As always, there’s been plenty of speculation (and a couple of leaks) about what the latest Samsung Note device would look like and pack under the hood, and what its accompanying Gear VR headset would offer. There’s no need to speculate anymore after the Korean electronics giant unveiled the new Note7 in New York today.
While we don’t have pricing yet, we can tell you the Note7 and updated Gear VR headset will land in South Africa on 2 September in blue, gold or black. [UPDATE: Samsung has rescheduled the local release date for 23 September citing “unprecedented global demand”]. South African customers who pre-order will get a “starter pack” that includes two screen protectors, a fast-charging wireless stand and a clear cover for the handset.
The Note5 was one of our favourite Android devices of the last release cycle, so our expectations for the Note7 are set appropriately high. So, what’s the deal? Read on, dear reader, read on.
Fingerprint scanners are so passé. The next big thing in device security is iris scanning. The Note7 includes the feature and will be able to recognise multiple users, so parents and whippersnappers can have their own accounts and log in using their peepers. Now, we’ve seen Demolition Man, where Wesley Snipes used a fountain pen in conjunction with an extra’s eyeball to get past an iris scanner, but we’re trying to forget about that.
And fear not, there’s still a fingerprint scanner should the prospect of iris scanning leave you feeling a little uneasy (or you’re just one of those curmudgeons who doesn’t care for change).
Like the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, the Note7 now boasts IP68 certification for water and dust resistance. Which means it should survive the odd drop in the toilet or basin, but probably isn’t suited to your next scuba diving trip. Curiously, the S Pen is similarly rated, though we imagine that’s to protect it from mishap rather than to encourage hot-tub brainstorming sessions (though Samsung says the S Pen will work on a wet screen, so maybe that’s exactly what it has in mind).
The Note7 keeps the scribble-on-the-lock-screen feature introduced on the Note5, and ushers in a revamped Samsung Notes apps for you to store your scribbles, drawings and annotated screenshots. The S Pen’s tip has also been scaled down to 0.7mm for greater precision and Samsung claims improved pressure sensitivity.
Big screen machine
Some say size doesn’t matter, but don’t tell Samsung. The Note7’s display is a 5.7in QHD Super AMOLED one with a resolution of 2560×1440 (for a pixel density of 518ppi) that now supports HDR video — something we’re only just beginning to see in TVs. It’s also curved on both sides, like the displays found on the Edge range, but the curve is less pronounced so as not to muck with the S Pen’s functionality.
Powering the Note7 is a 64-bit octa-core processor and 4GB of RAM. And storage has been doubled from the 32GB on the Note5 to 64GB. And, for the digital hoarder, there an microSD slot that supports cards up to 256GB.
Power to the people
As for battery life, the Note7 offers a 3,500mAh battery and supports fast and wireless charging. Like most other Android makers, Samsung’s moved to the USB-C cable, but includes a microUSB-to-USB-C adaptor with every Note7. Does that mean the Note7 will last longer than a day? We’ll have to wait and see when we actually get out grubby mitts on one. But given Samsung’s also made a new Gear VR headset for the Note7, we expect we’ll be glad of the fast charging support.
The new Gear VR headset for the Note7 appears to include a USB-C port and is designed to take advantage of the Note7’s improved viewing angles. It’s unclear whether or not the new headset will work with older Samsung handsets — though we expect it will — and Samsung hasn’t mentioned packaging it with pre-orders of the Note7 like it did with the S7 and S7 Edge. But we remain optimistic. It’s our curse. At worst is should cost around R2,000 going on the cost of the current Gear VR headset.
Samsung’s kept the same 12MP f1.7 rear camera it uses on the S7 and S7 Edge, and considering how incredible that camera is, we’re far from disappointed. Selfie shooters get a 5MP f1.7 camera up front. All in all, a respectable photographic lineup.
Now all we have to wait for is the price. We’re expecting something around the R15,000 mark.