The Galaxy Note series of smartphones from Samsung have always garnered accolades for its specifications, design, and not to miss the S Pen. The South Korean giant launched its flagship phone, the Note 7 in India recently at a price tag of Rs 59,990.
This is a phone of many firsts for Samsung. Not only is this the first Galaxy Note to feature a USB Type C port and iris scanner, it is also the first smartphone to feature a Gorilla Glass 5 protection. Though its the sixth smartphone of the Note series but the company decided to name it Note 7 and is a successor to the Note 5 launched last year.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is double the price of the latest Chinese-branded offerings, but after 10 days of owning one I think it's worth every penny.
The Note 5 was the best smartphone last year and now we see an improved curved glass design, water resistance, microSD expansion card, and usability improvements such as a blue light filter, accessible settings, and edge panels.
However, unlike other S series models, the Galaxy Note 7 has only one variant – with the edge screen. The edge panel comes with easy customizations in terms of its placement on the left or to the right, size, and even transparency. You can use the panel to add shortcuts to apps, contacts, calendar, weather and more.
In terms of design, the Galaxy Note 7 comes across as an improvised version of the Note 5 and theGalaxy S7 Edge featuring a dual-curved glass display.
The curves make the phone easy to hold and facilitate one-hand operations despite sporting a 5.7-inch screen size.Though we tested the Black Onyx variant, the smartphone is available in Gold Platinum and Silver Titanium as well.
The Galaxy Note 7 features a metallic unibody design gently-rounded at the corners. Though sporting a Gorilla Glass 5 protection to sheild it from any kind of damage on the front and back, it makes the smartphone a fingerprint magnet and a bit slippery too.
It sports a protruding 12MP camera along with dual LED flash and a heart rate sensor on the back similar to the Galaxy S7 Edge. The metal-clad edges have the power button on the right and volume rocker keys on the left. While the hybrid dual-sim card slot is at the top, the charging port, S-Pen slot and 3.5mm headset jack are at the bottom.
In terms of battery, it comes with a 3,500mAh battery, a bit less than the Samsung S7 Edge and can last for an entire day comfortably with moderate usage, a couple of hours of phone calls, and some casual gaming and internet browsing.
A major change, Samsung has ditched the micro-USB port for the USB-Type C in the Galaxy Note 7. The new S-Pen design enables one to insert and extract the accessory either ways without damaging it.
The screen is a 5.7-inch curved Super AMOLED Quad HD display with a 1440 x 2560 pixels resolution, similar to the Galaxy S7 Edge thereby rendering an excellent image quality. It has almost no bezel display with different viewing angles and sharp colors. The phone comes with an 'Always On Display' feature that allows you to see the date, time and notification icons onscreen even when the phone is locked or in sleep mode.
The physical Home button is at the bottom along with two capacitive navigation keys. The home button also integrates an extremely responsive fingerprint sensor. On the top, the front-facing camera and iris scanner are placed above the receiver grille. The Galaxy Note 7 is the first Samsung smartphone to come up with this security feature.
The Smart Stay feature detects your face with the front camera to keep the screen on even when you are not touching it. There's also a blue-light-filter mode meant to reduce eye-strain, a smart gesture control to take screenshots with the swipe of your palm, and direct calling by bringing the phone close to your ear after opening the contact details. Such features, although not necessary, certainly add to the 'wow factor' of the smartphone.
Moving on to the cameras, the Galaxy Note 7 has the same camera as the Galaxy S7 Edge, which means that it is splendid. Among the many shooting modes that the camera app offers are Pastel, Monogram, and Retro. The 'pro' mode in the camera app now has support for controlling the shutter speed and an even greater ISO range. It also comes with features such as selective focus, slow motion, Hyperlapse and Virtual Shot.
The major highlight of Galaxy Note phones is the S-Pen. It snugly fits into the phone till you push to eject it out with the new spring-loading mechanism. Just like the phone, the S Pen is also water-resistant and has a 0.7 mm tip. It has 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, double than that of the Galaxy Note 5.
The S Pen works similar to how it did on the Galaxy Note 5. Ejecting the S-Pen converts the lock screen of the phone into a writing memo screen. In an unlocked screen, you will find Samsung's Air Command wheel with which you can create a note, translate and screen write. The smart select feature is basically another way of capturing a screenshot that you can crop. It even allows you to create GIFs from a video on steaming sites such as YouTube or Vimeo. The translate feature works when you hover the pen over a word and the phone translates it automatically. However, the feature still requires some work as neither is it fool-proof nor does it support all languages.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is a complete device in itself. It is hard for us to pin point what is missing in it. It packs a powerful punch with its performance and camera. Samsung, with the Galaxy Note 7, has definitely taken the 'fight of flagships' to its competitors. At a steep price tag of Rs 59,990, it is definitely not for everyone enticing all but available only to the productivity-focused.
Operating system: Android 6 Marshmallow
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 octa-core 64-bit
Storage: 64GB UFS 2.0 internal and microSD expansion card slot
Cameras: Dual pixel rear 12MP with f/1.7 aperture and 5MP front facing camera
Sensors: Iris scanner, fingerprint scanner, accelerometer, barometer, gyro, and heart rate monitor
Battery: 3500 mAh non-removable with fast charging and fast wireless charging technology
Water resistance: IP68 water and dust resistance
Dimensions: 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm and 169g
Wireless connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, ANT+, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, MST