Review Roundup: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – UPDATE #2

It is getting a lot of positive reviews, but just how good is it?

In this review roundup we have a look at the recently released Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (yes they skipped the 6).

UPDATE #1: Added TechnoBuffalo and DetroitBorg Reviews.

UPDATE #2: Added Linus Tech Tips.

Mr Mobile – Michael Fisher:

Pros:

  • Phone is much more comfortable to use one handed, from being 2mm less in width.
  • Fundamentals of the phone including brightness in display being down to 1 nit and up to 1000 nits.
  • Iris Scanner is better than Microsoft’s including in low light.
  • Nice to have an alternative unlocking option when you might have a sweaty hand etc.
  • Gorilla Glass 5 is really durable surviving a couple of decent drops.
  • S-Pen is great in a routine way, like a mouse for you computer, the stylus is for your smartphone.
  • Always On Display which supports more notification types.
  • Same camera as Galaxy S7/Edge which is the best in a phone today.
  • Swipe between primary and selfie cameras.
  • Extra Volume option for calls is great and phone calls are good at each end.
  • Very future-proof for gaming, with Vulkan API.
  • Wireless Charging and Fast Charging.

Cons:

  • Fingerprint magnet.
  • Very few visual queues to differentiate which way the phone is to be held when you get it out of your pocket.
  • Grace UX is not good if you like stock Android.
  • You’ll still wait for software updates compared to stock Android.
  • Ships with Android Marshmallow.
  • Edge Bar is not that useful for his use-case.
  • Speaker phone is inconveniently located and not as rich sounding as other phones.
  • Note does bog down occasionally, so concerned long term.
  • Disappointed not to even get 5hrs of screen on time.

Conclusion:

It is no longer the envelope push it once was, but is now more of a mainstream product.

If you are looking for just a smartphone, the Note isn’t for you. If you’re moving away from laptops and tablets, and want best possible blend of phone and tablet, the Note 7 is the best option there is.

The Verge:

Pros:

  • Breathtaking design that is comfortable to hold and easy to use.
  • S-Pen is much nicer to write with and software improvements for it are great.
  • Make a GIF using the S-Pen.
  • All the unique features carried over from the S7 Edge.

Cons:

  • Iris Scanner works but can be pretty clumsy and can be faster to just use a fingerprint sensor instead.
  • Price and Carrier Bloatware is what is holding the phone back. OnePlus 3 is half the cost of the Note 7.

Conclusion:

Best execution of a phablet to date.

If you can bare the extra cost of the S7 Edge, the extra features is worth it.

Pocketnow:

Pros:

  • Amazing build quality with 7000 series aluminum around edges and Gorilla Glass 5.
  • Colour reproduction is stunning.
  • Makes it feel more ergonomic compared to Note 5 and earlier.
  • USB-C Port.
  • MicroSD card slot added back addressed the biggest issue with the Note 5.
  • Iris Scanner is really great, especially if you wear gloves.
  • Secure folder to hold a separate copy of apps is great.
  • Blue light filter is great for using phone at night.
  • Software has a lot of great subtle improvements and inclusions from the S7/Edge.
  • Notification icons from the Always On Display.
  • S-Pen feels more natural than ever.
  • Degree of palm rejection is great as S7 Edge didn’t have it with it’s curved sides.
  • Great to write notes with S-Pen on lock screen.
  • Can use the phone and S-Pen when wet.
  • Camera does not disappoint.

Cons:

  • Fingerprint magnet.
  • Majority of the specs are the same as the S7 Edge.
  • Translator is only word by word.
  • Samsung Notes would be awesome if notes talk between pen input and type like Microsoft OneNote.
  • At most 4 hours of screen on time, which could possibly be with phone carrier Jaime was with.
  • Less powerful than expected speaker, best described as average.

Conclusion:

Hard to compare this to other smartphones, with build quality, camera and software features.

What would hold people back is the price, but you get more for your money and the best of the best overall.

CNET:

Pros:

  • S-Pen can be practical.
  • Lots of storage.
  • Wireless Charging.
  • USB-C Connector.
  • Great battery life.
  • Great camera.
  • S-Pen and phone are water resistant.
  • Feels compact, even a bit heavy.

Cons:

  • Stylus is not good with Pokemon Go.
  • Lots of people will find this expensive, compared to phone like the OnePlus 3 that are half the price.

Conclusion:

Lots of things you can do on this phone can you can’t do on any other device, but only heavily consider this phone if you intend to use the S-Pen a lot.

Android Authority:

Pros:

  • Headphone jack is sticking around.
  • S-Pen doesn’t feel that different from the Note 5 but is still great.
  • A big phone that is really comfortable to use.
  • Option to push out a 720p or 1080p display instead of 1440p to save battery life and screen difference is noticeable.
  • Always On Display is more customizable than S7/Edge.
  • 64GB of on-board storage is great along with the microSD card slot.
  • Calls sounded perfectly fine.
  • Screen on time is good for moderate usage, with 4.5-5hrs of screen on time.
  • Iris Scanner is simple for setup and you get use to it really quickly.
  • Camera quality is great.
  • Camera app has been more streamlined to make it easier with one hand.
  • Secure Folder is perhaps one of Samsung’s best features yet. Can have separate accounts in the secure folder.

Cons:

  • Edge Widgets are not that useful.
  • Speaker is not very rich nor has any real volume.
  • No DAC in the headphone jack but audio is above average.
  • Iris Scanner works with glasses on, but is slower.
  • Very steep price.

Conclusion:

Samsung is trying to justify its higher price point. If you can generally say you don’t need S-Pen, high storage capacity, great camera, large display etc. then Note 7 is perhaps overkill, but if yes then Note 7 is ideal.

Engadget:

Pros:

  • By far the most comfortable phablet Samsung has ever made.
  • First Note to get IP68 Water and Dust Resistance.
  • Display with viewing angles is great.
  • Note 7 absolutely flies in terms of performance.
  • Same camera as S7/Edge and best camera on any Android phone.
  • Iris Scanner can work incredibly fast, but can be slow if you wear glasses.
  • Software is now pretty nice and cleaned up a lot.
  • Make GIFs on the fly.

Cons:

  • Edge widgets are pretty forgettable or not used much.
  • Expensive.

Conclusion:

The Note 7 package is excellent even if you don’t use the stylus. Not perfect but Samsung has built its best phone in a long time.

TechnoBuffalo:

Pros:

  • Feels incredible in the hand and when you pick it up.
  • The display is Samsung’s piece of resistance.
  • Iris Scanner works.
  • IP68 water resistant.
  • Camera is great.
  • OIS is great for chasing fast objects.
  • Fast Charging was almost 1% per minute.
  • S-Pen works very well, with no lag or delay.
  • Scratch Resistance was good on Gorilla Glass 5, even at beach in the sand.

Cons:

  • Iris Scanner does not work well in direct sunlight.
  • Battery was decent but not great. Down to 10-15% at end of the day, about 10% less than most others.
  • Does feel a bit warm in the hand at times.

Conclusion:

Don’t think about how to use the phone, just use it. Jon bought his own and if you can’t afford the price, highly recommends the S7/Edge.

DetroitBorg:

Pros:

  • Iris Scanner works surprisingly well.
  • Design looks stunning.
  • Nice narrow grip and feels great in the hand.
  • microSD card returns.
  • Has one of the best front facing cameras you can get today.
  • IP68 Water and Dust Resistance.

Cons:

  • Adoptable Storage is not available as part of Android Marshmallow.
  • Speaker sounds a little tinny and voices sound very robotic.
  • Earpiece could be a little louder.
  • Iris Scanner does not work well with glasses.
  • Speed of fingerprint sensor could be faster.
  • Very expensive.
  • Software experience could be sped up a bit.

Conclusion:

The ultimate flagship smartphone. Fun phone to have if you enjoy tech. This is definitely a phone to look at if you are looking for the best phone today.

Linus Tech Tips:


Pros:

  • Tactile feel back for buttons are great.
  • By far the most holdable Note phone to date.
  • S-Pen is great for screen shots and doodling.
  • S-Pen is great to write with.
  • Iris Scanner is impressive.

Cons:

  • Dual Sim Try is more fragile.
  • Camera bump is more pronounced than usual.
  • Bottom facing speaker.
  • Gorilla Glass 5 is not as scratch resistant as Gorilla Glass 4 but not a single mark in the two weeks of use.
  • Glance feature is no faster than switching via multitasking.
  • Iris Scanner does not really add anything to the experience. Wants an update to have iris as an additional security step.

Conclusion:

Note 7 is really great. Would not spend US$1000 on it but if cost were not an issue, he would get it.

Conclusion:

Seeing all of these reviews does show that the device is really great but does have issues with it including the speaker, price and battery depending on your phone service.

The impression I got from all of the reviews is that you should only heaving consider the Note 7 if you a) plan on using the S-Pen a lot, b) can justify the really high price and c) plan on having a single device to replace your current smartphone and/or tablet.

So are you going to get the Note 7 or are you waiting for another device yet to be released this year?

If there are any more reviews coming out, I’ll likely add them in to this post, like I have with the TechnoBuffalo and DetroitBorg reviews.

Thanks again for reading this blog post. If you enjoyed and want to see more like this in the future, be sure to give it a like and follow for more updates like this in the future here and on Twitter @neilh_apps.

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