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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.

I’m not a fan of Samsung’s fingerprint scanner embedded in the Home button, but I love the Galaxy Note 7’s new iris scanning technology, which let’s you unlock the phone by simply staring at the screen. At first, I thought it would be hokey, considering my previous experience with the Galaxy S4’s Smart Scroll and Smart Pause features, which use eye-tracking to control interface navigation. But it’s really nothing like that.

The Iris scanning is actually quite fast, and all you have to do is hold the phone up to your face to unlock it. You don’t even need to look at the camera. It’s faster than unlocking the Note 7 with your thumbprint, though it also unlocks any data and apps you might have stowed away in the phone’s Secure folder. This is a special folder where you can tuck away special apps, files, and folders that you don’t want to share with prying eyes.

A better Note is on the way

Samsung hasn’t named a price yet, but you can assume the Note 7 will be expensive—and it will still be one of the best deals around. It might not be a major improvement over the Note 5, but it offers so much more than other smartphones in its price class.

It’s got high-end specs, a camera that puts every other phone to shame, and a pressure-sensitive stylus that reminds us why this seemingly antiquated smartphone accessory can actually be quite helpful. The Note 7 isn’t just for the productivity-minded types, either. Artists and creative types who rely on sketching out their thoughts can get their fill on this 5.7-inch device.

The phablet will be available later this summer on all four major U.S. carriers. And as soon as we get a review unit, we’ll get cracking on a review.


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