Today is Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge Independence Day, as you can now purchase an unlocked model from Samsung, Best Buy, Amazon, and others, and use it on T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or most US GSM and CDMA carriers.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (see my full review) is arguably the best smartphone currently available. Until now, you could only purchase one in the US through a carrier, which meant it was loaded with non-removable crapware. Some carriers keep bloatware to a minimum, but as we saw on AT&T's Galaxy S7, there are upwards of 20 additional apps and services that consume storage without any option to remove them from the device.
These new, unlocked models will come free from carrier bloatware and should also get software updates a bit faster since the devices will not have to be tested by each, individual carrier. Some of the carrier software is helpful, but you can usually find this software in the Google Play Store. For example, I install T-Mobile Visual Voicemail on every unlocked phone I use with T-Mobile.
Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America, stated the following:
"At Samsung, we listen to our customers to deliver meaningful innovation by offering an ecosystem of mobile products, services, and experiences designed to enhance their mobile lifestyle. The unlocked Galaxy S7 and S7 edge offer more US customers a way to join the Galaxy family, giving them access to a portfolio of seamless mobile experiences including connectivity to wearables, making payments right from your phone and even virtual reality worlds."
It's been a while since we've seen Samsung officially sell unlocked flagship devices. Remember the Samsung Google Experience devices? Samsung has indeed been listening to customers, with updates coming faster than ever before, especially in the form of monthly Android security updates.
On Samsung.com, the unlocked Galaxy S7 is $669.99, while the unlocked Galaxy S7 Edge is $769.99. You might find them at a lower price through competing online retailers. For comparison, the T-Mobile Galaxy S7 is regularly priced at $679.99, and the S7 Edge is $789.99. T-Mobile is currently offering $50 off each of these prices for a limited time.
Related ZDNet Samsung Galaxy S7 coverage