Samsung’s newest phablet in their Note line, the Galaxy Note7, can be described as the culmination of how much technology has changed over the years. With an iris scanner, an accurate stylus, and an amazing camera, the Galaxy Note7 packs in what Samsung can possibly package into a 5.7-inch box.

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  • A face that launched a thousand ships. The Note7 features a smooth, free-flowing design that unifies the front and back with strengthened Gorilla Glass 5. The Note7 is one of the year’s most beautifully designed smartphones. Despite being prone to fingerprints as with other smartphones of the same caliber, the Note7 retains its premium feel even after hours of usage. With a subtler curve compared to Samsung’s edge variants, the Note7’s bezel is practically invisible. Slot placements are in the same position: power button to the right, volume rocker on the left, SIM tray on top, and speakers/S Pen/USB port/audio port on the bottom. Like the S7 series, the Note7’s rear camera doesn’t protrude as much (at most, a millimeter of bulk). The 5.7-inch screen may be a giant compared to standard screens of today, but the QHD Super AMOLED technology makes for a pleasant watch for playing games or watch full HD movies.
  • Crispy clean. The Note7 comes loaded with Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 which is further overlaid with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. It’s a pleasant surprise that this iteration of TouchWiz is cleaner, rids itself of its icons’ bulging gradients, and adopts a completely flat design. Further, this TouchWiz comes with considerably less bloatware than its inundated predecessors.
  • Continuing to amaze. Much like the previous Note5, the Note7’s S Pen is ridiculously comfortable to use. The tip itself glides smoothly across the screen with a tinge of friction so writing still feels natural rather than mimicking a stick scratching on your screen. Note taking was thoroughly enjoyable. The pen also responds to pen pressure. Light and fast strokes produce thinner lines while heavier ones make thicker ones. The side button is now also an erase button allowing for seamless content creation. Samsung has also collated all of its multiple note-taking software into one Samsung Notes app. The ability to write while the screen is off also makes a comeback.

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  • Glance and Magnify. As for its other features, the S Pen enjoys an expanded Air Command system. Besides the standard Smart Select, Screen Write, and Create Note function, the Note7 adds a pen-selected Translate feature, a Glance feature to preview background apps, and a manual Zoom function which allows up to 300% in magnification.
  • That camera, though. The Note7’s 12MP rear camera is once again one of the best shooters out there. It has crystal clear resolution and good shooting power even under low light conditions (despite some minimal noise in the background for night shots). Contrast and saturation are balanced perfectly for stunning shots. It can now also take HDR videos. On the other hand, 5-megapixel front-facing selfie shots are better than most smartphones but have less quality than selfie-centered sets. Hardly a weakness, though, as the rear camera is still top-notch.
  • The eyes tell all. Security is a feature that the Note7 focused more on. Armed with the standard array of password options and an accurate fingerprint scanner, the Note7 also has a brand-new iris scanner. For a feature that’s only making its first appearances in smartphones, the Note7’s iris scanner is surprisingly accurate. Irises don’t have to be held onto the scanner’s locking mechanism at all for them to be recognized. Its only fault is that only one set of eyes can be stored.

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  • Everything proof. Talking about security, the Note7 also has an in-software feature called Secure Folder, which works similarly to how password-protected folders function. Files and apps can be locked away under security against prying eyes. Complemented by the iris scanner, Secure Folder feels like a much more secure way to safeguard files compared to most similar apps out in the wild.
  • Blazing through hurdles. Armed with an Exynos 8890 octa-core chip, performance is at par with what a flagship phablet should feel like. The Note7 was able to run instances of Soundtrack Attack, Jelly Jump, CSR Racing 2, and Batman Arkham Origins, all of which had varying levels of graphics. The phablet ran the more 3D-intensive games with barely perceptible framerate drops. While playing, the Note7 did gradually heat up around the camera. For more quantitative tests, AnTuTu scores the Note7 a rating of 134706, putting it slightly above the Galaxy S7 Edge.
  • Store everything. The Note7 has a sizable 4GB of RAM to supplement its powerful processor. Furthermore, it also has an expanded 64GB of internal storage. It can also be expanded to 256GB via a microSD card. For flagship standards, this is a big improvement from 32GB and non-expandable storage options.
Sample shot taken with the Galaxy Note7

Sample shot taken with the Galaxy Note7

  • Adapting new technology. The Note7 is also one of the first flagship phones to carry the new USB Type-C. File transferring and charging are faster with this port. The package comes with a USB Type-C cable straight from the package. To adapt to the new technology, the box also has a microUSB adapter so it can still plug in to older devices, particularly Samsung’s other devices in the Galaxy ecosystem like the Gear VR headset.
  • Living underwater. This new phablet is IP68-certified, which means it has protection against dust and water (for up to 5 feet and 30 minutes). Even while wet, the screen (and pen, might I add) still works to some capacity. The Note7 has managed to change the game for rainy situations and underwater selfie shots.
  • Surviving the real tests. The battery has an expanded 3,500mAh battery, compared to the Note5’s 3,000mAh battery. Practically, the Note7 can last for a day and some spare change. You may not last for two whole days, though. For more extreme situations, the phablet was tested with a cover-to-cover test of Pokémon Go. The Note7 lasted seven hours and 46 minutes while playing the notoriously power-hungry game without breaks.
Sample shot taken with the Galaxy Note7

Sample shot taken with the Galaxy Note7

  • Pricey, but fair. At P39,990, the Galaxy Note7 feels worth every penny. It is also appreciably less expensive than Samsung’s other big phone releases which retailed for more than P40,000 upon release. Still, the Note7 is one of the pricier smartphones out in the market.

Verdict
The Samsung Galaxy Note7 exemplifies the best that technology and design can offer. All of its amazing features come together in a package that’s worth the pretty penny.

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Test: Samsung Galaxy Note7: Packing the best tech into one phone
Form Factor10
Build Quality10
Ease of Use9
Performance9
Value for Money9
9.4Overall Score

About The Author

Luigi Leonardo
Freelance writer

Luigi continues to build a book fort out of all things geeky. He is now at the science fiction section where he hopes to build a cyberpunk effigy of Philip K. Dick. You can find him in numerous publications, all over the world, and wherever books are sold.

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