The Galaxy Note 5 landed as Samsung’s latest flagship phablet in mid-2015, and now we’re ready for the next Note. Samsung probably won’t call it the Note 6, though. Instead, it seems it will be called the Galaxy Note 7. Here’s what we’ve heard so far about what the next-generation Samsung phablet will offer.
August 2 launch date and rumored availability
Pre-orders for the Galaxy Note 7 appear to have already begun — at least they have in Dubai.
According to Android Central, Samsung started taking pre-orders on Friday for “the Next Galaxy” at its retail location in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates. “Pre-order yours and be the first to own it,” states a sign outside the store. “Get the Next Galaxy before anyone else.” It’s taking deposits of AED 500 — the rough equivalent of $136 — between July 21 and August 2. It’s unclear if this is an officially sanctioned pre-order campaign for the Note 7
T-Mobile may follow suit next week. SamMobile reports that the Magenta carrier could begin offering customers the option of pre-ordering the handset ahead of its official unveiling. It could launch on the carrier as soon as August 2.
Samsung sent out invitations to an event on August 2, and based on the teaser, it looks like the event is for the Galaxy Note 7. The announcement didn’t come out and say it will be for the Note 7, although the Note series trademark stylus spotted on it almost gives the game away. The invitation also supports a longstanding rumor that the next Note will break with established nomenclature. There apparently isn’t a Note 6 coming, and Samsung will likely jump ahead to calling this model the Note 7, ensuring consistency across its naming structure.
The leaked device bears model number SM-N930FD, and it may be the Note 7. It’s not official news or even concrete evidence the phone will be sold in the U.K. and Europe this time around, but it does hint that Samsung may plan a wider release for the Note 7.
Of course, the Note 7 will launch in the U.S. and some Federal Communications Commission filings appear to show six models. Here are the model numbers:
Those strings of numbers and letters are less random than they look. They’re consistent with a model number that appeared on the User Agent Profile (UAP) page on Samsung’s mobile support site earlier this year: SM-N930F. Speculation at the time pegged it as a variant of Galaxy Note 7, which isn’t so far-fetched — although the UAP didn’t make specific mention of the Note 7, the fact that the Galaxy Note 4 had the model number SM-N910 and the Note 5 was the SM-N920 makes it a fairly safe assumption that “SM-N930” refers to the next Note in Samsung’s lineup.
The “F” on the end of the name normally refers to the European model of the phone, while “V,” “A,” and “T” denote the Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile variants of the Note, respectively.
The Note series kicked off the flagship phablet craze and it’s been the best in its category ever since. The Galaxy Note 7 seems to follow that trend with solid, high-end specs. Here are all the rumors we’ve heard about the processor, screen, storage, battery, and more.
In the phablet department, Samsung has experimented with screen sizes anywhere from 5.7 to 6 inches and beyond for its device displays. While the Note series has been consistently 5.7 inches in size for some time, a few rumors hint that the screen may increase to 5.8 inches on the Note 7. It’ll still likely be a Quad-HD Super AMOLED screen with a 2,560 x 1,440-pixel resolution, but it may boast the same always-on capabilities as the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.
A video of a reported Galaxy Note 7 seems to show a curve screen of considerable size. The footage’s graininess makes it impossible to judge the exact dimensions or resolution, unfortunately, much less judge its veracity. Still, it may provide the best glimpse yet at the forthcoming Note’s display.
A photo leaked on Chinese social media appears to show a Galaxy Note 7 with the signature black-and-white text and icons of Samsung’s always-on display. Just like on the S7, the always-on display on the Note 7 will show the time, date, battery life remaining, and notifications you may have received.
Battery and charging
In addition, the Galaxy Note 7 will reportedly trade the Micro USB charger on the Galaxy Note 5 for a USB Type-C port, and a new leak shows the Note 7’s purported charging cable, lending credence to that longtime rumor. It shows coiled white cable wrapped in packaging that, indeed, sports a Type-C-style connector. Sam Mobile reported in early May that the Galaxy Note 7 might get a Type-C USB port, too. Of course, that will mean that the Note 7 won’t be compatible with the Gear VR, which uses a Micro USB to connect to the phone. The change could signal the arrival of a new Gear VR.
The Note 7’s battery capacity remains a mystery, but according to SamMobile, its capacity could be decidedly on the small side. Documents from South Korea Telecom obtained by the publication indicate that the Note 7 features a 3,500 mAh battery — 100 mAh smaller than cell that ships on the Galaxy S7 edge. That’s roughly in line with Murtazin, who pegged the Note 7’s capacity at 3,600 mAh, but contradicts earlier rumblings, originating primarily from Weibo, that suggested the handset would pack a 4,000mAh battery. But those numbers could change between now and the handset’s release date.
Processor and RAM
In the processing department, the Note 7 is reportedly no slouch. A leak in late June on Chinese social media site Weibo suggests the upcoming handset sports a 2.7GHz Exynos 8893 octa-core processor “in some markets.” Earlier reports hinted that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 823 may arrive with the Note 7. However, it hasn’t been announced yet, so the flagship Snapdragon 820 might be a better bet. All this is speculation, of course.
There may also be a lot of RAM to go with the strong chip. Phones with 6GB of RAM aren’t exactly commonplace, but they’re not new either. Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin reported that the upcoming handset would feature 6GB of RAM. Before this, there were other hints that the Note 7 would use 6GB of RAM, according to a Chinese blog.
Camera and storage
Some other features rumored in Weibo include a 12-megapixel camera with something called “Super OIS,” a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, as well as 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB of storage and a MicroSD slot. And Samsung’s rumored to introduce a new model of its Note-specific S Pen stylus.
With all the talk about the Galaxy Note 7 itself, it’s easy to forget about the stylus that comes with it, the S Pen. According to a report from iGyaan, the capabilities of the S Pen are likely to be improved, largely due to a newer version of Bluetooth LE, which will allow the Note 7 to more easily detect the S Pen’s location. The S Pen will also get a slightly sleeker design, according to the report. On top of that, Air View, which houses basic S Pen apps, will offer a new dictionary and voice speaking option.
A familiar, sleek design
Samsung revamped its smartphones with the launch of the glass-backed galaxy S6 a few years ago. The Note 7 is expected to follow in the S6’s footsteps with a shiny glass back and metallic look. We’ve rounded up a number of leaked images that may showcase the Note 7’s design.
A new render of the reported Galaxy Note 7, courtesy of SamMobile, leaked in late July. It shows the rumored handset in three colors: gold, blue, and silver.
Pictures of phones that may, or may not, be the Galaxy Note 7 have been leaked consistently for several months. As the launch event grows near, we’ve been treated to another shot, this time published by Techdroider.com. The image shows a shiny fronted smartphone with a large display, along with a fingerprint sensor under it, and what’s expected to be an eye-scanning camera along the top of the device. The screen shows the same always-on information used on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, and thanks to the curved edges, it looks genuinely giant. If big-screen phones are for you, the Note 7 is a phone to get excited about.
The day after Samsung started sending out invitations for an event which is likely to show the Note 7 off officially, several more leaked images were posted to an account on the Weibo social network. Encased in a completely black frame, the phone is apparently a working model, with notifications shown on the Android lock screen.
Before this, similar images from noted leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer, the editor of Nowhereelse.fr, were shared online. Like those above, the images seem to line up with everything else we’ve seen so far.
The biggest take away from these images is that it does look like the Note 7 will indeed have curved edges. Reputable leaker Evan Blass shared an image in early July of three Galaxy Note 7 models, each with unique finishes: black onyx, silver titanium, and blue coral. The pic, if legitimate, confirms the presence of both an iris scanner (in the form of two slots on either side of the rendered phones’ earpiece), and an edge-to-edge curved screen.
If the cat wasn’t out of the bag regarding Samsung’s forthcoming Note 7 handset, it is now. Case manufacturer Olixa has begun to ship accessories designed for the new handset. It features ports for a dock connector, fingerprint sensor, a camera cut-out, and the Note series’ signature S Pen stylus.
The computer-generated renders of the cases are potentially more revealing than the cases themselves. They appear to show the Galaxy Note 7 with a curved screen and dual rear-facing cameras. It is entirely possible that the images are tentative, of course, but they’re the best encapsulation of Note 7 rumors we’ve seen.
Unfortunately, the page doesn’t show anything beyond the name just yet, but presumably, it will offer more details after the launch of the phone. There isn’t any listing on the page for the rumored Lite or Edge models, but those could appear later on.
Waterproofing and an iris scanner
Rumors continue to indicate the Galaxy Note 7 will feature water resistance, like the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, and an iris scanner for increased security.
We’ve seen eye-recognition technology on other phones, such as the ZTE Axon Elite, but iris recognition requires a special camera to operate. It’s not clear whether the Note 7 will actually feature iris, or eye recognition. It may also have some restrictions that may make it less convenient to use. According to SamMobile, visual aids like glasses and contact lenses interfere with the tech, and the eye-scanning sensors apparently perform poorly in direct sunlight.
This is backed up by a leaked screenshot supposedly showing the setup page for iris recognition on the Note 7. Numerous stipulations are listed that may impede the iris scanner’s performance, including wearing glasses, bright sunlight, reflections, puffy eyes, excessive camera movement, and humidity.
However, much of this advice may be simply to cover Samsung in the event of the scanner not always functioning correctly, but if glasses do need to be removed for it to operate, then it’ll be a disappointment. A video posted to the Weibo social network, and subsequently to YouTube, apparently shows the Note 7’s eye scanner in action. It certainly looks fast to react, but we don’t know the exact circumstances around its use.
Veritable curator of Samsung leaks SamMobile has detailed how the Galaxy Note 7’s rumored iris scanner might work. A user places the device at arm’s length with the handset’s screen facing toward them, and then fixes their gaze on “two circles shown on the display” while the iris sensors scan for a familiar pattern. It’s unclear whether such a system would integrate with Android’s other security mechanisms, and what features, other than screen unlocking, it will enable. Those details, it seems, will have to wait until the Galaxy Note 7’s launch event later this year.
SamMobile also reported rumors that an iris scanner may add more security to the Note 7, and a new pic lends credence to those rumblings. Prolific rumor purveyor @OnLeaks posted an image of what it claimed was the front panel of a Galaxy Note 7 prototype. Notably, it shows cutouts near the handset’s earpiece large enough to accommodate an iris scanner. Earlier this year, renders published by SamMobile showed a rear-facing camera paired with iris-scanning tech, and a scanner recently appeared on a list of materials purchased for research and development, the publication reported. According to the Korea Herald, Korean imaging company Patron will supply the sensors following a bid it won “months ago.”
Samsung recently debuted the Galaxy Tab Iris, a tablet equipped with an iris scanner, showing it has been working on the technology for a while.
We may very well see water resistance come to the Note 7, SamMobile reports. Since IP68 water resistance come to the Galaxy S7, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Samsung bring the same protection to its larger phablet. It was already surprising that the Note 5 didn’t offer any water resistance after Samsung opted for a sealed battery and removed the MicroSD card slot from the phablet last September. If the Note 7 gets IP68 water resistance, the device would be able to withstand 30 minutes under up to 3 feet of water — just like the Galaxy S7.
New software features
With every Galaxy Note phone comes new software features and the Note 7 will be no exception. A rumor in early May suggests Samsung is working on a new app called Samsung Focus.
Focus appears to take cues from BlackBerry Hub in that it incorporates a bunch of apps in one place. However, Samsung looks to be emphasizing productivity apps rather than messaging apps.
Samsung Focus will show all your calendar appointments, emails from multiple accounts, and memos for all your reminders. It will also categorize all of this information per contact and allow you to manage notifications by priority contacts or keywords. Click here to read more about it.
In terms of the Galaxy Note 7’s underlying operating system, the reports are a bit contradictory. Weibo leaks indicate that the new handset will ship running Android 6.0.1, Android Marshmallow, but according to The Bell’s sources, it’ll actually sport Android N — the latest version of Android publicly available. It’s quite possible, considering Google surprised everyone when it released the Developer Preview for the upcoming Android version early — Google said it hopes to finish and hand off Android N to manufacturers in the summer. That means it’s easily in the realm of possibility that the Galaxy Note 7 could be one of the first phones to come equipped with Android’s latest operating system.
An Edge and Lite version only?
Samsung used to have just one Galaxy Note each year, but it’s created variants in recent years. Rumors hint that Samsung may shake things up in 2016, and may not release a standard flat version at all. But a recent leak ontradicts that last rumbling.
An image of a reported Galaxy Note 7 prototype emerged on Chinese social media network Weibo in July, but not the curved model that’s been the subject of recent leaks. Instead, this one appears to have a flat display. The posted pic wasn’t accompanied by details or specifications, unfortunately, but Phandroid posits that the pictured handset could be an early prototype. On the other hand, it might be a cheaper complement to the curved-edge Note 7.
Samsung hasn’t released an Edge version of the Galaxy Note since 2014 when it was announced alongside the Galaxy Note 4. The Korea Herald reported at the end of June the company may change this for the Note 7, and only release an Edge model, foregoing a flat-screen model entirely. According to the anonymous sources, the Note 7 will have a dual-curved edge display, like the Galaxy S7 Edge.
It’s not the first time we’ve heard about an Edge Note 7. The last indication one may arrive came from a leaked render showing a large phone with a dual-edge screen like the Galaxy S7 Edge.
The render has a very similar style to the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, with less curvy corners than the S7 range, and both a camera lens hump and flash/heart rate sensor array next to it on the rear. The render clearly shows a dual-edge screen design, and suggests the phone will be 7.8mm thick, slightly more than the Galaxy Note 5. While the authenticity of the render cannot be verified at this stage, it may have been the first hint the Note 7 will only be sold as an Edge model.
Prior to this, a listing from the Zauba import site in late May hinted an Edge Note 7 would be produced, showing a part called a metal mask entered India for a smartphone with a model number of SM-N935G,
Nobody knows for sure what phone SM-N935G represents, but if you consider the Galaxy Note 5 had a model number of SM-N920 and the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge had model numbers of SM-G930 and SM-G935, respectively, it’s easy to conclude that “935” represents the next Note phone. However, it’s more than likely to be an Edge version because the non-Edge version would presumably be SM-N930. The letter “G” in the listing is likely referring to either a region, carrier, or variant based on different specs.
The Edge version may be joined by a Lite model. According to a leak in early May on the popular Chinese social media site Weibo, Samsung might be prepping a second version of the next Note that some are referring to as the Galaxy Note 6/7 Lite.
According to the leak, this phone will be the same size as the Note, but won’t be as powerful, in an effort to make it more economical. Although the display would be the same size as Note, this lite version could get a drop in resolution to 1080p or 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. It might be powered by the Snapdragon 820 or 821, which is the same processor used in the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. And finally, instead of a whopping 6GB of RAM, the Note Lite could get 4GB, which is still very high considering the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have the same.
Smartphone manufacturers generally use more mid-range specs when offering a more economical version of a phone, so we are a little surprised at how good these rumored specs are. Of course, all of this is just a rumor, so not only is it unknown if Samsung is really working on such a phone, but the specs could very well be different in the final product as well.
Updated on 07-25-2016 by Andy Boxall: Added a leaked screenshot and video revealing more about an iris scanner that may be fitted to the Galaxy Note 7.
Malarie Gokey, Kyle Wiggers, Rob Nazarian, Andy Boxall, Julian Chokkattu, and Christian de Looper all contributed to this report.