Samsung Galaxy Note 7 - specs review

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 - specs review

Not giving up hope on its Note line, Samsung has returned with the ambition of introducing a new king to crown the phablet kingdom. Skipping an entire generation number, the Galaxy Note 7 has to be the most refined large-screen smartphone ever produced by the Korean giant. Sporting improvements across the board, no stone has been left unturned in the race to improve the Galaxy Note 5's compelling foundation as much as possible over the course of a year.

In this specs review, we'll go through the design, display, hardware, security, camera, and stylus highlights of this impressive new smartphone. As you are be able to tell from the very first paragraph, Samsung has been quite busy improving these key aspects over the past 12 months!

Design


The Galaxy Note 7 is narrower and more symmetrical

The Galaxy Note 7 is narrower and more symmetrical

On the surface, the Galaxy Note 7 might seems like little more than a stylus -touting Galaxy S6 edge+. But design changes run deeper than that. Abandoning the traditional flat display altogether for the modern and highly characteristic dual-edge display, the Note 7 has also become more symmetrical.

The front and back panel feature the same Gorilla Glass glass panels on both sides, while the top, bottom, and sides have been made symmetrical - complete with ports and buttons. Due to this, the handset measures 2.2mm narrower in width than the Galaxy Note 5, which contributes to a different, better-proportioned feel in the hand.

The Note 7 will be sold in four color options, which include Blue Coral, Black Onyx, Silver Titanium, and Gold Platinum. Most markets will get just three of these, though – the United States will get to choose between blue, black, and silver.

In addition, both the new Note and its S-Pen stylus are thoroughly waterproof, to the extent of enabling underwater writing – defying the laws of physics to enable humans take notes in the shower! Speaking of which, the Note can also withstand dust. Moreover, the handset has been upgraded with an USB Type-C port.


The screen features curved edges for a modern look

The screen features curved edges for a modern look

Display


As mentioned, the Galaxy Note 7 abandons the flat display altogether in favor of a 5.7-inch, dual-curved-edge Super AMOLED quad-HD resolution screen. Taking advantage of the curved edges, Samsung ported the Edge UX interface to the Note 7 as a solution to improve one-handed usage. What's more, the familiar Always-on display feature returns in a glorified form, letting users scribble messages with the screen turned off.

The omnipresent Snapdragon 820 powers the Galaxy Note 7

The omnipresent Snapdragon 820 powers the Galaxy Note 7

Hardware


It looks like Samsung deemed Qualcomm's current Snapdragon 820 SoC sufficient for the Galaxy Note 7's processing needs. This may come off as a surprise, considering an improved Snapdragon 821 (or 823) was in the talks prior to the smartphone's release. But still, the Snapdragon 820 has proven itself excellent all-around with its quad-core (2 x 2.15GHz cores + 2 x 1.6GHz cores) processor and fast Adreno 530 GPU.

Typical for Samsung hi-enders, some markets will receive a variant of the Note 7 powered by the home-grown Exynos 8890 SoC, which we know from the Galaxy S7. It achieves performance parity with the Snapdragon 820, so having that instead of Qualcomm silicon is no downside or advantage – for the overwhelming majority of users, it's essentially the same.

Processor dichotomies aside, all variants of the Note 7 will ship with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 64GB of fast UFS 2.0 storage as standard. The latter is expandable via microSD card. The mains are ran off a 3500mAh capacity battery with fast wireless battery charging and fast wired charging.

Eye scanning security is present on the Galaxy Note 7

Eye scanning security is present on the Galaxy Note 7

Iris scanner


A feature highlight of the Galaxy Note 7 is the presence of an iris scanner for biometric authentication. The contraption uses an IR illuminator which enables work in the dark, along with a dedicated front-facing camera. The system is supposed to be smart enough to reject high-resolution images of users' eyes. It also works through most glasses, and is able to recognize a single eye as well as a pair of eyes – which means pirates can successfully use it, too.

The iris scanner is available next to familiar fingerprint and PIN/password authentication systems, but the consumer version of the Galaxy Note 7 won't let users combine unlocking methods – for example, using both fingerprint and iris recognition. The enterprise version, however, will.

The tried and proven 12MP main camera comes back for another rodeo

The tried and proven 12MP main camera comes back for another rodeo

Camera


Samsung equipped the Galaxy Note 7 with the same 12MP rear/5MP front camera setup it's using for the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. The 1/2-inch 12MP camera sensor's individual pixels are bigger than the 1.12 micron dots on 20MP and 1.2 micron dots on 16MP sensors. This, paired with a wider aperture, lets them soak in more light – up to 56%, according to Samsung's estimates.

Moreover, the camera is equipped with dual-PD (dual photodiode) technology for quicker auto-focus. Instead of each pixel site comprising a single photodiode for image capture, the Dual Pixel CMOS sensor allocates two for every single pixel site. This makes focus quicker and more accurate, both for photos and video recording.

Samsung also introduced a new Camera app, which presents a swipe-driven UI that lets one access shooting modes, visual effects, and swap between main and selfie cams all by dashing their fingers across the screen. It's a quicker and visually cleaner solution to operating a smartphone camera.

The S-Pen is now waterproof and more precise than ever

The S-Pen is now waterproof and more precise than ever

S-Pen Stylus


Making refinements across the board, Samsung didn't spare the iconic S-Pen stylus, a mainstay of the Galaxy Note series. The one bundled with the Note 6 has a narrower tip to mimic a ball-point pen, and it's pressure sensitivity reaches 4096 levels, up from 2048 levels. As mentioned, the S-Pen has become waterproof as well, and can be used for writing underwater.

On the software side, the pen's Air Command functionality has been extended with new Magnify and Translate options. Magnify lets users hover over content and maximize it up to 300%, while Translate lets them hover over text (both raw text and photos of it), translating between multiple languages.

Additionally, the Smart Select feature now lets users generate animated GIFs from any on-screen video that's not DRM-protected. They highlight the screen region, then record and use the the built-in editing tools to correct individual frames prior to sharing. The GIFs can last for 15 seconds.

Expectations


Up for pre-order tomorrow, August 3, the Galaxy Note 7 will hit the streets August 19. The launch promo will bundle the handset with a free Gear Fit 2 or 256GB microSD card in order to entice users. Even without these gifts, the Note 7 sure makes for an attractive proposition with its sleek design, hardware power, and feature-packed user experience. Even if interest in stylus-equipped handsets isn't what it used to be, we expect the Note 7 to command a strong presence on the large screen smartphone market. There's simply no competing device that offers the same modern design and comprehensive feature set.

Related phones

Galaxy Note 7
  • Display 5.7" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2150 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3500 mAh

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10 Comments

1. adecvat

Posts: 580; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Mediocre

2. Kumar123 unregistered

I wholeheartedly agree with your opinion.

3. dubaiboy78

Posts: 434; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

Thanks sammy! No reason to change my s7 edge hahaha

6. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2205; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

People were upset when Sony was releasing the Xperia Z5 so soon after releasing the Z4 because they thought it was shown as a slap in the face to those Z4 owners, so why would you ever assume that Samsung would release a device that would directly cannibalize it's own sales? Why would it release a device that is so far ahead of it's own S7 that nobody would buy the S7? Again, it doesn't make good business sense. Instead, they released a device that improves upon the older Note device and gives a few differentiating factors from the S7 without completely upstaging it in the specs department (i.e. offering S-Pen, Iris scanner, larger screen, 64 GB internal storage).

4. BLUEBLASTER

Posts: 899; Member since: Feb 23, 2014

So a larger S7 Edge? No thanks.

5. Jairus24

Posts: 49; Member since: Jan 20, 2012

Just a larger S7/S7 Edge just like how they did with the Note 5, it is a larger Galaxy S6, same specs larger body. Why not just release them at the same time? Replace the Edge variant with the Note series and release it along side the S series like how Apple do it with the iPhone and iPhone Plus.

8. Jason2k13

Posts: 1435; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

Because Samsung is not Apple, and the Note series is not the S series.

9. EC112987

Posts: 1207; Member since: Nov 10, 2014

It's becoming The S Series

7. fonelover

Posts: 255; Member since: Mar 19, 2015

Disappointing specs.

10. Bankz

Posts: 2442; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Disappointing all around

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