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Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Galaxy S7 Edge First Look

Does the latest Note do enough to separate itself from Samsung's other flagships? We find out, in this quick look at the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs S7 Edge!

Published onAugust 2, 2016

Samsung took the wraps off of the latest addition to their Galaxy Note series, and while the launch is as exciting as always, there aren’t a lot of surprises, given the flurry of leaks that preceded the announcement.

As expected, the Galaxy Note 7 shares a lot of features with the Galaxy S7 Edge, but is there enough of a difference to really distinguish between the two? We find out, as we take a quick look at the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Galaxy S7 Edge!

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While the Galaxy Note series and the Galaxy S line have typically featured some separation in the past, things have been a lot more similar in terms of design and build quality since Samsung introduced their new direction in this regard. Like its predecessor and corresponding Galaxy S smartphones, the Note 7 comes with a metal and glass unibody construction, with glass on the front and rear panels, and a metal frame with rounded corners and tapered edges.

Both the Galaxy Note 7 and S7 Edge feel extremely solid, and are very comfortable hold. They are both also huge fingerprint magnets, but that is no longer surprising, and has become a predictable characteristic of any smartphone that is made predominantly of glass.

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While Samsung introduced a separate Galaxy S6 Edge Plus last year – which brought the curved edge setup to a larger device – Samsung has decided to introduce this feature to the Galaxy Note series itself, with the Galaxy Note 7 featuring a display with curved edges on both sides. It’s not quite as drastic as what is seen with the Galaxy S7 Edge, but you can definitely tell that it is there. However, the metal rails are thicker on the Galaxy Note 7, so issues with accidental presses with your palm or fingers that you may faced with the thinner Galaxy S7 Edge shouldn’t be as much of a problem this time around.

Speaking of the display, both smartphones feature standard Super AMOLED screens with Quad HD resolutions, with the Galaxy S7 Edge featuring a slightly smaller 5.5-inch display, compared to the 5.7-inch one of the Galaxy Note 7. Both displays are extremely sharp, bright, with a lot of contrast, and vivid, and offer everything that we’ve come to expect from Samsung.

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With the Galaxy Note 7 offering a larger display, it is obviously also going to be the larger of the two smartphones, but not by a large margin, with the device still feeling extremely manageable in one hand. In fact, while the phone and its predecessor feature the same display size, the Note 7 is actually a couple of millimeters narrower, which may not seem significant, but does help make the handling experience that much better.

The buttons and ports are all in the same positions, with the headphone jack and single speaker unit found at the bottom, but with the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung has finally made the jump to USB Type-C, while the Galaxy S7 Edge comes with a microUSB port. Of course, the Note device also comes with the signature S-Pen that is found nestled into its slot next to the speaker.

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The USB Type-C port also allows for fast charging capabilities, but the Galaxy S7 Edge does feature it as well. As far as the batteries are concerned, despite being the larger of the two, the Galaxy Note 7 comes with a slightly smaller 3,500 mAh battery, compared to the 3,600 mAh unit of the S7 Edge. The difference is small enough that it shouldn’t make too much of a difference between the battery life available with both, but more testing will obviously be required before we can draw any conclusions.

Samsung Galaxy S7 battery life review

The rest of the hardware is where both these smartphones are extremely similar. You get fingerprint sensors up front, and both smartphones are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, backed by the Adreno 530 GPU and 4 GB of RAM. Those who were hoping for a bump in the RAM to 6 GB with the Galaxy Note 7 may be disappointed, but regardless, both smartphones are plenty, and equally, powerful. With Vulkan-supported games being released alongside the launch of the Galaxy Note 7, that is something you will be able to take advantage of right out of the box.

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Samsung re-introduced staples like microSD expansion and dust and water resistance with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, and its great to see these features make their way over the Galaxy Note 7 as well. In the case of the Note 7, the protection from the elements extends not only to the phone itself, but the S-Pen too, which means that if you were so inclined, you could use the S-Pen to take notes under water.

The S-Pen has also been improved, and now comes with a smaller tip that mimics that of a ballpoint pen, and comes with more layers of pressure sensitivity, allowing for a more precise and accurate writing experience.

A few new features and enhancements have also been added to take advantage of the improved S-Pen, including the ability to translate text or images by hovering, magnify the screen, and create GIFs. The screen-off memo adds the option to scroll to let you write longer memos, and it has also been integrated into the Always On Display feature, so that you can see a note that you wrote without having to unlock the phone.

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The camera setup is also identical, with both smartphones coming with a 12 MP rear camera and a 5 MP front-facing shooter. Considering the fact that the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge feature some of the best cameras in the smartphone game right now, we can certainly expect that to be true with the Galaxy Note 7 as well.

Where things have changed is the camera software. While it still has the same features and functions that were seen with the Galaxy S7 Edge, the updated camera app has been revamped with a slightly different look, and Samsung has made it a lot easier to navigate, using swipe gestures. Now, you can swipe to the left to get to the camera effects, to the right to access all the different camera modes, and finally, swipe down to switch to the front-facing camera.

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Sitting to the left of that front-facing camera is the latest addition to the Samsung smartphone feature set, an iris scanner. The scanner uses infrared to scan your eyes, and seems to work extremely well, especially for a first generation feature, and allows for an additional layer of security on top of Samsung’s already reliable fingerprint sensor.

On the software side of things, you get Android 6.0 Marshmallow with TouchWiz on top with both smartphones, and for the most part, the experience is largely the same. Samsung has continued to further streamline the software package though, as is noticeable in the cleaner notification dropdown and Settings menu, and it’s nice to see Samsung continue improve the TouchWiz interface. To take advantage of the curved edges, the Galaxy Note 7 also comes with the Edge UX features, so panels like Apps Edge, Tasks Edge, People Edge, Stocks, Sports Scores, and News, are all available with a swipe of your finger.

So, there you have it for this quick look at the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs the Galaxy S7 Edge! Both devices do share a lot of design elements and features, but the latest Galaxy Note device does have a few tricks up its sleeve, including the improved S-Pen, an easier to use camera app, more streamlined software experience, and an iris scanner.

Does the Galaxy Note 7 bring enough to the table to separate itself from Samsung’s other flagship smartphones though, or is it essentially a Galaxy S7 Edge with a S-Pen? Do share your thoughts in the comments section below, and stay tuned with Android Authority as we continue to bring you more coverage of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7!

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