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Galaxy Note 7 hands-on: Samsung's productivity phone takes baby steps forward

Florence Ion | Aug. 3, 2016
The Note 7 is a polished productivity machine, but sticks to a familiar formula that's always served Samsung's Note line well.

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The coral blue variant of the Galaxy Note 7 is one of the prettiest phones we’ve seen in a while. Unfortunately, this color will see limited availability.

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The edges of the Note 7 extend far down on either side. You might feel like calling this the Note 7 Edge.

Since it’s built on top of the Galaxy S7’s hardware, the Note 7 features the same Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, Super AMOLED Quad HD display, and 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with dual-pixel technology. However, it does come with a 3500 mAh battery—a nice improvemenet over the 3000 mAh cell in the Note 5. The Note 7 is also the first Samsung device to use USB Type-C. We'll have to test to see if the USB-C charging spec is supported to charge the phone quickly from standard USB-C chargers.

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The Note 7’s display is stunning all around.

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The Note 7 will be available in a variety of colors, including silver, black, gold, and coral blue.

Overall, the Galaxy Note 7 is a strong reminder of Samsung’s commitment to beautiful design, even if its specs and features are merely evolutionary. It’s a quality piece of hardware, and for many, all its productivity- and creativity-focused features will justify its high price. 

A refined S-Pen with more tricks

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The S-Pen is still the best little smartphone accessory for anyone who needs to sketch and take freehand notes. 

The S-Pen continues to be a major selling point for Samsung’s phablet, and while it doesn’t look any different in the Note 7, it does deliver a feel that’s more, well, pen-like, thanks to a 2x increase in pressure sensitivity. In fact, I can see myself accidentally tossing the S-Pen into the pen cup on my desk, or losing it among the sea of Sakura Gelly Roll and BIC pens. It still has that satisfying clicky top, too. 

The S-Pen’s nub is intended to mimic the pen tip of a ballpoint pen, and here it’s better than ever. It offers a nice bit of resistance as you drag the tip across the screen, so artists and novice doodlers should be pleased. I could feel the difference as I sketched away in S-Note, and I can’t wait to use this device for scribbling my own notes.

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Life is better when you have a more pressure-sensitive stylus.


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