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Samsung Galaxy Note7 – A hands-on review

prophet

Samsung started off September just right or did they? Before I dive into the review, my Note7 has had no issues of getting hot and there has been no battery explosions. However, Samsung have been in touch regarding the recall but I would really advise you not to let this issue put you off the phone. Yes, it’s an extremely bad problem but it’ll be sorted in no time. So, onto the smartphone.

 

The Galaxy Note7 was released on 2nd of September but I woke up at the early hours of the 16th of August to pre-order it, which you can read about here. After watching the Samsung Unpacked event, it was something I just had to do; I’ve also always been a big fan of the Samsung Note devices. So, two weeks later the Note7 had arrived.

 

Unboxing

 

The Note7 came in a rather big box, which contained the Samsung Galaxy Note7 itself, a Gear VR and an accessories case. The latter was a special gift from Samsung and the Gear VR was given to the first 1000 people to pre-order. Sweet.

 

The Note7 box contained the following:

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7
  • Power Adaptor (fast charging)
  • USB C charging cable
  • USB to USB Type-C Adaptor
  • Micro-USB to USB Type-C Adaptor

IMG_3684.JPG

 

Design and Display

 

You’re going to think of the Samsung Galaxy Edge 7 when you look at the Note7 because the design is identical. However, this is the first Samsung smartphone to only have a dual-curved-edge screen, with no other options available. So, it seems Samsung are ditching the flat screens for curved ones, so expect future Samsung’s to have it too. The phone feels very comfortable with its metal frame and Gorilla Glass 5 surface and not to forget to mention it is probably the best-looking smartphone.

 

I’ve never really been a fan of large smartphones, as you may be aware from my other blogs, but going bigger is what I wanted to do. Despite this, I was slightly nervous about the 5.7” display of the Note7 but actually it’s perfectly fine. It can be used comfortably, though with two hands. Some features can easily be used one-handed so don’t let the size of it put you off. The Note7’s Quad-HD (resolution: 2560 X 1440, 518ppi ) SuperAMOLED display is the best I have ever encountered in a smartphone. Satisfying is an understatement; it really is amazing. The quality is sharp and crystal clear. This really pushes the experience of using the phone to the top level, whether you’re watching a video, making notes or drawing. It really is fantastic and the larger display really does add to that too.

 

IMG_3687.JPG

 

Performance

 

A smartphone can look good but it’s what on the inside that really matters. The Note7 does not disappoint. It has the following tech specs:

 

  • 4GB RAM (multitasking is smooth, fast and efficient)
  • 64GB internal storage (this is the base model. Samsung scrapped the 32GB option) and it has microSD support up to 256GB, which is way more than enough.
  • 64-bit Octa-Core processor (2.3GHz Quad + 1.6GHz Quad)

 If those numbers aren’t impressive, then what is?

 

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Battery

 

Great specs and features require a great battery and the Note7 is powered by one that is 3,500mAh and non-removable too. Some people will be disappointed by this fact but this is the way forward now; I wouldn’t expect removable batteries at all in the coming future.

 

In the week that I’ve had it, the battery has been very good. As an example, I charged it fully around 10pm on Wednesday 31st and on Friday 2nd September at 1pm the battery level indicator was showing 23%. So, it can easily last a day and a half comfortably.  You can push it to two days, depending on how it’s used but I would expect it to still last most of a day if you really utilised it.

 

Samsung ditched microUSB for USB Type-C

 

From the images above and list of contents inside the Note7 box, you will have been surprised to see USB Type-C. This is a new standard and Samsung have implemented it in the Note7; the first Samsung smartphone to get it. But don’t fret because they kindly provided some adaptors in the box, so you can still use your old accessories, whether it’s a standard USB or microUSB. Awesome.

 

Power Saving to extend the Note7’s battery life

 

As with Samsung’s previous smartphones, fast charging is supported. However, the really cool part is ‘Power Saving’. With this feature (found in Quick Settings), you can extend your battery life. You can choose MID or MAX. These will give you additional hours of power.

 

MID – This will limit brightness to 90% max, change resolution to Full HD (as opposed to Quad HD) and prevent background data usage.

 

MAX – This will limit brightness to 80% max, change screen resolution to HD as well as prevent background data usage.

 

You can of course customise either of these, if you wanted to. To give you a quick example, at 27%, switching on MID would give me 15 h 59 m and switching MAX on would give me 36 h 47 m.

 

Camera

 

I was always impressed with the Samsung Galaxy S7’s camera so it was only expected that I’d feel the same about the Note7’s camera too. Especially since it has the same camera capabilities as the S7 and S7 Edge. See the spoiler for some photos taken with it. 

 

Click to reveal
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The front selfie camera has 5 Megapixels with f/1.7, whilst the rear has a dual pixel 12MP camera with optical image stabilisation (OIS) and the same f/1.7 aperture. Picture quality is, no doubt, amazing and the same goes for videos too. The Note7 supports 4K video recording and playing back videos has some fancy features.

 

Smart hidden sliders on video playback

 

Videos on the Note7 now have two smart hidden sliders on either side, when playing back videos. Press down on the right and slide up / down to adjust the volume or do the same on the left hand side to adjust the brightness. Necessary? Not really. Cool? Oh yes.

 

Iris Scanner

 

iris.jpg

 

This is, without a doubt, the coolest feature on the Samsung Galaxy Note7. Gone are the days where you’d type in your password for every visit you make to websites you’re signed up to. The Note7 allows you to sign in using your eyes. You are looking at the phone anyway, so why not right? Unlock the device with your eyes too, because you can. It’s certainly got an aspect to laziness to it (technology does that) Smiley Tongue but it’s convenient and secure too. I’m sure this feature will make its way into other smartphones in the coming future but, for now, let’s applaud Samsung for this brilliant feature. It works wonders.

 

S-Pen

 

A Note7 would not be a Note device without Samsung’s S-Pen. For some, it’s just a stylus but on the Note7 it is much more.

 

IMG_3689.JPG

 

You can use it to:

 

  • Create Notes (draw / write)

xalirate_cookies.pngDrawing on the Note7, using the S-Pen

  • Smart Select – This is cool. You can choose to select in the shape of a Rectangle, Lasso (freeform) or Oval. Think of it like taking a screenshot, except you’re only extracting the part of the screen that you really want. Additionally, you can use Smart Select to create an Animation. Obviously, this works best when you’re taking part of a video but isn’t that just awesome?
  • Screen Write – This takes a screenshot of the screen and then allows you to draw/annotate over it. Could be handy to get some images that you can use to colour in or grab a picture of your friend/family member and doodle over him/her or even just to share something with someone but put your own personal touch onto it
  • Translate – Use the S-Pen to hover over a word you want to translate. You can also tap the speaker button to hear the word pronounced. Who needs Google Search when you got this?

First Impressions

 

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I was very excited when the Note7 was revealed. So excited that I had to get up in the early hours to pre-order it (I’m not a morning person at all, this was an exception). Pre-orders began at 6am and my order was placed and confirmed by 6.03am. On the day of delivery, I could not contain my excitement. When I was unboxing, I was even more excited and fell in love with it the moment I saw it. That’s when I first said to myself “oh a 5.7” smartphone isn’t actually that big” and after using it, I’m happy with it. Bigger screens really do make all the difference.

 

It’s performance, design, build, features and overall quality is superb. I honestly believe this is the best smartphone to date. It is almost like the bigger version of the S7 Edge, only better. I think the S-Pen and the Iris scanner make it the best.

 

Yes, it is a very expensive smartphone, but it’s a great all-rounder. Let’s put it this way, if you bought it, you would not be disappointed.

 

I hope you guys found this a good read and if you have any questions with regards to the Note7, please feel free to ask me.

 

Thanks for reading Smiley Happy

 

Sadia writes app reviews, smartphone reviews, tech tips & tutorials at XALIRATE

16 Comments
academic
What about the battery glitch that occured recently? Any thoughts on that?
guide

Nice review. I guess you like it!

 

Looks like a new gold standard has been set for flagship phones. Battery issues apart, its looks and appears to be fantastic but way out of my league!

prophet

@itzyourboytank - Well, fortunately mine has been fine. I wouldn't let that affect my view on the Note7 at all. Samsung messed up, big time. But, despite that, they produced an absolutely brilliant phone. I think those that are interested, go for it, once it's back for sale that is. I'm sure you'll have no problems with your battery; they can't let it happen twice Smiley Happy

 

@seanalert - Glad you liked the review and I love it! Smiley Very Happy 

 

 

Sadia - have you officially given up on the iPhone for Android? Note 7 had great reviews until the battery issues imploded their launch...it'll be interesting to see the direct costs of the recall, plus the estimated indirect costs (tarnished brand and lost sales of the Note 7)

augur

I think a company the size of Samsung will soon get over the battery problem. Looks agreat phone, however, it's a bit pricey for me Smiley Mad

prophet
@jeff_elephant - No chance! I'd miss iOS way too much. Smiley Tongue Android has improved a hell of a lot but the user experience with iOS is too great so I couldn't let go.

Since last year, I have been using both iOS and Android, with the iPhone being my primary phone Smiley Happy

It really is a brilliant phone so it's a shame what happened. I think people will soon forget about it but the recall costs will be pretty high for Samsung unfortunately. I don't think this will tarnish their brand. They're very big, very popular and well-known. Some people may walk away but I don't think it will have too much of a negative impact going forward. Saying that, the Note7 sales will definitely be majorly and negatively impacted, which is sad because the Note7 is so awesome!

@scrips49 - I agree, it is expensive but it was totally worth it for me.
marvel
Good review @shadylady
Looks like an impressive phone. The iris scanner is really cool.

Not sure about removable batteries disappearing completely in the future. There is still demand for them (like from me) and phone companies would be silly to ditch them from all future phones
prophet

@leshin - Thank you. 

 

A lot of smartphones already don't have removable batteries. Samsung used to have them but they have now stopped offering them too. I don't see them going back to having a removable battery either but time will tell Smiley Happy

newcomer
I want one.
newcomer
As I'm not sure if giff gaff works in Europe, do they do dual sim phones?