Reviewing The Galaxy Note 7
Samsung is back in the black with the Galaxy Note 7, a palm-filling phablet that shares much in common with the electronic manufacturer's flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S7. Arguably, there are many other phones on the market built for giant mitts, but these are considered pretenders to the throne. After all, Samsung was first to the plate thanks to the original phat phone back in 2010. That envelope-pushing ideology has evolved somewhat to encompass the Galaxy 'S' series, so the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 could arguably be perceived as a composite, a device that delivers the power of the S7 alongside the stylus support of the original Note.
This "best of both worlds" philosophy accounts for the huge preorders being experienced in Southern Korea. Ever since August 6th, the stylus-equipped Android device has been generating the kind of excitement that's becoming increasingly uncommon in our apathetic smartphone market. In short, we all have one, they all look much the same, so why do you need a new one? That's an unfortunate truth that's hovering over the Apple campus right now, with phone sales stagnating for the nth straight quarter. Let's take a look at why this model from Samsung is such a standout.
Roll Out The Killer Specifications, Please
Performance is predictably assured by the digital heart, a 2.15-GHZ processing beast. It comes in two flavors, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 or the Exynos 8993 (International version), although this power is only supported by 4GB of RAM. That may still seem like a lot of memory, but some insiders had assumed the time was right for 6GB of onboard RAM. We don't wish to belabor the boring hardware lists that seem to magnetically attach themselves to flagship phones these days, but this short features listing does prove the device can stand toe-to-toe with the Samsung S7 Edge. Of more interest, we feel, is the new minimum storage space figures touted by the Note 7. A 64GB internal storage feature puts Apple's fixed baseline 16GB storage feature to shame, although we figure the base 16GB smartphone will soon become a relic.
Sexy Symmetry at Its Finest
If the Samsung Edge S7 isn't the father of this device, it's at least a favorite uncle, for the latest addition to the Note family adopts many of the curves and contours used on the Edge. In effect, the slender body is a fine-tuned and evolved version of that popular model. Two toughened plates of glass sandwich an uber-thin aluminum frame, and the phone just seems to slip effortlessly into a user's hand.
Besides the all-curved profile, the chipping away of several millimeters of thickness, and the symmetrical build, the thing is approved as an IP68 device. So, you're looking at a Gorilla Glass 5 package with superior water-resistance attributes, something that won't easily break. Incidentally, though, you should still buy a case for your Samsung Galaxy Note 7, as the glass panels do quickly pick up fingerprints.
Say Hello to an Edge-y Camera
There's not much to say about the 12MP camera that hasn't already been reviewed, for exactly the same image capturing optics are used on the S7 Edge. That's actually a good sign, for this is one of the best mobile cameras currently available. It's an outward facing camera that routinely outperforms the iPhone 6S, so what more is needed? It also features an f1.7 lens, so low light photography graces this S-Stylus smartphone, plus the secondary 5MP "selfie" camera is every bit as capable as the front-facing model fitted on the Edge. It's at this point you might begin to draw your own conclusion, a sneaking suspicion that the Samsung Note 7 is an evolved Edge S7, but what about the S-Stylus magic?
S-Stylus or S-Pen?
A plain old stylus can effectively render simple loops and draw rough text messages, but the new S-Pen surpasses this feature by adding 4,096 differential pressure points to the ultra-high definition 5.7-inch display. Sensitivity is the goal, the ability to precisely control weighted hand pressure so that you can practice your artwork on a granular level.
This means fine lines are easy to distinguish from bold strokes, and stylus bluntness goes the way of the dinosaur as near ballpoint accuracy takes over. Additional features include on-the-go note translation and software-enhanced GIF captures, plus the S-Pen is every bit as weather-resistant as the phone, but we wouldn't recommend your taking it out scuba diving so that you can take notes on dolphin activity. Remember, water-resistant does not mean waterproof.
A Software and Security-Oriented Marvel
One layer of data protection should be enough to guard the contents of your glassy new Note 7, but why stop there? The manufacturers sure didn't, after all. The fingerprint sensor is on hand, of course, but its abilities have been reinforced by the smart inclusion of an iris scanner.
It's not for Mission Impossible scenarios where men in skintight black outfits hang upsides down while attempting to invade your cellphone's defenses, although it would function admirably in this manner if you were a member of that elite organization. Instead, dual authentication protocols are simply becoming the new norm. The twofold biometric feature acts as a secure little failsafe, especially when you have unguarded financial information stored on your phone.
Anyway, after having your eyeball and finger duly approved for access, you might expect to enter battle against Touchwiz, Samsung's notoriously unfriendly and unresponsive software interface. Touchwiz does inhabit the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 operating system, but it's a more refined version, one that works with stock Android instead of against it, so the revamp should make haters happier. We think you'll be happier with the flattened and intuitive remodeling that's occurred here, as it makes the S-Pen a far more intuitive tool.
Other Note-able Improvements
The speculation on what may or may not be included on the Note 7 should die down and resolve itself into a happy background hum, for Samsung seems to have paired its newest flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, with a very capable big brother. The refinements are nuanced rather than bold, but they're made just where it counts. The camera is every bit as formidable as anything else available.
The body of the handset is stylish and elegant, easy to hold, though you should probably purchase a case. The 5.7-inch display uses super-clear AMOLED technology to ensure every pixel is sharply rendered. Contrast and color both standout.
It's also classed as a dual-edge display, so the 2560 x 1440 pixel screen pushes its dense 518ppi resolution to both sides of the svelte casing. A new 3,500mAh battery is in place to handle all of these hardware improvements, including the reintroduction of the once absent microSD slot, a feature that expands the already large internal memory capacity up towards 256GB.
Finally, future-proofing is on the minds of the designers, with the latest USB Type-C port attaching itself to the handset. This connector is set to make a big difference when Samsung's latest Gear VR headset brings virtual reality to the next level in immersive entertainment.