Like usual, Samsung pushed up the launch date of the Galaxy Note 7 in order to get a head start on sales competing against Apple’s next iPhone. Starting off strong with positive reviews hitting online at launch, BayStreet analysts forecasted a 25% increase in sales from its predecessor. Continue reading
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The Galaxy Note 7 was unveiled on August 2nd during Samsung’s Unpacked 2016 annual event. There were some surprises and some to be expected as rumours milled out long before the release.
Depending how you look at it, the Note 7 could be a hit or miss for you. However, it was certainly a hit for us!
You are probably aware of all the new features and specifications, but, in case you’re not, we have included a brief overview below.
Featuring a 5.7 inch screen with a resolution of 1,440 x 2,560 pixels, this iteration continues to feature an S Pen. Similar to the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, the Note 7 is water resistant including the pen allowing you to write underwater. Not sure why you would want to do that, but I guess you can now jot memos while lounging in the pool?
Looking at the internals, the Note 7 features an Exynos 8890 octa-core processor with 4gb of RAM. The battery capacity sits at 3,500 mAh disappointing from expectations of a 4,000 mAh battery largely due to the S Pen placement.
Two new additions are the USB Type-C port that supports fast charging and Gorilla Glass 5 covering the front and back. Not to fear, Samsung is including a micro-USB to USB Type-C adapter. In fact, here’s a list of everything that’s included as detailed on the Samsung Experience Store:
Samsung continues to mix a bit of old and new with the Note 7’s color option with the new being Blue Coral that stands out from the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge line.
Depending on your region, color availability will vary depending on carrier and pre-ordering method. Pre-orders can be made at both local mobility carriers as well as the Samsung Experience Stores and website.
The battery and RAM has been much criticized for its small capacity and lower memory for a flagship device. However, this comparison is rather problematic.
Starting off with the battery at 3,500 mAh, this is criticized heavily because of the comparison in different product lines. The Note 7’s battery capacity has been repeatedly compared against the Galaxy S7 Edge with a 3,600 mAh battery. The reason for a smaller battery is obviously to leave room for the S Pen.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is still a huge improvement from last year’s Note 5 at 3,000 mAh (there is no Note 6). It even topped out the Nexus 6P also sharing a 5.7 inch display with a 3,450 mAh battery capacity.
For those wondering if they should just stick with the Galaxy S7 Edge where a bigger battery is powering a smaller display, the answer is not that simple. Although they share the same processor, it still takes time to see if Samsung made any improvements to its ROM now dubbed the Grace UX on the Note 7. One thing we know for sure is there are definitely aesthstetic improvements. If there are indeed under-the-hood performance improvements, then a smaller battery could last longer per charge than the Galaxy S7 Edge.
RAM complaints are very interesting to see. Since when is 4GB of RAM not enough? Let’s not forget that budget PC’s often come with 4GB of RAM or less. Complaints about the 4GB of RAM popped up here and there on discussion boards often comparing the Note 7 against the 6GB RAM found in the OnePlus 3.
It’s important to keep mind that more does not always equate to better. 6GB of RAM are often found in the upper mid-range computers. A smartphone may not fully utilize all 6GB’s of memory and so may not translate to any significant performance improvements. In other words, 4GB is already an upgrade from last year’s model and would be sufficient to handle the everyday use considering the improvements being made on Android Marshmallow and Nougat rolling out.
However, let’s not forget the Note 7 is not without its innovations. First and foremost is the Iris scanner. Is this a gimmick or could this prove to be a real feature? We’re leaning towards the latter. While the Iris scanner may not be at its full potential, we can see that it works below:
And even in complete darkness:
Admittedly, it would probably take Samsung a few generations to get this done right. We’ve observed this with the fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S5 was gimmicky at best and later improved on the S6 and S7 models.
However, given that you only have one set of fingerprints, it is very problematic if biometric security is compromised. Samsung’s Iris scanner provides new potential to how we lock our devices, but also important data on the go as well.
You see it and it’s true! Samsung does listen to its consumers and re-introduced the micro-SD expansion slot. With the Note 7 starting with a 64GB capacity, this should be sufficient for most users. For the really heavy users, you can expand your storage up to 256GB micro-SD card. For a limited time, buyers who pre-ordered an Note 7 will be able to get a 128GB Evo+ micro-SD card depending on their mobile carrier offer.
Even more impressive, Samsung was able to waterproof the expandable storage and nano-SIM slots along with the S Pen. Speaking of water, the Note 7 has an IP68 rating. The Ingress Protection rating ranks the Note 7 on a 6 out of 7 for intrusion or dust protection while an 8 out of 9 for moisture. This means that the Note 7 is water resistant, but not indefinitely. Although we don’t recommend you bring your phone in the shower or pool, it does offer a peace of mind for any unintended water damage protection.
Aside from protection, the Note 7 is no short from productivity. In fact, this device was built with productivity in mind. The S Pen has been improved with precision in mind.
The S Pen is just the hardware and, this time, Samsung has the software to back it up. Samsung Notes is the one app that does it all. This consolidation allows you to store all your notes in one place keeping it organized and easy to find.
Another neat feature is the screen-off memo allowing you to quickly pull out the pen and start jotting. There is no need to unlock the screen, find the app, wait for its launch, before note keeping. Pin a sticky note on the Always-On screen and this is a very powerful combination.
So is the Note 7 worth it? It’s definitely a solid contender especially up against the Moto Z and Moto Z Force with its magnetic modular design. Samsung consistently has one of the best cameras on the market and we believe this time should be no different.
Unlike in our analysis of the Moto Z and Moto Z Force, the Note 7 really does focus on what consumers want along with the focus on practicality over gimmicks. While the iris scanner feature is a bit too early to tell, the Note 7 represents improvements on all fronts. It features a much bigger battery, greater focus on productivity with even more S Pen touch points, expandable storage, and IP68 water resistant rating.
A bit more on the expensive side, it’s definitely an all around power house that’s worth considering for a high end premium smartphone.
In our last post, we summarized how the Moto Mods for the Moto Z and Z Force just did not live up to the hype for a modular phone. We stressed that Motorola favored the gimmicks way more than the core essentials. Continue reading
Since the push towards modularity, Motorola has been working hard to one up the LG G5 with a new modularity design. Continue reading
There is just a bit over a week before the Samsung unveils the Note 7 on August 2nd. Building up to the launch, we’ve had our fair share of rumors and the latest reported by SamMobile might be a deal breaker to some. Continue reading