Editor"s note, October 11th, 2016, 10:30AM ET: top top September 2nd, 2016, Samsung issued a recall ~ above the Galaxy keep in mind 7 because of a safety problem with the battery. The company halted sales and also recalled every 2.5 million gadgets it manufactured. It then issued replacement gadgets that were considered to be for sure for usage by both Samsung and also the US consumer Product security Commission. Unfortunately, it transforms out that those devices were no more secure than the first run and presented countless of the very same risks. As a result, Samsung has actually been required to recall those and also is stopping manufacturing on the keep in mind 7.

Samsung’s damaging battery worries have invalidated the worship we have actually heaped top top its beautifully designed, however fatally fault smartphone. Us leave this testimonial up as testament to almost-was history, but have eliminated the score in light of the events. We carry out not recommend you purchase the keep in mind 7, also if you"re maybe to uncover it in stock. You can read an ext about the recall and also the events that have transpired in our Galaxy note 7 remind Story Stream.

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There is no greater evidence of The Future of computing than the big-screened smartphone. Big phones have end up being the de facto an individual computers for countless people, taking the location of countless devices, including laptops and tablets. They’ve become much more than simply phones in means that smaller devices haven’t matched — research mirrors that owner of phablets use their tools a lot more than others.

But large phones come v their own collection of baggage the isn’t viewed on normal-sized phones. They are generally clumsy come use, awkward come hold, and less attractive than their smaller sized counterparts. Much more often than not, a big phone is simply a stretched-out version of a tiny phone, without any type of consideration made for the larger display.

Samsung has actually been changing that dynamic lately, building phones with big screens that don’t feel like big phones in ~ all. Its new Galaxy keep in mind 7 is the best large phone ever before made for a selection of reasons, but mostly due to the fact that it feels favor a an equipment that to be designed to be a big phone from the beginning with features that mitigate the tradeoffs natural with huge devices. I can’t speak the exact same for the iphone 6S Plus, Nexus 6P, or any type of other gigantic phone on the market, which are downright clunky in comparison.

The keep in mind 7 is Samsung’s best an equipment ever, and arguably the best big phone ever before made. If that’s all you’re looking come know, then you can stop analysis right now and also go ar your order. It will expense you $849 or more, depending on carrier, and also can be preordered now. It will certainly be easily accessible in stores beginning on august 19th.

But it’s interesting to explore why the keep in mind 7 is the best big phone ever. Samsung has an ext experience with huge phones than any kind of other company, and also it is leveraging the to boost the huge phone experience. The the only firm that’s saying a big phone doesn’t have to feel like a big phone or be saddled through compromises often linked with them. Samsung wants you to have actually your cake and eat that too, and that cake’s odor is the note 7.

Apple’s iphone monopolized the talk around smartphone architecture for almost a decade. However in the previous year and a half, Samsung’s architecture department has made dramatic leaps and bounds, cranking out beautiful, practical designs and also rapidly iterating on them. Wherein Apple has been content through a two-year hardware design cycle (and by all accounts, it shows up to be moving to an also slower three-year cycle), Samsung has actually improved and updated its designs on a rapid-fire, six-month basis. Because last year Galaxy S6 style revitalization, Samsung has iterated three times on its formula and the note 7 is the finest architecture Samsung has ever before produced.

A beautiful item of gadgetry

The keep in mind 7’s mix of metal and glass, symmetry sides, and also rounded corners make it the nicest-looking phone I’ve ever before laid eye on. It’s just a beautiful item of gadgetry. But the architecture isn’t just for aesthetics: it’s every in company to that large screen and making sure that the compromises that come with a large display room minimized. The keep in mind 7’s design is remarkable functional, giving the keep in mind 7 a common phone feel, even though it has a substantial display.

Part of that is because the keep in mind 7 is actually smaller than any other phone in this class. The 4.7mm much shorter and 4mm narrower than the iphone 6S Plus, 5.8mm shorter and 3.9mm narrower 보다 the Nexus 6P, and also 2.2mm narrower 보다 last year’s currently trim keep in mind 5. The note 7’s dimensions do it much easier to handle, much easier to slip into a pocket, and also generally nicer to use than any type of other phone with a big screen.

The curved sides that the screen don’t shout "look in ~ me" quite as much as the S7 Edge’s dramatic bends. They have actually a ethereal curve that offers flatter display area and also distorts the picture on the display screen less, however still manages to make the note 7 narrower than if it had a totally flat display. The note 7’s rear glass dashboard mirrors the front curve exactly, giving the phone call its visual symmetry and comfortable feel.

These features of effective design and also premium materials are discovered on the S7 edge too, yet the note 7 has been refined also further, with softer edges, cleaner lines, and also a nicer feeling in mine hand. Just five months ago, I stated that the S7 Edge was the most impressive smartphone hardware I’d ever held, and also now Samsung has actually trumped itself through the keep in mind 7.


The keep in mind 7 shares a many other characteristics with the S7 Edge, as well. It has actually the same type of supervisor AMOLED quad HD resolution display, albeit larger and also slightly brighter; the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB that RAM; the exact same water resistance and also expandable storage; the same great cameras; and a similar capacity battery v the same fast wired and wireless charging. The only remarkable spec distinctions are the the keep in mind 7 comes through 64GB of interior storage together opposed to the S7’s 32GB and also it provides a USB Type-C port rather of the old Micro USB jack.

That method that a lot of the things about the S7 Edge use equally here. The screen is pixel-dense, color-rich, and gorgeous to look at (and have the right to get even brighter 보다 the currently blindingly shining S7’s display in daylight); the processor and also RAM combine for fast, dependable performance; and the water resistance is a function I think every high-end phone must offer. The keep in mind 7’s 3,500mAh battery is 17 percent bigger than the battery in critical year’s keep in mind 5, and also it’s maybe to last me with a complete day that use. In ~ this point, I’d love for a flagship phone favor the keep in mind 7 to last multiple job on a charge, however the fast charging attributes make it simple to peak up as soon as I need to.


And since the keep in mind 7 has actually the exact same 12-megapixel camera as the S7 series, it has actually arguably the ideal smartphone camera available right now. (It’s definitely not a downgrade from last year’s 16-megapixel camera. Examine out our interview with Samsung’s Kim Gae-youn for an ext on why.) The optically stabilized, f/1.7 lens is excellent for short light shots and also focuses faster than any kind of other phone’s camera, and also the camera application launches rapidly with a double-press that the residence button. The app has to be cleaned up because that the keep in mind 7, v a simpler interface that relies on gestures because that switching between front and rear cameras and transforming modes.


The large new headline feature on the keep in mind 7 is the iris scanner, which supplies a unique front-facing camera variety to scan your eyes and unlock her phone. It offers an different to making use of a password, PIN, pattern, or fingerprint for authentication.

The iris scanner works as advertised, often quickly scanning mine eyes and unlocking the phone. It supplies infrared technology, for this reason it can work in low light. However it’s clumsier to usage than the already really quick fingerprint scanner, together I have to turn ~ above the display, swipe up, and also then carry the call awkwardly close to my confront to cause it. That a funny party trick, but I finished up simply forgetting around it and also using the fingerprint scanner instead.

The second most crucial thing the separates the keep in mind 7 indigenous Samsung’s other devices and also every other huge phone is the updated S Pen. The S Pen has been a hallmark attribute of the note line due to the fact that its beginning — it’s yes, really what makes a note a Note, and not just an additional phone v a large screen. The S Pen have the right to be offered to jot under notes, attract pictures, or navigate the phone’s interface.

The S Pen is mightier

But by much the coolest new S Pen feature is the ability to produce GIFs indigenous any video in simply a few taps. In a matter of seconds, i can develop a GIF from a YouTube video, include notes or sticker labels to it, and also then re-publishing it best from mine phone. It’s not something I’d have actually guessed the S Pen would have the ability to do, but it’s fun and also easy to use. Further, the S Pen has actually the very same level of water resistance together the phone call itself, and it can even work once the phone is wet, making the the most over-the-top means to jot down concepts in the shower.

Samsung has actually tweaked the hardware that the S Pen this go around, too. The pen reminder itself is narrower and has twice as countless levels of push sensitivity because that a an ext natural writing feel. And, unlike v last year’s note 5, it’s difficult to placed it in backwards and damage the phone.

I favor that I have the right to now usage the S Pen to magnify components of the screen, multitask in between two apps, or instantly interpret text using Google’s analyze services. Artists could appreciate the new color mix features easily accessible when drawing in Samsung’s app. The 4 disparate apps the Samsung used to parcel on the Note have been merged into a solitary Samsung Notes application that’s less complicated to use and also simpler to navigate. The capacity to take it notes ideal on the phone’s lock display screen that debuted with last year’s note 5 has been broadened with the capacity to "pin" notes there for quick access. My only complaint v Samsung note is the it doesn’t conveniently sync with various other services, such together Evernote or OneNote, instead relying top top Samsung’s own proprietary backup and also sync. (You can share notes to other apps, yet that can only be excellent one keep in mind at a time and also is quite tedious.)

Earlier execution of the note weren’t may be to to convince me that the S Pen was a crucial tool, and also I’m not sure that the keep in mind 7 walk the job either. However its magnified features at least have actually me thinking around it more.


To go in addition to its refined hardware design, the keep in mind 7 has a polished version that Samsung’s software user interface on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. (An update to Android 7.0 Nougat has been promised, yet Samsung has not yet provided any timing for as soon as that can happen.) it’s both nicer to look at and also easier to usage than Samsung’s earlier software efforts.

There are a pair new functions that have actually been cribbed indigenous other devices or third-party apps, such as the new nighttime display mode comparable to Apple’s Night shift that have the right to be triggered based on sunrise and sunset. The always-on screen feature native the S7 has been improved with much more calendar layouts and support for every third-party application notifications, making the much much more useful than before.

Bloatware stays an issue

Despite the user interface improvements, the keep in mind 7 is still loaded with carrier bloatware and also duplicative apps, points that have been dogging Samsung phones for years. The T-Mobile version I’ve been experimentation has a half-dozen apps preinstalled, including the very useless Lookout app scanner, and also you deserve to be certain that the other carrier models space similar. There are likewise two email apps, 2 browsers, two photo apps, two voice assistants, and also Samsung’s very own versions of Android’s calendar and calculator apps rather of the ones the Google already develops. The only real way to prevent carrier bloatware entirely is to wait for the unlocked version of the keep in mind 7 come arrive, but Samsung has actually yet come say when that will certainly be available, and it will certainly still likely have actually duplicative apps. These aren’t deal-breaking problems, yet they room annoyances the don’t match up v the remainder of the note 7’s stellar experience.


Being the ideal in a group as competitive together smartphones isn’t something that deserve to be done on the ago of one or two features. The note 7 is not the best due to the fact that its 5.7-inch display is bigger than every various other phone’s screen (though the is maybe better); the not because it’s dramatically more powerful or quicker than any other phone; it’s not due to the fact that its battery is substantially much longer lasting 보다 others; and it’s not because its camera is markedly far better than anything rather you might buy, consisting of other phones indigenous Samsung. It’s the best since it has actually the best combination of all of those qualities, covering in a skin that’s beautiful come look at and lovely to hold.

The price is high, though no unheard of, and also if you want the best, paying a lot for it shouldn’t come as a surprise. And also while the carrier bloatware is still a problem, the keep in mind 7 is conveniently the best big phone I’ve ever before used and quite a couple of steps ahead of the competitors. If you’re debating between the likewise excellent S7 Edge and the note 7, it’s tough to go wrong either way, however the keep in mind provides much more features and a far better design for a minimal cost over the S7.

The keep in mind 7 is rather a couple of steps ahead of its competitors

Apple’s take it on the big phone Future of computing was viewed as a revelation for countless iPhone users, yet it no feel prefer a full commitment to the big phone concept. It’s simply a larger iPhone, v the same hardware design and software experience. The same can be said of the Nexus 6P and also many other large Android phones, which no markedly different than smaller sized options. The note 7, however, leverages Samsung’s year of expertise building huge phones, and its hardware design and software functions lift the up over the fray. It’s the least compromised huge phone you have the right to buy, and it doesn’t force you give up anything the makes huge phones so great.

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If friend haven’t however been sold on why a phone v a big screen can change how girlfriend think around mobile computing, the note 7 is the ideal pitch yet.