Samsung released the Galaxy Note 7 on Friday, and the smartphone has received mostly fantastic reviews. CNET gave the Note 7 four-and-a-half stars.
“The Galaxy Note 7 is a beautiful, capable Android phone that showcases Samsung’s best in design, battery life, speed and features. The 64GB base model leaves you plenty of space for photos, videos and games, and it’s a real improvement over 2015’s Note 5.”
However, the review didn’t like the fact the smartphone was so expensive ($849) and thought there were some minor problems with the S-Pen. However, after using the device for the past two days, no problems were found with the S-Pen on this end. Samsung’s small pen, which doesn’t require a battery like the Apple Pencil, is just about perfect. Let’s take a look at some other aspects of the Galaxy Note 7.
The Note 7 looks like a monster of a smartphone, but in a good way. The phone is 6.04 x 2.91 x 0.31 inches (153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm) and looks like it may be a little heavy when you first see it. However, when you hold it, that’s not the case. It’s got a slick polished glass feeling that only the iPhone used to provide. Gone are the days when Samsung’s phones felt cheap and plastic. To Samsung’s credit, they used to build their phones (and tablets) like this so they could keep the weight down.
Gorilla Glass 5 covers the front and back of the device. The new Gorilla Glass is supposed to stop scratches and, most importantly, prevent cracks in the device after falls. However, as BGR notes, the Gorilla Glass 5 doesn’t exactly pass the test. It is still important to get a plastic screen protector if you are going to be doing a lot of handwriting. No matter how tough Gorilla Glass is, it loves producing tiny scratches with the use of a stylus.
Samsung fixed some screen issues with the Note 7. The curved screen on the Galaxy S7 Edge is great, except it was curved a little too much. It’s easy to accidentally touch the curve with one finger, which makes your other finger unable to select icons or play videos. However, Samsung made the curves on the Note 7 absolutely perfect — they are sharp, but don’t extend too much. The screen has the same 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution as the Note 5 and the Galaxy S7 Edge. This resolution is fine, but looks somewhat pixelated in the Gear VR headset. If rumors are correct, next year should see an upgrade to a 4K screen. It that happens, who knows how long the battery will last.
The Note 7 runs on the same Snapdragon 820 processor that runs the Galaxy S7 Edge, and that’s a good thing. The performance has certainly improved from the Galaxy Note 5, and Microsoft’s One Note app provides the perfect example. On the Note 5, writing with the stylus on One Note is laggy. However, on the Note 7, it’s much better to the point where One Note can actually replace your Samsung Notes app. However, the S Pen was designed to work with the Samsung Notes app and does better with this than third-party apps.
There is the same 4GB of RAM we see in the Galaxy Note 5 and the S7 Edge. It’s hard to imagine needing more, but you can bet it will happen. Running three apps at the same time reveals no slowdown whatsoever. However, once you run four apps, you’ll start noticing some lag. Still, the Note 7 is the fastest phone in existence, and, yes, it’s even faster than the iPhone 6s or 6s Plus.
Samsung’s TouchWiz software is at its best. It used to slow Samsung phones down, but now it just works along with it to give the user the best experience possible.
The phone used for this review has only been tested in two areas: Glendale, California, and Sherman Oaks, California. The quality is great, but a slight echo that doesn’t exist on the S7 Edge is there. Perhaps it’s just because of the service area, but the minor flaw really doesn’t take away much from the experience. When using Bluetooth headphones such as the Bose QC35, the other caller sounds great, especially when they are using HD calling capabilities. The Note 7 gets very loud as well.
Despite the fact that the Galaxy S7 Edge battery has more juice (3,600mAh compared to the Note 7’s 3,500mAh), it is hard to notice a difference. Both phones offer the best battery life of any smartphone available. Of course, the time it takes for the Note 7’s battery to zero down depends on the type of use. But it’s safe to say that even if you are a power user, you will have at least 10 percent of your battery left by the very end of the night. Most users will be able to go for two full days without having to recharge their Note 7.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is the absolute best smartphone you can buy now, and it’s worth every single cent of the $849 full price Samsung charges for it. However, it’s not an absolutely necessary upgrade if you already own a Galaxy Note 5, a Galaxy S7, or S7 Edge. The Note 7 is finally the device that Samsung needed to get iPhone users to switch.
[Photo via Daryl Deino]