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Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Initial Review: Déjà Vu

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It’s official folks! Samsung’s next iteration of the original big-screen phone, the Galaxy Note7 has finally been announced. By now many of you already have an idea of what the phone will look like, considering the amount of leaks that’s made its way to the internet in the past few weeks. The new device brings quite a few new features to the Note series, but folks familiar with Samsung’s S family of phones may come away with a distinct sense of déjà vu once they finally get their hands on the phone.

Samsung Galaxy Note7

  • 2.3GHz Exynos 8890 octa-core processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display, 2560 x 1440 resolution
  • 64GB of storage (UFS 2.0), expandable via 256
  • 12-megapixel rear camera, OIS, f/1.7 aperture, 4K video capture
  • 5-megapixel rear camera, f/1.7 aperture
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, Fingerprint scanner, Iris scanner, USB Type C, IP68 Water resistance, S-Pen
  • 3,500mAh battery, fast charging via USB Type-C
  • Php 39,990

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Initial Impressions: A sleeker-looking Note, but feels a lot like a super-sized S7 Edge

When Samsung announced that they would be skipping a number in the naming convention of the new Note, we initially dismissed the move as a simple branding exercise. Now that we have the Galaxy Note7 in our hands, we realized that it was something more. Now it’s apparent that the Korean company is looking to consolidate both the look and feel of its flagship devices, differentiating them only by screen size and functionality.

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The Note7 inherits many of the same design cues that the Galaxy S7 Edge enjoyed, namely the edge-to-edge display and the sloping curve at the back (that originally came out in the Note 5). The phone’s easier to hold on to, thanks to an overall thinner profile and the curved back, compared to the Note 5. The overall design language is undoubtedly Samsung, and while it looks eerily familiar to the flagship devices released earlier this year, they’ve upgraded the materials in the phone, switching out the Gorilla Glass 4 panels with tougher Gorilla Glass 5 and an AL7000 aluminum frame. The Note7 has also inherited the IP68 water resistance of the current crop of S-series of phones, and the S-Pen works even though the the screen is wet.

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Speaking of the S-Pen, Samsung’s refined the writing implement on the Note7 to make it more precise. Overall latency has dropped to just 50ms, and Samsung’s increased the pressure sensitivity that the pen can detect.

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The tip of the pen has also been reduced to 0.7mm, which closely mimics the head of a real pen.

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The newest feature in the Note7 is the iris scanner. It’s yet another layer of security that Samsung’s integrated into the Note7, which they say is much more secure than a regular fingerprint scanner. In a way, they’re right – fingerprint scanners can be spoofed and requires physical contact, while the iris scanner is near impossible to spoof – even if you have an identical twin, he/she can’t open your phone even they tried.

Samsung Galaxy Note7 01

To make the iris scanner work, Samsung’s put in a secondary front facing camera along with the 5-megapixel, f/1.7 aperture one that serves as the main selfie cam. Setting up the iris scanner is actually faster than setting up the fingerprint scanner that’s located on the home camera, and takes less then 2 seconds to completely setup. Of course, you still have the option of using the fingerprint scanner for unlocking the phone, as well as a manual code that you input on the screen, but to be honest we don’t know why’d you even need to bother since the iris scanner is superior to those methods anyway. The scanner works even if you’re using glasses or contacts, though obviously people wearing sunglasses will have to take them off for it to work.

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While there’s a lot of new stuff in the Note7, there’s a couple of old stuff in the phone as well. It still uses the same 12-megapixel camera with Dual Pixel tech found on the S7 and S7 Edge, with some software tweaks thrown in.

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We’re not surprised that Samsung used the same camera, since it’s still one of the best shooters in a mobile device today.

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Another old component that Samsung used on the Note7 is the Exynos 8890 octa-core processor that’s also present in the Galaxy S7, paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of UFS storage. The processor is still as fast as the last time we saw it, and while 4GB of RAM isn’t as impressive as the 6GB RAM that other flagships have it’s more than enough to ensure that the overall user experience on the Note7 is smooth and trouble-free.

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That’s pretty much it for this initial review. We’re getting more hands-on time with the Galaxy Note7 later this week – so watch out till then. The phone will be hitting stores by August 20 with an SRP of Php 39,990.

READ ALSO: What Changed with the Galaxy Note 7 from the Galaxy Note 5

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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3 Comments

  1. “SRP of Php 39,990” Wow, akala ko papalo ng 45k pero parang s7 edge lang ang price. Impressive ang camera at gusto ko ding makita ang camera software tweak ng note 7 sa s7 edge ko. Dalhin naman ng samsung philippines yung titanium at blue coral.sa pinas kahit di na dumating yung platinum gold.

  2. di nila masyadong binago ang specs, baka naman tlgang nasa peak na tayo ng Flagship specs ng smartphones..

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