Samsung Galaxy Note 7: A smarter stylus, iris scanning, and more of the same
The new Galaxy Note 7 is official at last. This year's high-end Samsung phablet brings with it a modest speed bump and a slight Edge-inspired redesign compared with last year's model, though the device dimensions and key features remain largely unchanged. Read on for all the details that matter.
Samsung has now settled into a pattern of launching a larger, stylus-driven phablet a few months after its regular flagship smartphones, although one variation this year was the S7 Edge increasing its display size to 5.5 inches, moving it closer to Note territory.
That doesn't seem to have prompted much of a change as far as the Note is concerned – in fact the two devices are now even harder to tell apart. The display remains at 5.7 inches diagonally, and the S Pen stylus is present and correct again, giving this a more professional feel than the regular Galaxy phones.
Samsung also says the S Pen is more sensitive this time around (it has double the comparison levels of the last model), and it can do a few new tricks, including creating GIF files from videos and auto-translating text.
The other headline feature is the first iris scanner to grace a Samsung phone, which you can use instead of (or as well as) the on-board fingerprint scanner. Whether Samsung will be able to implement this well enough for it to be more than a party trick remains to be seen, and we'll have a hands-on for you from the launch event shortly.
The new Note 7 borrows the dual-curved screen look from the Galaxy Edge line. It's fitted with an octa-core Exynos processor globally and a Snapdragon 820 in the US, and you get 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage (expandable by 256 GB thanks to microSD support).
Like the Galaxy S7 Edge it takes its cues from, the Note 7 is IP68-rated, so it's water resistant up to a depth of 5 feet for 30 minutes (don't take it diving, but a few splashes or even a dunk should be fine). The S Pen is waterproof too.
The Note 7 also sees Samsung finally embracing the USB Type C standard for its data and charging port rather than microUSB. There's a 12 MP camera on board as well, the same as the impressive one on the S7 and S7 Edge, and a choice of four colors to pick from: black, silver, gold and blue.
Last year's Note 5 certainly impressed us and we'll be bringing you our hands-on impressions of the new gadget very soon. As for why Samsung is jumping straight from 5 to 7 with its numbering, it's probably to bring it in line with this year's Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge (or maybe to go head-to-head with the imminent iPhone 7).
As for when you'll be able to get your hands on it, Samsung says it rolls out from August 19 across the world, with carrier pricing starting in the mid-US$800s(!), a hike over previous models.