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7 surprises in Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 smartphone

Al Sacco | Aug. 3, 2016
The new Galaxy Note 7 smartphone is available via presale this week. Here's a detailed breakdown of the most notable new features in Samsung's latest phablet phone.

4. Galaxy Note 7 is real looker

The Galaxy Note 7 is Samsung's best-looking mobile phone ever. 

It takes many design cues from the GS7 edge, and from the front it looks much like Samsung's previous generation GS6 edge+. However, the back panel is the real difference maker. The rear side is made entirely of glass, and its sides curve at almost exactly the same angle as the front curved display. A solid metal bezel surrounds the edges. If you close your eyes and rotate the phone, its hard to tell which side is the front and which is the back, until you feel the volume and power buttons on its side, which help determine orientation. 

Samsung's Note phones have always felt just a bit too boxy and awkward to me, but the Note 7 breaks the mold. Like the Galaxy phones of recent years, its curved design and sleek, sweeping lines make it really grab your eye, as do its shiny, reflective metals.

The phone also comes in four colors: the now familiar Samsung "black onyx, "gold platinum," "silver titanium" and a new, flashy "blue coral" option.

samsung galaxy note7 blue coral 

(Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 and S Pen in blue coral)

5. Galaxy Note 7 gets USB C port

The Note 7 is the latest smartphone to embrace the new USB C port. That's a good thing, because USB C is the industry standard port of the future, and it offers a number of enhancements, including faster potential data transfer rates and improved charging. But it also means your old micro USB accessories won't work without an adaptor. 

However, unlike the recent Moto Z Droid Android smartphones that also dropped micro USB for USB C, the Note 7 still has a standard 3.5mm audio jack, in addition to the new charge and sync port.

6. Some Note 7 specs are a bit … underwhelming

If you compare the Note 7's technical specifications to the last couple generations of Note and Galaxy S phones, you see a slightly disappointing trend: Many of the high-level specs are same. For example, Samsung's displays have always been top of the line, but the company has used the same screens in the last few generations of phones: Quad HD 2560 x 1440 resolution displays. In other words, the Note 5 and GS6 have the same display resolutions and glass tech as the brand new Note 7. That's not necessarily a bad thing, because Samsung screens are still some of the better displays available on mobile phones today. But it's notable. 

The rear camera on the Note 7 is the same as the GS7 and GS7 shooters, according to Samsung. And the back camera actually has a lower megapixel count than the GS6 and Note 5, though it also has many other lens and camera enhancements that make up for the reduction in pixels.

 

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