Same great shooter as on the S7 series; post processing is a bit out of hand

What is a Galaxy smartphone without a superb camera? That’s exactly what we get with the Note 7 – the same 12 MP shooter that has already made the Galaxy S7 the wonderful cameraphone that it is.

The camera application is mostly easy to deal with. Most camera modes are accessed with a swipe to the right, while filters – with a slide to the left. It's quite efficient, once you get the hang of it.

The 12 MP images the Note 7 takes are gorgeous. They offer mostly correct, if slightly warm, color tones. At the same time, everything looks nice and vibrant, perhaps overly so. Details are abundant, although there's quite a bit of oversharpening going on, which gives the photos a slightly more aggressive look than needed. With the added warmth, saturation, and sharpening, it feels like Samsung is pushing things a bit too far with the post processing. Still, pics from the Note 7 do look great, so we guess there’s not much cause for concern.

Probably the best part about this camera is how good it is when shooting in dark conditions. The wide, F1.7 aperture really helps draw in as much light as possible, and the results are inspiring, although sometimes things can easily get a bit blurry, so you need to keep the phone extra steady. Still, night pictures and portraits taken with the Galaxy Note 7 seem to be at least a step ahead of most rivals, including the iPhone.

Not everything is so jolly when it comes to the 5 MP front camera, however. The field of view is so wide, one can hardly take a normal selfie shot without their head appearing stretched like a banana. For group selfies – yes, it’s going to work pretty well, but if it’s just you that you want to get in the shot – not so much. There’s also a fairly intense beautify effect by default, and if you’re into this sort of things, there are also some other effects like ‘big eyes’ or ‘spotlight’, or ‘slim face’, which, if utilized correctly, can really make you look like the superstar or diva that you’re not.

Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 1.7
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 2.1
No data
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 1.5
Apple iPhone 6s Plus 1.6

Video recording with the Note 7 happens in 4K at 30 fps, or 1080p at 30 or 60 fps, and most of the things we said about photo quality apply here as well. An overall solid picture, with some noticeable oversharpening and added vibrancy. As far as night video footage goes, it’s mostly good, though I think the noise reduction is a bit too aggressive here.


First phone to play HDR10 video content

The Note 7’s massive, 5.7” screen is perfectly suited for media. The vast amounts of storage space allow you to keep as much media as you’d like on the phone, while the video player application is so versatile, it can even play HDR10 content now. If you don’t know what HDR 10 is – don’t worry, we didn’t know either, before the Galaxy Note 7 came knocking on the door. Long story short, HDR10 video content is still hard to come by, but it’s growing – some Netflix or Amazon shows already come in this next-gen format, which aims to offer a richer, and more dynamic image quality. So the Note 7 is the first smartphone to have the hardware muscle to decode such content, and while its display doesn’t technically support all of what makes HDR10 great, it does offer the AMOLED Cinema mode which is designed to make the most of HDR 10 footage by expanding the color gamut a bit.

There’s a bottom-mounted loudspeaker on the Note 7. Volume-wise, things are pretty decent – nothing to make you jump out of your seat, but strong enough. In terms of clarity, there’s something left to be desired: it’s not too bad, but it could use some brilliance in the highs and depth in the lows.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 0.75
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 0.609
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 0.707
Apple iPhone 6s Plus 0.986
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 72
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 70.7
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 72.9
Apple iPhone 6s Plus 69.1



1. TreyTreyTaylor

Posts: 728; Member since: Dec 21, 2010

Don't know how I feel about 8.7. It's as if the reviews here have no consistency. Having said that 3 more days...

7. TreyTreyTaylor

Posts: 728; Member since: Dec 21, 2010

Even worse. The 4 cons are completely subjective software issues. Iris scanner unreliable is bs. It works in dark and light conditions, and it compliments fingerprint security, not replaces it. Fingerprint sensor is the most nitpicking con of all cause we know that's not a issue and definitely not a con for the phone. Edge screen is personal preference. Some people love the functionality of the edge. Again not a con. Finally, the processing that Samsung uses on its cameras is a tad on the sharp side, but that's nitpicking at best when you have the best mobile cameras on the planet.

14. Acdc1a

Posts: 475; Member since: Jan 21, 2016

You can't use the iris scanner as a con as no one else is doing it. What in the hell are you going to compare it to?

22. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

Well that doesn't mean it's a great plus either. Just because something has a feature, unless that feature works well it isn't really a particular benefit - the review seems to state it doesn't work well and the existing security methods are better.

36. Macready

Posts: 1824; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

"the review seems to state it doesn't work well and the existing security methods are better." And that's exactly where it falls flat. I used it on a demo model and it worked great, with glasses. Reviews show that it works great even in complete darkness or when using a torch light to shine into the scanner, basically everyone who's used it says it works pretty well. It's more secure than the fingerprint scanner and the comparison list (yes vs no) against the fingerprint scanner in the article is laughable at best. Where's the factor wet/dirty hands? Fingerprint scanner: no, iris scanner: yes. Gloves? Fingerprint scanner: no, iris scanner: yes. Holding the stylus? Fingerprint scanner: no/hard, depending on finger(s) scanned, Iris scanner: yes.

56. dimas

Posts: 3382; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

I also tried the iris scanner in the showroom this morning and it was fast. These reviews are just guides and personal opinions so it's better for people to test it before making their own conclusions.

70. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

But reviews are suppose to be based on personal opinions, it is suppose to be based on facts. You give an "opinion" when you have only heard of said tech, may have seen sad tech, but haven't actually used said tech. But when you have the phone in your hand and you are able to use said tech, then your thoughts should be based on facts of using, not opinions.

89. KParks23

Posts: 729; Member since: Oct 13, 2010

Someone needs to get y'all a wahburger and some French cries geeze... he almost gave it a 9 and this is rayS were talking about just be glad it wasn't a 8 flat!

148. cheetah2k

Posts: 2271; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

Yeah this whole review is bs. iPA isnt a blogger site. its supposed to be a tech site with constructive reivews not based on personal opinion It should be like "iris scanner - does it work - yes, does anyone else have it in the current phone line-up - no - "Pro" Instead its "well i couldnt get it to work because of my lazy eye, and my iphone doesnt have it, so i'd never use it. so its a "Con" This is why iPA will never make it into the big leagues...

173. Diego!

Posts: 876; Member since: Jun 15, 2009

I agree. Everything fruit-less is crap and that's the reality here at iPA. You should check the 'no evil twin' review at it's way better than this review and it's a profesional one. No biased at all.

87. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

If it's based on personal opinions then it would be a blogger, this is supposed to be professional with no bias

101. dimas

Posts: 3382; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

But I thought the writer was just a blogger expressing his opinion? And I think this comment will get deleted again. We can go as scientific as we want reviewing these products but at the end of the day, writers are humans so personal preferences will be affecting them. For me Note 7 is awesome and I'll be purchasing it after reading gsmarena and pocketnow analysis.

69. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

You claim is false. We've seen videos of the Iris Scanner. We know it works well. Whether its useful to your or not, has nothing to do with how it should be scored. Example, I personally may not use it. I plan to try it out and just see how it works. But just because I may "personally" find it to be gimmicky and useless, certainly doesn't mean everyone will. I would score it based on the fact it does offer a benefit. Just because something isn't beneficial to me, doesn't mean it isn't beneficial. This it has to work well is nothing more than BS. Force Touch by definition sounds like a nice concept, yet no one had implemented in in a useful way. 2 OEM's we have seen witj it so far, have implemented it in a boring useless way because the alternative methods for achieving the same results can be done faster in other ways. Notice I specifically said "Force Touch". Don't get it confused with anything else. When you are rating a product, it is not suppose to be based on personal preference or bias. It is suppose to be based on the actual spec, what the product was design for, and how well it measure up to that. Example, the camera has a certain specification. We know that a camera with a certain size aperyure, is suppose to take pictures in low light better. So we test for accuracy of that. We know a camera with a certain sensor size, is expect to take a certain level of quality video/photos, so we test for that. We know when the battery is a certain size, we expect that it should last a certain amount of time, based on the cell size and features and how well they are optimized. All of those things fall into a specific spec where bias has no room. The Iris Scanner doesn't mean bias or preference. The score of it should be based on, its implementation, its usefulness and ease of use and accuracy. That's it. All of those have no room for bias or preference. It's simple, either it works or it doesn't. We've seen videos, we know it works. PA scoring it as a con is bias and based on preference and their insulant hate of Samsung. After all, that is what you all would say if it was YOUR brand or phone of choice.

75. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

I didn't claim anything. I haven't seen or used a Note 7 - I was referencing this review and I clearly stated that. Phonearena said it didn't work that well, bring it up with them.

102. dimas

Posts: 3382; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Try going to a samsung showroom, play with the demos then you can decide if it's good for you.

96. technitude

Posts: 263; Member since: Dec 19, 2013

I don't think people are saying is a plus (but that's not even my point) . The criticism is of unique features being posted as Cons. If a phone added a feature where it could translate what pets are saying. Would it be a Con if it doesn't work with fish (the most populous house pet)? Should NASA be considered a failure because their fatality rate is much higher than planes? The purpose of a Con is to state why you might look at another product. If only one product that offers something, then "Con-ing" it is wrong. If we want innovation, we need to jump down the throats of people that criticize it.

37. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Of course they can. If it's unreliable or doesn't work, why couldn't they? Your reasoning is ridiculous.

42. TerryTerius unregistered

The Lumia 950 has an Iris scanner. There is something to compare it to.

121. Subie

Posts: 2395; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Thanks Terry, I was just going to post the same thing. Both 950 models to be exact.

174. Diego!

Posts: 876; Member since: Jun 15, 2009

So does the Microsoft Lumia 950XL, I own one and it works flawlessly!

65. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

They could compare it to the one on the Surface pro 4. And videos show they work equally as fast. The SP4 works in total darkness. I am betting the N7 will too, because the sensor uses Infrared. PA will find any reason to bring a Galaxy S/Note down. They don't want it to score higher than their favorite. They know that they are biased. Then when you call them out on it, they send you hate mail trying to warn you. I just ignore threats. You can have a strong preference, you can even be biased, but you can still be 100% honest with all reviews, no matter what your favorite is. The Note 7 is the best Note ever. It should have gotten a 9.

67. JC557

Posts: 1921; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

Anandtech has their review for the Note 7 up on their site and the camera complaints seem to be similar, battery life is close to that of the S7 Edge etc.

85. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

But the allegedly inconsistent Iris scanner isn't a big enough con to warrant a meh 8.7 score for an other stellar Galaxy Note7!

131. JC557

Posts: 1921; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

For f**k sake it has some misses other than the iris scanner:

82. uzimafioso

Posts: 469; Member since: Jul 15, 2014

Yes cause no other manufacturer is stupid enough to do it. How the hell are you supposed to unlock your phone while driving? Turn on the screen, swipe left, hold the phone a foot from your face and bam you're into an effing tree.

106. perry1234

Posts: 648; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

Haha ! You got my upvote. But please don't bang into a tree. Use the FP scanner instead.

126. uzimafioso

Posts: 469; Member since: Jul 15, 2014

Hahaha I dont intend to buy a Note anytime soon.


Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Read the Review on the Verge to get a good idea on how things are with this scanner. I expected an 8.7 on this site.

52. ph00ny

Posts: 2055; Member since: May 26, 2011

I don't know how much better or worse the finger print sensors are on the note 7 compared to note 5 but note 5 works every time and when it doesn't work, it's due to a dust/grease/moisture as expected. MM update made them extremely fast on the note 5.


Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

It seems to me that if this were apple iPhone it's features would make it a 9+. The curved screen and iris scanner would be a plus just like forced touch, and huge top and bottom bezels. I wait the Verge review more than here.

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

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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