The mobile company, Samsung, 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 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 locations. An unlocked version of the Note 7 will be available in the US at a later date.
For years Samsung has differentiated the power-user focused Note line from its more mainstream handsets by juicing up the specs inside of it.
This year’s approach is a little different, however: inside, the Note 7 is virtually indistinguishable from the S7 or S7 Edge.
It has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor (in North America, China, and Japan; other markets will have Samsung’s own Exynos processor), same 4GB of RAM, same quick charging and quick wireless charging, and same 12-megapixel camera with f/1.7 lens and optical stabilization as the S7 series.
The Note 7 is similarly water resistant (rated to IP68 specifications) and has support for microSD cards, both of which were not present in last year’s Note 5.
The Note 7 has 64GB of internal storage, compared to the S7’s 32GB, and its battery has been increased to 3,500mAh over the Note 5’s 3,000mAh cell.
The Note 7 has a new iris scanner that joins the familiar fingerprint scanner and lets you unlock your phone with your eyes. Samsung says the iris scanner is more secure than a fingerprint scanner.
The iris scanner can also be used to lock apps, photos, notes, and other content in a secure folder, separate from the rest of the phone’s data.
The phone also has Samsung’s S Pen active stylus. The S Pen is water resistance, has a finer point, and twice as fine pressure sensitivity (4,096 levels, as opposed to 2,048 on earlier models) compared to earlier pen.
There a handful of new software features for the S Pen, including a magnifying loupe, quick text translation tool, and a new tool that makes it easy to create GIFs from any video that’s currently playing.
The Note 7 is launching with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but Samsung says that it will be upgraded to Android 7.0 Nougat in the future.
By Gabriel Mwandikwa