Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Verizon stops supporting Galaxy Beta Program for the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

Samsung will proceed with its Android 7.0 Nougat beta test for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, but apparently it will continue without the many Verizon owners of those phones. The carrier has reportedly sent messages to Galaxy Beta app users, informing them that their phones will “stay on the original software for the remainder of [the] trial.”

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This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

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What exactly does that mean for Big Red users currently enrolled in the beta program? Well, if and when Samsung releases another Nougat beta build for those phones, they will not be accessible to Verizon owners. They can choose to stick with the current Nougat beta build that have already installed, or they have the option to roll back to Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Verizon owners will have to wait until sometime early next year before the official Nougat update begins rolling out for those phones.

Again, this change affects only Verizon customers with the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge. People who have those phones on other networks can get the latest Nougat beta if they have an active Samsung account, and if they install the Galaxy Beta Program app from Samsung’s Galaxy Apps store.

If you are a Verizon subscriber, how do you feel about your carrier ending the Nougat beta for the Galaxy S7 ahead of schedule?

This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

When major versions of Android are announced, it normally takes third-party OEMs a few months to update their devices with the latest version. Motorola and LG are normally two of the first manufacturers to release updates to their devices, while others, such as HTC and Samsung, tend to lag behind a bit.

This year, though, Samsung began rolling out a beta version of Android 7.0 Nougat to its flagship Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge devices before many other manufacturers could. If you’re lucky enough to own one of these devices and are wondering what to expect, we’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at Android 7.0 Nougat (beta) on the Galaxy S7 Edge.

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First thing’s first – want to test out Android Nougat on your S7 or S7 Edge? You can! Just make sure you have an active Samsung account and the Galaxy Beta Program app installed (it can be downloaded through Samsung’s Galaxy Apps store). Alternatively, users can download the Samsung Members app which is available in the Google Play Store or Galaxy Apps depending on the region. Once you’re signed up, just wait for a software update to arrive for your device. That’s it. Once the update is complete, your device will be running the latest version of Android.

Before we get into what’s new in Nougat, let’s first talk about something many users are curious about:

Just how stable is Android 7.0 (beta) on the Galaxy S7 Edge?

Very. Unlike the experience you’d get with other software preview programs, this build (NRD90M to be exact) is extremely stable. Personally, I’ve found day-to-day performance to be a breeze, and I haven’t experienced much lag at all.

With that said, if you do opt to test it out, don’t be surprised if an app crashes here or there.

Now let’s talk about what changes Nougat brings to the table. To start, let’s focus on improvements in the user interface:

UI improvements galore

This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Nougat on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge brings along with it a good amount of improvements and tweaks throughout the user interface. New animations, a completely revamped settings menu, and a new font are just some of the things you’ll notice right off the bat.

Samsung has been changing the way it approaches its TouchWiz interface for years now, and we’re seeing even more changes to the interface with Nougat. Everything is cleaner, simpler, and much more easy to use, which is a huge step up from TouchWiz in years past.

Pulling down the notification shade for the first time, you’ll notice a lightly-colored row of quick settings below the date and time. Pulling down once more will open the quick settings menu, which is now completely customizable. Why is this good news? If, for example, you don’t want to keep a rarely-used quick settings tile (like Smart View or Ultra Power Saving Mode) front and center, you can now remove it.

Blue Light Filter

This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Ever since the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, Samsung has been working hard to bring a number of features found in the Note 7’s Grace UX to the S7 lineup. One of the most useful features Samsung was able to bring over to the S7 line is the new blue light filter. In case you’re unfamiliar, blue light filters reduce the amount of blue light emitted from your screen, which allows for less eye strain particularly at night.

This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

You can toggle the blue light filter on and off by tapping the quick settings tile. A long-press of the quick settings tile will take you to the blue light filter settings, where you can change the opacity and set which time you’d like it to turn on or off. You have the option to set a custom schedule for the filter, or it can turn on and off automatically with the sunset and sunrise.

Revamped settings menu

This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Gone are the days of giant, confusing settings icons.

One other stark change with Nougat is a revamped settings menu. The entire menu is now in list format, which makes the menu much easier to navigate. Each category is listed in bold font with a short description of what you’ll find in that category. For instance, under the Display category, you’ll find “brightness, blue light filter, font” settings and more.

One other notable addition to the settings menu: if you’re looking for a particular setting but can’t seem to find it, you’ll get little suggestions at the bottom of each settings page that will help point you in the right direction. If you’re in the Display category, for instance, and can’t seem to find what you’re looking for, you can find a small prompt at the bottom of the settings page with suggestions. Simply tap on one of those suggestions to jump right to that page.

This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

SamsungOne

You might also notice the font looks a bit different. That’s because the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are now using the company’s SamsungOne font, which was unveiled back in June 2016. Samsung says SamsungOne isn’t just a font; it’s a family of scripts that covers 26 writing systems, more than 400 languages and over 25,000 glyphs. Overall, the font seems clean, legible and Samsung-y. For reference, check out the image of Google’s Roboto font compared to SamsungOne:

This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

New animations

The S7 Edge’s user interface has been quite snappy overall, and that’s thanks to the new animations Samsung threw in with Nougat. Below we’ve attached a short video showing these new animations in action:

Device Maintenance

This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 EdgeSamsung also included a new Device Maintenance tool, which can be found in the device’s settings menu. What does it do, exactly? If your phone is running slowly, draining battery too quickly or experiencing any other normal smartphone problems, this new tool will help find the culprit. Once you open it up, it’ll automatically begin running a test. Your device will then be given a performance score out of 100. You can choose the Optimize now button which will fix the errors, or tap on the separate categories at the bottom of the screen to get more granular information.

In my experience, this new Device Maintenance tool has done a good job at finding the obvious things. Most of the time it will offer up suggestions to close background apps, clear cached data, or some other semi-obvious outlier. This feature won’t be for everyone, but it’s there if you need it.

Also, if you need help remembering to clear these things out regularly to help with device performance, you can add a Device Maintenance shortcut to your home screen.

Performance Mode

Since none of us use our phones in the same way, Samsung has added in a few new modes that will cater to those who spend more time gaming, watching videos, and more. Your Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge should be in Normal mode by default, but you can easily switch to a different mode that will better suit your needs by heading to the Device Maintenance app and tapping on Performance Mode.

Depending on which mode you select, your phone’s settings will change to better cater to that profile. For instance, choosing Entertainment mode will result in your display increasing to 100% brightness, your screen resolution increasing to WQHD, and your video enhancer and UHQ upscaler being turned on.

New display settings

Samsung is giving users the option to scale down their displays to a lower resolution

With Android 7.0 Nougat, Samsung is giving users the option to scale down their displays to a lower resolution. Under the Display portion of the settings menu, you can opt for the full WQHD (2560 x 1440) resolution, or bring it down to FHD (1920 x 1080) or HD (1280 x 720). This feature first debuted on the Galaxy Note 7, which offered users more screen resolution options as part of the phone’s Power Saving Mode.

It’s worth noting that the latest Android 7.0 beta scales down the display to 1080p by default, so you’ll need to manually change it back to Quad HD if you’d like to take full advantage of the high resolution display.

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Improvements to Always On Display

This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Last but not least, Samsung included some improvements to the Always On Display that makes it a little more functional.

Samsung’s Always On Display has been one of the most customizable implementations among Android manufacturers, though it’s been pretty useless if you need to actually interact with anything on your screen. Previous versions of the Always On Display would show when your phone receives a new notification, but there was no easy way to jump to that notification if you wanted.

Now Samsung’s Always On Display can jump right to a notification with a simple double-tap. It took a pretty long time for this feature to arrive, but I’m really thankful it’s finally here.

Other Nougat goodness

There’s a lot more where that came from. Samsung packed a lot of good stuff in this update, some of which we’ve already talked about in our Android 7.0 Nougat review. With Android Nougat, you’ll see improvements to multi-window and the ability to quickly switch between apps with a double tap of your recent apps key. You’ll also be able to directly reply from notifications without jumping into the app, as well as take advantage of bundled notifications.


Overall, I’ve been enjoying Android 7.0 Nougat on the Galaxy S7 Edge. Not only has Samsung brought its users a solid, feature-rich beta experience, but the company is building this version with user feedback. It’ll be interesting to see what features make it into the final, consumer-ready version of Nougat, and what features are left out.

Are you liking what you see so far with Nougat on the S7 and S7 Edge? Be sure to tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Additional Galaxy S7 Nougat beta program spaces open up

Samsung originally rolled out its limited Android Nougat beta program for the Galxy S7 last month and now there’s a chance for a new batch of customers to sign up to test out Nougat. If you missed the registration the first time around, you’ll want to act quickly to get in on the second round.

Just like last time, users will have to download the Galaxy Beta Program app from Samsung’s Galaxy Store in order to participate, which should appear after a quick search. Then simply hit the “Registration” button and follow the instructions. Currently, it only appears that UK customers can sign up right now, although this might change in the coming days. Previously the beta program has been available to customers in the US, South Korea, and China. Hopefully a few more countries will be included soon, although Samsung hasn’t confirmed anything at this stage.

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Samsung has been steadily rolling out improvements to its beta branch, fixing issues and bugs before Nougat for the Galaxy S7 is ready for a global launch. We’re currently on our third beta update. The final build for the S7 and S7 edge isn’t expected to appear until early next year though, as the beta will be running until mid-December..

If you’re in the beta, what are your thoughts on Android Nougat?

Samsung’s third Android Nougat beta update for the Galaxy S7/S7 Edge now rolling out

A few weeks ago, Samsung announced its Galaxy Beta program in the US and the UK, which enables a few Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge users to try out an early version of Android Nougat on their devices and provide feedback on the experience.

By the looks of it, Samsung has really been paying attention to all the feedback it received. The tech giant has recently released a new Nougat update — the third so far — that brings a few nifty little features to its flagship devices.

The new update allows you to change the layout of the Quick Settings panel toggles, as you’re able to select between three different grid layouts — 3×3, 4×3, and 5×3. You can also choose to place the Brightness slider above the toggles for easy access or “hide” it in the expanded notification view. For some strange reason, Samsung has removed the Edge feed panel, but will probably bring back an improved version of it with the next update.

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Samsung has also made a few other small usability improvements — lock screen, multi-window, notifications etc — and fixed a few bugs in the process. However, the update is not without its faults. According to Samsung, some users may experience a problem with the screen. After you wake up the device, the screen won’t light up immediately (sound familiar?), which may pose a real problem for some.

The update is currently being rolled out to users in the UK, but we assume that it will soon be available on Galaxy S7/S7 Edge devices across the pond as well. If you get your hands on it, do let us know your first impressions in the comments below.

Latest Nougat beta for the Galaxy S7 defaults to 1080p display

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Android Nougat beta test is currently underway, before Samsung rolls out its latest software features to the wider public. However, some may have noticed that the display quality looks a little different with the latest beta version, as the resolution has been notched down from QHD (2560×1440) to FullHD (1920×1080) by default.

Samsung first debuted this type of feature with the Galaxy Note 7, which offered variable screen resolutions as part of its Power Saving Mode. The company has tweaked this software so that it’s now presented as its own feature, rather than under battery settings.Latest Nougat beta for the Galaxy S7 defaults to 1080p display Users are presented with three options, HD (720p), FHD (1080p), and WQHD (1440p), with the middle option being the default after updating. Of course this is a beta build, and Samsung may decide to restore the default to the panel’s full resolution come the final release, at least in some regions.

Interestingly enough, it’s quite likely that many users haven’t even noticed the difference. While some fonts and images may not look quite as sharp, optimized web elements and video streaming quality limits mean that a lot of content doesn’t look any different on a 1080p versus 1440p display anyway, especially on the Galaxy S7’s 5.1-inch panel. QHD is typically more useful on devices with a display above 5.5-inches, although users who opt to downgrade to the 720p mode will notice a much greater difference.

Why would Samsung include this type of feature? Perhaps the company has found a sweet spot between battery life and image clarity.

So why would Samsung include this type of feature? Battery life is probably the biggest factor, along with heat, as a lower resolution puts less strain on GPU and memory bandwidth. When you consider even the small UI animations that are rendered over and over again each day, a reduction in GPU power could add up over a day’s use. We’re not talking huge battery life extensions, but for heavy users this could make the difference between getting through the day on a single charge. Of course, display brightness, running apps, and signal strength are bigger contributing factors to battery life.

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Along with the resolution scaling option, Samsung has also included additional “screen zoom” options, which replace the old Condensed setting. Users can now opt for tiny or huge settings, with the former allowing for a little more content on the screen just like the old condensed option. Huge mode scales up object significantly for those who struggle to make out text and UI elements.

It will be interesting to see whether Samsung keeps the 1080p default option for its finished Nougat build. Perhaps the company believes it’s found a sweet spot between battery life and image clarity, while still allowing advanced users to go all out on QHD if they so wish. It’s also an interesting prospect for the rumored arrival of a 4K display with the Galaxy S8, as the panel might just kick into its highest resolution to watch 4K content or play a VR title, much like Sony’s Xperia Z5 Premium.

This is the ‘Glossy Black’ Galaxy S7 Edge, coming soon

A couple of days ago we told you about the possibility of a “Glossy Black” Galaxy S7 Edge in the works. Just 48 hours later and the first images of that upcoming device have now appeared on Chinese microblogging site, Weibo. The photos show a very shiny, very sexy S7 Edge that’s quite similar to the Olympics Games edition, but without the accents.

The baby blue version of the Galaxy S7 Edge is now available across all U.S. carriers, but the new shiny black version is expected to arrive in December sometime. We would expect it to arrive as early as possible though, to give it the best chance of being snapped up in time for the holiday buying frenzy.

This is the ‘Glossy Black’ Galaxy S7 Edge, coming soon This is the ‘Glossy Black’ Galaxy S7 Edge, coming soon This is the ‘Glossy Black’ Galaxy S7 Edge, coming soon

The images come from the Weibo account of a China-based Samsung official who obviously doesn’t care too much about leaking these images. They show the glossy black device from several angles, including its black metal chassis, with a regular Galaxy S7 Edge appearing in the background of one photo for comparison.

Would you drop a few dollars on a glossy black S7 Edge? Do you think it’ll be as scratch-prone as the Jet Black iPhone 7?

This is the ‘Glossy Black’ Galaxy S7 Edge, coming soon

A couple of days ago we told you about the possibility of a “Glossy Black” Galaxy S7 Edge in the works. Just 48 hours later and the first images of that upcoming device have now appeared on Chinese microblogging site, Weibo. The photos show a very shiny, very sexy S7 Edge that’s quite similar to the Olympics Games edition, but without the accents.

The baby blue version of the Galaxy S7 Edge is now available across all U.S. carriers, but the new shiny black version is expected to arrive in December sometime. We would expect it to arrive as early as possible though, to give it the best chance of being snapped up in time for the holiday buying frenzy.

This is the ‘Glossy Black’ Galaxy S7 Edge, coming soon This is the ‘Glossy Black’ Galaxy S7 Edge, coming soon This is the ‘Glossy Black’ Galaxy S7 Edge, coming soon

The images come from the Weibo account of a China-based Samsung official who obviously doesn’t care too much about leaking these images. They show the glossy black device from several angles, including its black metal chassis, with a regular Galaxy S7 Edge appearing in the background of one photo for comparison.

Would you drop a few dollars on a glossy black S7 Edge? Do you think it’ll be as scratch-prone as the Jet Black iPhone 7?

T-Mobile offers “free” phones and more for Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend

Following its “Magenta Friday” sales event last weekend, T-Mobile is offering Thanksgiving and Black Friday shoppers some deals on new phones, plus a nice offer for people who are traveling to their loved ones by plane. The deals include a way to get a “free” Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge or LG V20.

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Of course, “free” is a bit of a misnomer. In this particular case, if you trade in a qualified phone and sign up for either an T-Mobile ONE or Simple Choice Unlimited plan, you can get one or more of those phones, along with an iPhone 7, and pay just the sales tax up front. Your bill will get credits for 24 months, making those phones free if you stick with it for two years. T-Mobile is also offering people who switch lines to the carrier $200 on a prepaid MasterCard card for each line, up to $2,400.

Some of the other deals in this promotion include a free Gear VR headset and $50 in a Oculus app store gift card with the purchase of a Samsung Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge, or you can get a free Samsung Tab E or LG Gpad X tablet when you sign up for a tablet data plan (again, you get the tablet free via 24 monthly bill credits). T-Mobile is also selling the Mophie Powerstation Mini for just $9.99 during the weekend, a savings of $50.

Finally, from November 24 to November 26, anyone on a airplane with Gogo Wi-Fi service can get one hour of free Internet, sponsored by T-Mobile. That’s for anyone on those flights, not just for T-Mobile customers.

Samsung issues pre-emptive statement on Galaxy S7 batteries

Samsung has issued a slightly odd pre-emptive statement on the batteries found in Galaxy S7 series of smartphones. Stating the company “stands behind the quality and safety of the Galaxy S7 family” the short note goes on to say that “there have been no confirmed cases of internal battery failures with these devices among the more than 10 million devices being used by consumers in the United States.”

As you may have seen around the web recently, a few stories of exploding Galaxy S7 and S7 Edges have circulate. But practically all of these have occurred in the aftermath of the Note 7 recall, when any story of a Samsung phone on fire hits the front page of every mobile site or technology section in a newspaper, even if that fire is the owner’s fault.

Samsung notes that the company has “confirmed a number of instances caused by severe external damage” – these are likely the S7s you’ve seen making headlines in recent weeks. But “until Samsung is able to obtain and examine any device, it is impossible to determine the true cause of any incident”.

Unfortunately, phones catch fire sometimes. Batteries swell and leak, components short-circuit, things break and butter-fingered owners don’t help things along either. But as the statement says, until testing can be done on any damaged devices it’s best not to jump to any inflammatory conclusions.

Have you ever had a phone catch fire or a battery swell?

Deal: Best Buy offering $250 gift card with every Galaxy S7, S7 Edge or S7 Active

Like most retailers, Best Buy is offering a few early Black Friday deals in hopes of getting more people through their doors. If you’re currently in the market for a new Android smartphone and are looking around for a great deal, keep on reading.

The consumer electronics chain is giving out $250 gift cards to customers who purchase a Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, or S7 Active. Some conditions do apply, though, as the devices have to be activated on a monthly instalment plan (on Sprint, Verizon or AT&T) in order to be eligible for the deal.

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The gift card, which is valid for any purchase made at Best Buy, will be sent out via email within 48 hours after the retailer fulfils your order. The offer kicks off today and is valid for S7 purchases made in stores as well as online.

To get the deal, head over to Best Buy’s website by clicking the button below or visit one of their stores across the country. You’ll probably want to move fast, as the deal is, of course, available for a limited time only.

Get the deal

Does the $250 gift card make you want to snatch this deal up? Or would you still rather buy a different device with your hard earned cash? Let us know in the comments below.