6 features that will make you want the galaxy note 7

Editor"s note, October 11th, 2016, 10:30AM ET: On September 2nd, 2016, Samsung issued a recall on the Galaxy note 7 because of a safety concern with the battery. The company halted sales và recalled all 2.5 million devices it manufactured. It then issued replacement devices that were deemed khổng lồ be safe for use by both Samsung và the US Consumer product Safety Commission. Unfortunately, it turns out that those devices were no safer than the first run và presented many of the same risks. As a result, Samsung has been forced to lớn recall those and is stopping production on the cảnh báo 7.

Samsung’s disastrous battery issues have invalidated the praise we have heaped upon its beautifully designed, but fatally flawed smartphone. We leave this review up as testament to almost-was history, but have removed the score in light of the events. We vị not recommend you purchase the chú ý 7, even if you"re able to find it in stock. You can read more about the recall & the events that have transpired in our Galaxy chú ý 7 recall Story Stream.

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There is no greater evidence of The Future of Computing than the big-screened smartphone. Big phones have become the de facto personal computers for many people, taking the place of countless devices, including laptops & tablets. They’ve become more than just phones in ways that smaller devices haven’t matched — research shows that owners of phablets use their devices a lot more than others.

But big phones come with their own phối of baggage that isn’t seen on normal-sized phones. They are frequently clumsy khổng lồ use, awkward to hold, và less attractive than their smaller counterparts. More often than not, a big phone is just a stretched-out version of a small phone, without any consideration made for the larger display.

Samsung has been changing that dynamic lately, building phones with big screens that don’t feel lượt thích big phones at all. Its new Galaxy chú ý 7 is the best big phone ever made for a variety of reasons, but mostly because it feels lượt thích a device that was designed khổng lồ be a big phone from the beginning with features that mitigate the tradeoffs inherent with big devices. I can’t say the same for the iPhone 6S Plus, Nexus 6P, or any other giant phone on the market, which are downright clunky in comparison.

The chú ý 7 is Samsung’s best device ever, và arguably the best big phone ever made. If that’s all you’re looking to know, then you can stop reading right now và go place your order. It will cost you $849 or more, depending on carrier, and can be preordered now. It will be available in stores starting on August 19th.

But it’s interesting to lớn explore why the note 7 is the best big phone ever. Samsung has more experience with big phones than any other company, and it is leveraging that lớn improve the big phone experience. It’s the only company that’s saying a big phone doesn’t have lớn feel like a big phone or be saddled with compromises often associated with them. Samsung wants you to have your cake and eat it too, & that cake’s flavor is the chú ý 7.

Apple’s iPhone monopolized the talk about điện thoại cảm ứng design for nearly a decade. But in the past year & a half, Samsung’s design department has made dramatic leaps và bounds, cranking out beautiful, functional designs và rapidly iterating on them. Where hãng apple has been nội dung with a two-year hardware design cycle (and by all accounts, it appears to lớn be moving khổng lồ an even slower three-year cycle), Samsung has improved & updated its designs on a rapid-fire, six-month basis. Since last year’s Galaxy S6 kiến thiết revitalization, Samsung has iterated three times on its formula and the lưu ý 7 is the finest thiết kế Samsung has ever produced.

A beautiful piece of gadgetry

The cảnh báo 7’s combination of metal and glass, symmetrical sides, and rounded corners make it the nicest-looking phone I’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s just a beautiful piece of gadgetry. But the design isn’t just for aesthetics: it’s all in service to lớn that big screen and making sure that the compromises that come with a large display are minimized. The note 7’s kiến thiết is remarkably functional, giving the cảnh báo 7 a normal phone feel, even though it has a massive display.

Part of that is because the lưu ý 7 is actually smaller than any other phone in this class. It’s 4.7mm shorter và 4mm narrower than the iPhone 6S Plus, 5.8mm shorter & 3.9mm narrower than the Nexus 6P, và 2.2mm narrower than last year’s already trim note 5. The chú ý 7’s dimensions make it easier to handle, easier khổng lồ slip into a pocket, và generally nicer lớn use than any other phone with a big screen.

The curved sides of the display don’t scream "look at me" quite as much as the S7 Edge’s dramatic bends. They have a subtle curve that provides flatter display area & distorts the image on the screen less, yet still manages lớn make the cảnh báo 7 narrower than if it had a fully flat display. The note 7’s rear glass panel mirrors the front curves exactly, giving the phone its visual symmetry & comfortable feel.

These qualities of efficient design and premium materials are found on the S7 Edge too, but the cảnh báo 7 has been refined even further, with softer edges, cleaner lines, và a nicer feel in my hand. Just five months ago, I said that the S7 Edge was the most impressive điện thoại cảm ứng thông minh hardware I’d ever held, and now Samsung has trumped itself with the lưu ý 7.


The chú ý 7 shares a lot of other qualities with the S7 Edge, as well. It has the same type of Super AMOLED quad HD resolution display, albeit larger & slightly brighter; the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor & 4GB of RAM; the same water resistance & expandable storage; the same excellent cameras; và a similar capacity battery with the same fast wired và wireless charging. The only notable spec differences are that the lưu ý 7 comes with 64GB of internal storage as opposed to lớn the S7’s 32GB và it uses a USB Type-C port instead of the old Micro USB jack.

That means that a lot of the things about the S7 Edge apply equally here. The screen is pixel-dense, color-rich, & gorgeous lớn look at (and can get even brighter than the already blindingly bright S7’s screen in daylight); the processor và RAM combine for fast, reliable performance; & the water resistance is a feature I think every high-end phone should offer. The chú ý 7’s 3,500mAh battery is 17 percent larger than the battery in last year’s lưu ý 5, and it’s able to lớn last me through a full day of use. At this point, I’d love for a flagship phone lượt thích the lưu ý 7 khổng lồ last multiple days on a charge, but the fast charging features make it easy to đứng đầu up when I need to.


And since the chú ý 7 has the same 12-megapixel camera as the S7 series, it has arguably the best điện thoại thông minh camera available right now. (It’s certainly not a downgrade from last year’s 16-megapixel camera. Check out our interview with Samsung’s Kim Gae-youn for more on why.) The optically stabilized, f/1.7 lens is excellent for low light shots & focuses quicker than any other phone’s camera, and the camera ứng dụng launches rapidly with a double-press of the trang chủ button. The phầm mềm has been cleaned up for the chú ý 7, with a simpler interface that relies on gestures for switching between front and rear cameras và changing modes.

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The big new headline feature on the lưu ý 7 is the iris scanner, which uses a special front-facing camera array to scan your eyes và unlock your phone. It provides an alternative to lớn using a password, PIN, pattern, or fingerprint for authentication.

The iris scanner works as advertised, often quickly scanning my eyes và unlocking the phone. It uses infrared technology, so it can work in low light. But it’s clumsier to use than the already very quick fingerprint scanner, as I have khổng lồ turn on the display, swipe up, & then bring the phone awkwardly close to my face to lớn trigger it. It’s a fun tiệc nhỏ trick, but I ended up just forgetting about it và using the fingerprint scanner instead.

The second most important thing that separates the cảnh báo 7 from Samsung’s other devices & every other big phone is the updated S Pen. The S Pen has been a hallmark feature of the lưu ý line since its inception — it’s really what makes a chú ý a Note, và not just another phone with a big screen. The S Pen can be used lớn jot down notes, draw pictures, or navigate the phone’s interface.

The S Pen is mightier

But by far the coolest new S Pen feature is the ability khổng lồ create GIFs from any đoạn phim in just a few taps. In a matter of seconds, I can create a GIF from a YouTube video, địa chỉ cửa hàng notes or stickers khổng lồ it, và then mô tả it right from my phone. It’s not something I’d have guessed the S Pen would be able to lớn do, but it’s fun & easy to use. Further, the S Pen has the same cấp độ of water resistance as the phone itself, & it can even work when the phone is wet, making it the most over-the-top way khổng lồ jot down ideas in the shower.

Samsung has tweaked the hardware of the S Pen this go around, too. The pen tip itself is narrower & has twice as many levels of pressure sensitivity for a more natural writing feel. And, unlike with last year’s lưu ý 5, it’s impossible lớn put it in backwards and damage the phone.

I like that I can now use the S Pen khổng lồ magnify parts of the screen, multitask between two apps, or instantly translate text using Google’s Translate services. Artists might appreciate the new màu sắc blending features available when drawing in Samsung’s app. The four disparate apps that Samsung used lớn package on the cảnh báo have been combined into a single Samsung Notes phầm mềm that’s easier khổng lồ use và simpler to lớn navigate. The ability khổng lồ take notes right on the phone’s lock screen that debuted with last year’s note 5 has been expanded with the ability lớn "pin" notes there for quick access. My only complaint with Samsung Notes is that it doesn’t easily sync with other services, such as Evernote or OneNote, instead relying on Samsung’s own proprietary backup và sync. (You can giới thiệu notes lớn other apps, but that can only be done one chú ý at a time & is rather tedious.)

Earlier versions of the lưu ý weren’t able khổng lồ convince me that the S Pen was a necessary tool, and I’m not sure that the chú ý 7 does the job either. But its enhanced features at least have me thinking about it more.


To go along with its refined hardware design, the cảnh báo 7 has a refined version of Samsung’s software interface on đứng top of game android 6.0 Marshmallow. (An update to game android 7.0 Nougat has been promised, but Samsung has not yet provided any timing for when that might happen.) It’s both nicer lớn look at và easier to use than Samsung’s earlier software efforts.

There are a couple new features that have been cribbed from other devices or third-party apps, such as the new nighttime display mode similar to lớn Apple’s Night Shift that can be triggered based on sunrise & sunset. The always-on display feature from the S7 has been improved with more calendar layouts and tư vấn for all third-party ứng dụng notifications, making it much more useful than before.

Bloatware remains an issue

Despite the interface improvements, the chú ý 7 is still loaded with carrier bloatware & duplicative apps, things that have been dogging Samsung phones for years. The T-Mobile version I’ve been testing has a half-dozen apps preinstalled, including the incredibly useless Lookout tiện ích scanner, and you can be sure that the other carrier models are similar. There are also two thư điện tử apps, two browsers, two photo apps, two voice assistants, and Samsung’s own versions of Android’s calendar và calculator apps instead of the ones that Google already develops. The only real way khổng lồ avoid carrier bloatware entirely is to wait for the unlocked version of the cảnh báo 7 to lớn arrive, but Samsung has yet khổng lồ say when that will be available, and it will still likely have duplicative apps. These aren’t deal-breaking problems, but they are annoyances that don’t match up with the rest of the chú ý 7’s stellar experience.


Being the best in a category as competitive as smartphones isn’t something that can be done on the back of one or two features. The note 7 is not the best because its 5.7-inch screen is bigger than every other phone’s display (though it is arguably better); it’s not because it’s dramatically more powerful or faster than any other phone; it’s not because its battery is substantially longer lasting than others; và it’s not because its camera is markedly better than anything else you could buy, including other phones from Samsung. It’s the best because it has the best combination of all of those qualities, wrapped in a skin that’s beautiful khổng lồ look at và lovely to hold.

The price is high, though not unheard of, & if you want the best, paying a lot for it shouldn’t come as a surprise. And while the carrier bloatware is still a problem, the cảnh báo 7 is easily the best big phone I’ve ever used & quite a few steps ahead of its competitors. If you’re debating between the also excellent S7 Edge and the chú ý 7, it’s hard to go wrong either way, but the chú ý provides more features và a better thiết kế for a minimal cost over the S7.

The note 7 is quite a few steps ahead of its competitors

Apple’s take on the big phone Future of Computing was seen as a revelation for millions of iPhone users, but it didn’t feel like a full commitment to lớn the big phone concept. It’s just a bigger iPhone, with the same hardware design & software experience. The same can be said of the Nexus 6P và many other big game android phones, which aren’t markedly different than smaller options. The chú ý 7, however, leverages Samsung’s years of expertise building big phones, và its hardware design và software features lift it up above the fray. It’s the least compromised big phone you can buy, & it doesn’t force you give up anything that makes big phones so great.

If you haven’t yet been sold on why a phone with a big screen can change how you think about điện thoại computing, the lưu ý 7 is the best pitch yet.