Update – If you read my review, I wrote the following “However, despite my personal contempt towards Samsung, I will provide an honest appraisal of the phone. This is based on the assumption, that the replacement units that will arrive over the coming weeks are safe to use.”
However, based on the numerous publications and additional facts about replacement devices causing bodily injury and property damage, I cannot recommend you buy this phone anymore.
Welcome to my review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. My review was based upon using the Samsung Note 7 Duos version which has a hybrid sim slot to allow 2 sim cards. This provided an additional option in the settings menu for a sim manager to control what each sim was allowed to do or not. In addition the settings had an option to select what was shown on the status bar.
I have also reviewed various official and third party cases and accessories for the Note 7 and also aired an article on my view towards Samsung and their handling on the Note 7 along with the safety warnings from Oculus. It is worth watching the case reviews linked below, as this also shows the Note 7 in black onyx on video in all its glory.
Before I delve deep into my review of the Note 7, I would point out that due to the dangers around the Note 7, I no longer have the phone nor will I ever buy another Samsung device, ever, as their handling along with Carphone Warehouse was bordering along the lines of criminal. See links above.
However, despite my personal contempt towards Samsung, I will provide an honest appraisal of the phone. This is based on the assumption, that the replacement units that will arrive over the coming weeks are safe to use.
– Dimensions – 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm
– Weight – 169g
– Corning Gorilla Glass 5 Back and Front
– Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
– IP68 certified – dust proof and water resistant over 1.5 meter and 30 minutes
– Stylus – S Pen
– Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified)
– Display – Super AMOLED , 5.7 inches (~78.0% screen-to-body ratio)
– Resolution 1440 x 2560 pixels (~518 ppi pixel density)
– Always-on display
– Grace UI
– Android OS, v6.0.1 (Marshmallow), planned upgrade to v7.0 (Nougat)
– Chipset Exynos 8890 Octa, CPU Octa-core (4×2.3 GHz Mongoose & 4×1.6 GHz Cortex-A53)
GPU Mali-T880 MP12
– MicroSD, up to 256 GB
– Internal – 64 GB, 4 GB RAM
– CAMERA – Rear 12 MP, f/1.7, 26mm, phase detection autofocus, OIS, LED flash, check quality
Features 1/2.5″ sensor size, 1.4 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, simultaneous 4K video and 9MP image recording, touch focus, face/smile detection, Auto HDR, panorama
Video – 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@240fps, HDR, dual-video rec., check quality
– Secondary 5 MP, f/1.7, 22mm, dual video call, Auto HDR
– 24-bit/192kHz audio
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– COMMS WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
– Bluetooth v4.2, A2DP, EDR, LE
– GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO
– NFC Yes
– USB v3.1, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
– FEATURES Sensors Iris scanner, fingerprint, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, heart rate, SpO2
– Fast battery charging
– Qi wireless charging (market dependent)
– ANT+ support
– BATTERY Non-removable Li-Ion 3500 mAh battery
– Colours Blue Coral, Gold Platinum, Silver Titanium, Black Onyx
The Note 7 is the best phone ever made by Samsung. The new UI called Grace UI is incredible. Lots of extra functionality, but all making sense. A lot of thought clearly has been applied with the menus, the options and extra functions. Somebody actually sat down and made sure everything flowed smoothly.
The display is awesome. Amazing viewing angles and great sunlight visibility. It is also fast.
AnTuTu produced a very respectable score as shown above. This was with 150 apps installed. This included games galore, most social media apps, security camera apps, apps for controlling lights and loads of bluetooth devices. The Note 7 was also connected to my Samsung Gear Fit 2.
Call quality was excellent too. Bluetooth, WiFi and all the antennas worked really well. I noticed signal strength was better than that of my Samsung S7. The UK version has whitepages integrated which means it automatically tells you who is calling or if the call is a spam call. Samsung bought whitepages hence why it can integrate this service in to the firmware. On the Google Play store the app is now called Hoya.
The Edge panel is available on the Note 7 too. Extra edge panels are available to download. Like this one for Pocketcasts.
I personally used the Edge panel for app shortcuts, pocketcasts and the ruler/torch panel. The always on display now accepts third party notifications, so finally becomes useful. Link this functionality with some of Samsung’s official cases like the S View Standing Case or LED case and you have really cool functionality.
The S Pen makes the Note 7 special. And I love using the S Pen. This year Samsung has cleaned up the approach, making it more useful. For example, pull the S Pen out with the screen off and you can write a memo on the black screen and pin it there for an hour to remind you to get milk before you get home! The S Pen is more accurate this year, and the drawing creative aspects of it have been improved too.
Battery life was reasonable. I achieved about 4.5 hours screen on time. This was with bluetooth, NFC, and wifi always on, location on high and the always on display activated.
One of the new features of the Note 7 is using the iris scanner to unlock the phone. When I first set this up, I found it unreliable and a PITA. So I stuck to the super fast fingerprint sensor unlock. After chatting to a few of my tech friends, I was giving a few more tips. Hold the phone nearer to your eyes, not further away. And voila. Instant phone unlocking using my eyes. So cool. So my advice is to not give up. I also found it worked when I was wearing my sunglasses.
The Note 7 in black onyx is gangster cool. It looks amazing and has such a small profile versus its 5.7 inch screen. Opening the box is such a wow moment. However, its glass back and front and its a fingerprint magnet consequently. The Note 7 is IP68 dust and water resistant.
Due to the IP68 rating the loudspeaker doesn’t go that loud. It is just loud enough for podcasts. The headphone jack output is high quality but the headphone amp is not powerful enough, meaning you need to pair it to some very efficient headphones to get the most out of it. However, Samsung clearly focused the audio via bluetooth as the bluetooth audio is excellent.
At the time of writing this review, the Note 7 is the best phone for both video and photos. It just kills the competition. Double press the home button, press the shutter and you will have a perfect photo. The camera is super fast to focus too.
I have a Flickr album for the Note 7 – Click HERE. However, below are a few shots from the Note 7.
The aim here was to capture the stones close up, but my labrador Tiggy had other ideas and was a bit curious and photo bombed the shot. The Note 7 was so quick to focus too.
The above shot was totally unedited as are all the shots shown. Exposure is handled so well. The Note 7 camera app has been tidied up from the S7/S7 Edge and is slightly easier to use. It still comes with a pro mode as well, although the auto mode is so reliable its doubtful many people will use the pro features. As impressed as I was with photos, the video recordings were just as impressive.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is an amazing phone and in my opinion near perfect in terms of hardware and software integration. Add into the mix all the Samsung accessories like the Gear VR or Gear 360 and you have a dynamite combination!