartphone in the world — it’s a work of art,” hailed Tech Radar. With its 32GB of storage, 4GB of RAM, 12MP rear-facing camera and its gorgeous curved OLED screen, it’s a total knockout. If there was ever an Android phone that might seduce me, this was it. When T-Mobile gave me a chance to test out the phone using their insane Binge On plan, I gave it two solid weeks. Here are my key takeaways.
1. 12MP means different things in different cameras. As a power Instagram-user, most of my storage is dedicated to photos and video. Needless to say, a nice camera is up there next to “can make calls” and “has a mic” when it comes to deciding on a smartphone. While both the iPhone 6S Plus (my phone) and the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge come with 12 megapixel rear-facing cameras, the images that the two cameras produce are vastly different. Samsung’s (image left) uses a new patented tech, Dual Pixels, in the S7 Edge that aids in auto-focusing by equipping each pixel of the camera with two sensors. Apple (image right), on the other hand, uses “a state-of-the-art sensor, a new image signal processor, advanced pixel technology, Focus Pixels, improved local tone mapping and optical image stabilization.” What does this actually mean? What I noticed consistently is that the S7 Edge takes cooler-toned pics. But there is no better or worse here — it’s entirely a preference thing.
2. The screen is SO NICE. It’s easy to fall in love with the S7 Edge’s screen. It’s just so… crisp. The OLED screen appears so three-dimensional, the widgets practically look like they’re resting on the home screen. Watching YouTube makeup tutorials is kind of unreal — I can see every pore. Plus, the curved screen seems to mimic peripheral vision, making me feel like I am really seeing the WHOLE picture. Throw in T-Mobile’s Binge On, and Netflix never saw me comin’.
3. It’s a godsend for near-sighted, one-handed texters (me). Aside from the screen being so darn pretty, the hardware is in many ways more user friendly. Blame it on being born in Texas, but bigger is always better for me — which is why I’m all about the 6S Plus. But when it comes to trying to wrap my digits around the bulky 6.23-inch by 3.07-inch body, #thestruggleisreal. The S7 Edge also sports a 5.5-inch screen, but it fits waaay more comfortably in hand as it clocks in at 5.94-inch by 2.86-inch.
4. Customization options are pretty endless. Sure, you can change the background to your iPhone (you can even set a Live Photo as your Lock Screen image, which is pretty cool) but the widgets and the Home screen setup all stays the same — unless you choose to jailbreak your iPhone of course, but that comes with its own can of worms. With the Galaxy, you can download and change the theme like Kylie Jenner changes her hair color. In fact, THERE’S A WHOLE STORE OF THEMES. It’s pretty much the best thing ever.
5. There is no FaceTime, AirDrop or Live Photos. With all the amazing upsides, I have to say, Android’s Marshmallow OS is not as intuitive as the iOS 9.3. Also, I miss all of Apple’s built-in features like FaceTime and AirDrop. Since my whole family uses iPhones and they don’t live in NYC, FaceTiming is the most accessible video chat. Yes, there’s stuff like Google Hangouts and Skype, but it’s not quite as “anytime, anywhere” as FaceTime is. Also, sharing images immediately and without Internet between devices is a pretty sweet deal.
6. It comes with its own set of nifty tricks. Watch this. See that? I just took a screenshot… with the slide of my hand! Pretty cool, eh? When it comes to iPhone tricks, I like to think of myself as Encylopedia Brown, but it’s a whole different story with the S7 Edge. I am repeatedly having my mind blown. Life is pretty good with an Android, but I’ll be honest — I’ll probably still get the new iPhone in the fall because, 256GB iPhone 7 Pro, I have my eyes on you. But thanks, Galaxy S7 Edge — you were still out of this world (pun intended).
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(Photos via Kimberly Wang)