Sam­sung Galaxy Note7

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

Sam­sung’s range of Galaxy Note phones has a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing stylish, well built and con­tain­ing the lat­est tech­nol­ogy. The Note7 is the lat­est ad­di­tion to the line-up.


As you can see from our pho­tos, the Note7 re­tains the look of other mod­els of Note smart­phone but adds the style of the Galaxy S7. In par­tic­u­lar, the S7 edge, which also has a dual-edge curved screen.

What we are par­tic­u­larly im­pressed with is that de­spite the screen size re­main­ing at 5.7in, the Note7 doesn’t feel like a ph­ablet. In­deed, de­spite be­ing slightly big­ger than the S7 edge, we found it more man­age­able to use.

This slab of me­tal and glass looks and feels great, although be wary of the rear cover. We found that the glass meant the Note7 slid out of our pock­ets when sit­ting down.

Build qual­ity is up to Sam­sung’s usual high stan­dards. The phone 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.

The Note7 is the first in the range to be wa­ter­proof, match­ing up to the S7 in more than just looks. Ac­cord­ing to Sam­sung, it can be sub­merged in 1.5m of wa­ter for up to 30 min­utes thanks to its IP68 rat­ing. There’s no need to fid­dle with port cov­ers or even make sure the S Pen (which is also wa­ter re­sis­tant) is in the slot ei­ther. This is even more im­pres­sive con­sid­er­ing the sty­lus is stored in­side the phone.

We do, how­ever, have one mi­nor is­sue with the de­sign – a small groove be­tween the glass and me­tal at the top of the screen collects dust and dirt. This is not a big deal, though.

Op­tional ac­ces­sories in­clude a lens cover, wa­ter­proof bat­tery cover and a new GearVR head­set, which we’ll be look­ing at in a fu­ture is­sue.

Hard­ware Dis­play

Stick­ing to tra­di­tion, the Galaxy Note7 has a 5.7in screen, so users of pre­vi­ous Note phones will feel right at home. De­spite ru­mours of a 4- or even 6K res­o­lu­tion, Sam­sung has sen­si­bly stuck to QuadHD (2560x1440, 518ppi), which can also be found on its S7 hand­sets.

It’s a gor­geous dis­play, us­ing the firm’s favoured Su­perAMOLED tech­nol­ogy, with the bonus of the dual edge. It works in the same way as the S7 edge, so there’s a sub­tle curve on ei­ther side.

This can be used, for ex­am­ple, to quickly ac­cess 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, such as the time and some no­ti­fi­ca­tions.

The Note7 is also ‘mo­bile HDR-com­pat­i­ble’, so like re­cent tele­vi­sions, it of­fers bet­ter con­trast and de­tail. You won’t be able to use this will all con­tent, but in our tests watch­ing Ama­zon Prime Video, we couldn’t see any dif­fer­ence. Im­ages still looks great, though.


Bring­ing the Note range up to speed, quite lit­er­ally, the Note7 is pow­ered by Sam­sung’s own Exynos 8890 chip, which the com­pany also uses in the Galaxy S7. The phone also has 4GB of RAM.

While bench­mark re­sults are high, see op­po­site, the phone isn’t as good when it comes to real-world use. Dur­ing our test­ing we found

The Galaxy Note7 has a gor­geous dis­play, us­ing the firm’s favoured Su­perAMOLED tech­nol­ogy, with the bonus of the dual edge

that it oc­ca­sion­ally ex­hib­ited small amounts of lag and jerk­i­ness in gen­eral use. This would be when we, for ex­am­ple, opened an app or switched be­tween apps. It’s by no means a huge prob­lem – it’s silky smooth the vast ma­jor­ity of the time – but at this price, you ex­pect flaw­less per­for­mance.


The Note7 comes with 64GB as stan­dard and re­tains the mi­croSD card slot for adding up to 256GB more. We think this is a good move on Sam­sung’s part as users com­plained about their omis­sion from the Note5 and Galaxy S6.

Con­nec­tiv­ity and sen­sors

Sam­sung has de­cided to fi­nally em­ploy USB-C (see be­low). The Note7 also has fast wire­less charg­ing (WMA and PMC), 11ac Wi-Fi, Blue­tooth 4.2, GPS, NFC, a heartrate sen­sor, fin­ger­print scan­ner and the ru­moured iris scan­ner, which we look at later. The only thing miss­ing, which Sam­sung has dropped af­ter us­ing it in its other phones, is an in­frared port. This al­lows a hand­set to be used as a re­mote con­trol, though its omis­sion isn’t a big deal.

USB-C and bat­tery life

It was some­thing of a shock that Sam­sung didn’t make the switch to USB-C on its Galaxy S7 phones, but it has now done so with the Note7. The port is re­versible, mak­ing it eas­ier to plug in, but it also of­fers faster charg­ing and, in the­ory, data trans­fer rates faster than USB 3.0.

In our charg­ing test, us­ing the sup­plied ‘Adap­tive Fast Charg­ing’ adap­tor, we the Note7 took one hour 15 min­utes to go from 0- to 100 per­cent. That’s not bad con­sid­er­ing the large 3500mAh ca­pac­ity.

In our real-world test, the Note7’s bat­tery life is rea­son­able, though not as im­pres­sive as we would have de­sired from a 3500mAh bat­tery. With a ‘nor­mal’ and var­ied us­age, we found that af­ter 24 hours, the Note7 has less than 15 per­cent juice left.

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.

Iris scan­ner

One fea­ture that’s new to the Note7 is the iris scan­ner, which uses both the front cam­era and an LED sen­sor to check whether your eyes are in fact yours. It works in a sim­i­lar way to Win­dows Hello, which we’ve seen on Lu­mia 950 phones. It’s easy to set up, but not so much when it comes to ac­tu­ally us­ing it.

Dur­ing test­ing we had two main is­sues with the iris scan­ner. The first is that you have to wake the screen and swipe on the lockscreen to ac­ti­vate it, which is too many steps con­sid­er­ing how easy it is to touch the fin­ger­print scan­ner in­stead.

The other is that it’s quite flaky. When set­ting it up, you’re pre­sented with a huge list of warn­ings and caveats about not us­ing it too close to your face, wear­ing glasses, light­ing con­di­tions and the like. Dur­ing test­ing, we found that it strug­gled both in­doors and out­side in strong sun­light.

When it works it’s fast, but the Note7, more of­ten than not, tells you to, for ex­am­ple, hold the phone higher or open your eyes fully – you end up pulling faces at the de­vice while look­ing like you’re hunt­ing for cel­lu­lar sig­nal.

S Pen sty­lus

The Note7 wouldn’t be a Galaxy Note phone with­out the S Pen sty­lus which, as usual, slots into the phone on the bot­tom. It works in the same way as pre­vi­ously and can be used to both re­place your fin­ger as an

In our real-world test, the Note7’s bat­tery life is rea­son­able, though not as im­pres­sive as we would have de­sired from a 3500mAh bat­tery

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