It’s official: Samsung has taken the wraps off its latest “phablet” — half phone, half tablet – and it’s the Galaxy Note 7.
Even though it’s technically the 6th Note in as many years, this 5.7-inch Android-powered device shares its namesake with Samsung’s Galaxy 7 and S7.
After spending some time with the all-new Note, the following are my initial thoughts on why a small or medium sized business might consider this new device, which sells for $560 on a 2-year TELUS plan.
The first thing you’ll notice when you lift up the phone is its huge, Quad HD “Super AMOLED” screen – and now supporting HDR (High Dynamic Range) video for more vibrant colours, higher brightness, and deeper blacks. Also new to the Note family is curved edges on both sides of the screen, just like the 4-month old Galaxy S7 edge, which makes video and gaming content look even more immersive. As with the S7 edge, you can swipe your thumb in on the side of the phone for quick access to your favourite contacts and apps.
New pen, features
Along with the larger screen, the bundled S Pen is another hallmark of the Galaxy Note family. Used to write, draw, sketch or tap, this high-tech stylus is tucked into the bottom of the device for when you need it, but now has a smaller 0.7mm tip, which is more akin to a ballpoint pen, and with improved pressure sensitivity. You can now jot down something down and pin it to the always-on display, which shows info on the screen without consuming much power. The S Pen’s new Air Command functions now include Magnify and Translate, which zooms in on content or translates words from one language into another, by simply hovering the pen above the screen. The pen also lets you make a sharable GIF from a video.
Water-resistance, stronger glass
Taking a page from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the Galaxy Note 7 is IP68-certified, meaning it’s not only splash- and dust-resistant, but could also withstand full submersion underwater for up to 30 minutes, as deep as 5 feet. The new S Pen is also IP68-rated. While I didn’t test this feature on the Note 7, I have put the S7 through similar tests, and it worked just fine after the fact. The Galaxy Note 7’s screen is also protected by the new Gorilla Glass 5, which can take a 5-foot fall onto a hard surface with an 80 percent survival rate, says Corning.
Added security, privacy
On top of the Samsung Knox security platform, the Galaxy Note 7 adds two options for biometric authentication: fingerprint or iris scan. With the latter, you can now lift the phone up to your face and only once it authenticates you by your eyes are you able to access your phone. The process is surprising fast, and accurate, too, as a few journalists tried to fool the device. The Galaxy Note 7 also adds an app called Secure Folder, which lets you keep sensitive information such as a document with passwords, a scan of your passport, or other private files – and requires a fingerprint, iris scan, password, PIN, or pattern.
The Galaxy Note 7 ships with 64GB of internal storage – twice as much as what the Galaxy S7 or S7 edge starts with – and supports microSD memory cards up to 256GB. (A current promotion bundles the 256GB card with the phone for free, or another accessory.) If you recall, Samsung took away and then brought back the ability to add more storage to its devices (something you’re still not able to do with Apple’s iPhone and iPad). As for other specs, the Galaxy Note 7 is powered by an Octa-core processor (2.3GHz Quad + 1.6GHz Quad), 4GB of system memory (RAM), and in the photo and video department, has a 12-megapixel dual-pixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front-facing camera.
Bigger battery, USB-C
What good is all of these features if the phone peters out before you do? The Note 7 is equipped with a 3,500mAh battery, compared to a 3,000mAh battery in last year’s Note 5. The device also supports fast-charging, whether you’re using the bundled USB cable or optional wireless charging feature. For the first time in the Note series, Samsung’s latest also supports the reversible USB Type-C cable for fast charging and data syncing. Samsung says you also get an adaptor in the box to convert a regular microUSB cable into a USB-C cord.
Along with a line of wireless pads and stands to charge up the Note 7 without cables, and fitness-centric accessories like the Gear Fit 2 watch ($249) and Gear IconX ($239) wireless earbuds, Samsung’s latest also works with the just-announced USB-C-supported Samsung Gear VR virtual reality headset ($139), and a new S View Standing Cover (price is TBD), a folio-style case for the phone with small window to see content — and props up the Note 7 for watching videos, too. There’s also a Keyboard Cover attachment, Lens Cover camera accessory, waterproof Backpack, and more.