Samsung has officially launched the Galaxy Note 7, the latest in its line of stylus-equipped flagship smartphones. The Note 7, which is not called the Note 6, blends many of the features from last year’s Note 5 with the design and waterproofing of this year’s excellent S7 Edge. The Note 7 will be available from all four major carriers on August 19th, with preorders starting tomorrow, August 3rd. Samsung says that pricing will be commensurate with prior Note devices and will be higher than the S7 Edge, which is about $770 to $800, depending on where you look. An unlocked version of the Note 7 will be available in the US at a later date.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 announcement happened this week, Tuesday, August 2, at Samsung’s Unpacked event, and we were there in New York and London to go hands-on. The actual device can be pre-ordered from August 3, while the official delivery date is August 19 in the US and Australia. That’s also the physical release date for the new Samsung Gear VR with a USB-C connection. The Note 7 will come in four colors: Coral Blue, Gold, Silver and Black.The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 UK release date is a little later: September 2. UK pre-orders open on August 16, and it will only be available in Black and Coral Blue at first.
Desing and Display
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 reflects the S7 Edge look and feel thanks to its curved 5.7-inch screen, but it maintains the Note build and S Pen functionality. Its dimensions are 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9mm, meaning the Note 7 is a meaningful 2.2mm narrower than the Note 5. That’s ideal for staying comfortable in your hand – you’ll drop it a lot less, too.
Hand-holding is also helped by the curved back, a returning design feature from the Note 5 and one that wasn’t a part of the S7 Edge. It brings the Note 7 frame to a smooth point.
The Note 7 comes with a standard base of 64 GB of expandable storage — unlike the Galaxy S6 Edge+, which only came with 32 GB or 64 GB of fixed storage. The Galaxy S7 Edge currently only comes with 32 GB of expandable storage. Meanwhile, the latest smartphone features a 3500 mAh battery, compared to 3600 on the S7 Edge and 3000 mAh on the S6 Edge+ and Note 5.
The iris scanner is probably the most buzzed-about feature to land on the Note 7, but Samsung isn’t the first to use it as a biometric security. Fujitsu, Alcatel and Chinese manufacturer ZTE already make phones with similar technology.
So how does it work? Samsung has added a new infrared camera that scans your eyes using infrared light emitted from the LED on the front of the phone.
You’ll want to hold it about a foot away from your face, and the phone will show how to line it up your eyes. (Don’t worry, you won’t be surprised with a flash of light.) The data collected from the scan is saved and encrypted on the phone, and you can opt to unlock your phone or a specific app that way moving forward.
Although, in theory, the scanner is a novel way to keep phones locked, you’ll still need to use your fingers to get to the iris scanner from the lock screen — at which point, you could easily type in a passcode or use the fingerprint reader instead.