The Galaxy Note 7 is ready for the titanic clash: arrives on the scene with iris scanning, water resistance, and 64GB base storage

The Galaxy Note 7 is ready for the titanic clash: arrives on the scene with iris scanning, water resistance, and 64GB base storage

Whatever you may think of Samsung's contributions to the industry, one in particular stands out: it practically invented the 'phablet' category with the Galaxy Note series. Much larger in size than their more conservative brethren, these humongous devices quickly took root, spawning a loyal following of millions of people.

And now, nearly 5 years later, we're finally up to the sixth successive Note smartphone, confusingly dubbed the Galaxy Note 7—so as to correspond to the Galaxy S7 family. This change in pacing aside, the Note 7 is still remarkably similar to the original Note at the core, but meaner and leaner pretty much across the board.

The stakes couldn't be higher, however. Just last week, Samsung announced its quarterly results, and the Galaxy S7 series were the driving force behind the mobile division's profits. As we approach the end of 2016, and with Apple setting up for an iPhone refresh, it'll soon be a question of whether the Note 7 can carry the expected slack from the aging S7 and S7 edge, and spar, or outdo, the upcoming iPhone 7 Plus

Looks and display


The Gold Platinum variant won't be available in the States.
The Gold Platinum variant won't be available in the States.

The Gold Platinum variant won't be available in the States.

As the barrage of leaked images suggested, the Galaxy Note 7 really is nothing more—and nothing less—than a slightly larger Galaxy S7 edge. Sporting a 5.7-inch, Quad HD resolution (1440 x 2560) Super AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 5, the Note 7 is nearly indiscernible from the S7 edge, with the same dual-edge glass—both front and back—and Always On Display. Like it, too, the Note 7 is IP68-certified, and therefore resistant to water and dust-tight. 

Also identical is the layout of the physical buttons, with the two volume keys high up on the left side, while the power button sits towards the center on the right. Samsung's signature, physical Home button, as always, is available up front, hugged by the capacitive keys for Back and Multitask. The one sure way of telling the the new Note 7 from the S7 edge is the S Pen's slot on the bottom, or by sizing them carefully.

The phone will be made available in a number of colors, including Blue Coral, Black Onyx, Silver Titanium, and Gold Platinum. Depending on the region, a subset of three of these will be made available, with the US in specific getting everything sans Gold. Blue Coral, in particular, caught our eye, though it may come across as a little tacky, what with the frame and various accents painted in gold.

Going back to the screen—traditionally the highlight of the Note series—Samsung is also making some of its TV tech available to the Note 7. More specifically, the open HDR10 standard will be supported, meaning a potentially highly visible improvement in picture quality when watching appropriate titles off Netlix or elsewhere. Main theoretical advantages of HDR10 content include a higher dynamic range—and therefore better contrast—and richer color granularity due to 10 bit color. How well HDR10 really translates onto the screen remains to be seen—but we're definitely interested.

Finally, and because this is likely on the minds of many, the answer is 'No': there isn't a model of the Note 7 with a more conventional, 'flat' screen. 

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Dimensions

6.04 x 2.91 x 0.31 inches

153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.96 oz (169 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Dimensions

6.03 x 3 x 0.3 inches

153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.86 x 0.3 inches

150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.54 oz (157 g)

Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Dimensions

6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.77 oz (192 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Dimensions

6.04 x 2.91 x 0.31 inches

153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.96 oz (169 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Dimensions

6.03 x 3 x 0.3 inches

153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.86 x 0.3 inches

150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.54 oz (157 g)

Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Dimensions

6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.77 oz (192 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



S Pen


The Galaxy Note 7 is ready for the titanic clash: arrives on the scene with iris scanning, water resistance, and 64GB base storage

Part of the constructional integrity of the Note 7, the S Pen is naturally also water-resistant and will even work under water—not that you'll be sketching whilst submerged in the kiddy pool, but there you go.

Beyond that, a few notable advancements have been made in this area, including even better pressure sensitivity, faster response times when writing or drawing, and a smaller tip that is more alike to a typical ballpoint pen in size. The S Pen also has its physical button moved up slightly closer towards the tip, which is a welcome improvement—especially for people with larger paws. 

On the software side, too, changes have been made. The Air Command suite of options now features two new actions, including Magnify and Translate. Fairly self-explanatory in nature, the former can be cranked up to 300% the magnification when hovering over the interface, while the latter translates text in various languages on the fly. Older apps perfect for use with the S Pen, such as S Note and S Memo, are now all brought under the umbrella of a new entry simply dubbed Notes. All of the previous functionality is available from there.

Iris scanner and security 


The Galaxy Note 7 is ready for the titanic clash: arrives on the scene with iris scanning, water resistance, and 64GB base storage

Sketched out way in advance of the actual unveiling of the Note 7, the iris scanner on it is among the highlights of the phone, and the first time we see the tech on a flagship-level Android smartphone from a major player. 

The tech works by incorporating a second front-facing camera, expressly used for this type of biometric authentication, coupled with an infrared illuminator that will reveal your irides even in the dark. To actually break past the lock screen when using the iris scanner, however, you'll first have to swipe to get it started.

In terms of performance, Samsung promises sub-second reaction times, with the scanner smart enough to authenticate through most types of glasses and reject even high-res images of the user's eye in case of attempted fraud. The scanner will also work even if you're wearing an eyepatch.

It's important to note that the iris scanner exists alongside other, more conventional authentication methods, such as fingerprint (integrated into the Home button), a pattern, or PIN. In other words, if you don't like it, you can dump it and switch to whatever you're most comfortable with. Apparently, enterprise models of the Note 7 will come with the option to set multiple authentication methods to bolster security even further.

Speaking of security, a new Secure Folder feature lets you lock files and even entire apps, access to which prompts re-authentication. This will apparently allow you to host two versions of the same app, making it easier on BoD buyers that use their phone for both work and play.

Processing power and tech


The Galaxy Note 7 is ready for the titanic clash: arrives on the scene with iris scanning, water resistance, and 64GB base storage

With the Note 7, Samsung will once again rely on San Diego-based Qualcomm to supply the chips for devices sold in the United States. More specifically, stateside buyers will be treated to the flagship, quad-core Snapdragon 820, with 64-bit Kryo cores clocked at up to 2.2GHz, and an Adreno 530 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 3.1+ and the Vulkan API. 

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 for the US; Exynos 8890 for the rest of the world.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 for the US; Exynos 8890 for the rest of the world.

The 14nm chipset also offers support for pretty much all the latest technologies, including UFS 2.0 memory, 4K UHD video playback with H.265 codec support, and LTE download/upload speeds of up to 600Mbps/150Mbps. 

International users, on the other hand, will be treated to Samsung's own octa-core processor, the Exynos 8890 that is already available with the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. Also built on a 14nm node, the 8890 features two sets of four cores working in big.LITTLE arrangement, with the more frugal cluster clocked at 1.6GHz, while the powerful one reaches up to 2.3GHz. The GPU of choice is the ARM Mali-T880.

The base model of the Note 7 will come with 64GB of storage, with microSD expansion available regardless of the processor in use. Both will also feature a USB Type-C connector.

Finally, powering the show is a large, 3,500mAh battery with support for fast charging (expect zero to full in about 100 minutes), along with wireless fast charging.

Camera


The Galaxy Note 7 is ready for the titanic clash: arrives on the scene with iris scanning, water resistance, and 64GB base storage

The one area Samsung has spent no time perfecting on the hardware side is the camera—both front and back. 

The main snapper is the same 1/2.5", 12-megapixel unit found in the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, with extremely wide, f/1.7 aperture lens and LED flash. The camera features phase detection auto focus for extremely fast lock times, even in the dark, and optical image stabilization that makes a world of difference when capturing video. As expected, the unit is capable of 4K UHD video capture, alongside special modes such as time lapse and slow motion.

The cam up front is also identical to what we've seen already: a 5-megapixel unit with equally as large, f/1.7 aperture lens, and with included HDR and video capture at up to Quad HD resolution (1440 x 2560 pixels).

Were it another camera system we were talking about, we might have had reason to protest the lack of update, but given the S7 and S7 edge's stellar imaging performance, we're simply happy to get something as polished.

On the software side, however, quite the change has occurred. The camera app's interface has been revamped, and is now more swipe-driven than before. For example, to switch shooting modes, you swipe to the left, while visual effects are available from the pane on the right. Juggling between the front and back camera happens with a simple swipe up or down. 

Software


Looking at the Android Marshmallow-based TouchWiz software loaded on the Note 7 more holistically, it's been evolved from what was available on its predecessor.

For starters, iconography has been changed, with icons now a more square-ish round than before, and most with a number of style changes. Overall, app icons now have more minimalist look, which we actually tend to appreciate. 

Another interesting change is Samsung's efforts to match the Note 7's interface's color scheme to that of the color of the phone itself. So buyers of the Coral Blue model will get a predominantly blueish interface, while the Gold flavor will bet on... you guessed it, gold accents. Not a novel approach, but certainly a welcome step forward in Samsung's mobile story.

Finally, and this one shouldn't come as a surprise, the Edge UX from the S7 edge has found its way to the Note 7, allowing you quick access to various actions and panes with a horizontal swipe from the right edge of the screen.

Price, release date, and expectations
The Galaxy Note 7 is ready for the titanic clash: arrives on the scene with iris scanning, water resistance, and 64GB base storage


While Samsung is yet to talk pricing, we're told to expect the Galaxy Note 7 to enter the pre-order stage in two days, on August 3rd. A little over two weeks later, on August 19th, the Note 7 will begin its journey towards shelves in retail stores around the States and parts of the globe. The Big Four in the states—AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint—will all carry the Note 7, with the former selling the phablet for $29.34/30 months, or $36.67/24 months for AT&T Next Every Year subscribers. T-Mobile has already made its pricing plan public, as well: $849.99 full retail, or $32.50 every month for 24 months, with a $69.99 down payment.

T-Mobile is also offering a choice between a 256GB microSD card, the Gear Fit 2 fitness tracker, or a year worth of Netflix. AT&T, on the other hand, is offering the Gear S2 smartwatch for free, alongside the Galaxy Tab E which you can snag for just $0.99 with a 2-year commitment.

In closing, nothing about the Note 7 really surprises, but that's mainly due to the excessive leaks we got ahead of launch. The lack of the typical unveiling enthusiasm aside, Samsung's new giga-phone is a perfected piece of telephony that has already stood the test of time, and there's no reason to believe this latest iteration will stumble and fall. And, as is typical of the Android giant, no major release is possible without a 'wow' factor, and this time around the honor goes to the iris scanner. Beyond the novelty, however, we've got to applaud Samsung for offering 64GB of storage standard, for continuing to perfect its designwork and introducing water resistance, and for staying on its feet as far as new technologies such as HDR10 are concerned, ensuring users get a taste before long.

Samsung has spoken. Apple, it's your turn now.

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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59 Comments

1. Kumar123 unregistered

This is maybe the least attractive note series phone samsung ever released.

3. Clars123

Posts: 1071; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

off course you would think so

5. Kumar123 unregistered

Off course you would not think so.

16. legiloca

Posts: 1673; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

coming from an Apple super fan? People here would think you are just trolling. Could've just shushed.

17. farzad_funny

Posts: 54; Member since: Feb 26, 2014

Of course both of you have misspelled "Of Course" :D

38. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Yeah, your thinking is "off course" too. But because looks are subjective, you both are equally right in you own opinion. You think it ugly. Fine. Since its subjective, you are welcome to that opinion. I want to know what phone you think looks better. To help you, I think the Redmi Note looks better for its size. I also like the Honor 8 HP's new Windows Phone is a very nice looking device even without the Note sizing. The problem with the Galaxy s simple. First off at least they do change the look each year even if just subtle. But I personally would have preferred the Note 7 have the Galaxy A9 design and still gave it an edge display. I like the more curvy corners of the A9 vs the sorta blocky corners since they came with the Note 4.

34. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3925; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

The Note 7 is a disappointed(smh) just like the Note 5 was but it does look better than the Note 5 thx to the curved screen. Put simply the N7 isn't the lease attractive Note because the N5 is.

51. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3925; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

least*

37. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Question. First off, I agree to a point that I don't like the looks of the Note 5 all that much, but it is better than the Note 4 on some points, though I like the note 4 better. As far as the Note 7, I mean it looks like the S7 Edge, but larger. Now after finally playin with the S7 Edge, having owned the S6 edge and having the S6 Edge+, I would say the Note 7 looks better than the 5 overall. Whether this is the worse Note models to date, I wouldn't go that far. They look better than any older plastic looking Note. But I am curious since I also loved my Note 2 an 3 even though they were poly-carbonate(plastic if you prefer), what phone do you think looks better? I mean, looks are subjective. I'm just curious as to what phone you "think" looks better.

2. adecvat

Posts: 580; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Same screen, ram, camera, display, design. S7 edge. Disappointed.

7. Jason2k13

Posts: 1435; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

Shouldn't you be comparing this to the note 5?... But the fact that this has a stylus makes it alot different to the S7 edge... Wait why I'm I replying to you when you're trolling on purpose? Guess I'm the stupid one.

11. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2205; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

I'm not sure what you expected, considering the S7 and Note series have generally shared the same design language for years now. The Note and S series are the counterparts to Apple's iPhone/iPhone Plus monikers. Both offering two devices with similar hardware with just minor differences such as screen size and a couple differentiating factors to show consumers they are different.

21. adecvat

Posts: 580; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Note 3 was much better than S4, and Note 4 too. With different design. Note 5 was flop because it was same as S6.

39. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I agree that the Note 3 was better than the S4. The Note 4 was great because Samsung decided not to use the S5 design which some blog sites crapped on. But I liked the S5 "shimmering" design. Especially in blue or gold. I don't like the Note 5 vs the 4 design, but I like that it is using the S6 Edge design. It is very nice to hold. I just wish Samsung would give the Galaxy family a new look. The S7 Edge design is nice with the more rounder sides and the new Note is that way too. But I would have preferred a edge more like what's on the S6 Edge+ vs the edge the Note 7 has now.

13. AViator

Posts: 47; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Do you happened to know, that this is an upgrade for Note 5, right? and not for S7/edge if you want something more then wait for S8/edge -_- why cant people understand that Galaxy S series and Note series cater to different people.

30. j2001m

Posts: 3060; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

It's not the same screen it's being reported, way better spec (not on about res)

62. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Wrong. Same ram as the Note 5. Not the same display because it supports HDR content. It's not exactly like the S7 edge design.

4. Unordinary unregistered

Cant use the iris scanner with contacts or glasses, and 3627 other requirements... Lmao.

6. darkkjedii

Posts: 30488; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Wowww, really?

24. tedkord

Posts: 16975; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Obvious troll is obvious.

31. darkkjedii

Posts: 30488; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Ok, I wasn't sure. I'm at work, and didn't have time to investigate, so I took him at his word.

8. keithtae

Posts: 564; Member since: Mar 25, 2015

People have already tested it with contacts on. Continue to troll please. http://www.androidauthority.com/samsung-galaxy-note-7-iris-scanner-works-706979/

41. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Right. And you canals see how fast it is. As it shows, it equally as fast as using the fingerprint reader and its just as fast as Windows Hello. All the doubters can now eat the pie off their faces. This is why you shouldn't judge a product that is new on something you may have seen in the past. That fast, still has 4GB of RAM. That new UI looks nice and clean. I just may have to upgrade. Have to see it in person though.

9. Jason2k13

Posts: 1435; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

This made me laugh to, you wonder sometimes how old these guys are.

40. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Except you can use them with contacts. It doesn't work well with colored contacts. I where contacts. I am betting I wont have an issue. In fact when I get my phone I will do a video of it unlocking with my contacts on.

42. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Wrong. Glass maybe? It will probably depend on if your glasses are bif0cals or not. Single vision glass don't change the shape of your eyes and thus in theory should be fine. Contacts will likely only be an issue if they are colored. Clear contacts don't change anything. As long as the scanner can actually see your Iris, it should work. Amazing how you know something about a product you've never used.

14. legiloca

Posts: 1673; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

Lemme do my take on the new beast in town Upgrades: CPU, GPU, Iris Scanner, Water Proofing, Software, S-Pen, Battery. Changes: 64GB is the only storage option, USB Type-C Feature/s returned: Micro SD Slot No/Almost no changes at all: Design (got me fooled it reused Note 5's), RAM amount. Downgrade: Camera it's like basically the S7 Edge and Note 5 had a baby.

15. legiloca

Posts: 1673; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

to be more specific bout the Camera, I'm just talking about the resolution

19. Jason2k13

Posts: 1435; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

It has dual edge screen, that's a huge difference in terms of new design to the note series.

57. legiloca

Posts: 1673; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

oh damn.. it's so cool I forgot to mention it.. from afar it looks like the Note 5

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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