Samsung has unveiled the latest version of its “phablet” device, the Galaxy Note 7.
Boasting a whole new design and a host of new and improved features, the Note 7 is actually 0.3mm thicker than its predecessor the Note 5, but on the other hand, takes some improvements from its sibling the Galaxy S7 , such as IP68 certification.
This means the Galaxy Note 7 is now waterproof and dust-proof, and can be completely immersed in water while remaining functional. Other improvements include enhanced security, an expandable storage option and infra-red eye traking.
This is perhaps one of the most notable new features on the Note 7. The infrared eye tracking capabilities means you can open the device from the lock screen almost instantly by simply looking at its front facing camera.
Design and display
The design has also had a makeover compared to previous Note handsets. The 5.7-inch screen stretches to both edges of the phone thanks to its ‘dual edge’ feature, and while the chassis is slightly thicker, measuring 7.9mm, it’s much nicer to hold thanks to improvements in ergonomics, being symmetrical on both sides.
The Galaxy Note 7’s screen is also worth writing home about. This is what Samsung is calling the first “Mobile HDR-ready” display, which is four times the definition of standard HD – otherwise known as 2K – at 2560×512 pixels.
This, Samsung said, “brings rich vibrant colours to life” for both video playback and gaming. “It’s the boldest, most immersive screens out there,” the firm claimed.
On the inside, the Galaxy Note 7 is powered by a speedy 64bit octa-core processor (2.3GHz Quad and 1.6GHz Quad) alongside a whopping 4GB of RAM.
It is powered by the latest version of the Android operating system, version 6.01 Marshmallow.
Charging and battery
The Galaxy Note 7 is the first Samsung flagship device to feature USB Type-C connectivity, which means that none of your old microUSB charging cables or accessories will work without an adapter.
It’s annoying, but the flip side is that the more powerful connection means it charges much quicker, and the prong can be inserted in the device either way around – much like Apple’s Lightening cable.
As for cameras, the Galaxy Note 7 has a 12 Megapixel dual-pixel snapper on the back – much lower than the 20 Megapixel that was previously rumoured – and an 8 megapixel camera on the front for selfies.
Those who prefer using a stylus as opposed to fingering their smartphone screens will be pleased to hear that Samsung has also improved the S Pen in the Galaxy Note 7, a small plastic pen which docks up inside the device.
Like the rest of the phone, the new and improved S Pen is also IP68 water and dust resistant, meaning you can write on the screen in the rain and your notes will not be interrupted by water droplets hitting the screen.
It’s also much slimmer, thus easier to hold, and apparently more precise and accurate due to its 0.7mm point which makes it feel “like you’re writing on a piece of paper”, the firm said.
Samsung also created a new Notes app, which will be pre-installed on all Note 7 devices, where the above functions can be used and showed off.
Samsug hasn’t revealed the price of the Galaxy Note 7 yet, but to buy a SIM-free Note 7, you’ll most likely have to spend somewhere between £600 to £650.
Based on Samsung’s previous pricing strategy, it tends to drop in price by about 20% after the first few months – so it’s worth holding on if you want to save some money.
If you prefer to opt for a contract deal, expect to pay in the region of £45-50 per month.
While Samsung hasn’t announced a solid release date for the Note 7, there’s no doubt the firm is wanting to pip Apple to the post, releasing its new handset before the iPhone 7 hits the shops.
The iPhone 7 is due to be announced in early September , when the two devices will go head-to-head with one another, and it expected to hit the shelves around September 16.
The release of the Note 7 spells bad news for the S7 Edge+ though, as disappointing sales of the larger handset have resulted in the company deciding to discontinue the S7 Edge+ in Europe.
Instead, the company wants to put all its resources into making sure the Note 7 is a success.
As part of the Note 7 announcement, Samsung also unveiled an improved version of its Gear VR virtual reality headset.
According to Samsung, it’s now more comfortable and has been enhanced around the eyes so it can be used for longer periods.
The headstrap has also been improved to accommodate different head sizes, and the colour has changed; it’s now dark grey instead of white, looking a little more premium.
The controls have also been streamlined so the VR headset is easier to use.
There’s no price or release date for the Gear VR yet, but we’ll keep you posted.