When Samsung released the Galaxy Note in 2011, the average smartphone screen measured less than 4 inches. That made the Note’s 5.3-incher seem like an impractical experiment, not a sign of things to come. Isn’t technology supposed to get smaller over time?
Not if it has a screen. Big phones are mainstream now, and the Galaxy Note 7 shows how refined they’ve become. Its 5.7-inch AMOLED display (1440×2560, 518ppi) seems reasonably sized, and the phone feels surprisingly compact. The slimming effect is due to a curved screen, borrowed from the S7 Edge, that eliminates the side bezels. That makes the Note 7 2.2mm narrower than its predecessor despite having the same size display.
As a result, the Note 7 resembles an oversized Edge. The two phones share other similarities. They use quad-core processors and offer 4GB RAM. Both are water resistant (with an IP68 rating, meaning they’re “dust tight” and you can submerge them) and feature the same excellent camera, MicroSD slot, fast-charging 3,5000 mAh battery, and “Edge UX” shortcuts.
This is the first Note phone to use USB-C charging, and the first Galaxy device with HDR10 video playback. But the marquee feature might be the iris-scanning camera. You can unlock the phone simply by looking at it, and secure folders with retina or fingerprint protection.
And then there’s the S Pen stylus. Before knocking it as a Palm-Pilot-era relic, you should know that you can translate or magnify text with it, and turn any video that isn’t DRM protected into a gif with just a few taps. If you use the stylus often, you won’t have to jump between S Pen-friendly apps quite so much. A Samsung Notes app combines the functionality of several predecessors.
Note veterans will be relieved to hear this stylus won’t get stuck in its cubby if you insert it backward. Samsung wanted the stylus to provide a more-natural writing experience, so they designed it to feel like a 0.7mm ballpoint pen. Cooler still, you can use it underwater. Because why not.
Like recent generations of Galaxy phones, the Note 7 should offer a solid VR experience. However, the USB-C connector means you’ll need a new Gear VR headset. Coincidentally, Samsung announced the $100 Gear VR for Galaxy Note 7 today, and it works with older phones via an included MicroUSB attachment.
No word on what carriers will charge for the phone, but preorders start tomorrow. The phone ships August 19, and it’ll be available in silver, black, and blue.
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.