Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Review
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.
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.