Samsung’s Galaxy Note series is one of the most iconic smartphone lines of all time. Not only do they come with great specifications and features for power users, but this is also the area in which Samsung decides to innovate a bit more than usual.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Review
- Samsung Galaxy Note 7 color comparison
- New Gear VR hands-on
- Samsung Galaxy Note 7 iris scanner: here’s how it works
Now, after weeks of leaked photos, specs and renders, Samsung has officially taken the wraps off its latest flagship phone, the Galaxy Note 7! It has a curved screen, some killer new S Pen features, top-of-the-line specs and many more surprises you’ll want to check out, so be sure to read on for the full rundown on this new handset.
A history of Samsung’s Galaxy Note series: Big phones, big business
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 design
It seems as though Samsung didn’t really start focusing on design until a couple years ago with the launch of the S6 and S6 Edge. The days of plasticky, faux-metal materials are completely gone, and it’s clear that the company is still choosing to stick with a more premium look and feel for their Note line. The Galaxy Note 7 looks like a Samsung device through and through; it’s comprised of glass front and back panels and has a frame made of aluminum. There’s one major design change with the Note 7, though, and it’s pretty clear if you’re looking at it head-on. It sports a curved display, just like the S7 Edge (we’ll talk more on this later).
Above the display sits a front-facing camera module and speaker, and below you’ll find a home button/fingerprint sensor setup flanked by Samsung’s oddly placed back and recent apps keys.
Love it or hate it, the curved display is here to stay
The power/standby key sits on the right side of the device, the volume keys on the left, and the bottom sports the 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C port, speaker grills and S Pen slot. Yes, you read that correctly – the Note 7 sports USB Type-C! While that would normally mean all of your standard Micro USB cords would become instantly obsolete, Samsung is including an adapter in the box. Around back, the Note 7 is nearly indistinguishable from the back of the Note 5. There’s a squircle camera module towards the top in the center of the device, with the LED flash/HR sensor sitting to the right. Samsung also decided to keep the beloved curved edges on the back of the phone, which makes it much easier to hold.
And just like the S7 and S7 Edge, the Note 7 is waterproof. Samsung also says you’ll be able to take notes underwater, if you’re in to that sort of thing.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 specifications, software and features
|Samsung Galaxy Note 7|
|Display||5.7-inch Dual-edge Super AMOLED display
2560 x 1440 resolution
|Processor||Quad-core 64-bit (2.15GHz Dual + 1.6GHz Dual) Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 or
Octa-core Samsung Exynos 8890
|MicroSD||Yes, up to 256GB|
|Cameras||Rear: Dual Pixel 12MP sensor with OIS, f/1.7 aperture
Front: 5MP sensor with f/1.7 aperture
WPC and PMA wireless charging
|Water resistance||IP68 rating|
|Connectivity||WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz)
Bluetooth v 4.2 LE
Location (GPS, Glonass, Beidou)
|Sensors||Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, HR
Sensor, Iris Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor
|Software||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow|
|Colors||Silver, Gold Platinum, Blue Coral, Black Onyx|
|Dimensions and weight||153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9mm
Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper Note device without the latest batch of top-of-the-line specs. It sports a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a Quad HD resolution. And because the display is of the dual-edge variety, the Note 7 comes with all the Edge UX features we know and love. If you’re unfamiliar with what the Edge UX software suite has to offer, be sure to check out our S7 Edge Feature Focus video, along with our full S7 Edge review for all the details.
Samsung has also brought another feature from the S7 line to the Note 7: Always On Display. With the Always On Display feature, you’ll be able to see the time, your calendar and much more at a quick glance.
Depending on the region, the Note 7 will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 or an octa-core Exynos 8 processor, and backed by 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM. Even though there are other devices out there with much more than 4GB of RAM, this still should be more than enough to handle graphic-intensive games, multitasking and more. The Note 7 also comes in just one storage option – 64GB – though it does support microSD expansion up to 256GB.
There's just one storage option available with the Note 7
The Note 7 has just about the same camera optics package as the S7 and S7 Edge, which isn’t a bad thing at all. It sports a 12MP dual-pixel sensor with optical image stabilization and an f/1.7 aperture. The cameras on the S7 and S7 Edge are some of the best on the market right now, so the Note 7’s camera will likely be right up there with the best. It also comes with a 5MP front camera sensor and an f/1.7 aperture.
All in all, Samsung did a great job at streamlining the software experience this year
In terms of software, the Note 7 runs Samsung’s customized TouchWiz interface atop Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. It still looks a lot like previous versions of TouchWiz, though Samsung says the experience has been streamlined this year. Much of the interface now sports a light colored or white color scheme, and more of the colors throughout the entire user interface now match. It seems as though Samsung is trying to simplify the software experience on the Note 7, and that’s very clear when looking at the revamped camera application. The stock camera app is now much more simple to navigate; you can swipe left and right to select different modes and filters, or up and down to switch between the front and back cameras.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Note device without the S Pen. Before we get into the software details, let’s first talk about the S Pen’s design. It weighs only 3g and measures 200mm in length, which is the length of a standard ballpoint pen. Thankfully, there won’t be an S Pen debacle this year, as the Note 7’s S Pen can’t be inserted backwards.
Samsung continues to offer compelling S Pen features that make buying a Note device more and more appealing
Samsung continues to offer compelling S Pen features that make buying a Note device more and more appealing. It still comes with the same bevy of standard S Pen features like Smart Select and Screen Write, but a few things have changed this time around. For starters, the Notes app now consolidates Action Memo, Memo, Scrapbook and S Note applications into one. In addition, the Air Command menu now includes a magnifier, as well as an easy way to translate text in up to 71 different languages.
Another big addition to the Note 7’s S Pen functionality is that Smart Select will now let you capture a 15-second GIF that can be easily shared to other services. So, if you’d like to take a small recording of a YouTube video, you can easily share that with your friends. This GIF-taking feature adheres to DRM rules, so if you can’t already take a screenshot of something, you won’t be able to record it either.
That handy Screen Off Memo feature is still here, which, in case you’re unfamiliar, allows you to take a quick note on the blank screen without unlocking the device. This time, though, you can pin a note to the Always On Display, so you’ll be able to see it even when your phone is in standby mode.
The Note 7 also has some new security features that you might like. For starters, Samsung included an iris scanner this time around. It uses the infrared scanner on the front of your device to search for your eyes. In our brief testing period with the iris scanner, it’s been quite fast. Samsung does note, however, that you’ll want to remove your glasses or contact lenses, otherwise the device might have a hard time recognizing your eyes. You can also choose to register only one iris, if you’d like.
The rumors were right - the Galaxy Note 7 has an iris scanner
One other cool feature: if you’d like to keep anything hidden from prying eyes – photos, apps, anything – you can now store it in the new Secure Folder. This new folder is password locked, so only you can get into it.
New Gear VR for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Since Samsung has finally made the switch to USB Type-C with the Note 7, the company is also launching a new Gear VR headset. This new version comes with a bigger touchpad that’s no longer recessed, so navigation and gaming will be a little easier now. It’s field of view has also gotten a bump up to 101 degrees, up from the 90 degrees in past Gear VR headsets. Samsung will also make an adapter available for Micro USB smartphones like the Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S6, S6 Edge, Note 5 and S6 Edge+.
|Gear VR for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7|
|Dimensions||207.8(W) x 122.5(L) x 98.6(H)mm|
|Weight||345g (312g without front cover)|
|Field of view||101°|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, Gyrometer, Proximity|
|Compatibility||USB Type-C and Micro USB port connection to the Galaxy Note 7, S7, S7 Edge, Note 5,
S6, S6 Edge and S6 Edge+
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 pricing and availability
Like what you’ve seen so far? The Galaxy Note 7 will be available for pre-order in Silver Titanium, Gold Platinum, Blue Coral and Black Onyx color options from Wednesday, August 3, and will be made available to all on Friday, August 19. Samsung is offering a free 256GB microSD card or Gear Fit2 with pre-orders, but only for a limited time.
Pricing on T-Mobile is $850 and on AT&T it’s $880. No word on pricing yet from Verizon and Sprint (but you can pre-order on Sprint here). US Cellular has the Note 7 for $834 and, like Samsung, is offering it with a free Gear Fit2 or 256GB microSD card. The Galaxy Note 7 price is £699 in the UK and €849 in most of Europe with pre-orders on August 16 and a sale date of September 2. For all the details, be sure to check out our Galaxy Note 7 availability roundup.
So what are your thoughts? Will you be picking one of these up as soon as you can? Let us know what you think in the comments!