Samsung Galaxy Note7
£749 inc VAT samsung.com/uk
The Galaxy Note7 release date in the UK is 2 September with the option to pre-order now. The Note7 is £749 SIM-free which is rather expensive. If you pre-order then you’ll get the phone three days early and Samsung will also throw in a free Gear VR when you buy from selected retailers so look out for the deal.
When it comes to design, Samsung has struck a nice balance of retaining the look of the Note series
while bring the style of the Galaxy S7. In this case, particularly the Galaxy S7 edge as the new Note7 has the dual edge curved screen as standard.
What’s quite amazing here is that the Note7 doesn’t feel like a phablet despite the screen size remaining at 5.7in. It’s not much bigger than the Galaxy S7 edge and the device feels more manageable than ever.
This slab of metal and glass looks and feels great, although be wary of the rear cover as the slippery glass means the device is likely to slide out of your pocket when sitting down or make its way slowly off the edge of a sofa arm.
Build quality is up to the usual high standards which we’ve come to expect from Samsung with smooth flushness where materials meet, precision drilled holes and the like. The Note7 is available in a range of colours including Gold Platinum, Silver Titanium, Black Onyx and Blue Coral. The latter is an eye-catching combination of blue and gold as you can see here.
We’re pleased to report that the Note7 is the first in the range to be waterproof, matching up to the S7 in more than just looks. You can now dunk your Note7 thanks to its IP68 rating (1.5m of water for up to 30 minutes and dustproof) and as we’ve become accustomed to, there’s no need
to fiddle with port covers. This is even more impressive considering the S Pen is stored inside the phone. Even the S Pen is water resistant so you can carry on using it in the rain or dunk it, too.
Optional accessories include a Lens Cover, waterproof battery cover and a new Gear VR headset which is compatible with the Note7 thanks to USB-C.
Sticking to tradition, the Galaxy Note7 has a 5.7in display so users of previous Note phones will feel right at home. Despite rumours of a 4- or even 6K resolution, Samsung has sensible stuck to QuadHD (1440x2560) which it uses on the S7 handsets.
It’s still a gorgeous display using the firm’s favoured SuperAMOLED technology with the added bonus of the dual edge. It works in the same way as the S7 edge so you have a subtle curve on either side unlike the 2014 Galaxy Note Edge which had a large curved section on one side.
It can be used for various things such as quickly accessing your favourite contacts or apps – we’ll talk more about it in the software section. Samsung has also brought over its ‘always on’ screen feature (which is optional). This means even when you turn the display off, it will show you some information like the time and some notifications.
Bringing the Note range up to speed, quite literally, the Note7 is powered by the same processor found in the Galaxy S7 – that’s Samsung’s own Exynos 8890 which, in the S7, we found more than capable. The Note7 has 4GB of RAM despite rumours of 6GB which means
the OnePlus 3 remains in its exclusive club.
When it comes to storage, the Galaxy Note7 comes with 64GB as standard and retains the microSD card slot for adding more. A good move since the Note5 didn’t have one and nor did the Galaxy S6 which wasn’t met with gratitude from users.
Beyond the core specs, the Note7 is packed with tech – almost to the point where we’re struggling to find something which it hasn’t got.
Samsung has decided to finally employ USB-C which is reversible and provides faster charging – Samsung also includes an adaptor for the older Micro-USB which is handy. The phone also has fast wireless charging (WMA and PMC), 11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, NFC, heart rate sensor, a fingerprint scanner and the rumoured iris scanner. The only thing missing, which has been dropped on other phones too is the infrared port which would be for using the phone as a remote control.
We haven’t had time to test battery life, of course, but the Note7 comes with an even larger battery than before which will please many users. It’s 3500mAh which is up from an already decent 3000mAh. The only downside for some is the fact that it’s non-removable so don’t throw away that power bank if you have one.
Returning to the iris scanner since it’s an important new feature, it uses the front facing camera as you’d expect and works in a similar way to Windows Hello which we enjoyed on the Lumia 950 phones. You unlock the phone by looking into the camera which scans your peepers to check it’s you. With this kind of tech, to work well you really need to be in good lighting and even things like contact lenses may cause problems.
We think most users will end up using the fingerprint scanner but it did work well for us with glasses on. Part of our thinking here is that you still have to wake up the screen and swipe on the lockscreen to activate the iris scanner which, for most, will simply be too much time spent unlocking.
The Note7 wouldn’t be a Galaxy Note phone without the S Pen stylus which, as usual, slots into the phone on the bottom. The stylus works in the same way as previously and can be used to both replace your finger as an input device for navigation but also note taking. It has a new 0.7mm tip, the previously mentioned water resistance and the Air Command menu now has a new additions – see the software section.
Moving onto cameras and the Note7 follows in the footsteps of the Galaxy S7 phones with a 12Mp camera (down from 16Mp but that doesn’t mean it’s worse). It’s a Dual Pixel camera with optical image stabilisation (OIS) and a very impressive f/1.7 aperture. A quick play at the launch shows great potential.
The front camera remains the same at 5Mp with features such as an f/1.7 aperture, wide-angle 22mm lens and the ability to record 1440p video.
It’s no surprise that the Note7 comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow pre-installed and Samsung’s own TouchWiz user interface. We assume that it will get an upgrade to the upcoming Android 7.0 Nougat but official confirmation is yet to come.
Long gone are the days when TouchWiz was crude and complicated. Nowadays, the user interface is much cleaner and closer to stock Android but with useful additions presented in an easier way to handle. Subtle differences like softer colours in the icons all add up.
You get all the features found on the Galaxy S7 including Multi-Window, the ability to run two apps side-by-side, Pop-up view which lets you run some apps in a smaller window and smaller ones like smart capture, direct call and smart stay.
The larger screen works particularly well for things like Multi-Window and some users may find themselves reaching for a tablet a lot less because of the Note7. We’re also pleased about the dual edge display which can be used for a range of things, even if we didn’t find ourselves using it loads on the S7 edge.
One of the main reasons to buy the Note7, particularly in comparison to the S7 phones, is the S Pen stylus. Not a massive amount has changed here so you still pop it out of the bottom whenever you want to use it. The Air Command menu gives you plenty of options but bear in mind that you can simply use the S Pen to navigate if you like which is great when you need to be precise (spreadsheets and the like) or you don’t want to get the screen grubby when eating or similar situations.
New features of the S Pen include the ability to create gifs and translate language with it on the fly.
Our first impressions of the Note7 are very good, as long as you’re looking for a larger ‘phablet’ sized phone with the benefit of the S Pen stylus. The phone brings the Note range up to speed and in line with the Galaxy S7 devices including the stylish design which is waterproof and dual edge screen, as well as new features like the iris scanner.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow 5.7in QuadHD super AMOLED display Exynos 8890 processor 4GB RAM 64GB storage MicroSD card slot Fingerprint sensor Heart rate monitor Iris scanner 802.11ac dual band Wi-Fi Bluetooth 4.2 NFC USB-C S Pen 12Mp rear camera 5Mp front camera 3500mAh non-removable battery Wireless charging IP68 73.9x153.5x7.9mm 169g