Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review: Stargate

GSMArena team, 14 March, 2016.

Performance

Update (03 Feb 2017): The Android 7.0 Nougat update for the Galaxy S7 edge is here and we've covered the differences in-depth in a dedicated article. We've also re-run the full set of benchmarks and the deviations, where present, are mostly marginal. Still, since we like being thorough, we've added the test scores on Nougat firmware as separate entries.

The original text follows.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge unit we got is the global version, powered by the Exynos 8890 chipset. Selected markets will be getting Snapdragon 820-based units. We were able to find the Snapdragon 820 flavor so you can see how those two compare in performance.

The Exynos 8890 chipset is Samsung's first silicon to come with custom high-performance CPU cores called Mongoose. The eight-core processor of the Exynos 8890 has four Mongoose cores ticking at 2.6 GHz and four (low-power) Cortex-A53 running at 1.59 GHz. Oddly, only two of the Mongoose cores can run at the maximum of 2.6GHz, if you need all of them - they can go as high as 2.3GHz. We suspect the clock limitation is due to thermal restrictions.

The GPU inside the Exynos 8890 is the most powerful ARM Mali to date - the Mali-T880 MP12, which means it has 12 processing cores.

In case you get the Snapdragon 820 model of the Galaxy S7 edge - this means you will be getting a quad-core processor with custom high-performance Kryo cores (2x 2.15GHz, 2x 1.6GHz). The GPU in charge of graphics is the most powerful Qualcomm Adreno model - the Adreno 530.

Whatever flavor of the S7 edge you get, 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM will be available at your disposal. Half a gig is available to the GPU, while the rest 3.5GB are handled by the OS.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review

Let's cut to the chase. The first bench we ran is GeekBench 3. The 2.6GHz clocked custom Mongoose CPU core turned out a great performer - about 30% faster than the Cortex-A57 inside the S6 edge+.

The Qualcomm's Kryo (2.15GHz) core inside the Snapdragon 820 in the Xiaomi Mi 5 and the S820 model of the Galaxy S7 edge turned out the better though - about 7% faster than the Mongoose. That's not that a big gap and nobody will be able to tell the difference in real life.

It seems both Samsung's and Qualcomm's custom processor cores turned out for the better and we like where things are going. It was about time the CPU race switch from core count competition to actual processing power and optimizations. Both new entries came very close to Apple's 1.84GHz Twister CPU champ, which means Apple's first spot in this department will be threatened in the months to come.

GeekBench 3 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    2527
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (S820)
    2345
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    2305
  • LG G5 (MWC)
    2270
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    2170
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890, Nougat)
    2158
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890)
    2151
  • Meizu Pro 5
    1545
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    1490
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (S652)
    1466
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    1363

When using all eight cores of the Exynos 8890 processor, the Galaxy S7 edge came on top of all devices we've tested so far. The extra four Cortex-A53 cores have made the difference and pushed the Exynos quite ahead of the Snapdragon 820 variant and the previous generation Exynos chip (Galaxy S6 edge).

GeekBench 3 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890, Nougat)
    6630
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890)
    6600
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    6360
  • Huawei Mate 8
    6323
  • Meizu Pro 5
    5578
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (S820)
    5420
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    5358
  • LG G5 (MWC)
    5251
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    5158
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    5124
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    5095
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (S652)
    4759
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    4539
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    4413
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    4017
  • LG V10
    3607

The compound AnTuTu 6 benchmark (CPU, GPU, RAM) puts the Galaxy S7 trio on top of all smartphones we've put through the same test. The S820-powered LG G5 and Xiaomi Mi 5 finished a hair behind the duo though, while the Snapdragon 820 Galaxy S7 edge topped the chart.

AnTuTu 6

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (S820)
    132849
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    132084
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890, Nougat)
    129629
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890)
    129229
  • LG G5 (MWC)
    127324
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    126641
  • Huawei Mate 8
    91609
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    89345
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    83167
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    81615
  • LG V10
    67547
  • Meizu Pro 5
    67531
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (S652)
    64591

The BaseMark OS II 2.0 is another compound test, which in addition to the CPU, GPU, RAM trio tests the storage, OS and the web browsing performance. The score puts the Galaxy S7 edge right next to the rest flagships - impressive, yet still behind the iPhone 6s Plus. The S820-powered S7 edge, on the other hand, was the one to finally put the iPhone 6s Plus at the runner-up spot.

Basemark OS 2.0

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890, Nougat)
    2670
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (S820)
    2352
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    2261
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    2180
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    2128
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890)
    2050
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    2040
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2017
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    1880
  • Meizu Pro 5
    1837
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    1789
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    1750
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (S652)
    1529
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    1482
  • LG V10
    1383

Now, let's check the graphics out. The offscreen GFX Benchmark 3.1 Manhattan test puts the Mali-T880MP12 (Exynos 8890) on par with the Adreno 530 (S820) and impressively twice times better than the GPU inside the Galaxy S6 edge. This means whatever version of the Galaxy S7 edge you get, the graphics performance should be the same - a flagship worthy.

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (S820)
    32
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    30
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890, Nougat)
    29
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890)
    29
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    28
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    18
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    15
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    15
  • Meizu Pro 5
    14
  • Huawei Mate 8
    10
  • LG V10
    10
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (S652)
    9.3

The Quad HD resolution takes its toll on the onscreen test - the Xiaomi Mi 5 does a lot better, yet the Galaxy S7 edge doubles the S6 edge's score. If the S820's Adreno 530 was to run on the same resolution, we bet the result would turn up the same as the S7 edge.

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    29
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    19
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (S820)
    16
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890, Nougat)
    15
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890)
    15
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    15
  • Meizu Pro 5
    14
  • Huawei Mate 8
    11
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    11
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (S652)
    9.1
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    6.7
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    6.6
  • LG V10
    5.7

BaseMark X and BaseMark ES 3.1 scores prove both Galaxy S7 edge models are among the most powerful smartphones when it comes to raw GPU power right now.

Basemark X

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    33110
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890, Nougat)
    32609
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    32345
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (S820)
    32160
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890)
    28480
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    27046
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    26333
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    26281
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    23923
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    22825
  • Meizu Pro 5
    20038
  • Huawei Mate 8
    15593
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (S652)
    15290
  • LG V10
    15161

Basemark ES 3.1 / Metal

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    916
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890)
    733
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    732
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890)
    680
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (S820)
    624
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    560
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    504
  • Meizu Pro 5
    409
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    348
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    316
  • Huawei Mate 8
    311
  • LG V10
    297
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (S652)
    253

The Galaxy S7 edge, just as expected, is one of the most powerful smartphones to date. The new processor and graphics provide enough boost over the previous generation to make for a worthy purchase - no matter if you have the Exynos or the Snapdragon model.

Both the Exynos 8890 and Snapdragon 820 chips run impressively cool even at the highest of pressure. In fact, we managed to make the S7 warm only when using the Gear VR.

There is nothing that the Galaxy S7 edge can't handle and there won't be in the years to come. And thanks to the fast Mongoose/Kryo cores, the Android OS and Touch/Wiz combo have never been smoother and faster. The single-core performance is crucial for the operating systems and finally, that seems guaranteed to be stutter-free.