When the Galaxy Note launched in 2011, it was an anomaly. Not only was it massive (for the time), but the main allure was its stylus, a tool we thought was dead with the advent of the smartphone. There’s no way it could work. It wouldn’t work. But it did, and five years later, the Galaxy Note 7 looks like the best device Samsung has ever released.
While the Note 7 bears a striking resemblance to this year’s Galaxy S7 Edge, the device comes with a few key upgrades, including a more refined design. Samsung’s lineup of Galaxy devices have been among the best-looking in the mobile market, and the Note 7 continues the company’s impressive march toward aesthetic perfection. Not only does it look great but it feels fantastic in the hand, with perfectly subtle slopes on the front and back for ultimate comfort.
The most high profile feature in this year’s model is the new iris scanner, which allows users to unlock their device just by staring at it. In our early testing, the feature has worked almost like magic although there’s not much to it beyond getting past the lock screen and opening a new feature called Secure Folder, a place you can store your most important documents. Will the feature be implemented elsewhere in the future? That remains to be seen.
Elsewhere, the Note 7 is a beastly device, as expected, though it’s hardly a significant jump from Samsung’s S7 and S7 Edge. You get a Snapdragon 820 processor, 5.7-inch Quad HD display, 4GB of RAM, 12-megapixel camera, 3,500mAh battery, 64GB of storage (microSD support up to 256GB), USB-C, and IP68 certification. It’s pretty much what we expected before the Note 7 launched and there were few surprises.
What some people might find surprising is the Note 7’s monster price; it varies by carrier, but consumers are going to spend at $800-$900 when all is said and done. That’s a lot of dough for a phone that doesn’t appear to be that big of a jump over the Note 5. And if you don’t care about the device’s S Pen, the S7 Edge might be the better option if you’re looking to save some money.
Check out the video above to hear some thoughts from Jon on the Note 7, and stay tuned for more impressions soon.