The release of the highly anticipated addition to the Galaxy line of premium smartphones, Galaxy Note 7, is planned on August 2. Samsung is hoping that the smartphone, which is the company’s first device produced under the leadership of Dong Jin Koh, the current leader of the mobile division, can be the breath of fresh air that will finally improve their financial results.
Expectations Are High
Samsung is currently in a very tough position. The previous generational upgrades were characterized by incremental improvements, which came as a direct result of the incredible evolution of mobile devices. The problem is that features that we once reserved only for flagship devices have made their way to the mid-range and, in some cases, even to the low-end. Convincing customers to spend hundreds of dollars on a new smartphone when it’s just a slightly better than the last one is not an easy thing to do.
Where Is Galaxy Note 6?
The latest smartphone in the Note family, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, was released in August, 2015. The company has decided to skip a generation to unify their product portfolio and “minimize confusion about the latest mobile technology from Samsung, and provide full alignment with Galaxy S smartphone.”
Under the Hood
According to many early speculations, the Note 7 was supposed to sport the new Snapdragon 821 processor, which is “engineered to deliver a 10% performance increase over the 820 with the Qualcomm Kryo quad-core CPU, reaching speeds up to 2.4GHz,” states Qualcomm’s official description.
This powerful processor supports 6GB of RAM, and it was expected that Samsung would make a good use of this fact. However, recent benchmarks paint a different picture. It looks like the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will come “only” with the Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of RAM. That’s the same amount of RAM as customers get with the Note 5.
What we know for sure is that the smartphone will have a USB-C port with support for USB 3.1 standard. Advantages of USB-C over regular microUSB are twofold: you can plug the cable in any direction you want, and data transfer speeds and charging times can be much faster.
As you can see, there probably won’t be any dramatic performance boost, when compared to the previous generation. And there doesn’t need to be. Even if the phone really came with Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of RAM, it would still easily do absolutely anything users could want from it – including running demanding VR games and applications.
Galaxy Note 7 vs Galaxy Note 5 Specifications
|Samsung Galaxy Note 7||Samsung Galaxy Note 5|
|Dimensions||153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm||153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm|
|Weight||169 g||171 g|
|Display||5.8 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels||5.7 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 820||Exynos 7420 Octa|
|RAM||4 GB RAM||4 GB RAM|
|Camera||18 MP, f/1.4 and 5 MP, f/1.4||16 MP, f/1.9 and 5 MP, f/1.9|
|Battery||3500 mAh||3000 mAh|
Design and Build
A tweet from @evleaks (Evan Blass) confirmed that the official color schemes will be named Black Onyx, Silver Titanium, and Blue Coral. The shape of the smartphone adheres to the tried and tested design direction of the Note family, including a physical home button and a durable metal frame.
At 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9mm and 169g in weight, the Note 7 is lighter and slightly thicker than the Galaxy Note 5, which weighs 171g and measures 153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm. The extra thickness is likely a direct result of the IP68 water and dust resistance. With it, the smartphone is waterproof up to 1.5m for up to 30 minutes and can be used in very dusty environments without a special case.
The 2.5D tapered edged and rounded corners make the Note 7 similar to the Galaxy S7 Edge. But while the Edge gives a very youthful vibe, the Note 7 is decidedly business-oriented.
Most Samsung’s customers appreciate the large real-estate that Galaxy smartphones have gotten known for over the years. The Note 5 has a 5.7” QHD Super AMOLED display, and the new Note 7 will likely add another 0.1” to it, without making the smartphone larger in size. What’s more, the display will feature Samsung’s Edge screen technology with features from phones like the S7 Edge and S6 Edge Plus.
When the Galaxy S7 Edge was first introduced, one feature that received a lot of attention was the Always On Display (AOD). With it, you can view your notifications, check what time it is, or take advantage of the option to configure up to 4 time zones – all without having to wake up the smartphone. This useful feature will surely be present in the Note 7, helping you stay even more productive.
Many early rumors claimed that the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will have a 12MP camera with the Super OIS Plus technology. The same camera can be already found in the Galaxy S7. The Note 5 has a slightly different camera, which has a resolution of 16MP with f/1.9, instead of f/1.7.
We think that it’s highly unlikely that Samsung would go for a camera with a lower resolution, as it would look inferior in the eyes of consumers. What’s more likely is that the claims stating that Samsung is working on a new sensor with a resolution between 18MP and 24MP and f/1.4 aperture will turn out to be true. This sensor would be 17 percent lighter, resulting in better night-time pictures with less noise.
To cement Samsung’s position as the king of mobile photography, the Galaxy Note 7 will have Dual Pixel Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF). This is the same technology that’s used in expensive DSLRs and mirrorless cameras to guarantee fast and precise focus under all conditions. After the optical image stabilization (OIS) in the Galaxy Note 4 and the video digital image stabilization (VDIS) in the Galaxy Note 5, the inclusion of the PDAF will give mobile photography enthusiasts yet another reason why they should go with Samsung over other manufacturers.
It’s part of Samsung’s tradition to double the storage space with almost every new Galaxy release. It all started with the 16GB Galaxy S; the Galaxy Note then had 32GB of storage space, which later became the norm for other smartphones in the S6 series.
Now, Samsung is boldly moving forward by introducing whopping 64GB of storage space with the Galaxy Note 7. As a result, users will be able to store around 15,000 photos or 12,800-16,000 songs, depending on their quality. Of course, you can always expand the built-in storage space with a microSD card, but chances are that you won’t have to.
We have, indeed, come a long way from the 2,500mAh battery that was present in the first-generation Galaxy Note. With each subsequent generation, the capacity increased. The Note 5 has a 3,000mAh battery, and it looks like the new Note 7 will have a battery rated at 3,500mAh.
Some initial rumors suggested that the battery could be up to 4,000mAh large. While a larger battery is always welcomed, 3,500mAh is enough to make the battery in the Note 7 the highest-capacity battery since 2011, when the first Note device was released.
Software and Extra Features
As far as the software side of things is concerned, users will probably be greeted with Android 6.0-based firmware, instead of Android N. Italian blog HDBlog.it recently showed pictures of what seems to be a future version of Samsung’s TouchWiz software. It looks and feels just like the TouchWiz we know from the Note 5, only with slight visual adjustments here and there and a few usability tweaks, such as the option to arrange your apps alphabetically by default.
What’s probably more exciting is the addition of the S-Pen and a suite of complementary options, including Screen Write, S Note, Smart Select, Action Memo, and Glance.
But the biggest new feature is the iris scanner, which allows users to unlock their smartphones by scanning their retinas, supposedly offering a better security and improved usability over fingerprint unlock detection methods. This feature can already be found in Android phones like the ZTE Grand S3 and the Microsoft Lumia 950, but the Note 7 will be the first Galaxy smartphone to include it.
Not much is known about the cost of the Note 7 at the moment. CNET suggests that the 64GB variant Galaxy Note 7 will cost around US$800/£600/AU$1,100. That would be approximately $50 more than what the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge originally retailed for.
Given the Note’s 7 position on the market, we think that the rumor is most likely true and the Note 7 will really cost around $800. Such a high price is just another reason why Samsung needs to come up with something amazing.
The Galaxy Note 7 is shaping up to be one hell of a smartphone. If you want the very best Android phone that money can buy, you should definitely mark August 2 in your calendar. The stakes are high for Samsung’s mobile division, and it will be very interesting to see how the Note 7 will perform when we get a chance to get our hands on it.