galaxy-note-7-design_26-in-handThe Galaxy Note 7 is Samsung’s high-end mobile phone for the “large display” (5.7″) category, with a hint of “business” positioning. It even includes an eye-scanner and private folders for extra-convenient security.

We got the phone in the office for a while now and we have updated a number of things in the original article, including system performance analysis which we wanted to do in-house. This review goes over the new aspects of the Note 7, but also over the make-or-break aspects of the phone. Is this the one for you? Let’s find out!

Skipping the “Note 6.”

Since the previous “Note” handset was the Galaxy Note 5, many were expecting the new one to be called Not 6. Obviously, Samsung has skipped “6” to realign and consolidate the naming of its high-end smartphones, so Galaxy Note 7 it is. If you happen to land on old rumors or coverage, all references to Note 6, should now be understood as Note 7.

Industrial design: best in class

galaxy-note-7-s-pen_04

The Note 7 has been designed to be a large-screen phone (5.7”) that remains comfortable to hold in the hand. To that end, Samsung has worked on both the general screen-to-body ratio of the device, but also on the curvature to reach an excellent level of comfort.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s design uses the same design language as the Galaxy S7 series, but with slight modifications to accommodate the pen-driven nature of the Note 7. Still, there is a lot in common with the Galaxy S7, such as the all glass and metal exterior, and overall placement of buttons and ports.

There are differences, however. First, the Galaxy Note 7 is equipped with a USB-C port. Nearly all the OEMs we talked to, this is going to be the standard from 2017 onwards.

Secondly, the Note 7 has a shape which is more rectangular. This is mainly due to the presence of the Digital Pen slot on the lower right. Because Samsung wants to have a perfect symmetry from the top/back and the sides, the shape has been changed from the Galaxy S7’s.

Left: Galaxy S7 Edge. Right: Galaxy Note 7

Left: Galaxy S7 Edge. Right: Galaxy Note 7

Unlike the S7, the Note 7 is symmetrical from front to back (as seen from the side). The glass curvature is now the same on both sides. This design trait gives the Note 7 a look similar to the acclaimed S7 Edge from a distance.

You can judge the Note 7’s appearance for yourself, but I think that the Galaxy Note 7 has an exquisite design, which is right in line with the 7-series from Samsung. The industrial design is going to be a huge success driver for this series of handsets. So far, the S7 and S7 Edge are driving Samsung’s profits up as the S7 outsold the iPhone 6S in the U.S recently.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 comes in several colors: Silver Titanium, Black Onyx, Gold Platinum, Blue Coral (my personal favorite).

Water-resistant: IP68 Rated

galaxy-note-7-design_14-water-ip68Like the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, the Galaxy Note 7 is water resistant, with an excellent IP68 rating. If you are not familiar with the IP rating system, you can learn more by reading our article dedicated to IP Ratings.

"MANY SMARTPHONES DIE PREMATURELY BECAUSE OF WATER CONTACT"It means that the Note 7 is “Dust tight: no dust can penetrate” (IP6x) and it can withstand “up to 3-meter immersion waterproofing. In some cases, waterproofing means that “some” water can penetrate, but without harming the device.” (IPx8)

It is known that a large number of smartphones die prematurely because of a water encounter. Many slip into a pool, sink or toilets… with the Note 7, the chances of survival are much greater (if not, we show you how to fix a water-damaged phone). Some people will even take the phone and snap photos underwater in the pool. We expect the Note 7 to join the S7 and S7 Edge phones in the Best Waterproof Smartphones list.

Keep in mind that IP68 doesn’t mean the phone is rugged. The 7-Series from Samsung is made of glass, which means that it is highly sensitive to drops. Minerals such as sand will likely scratch both metal and glass.

MicroSD slot: the best memory upgrade

galaxy-note-7-design_18-top-sim-tray

The SIM tray also acts as a micro SD tray

For power users, large and affordable storage is a big deal. With that in mind, Samsung has integrated a microSD tray that can accommodate up to 2TB microSD cards.

"POWER USERS WILL LOVE THIS PHONE"Of course, no such capacity exists today, but it’s possible to find a 256GB card today like the Samsung 256 EVO (~$180) or a more affordable 200GB from Sandisk (~$80). With 128GB microSD cards costing ~$40 like the Sandisk Ultra 128 the storage cost of a Galaxy phone memory upgrade is much more affordable than with an iPhone.

On iPhone, a 48GB (16->64) upgrade costs $2.08/GB. Jumping again to 128GB costs $1.56/GB. Going from 16-128GB (+112GB) on an iPhone costs $200 or $1.78/GB.

With a microSD, the cost for 200GB is $80, or $0.4/GB. And that’s 200GB in addition to the 64GB already present inside the phone, for a total of 264GB of storage. Power users will love this phone.

USB-C port

The Note 7 will lead the transition to USB-C on the high-end

The Note 7 will lead the transition to USB-C on the high-end

USB C is a charge and data port, just like its predecessor micro USB. However, there are things that make it better, essentially:

  • It’s not possible to insert the USB cable “the wrong way” (it’s reversible)
  • The connector design is sturdier than micro USB
  • Higher power charging (more on that later)
  • Higher data transfer speed

The addition of USB-C is not a competitive advantage, but rather a normal evolution of the handset’s connectivity. It’s important to notice its presence if you already have micro USB cables and accessory at home.

During my transitory phase from micro USB to USB-C, I can tell you that it happened a few times that I just didn’t have the right cable… which was a bit frustrating, but ultimately, I’m happy with the switch.

Filed in Cellphones >Reviews. Read more about Galaxy Note 7, Samsung and Samsung Galaxy.

Display
5.7"
2560x1440
Super AMOLED
515 PPI
Price
~$979 - Amazon
Camera
12 MP
F1.7 Aperture F-Stop
OIS
Weight
169 g
Battery
3500 mAh
Non-Removable
No Wireless Charg.
Launched in
2016-08-02
System
4GB RAM
Snapdragon 823/Exynos 8893 + MicroSD
Storage (GB)
64
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