When every phone is enormous, where does the Galaxy Note 7 fit in? Or, S Pen or bust...
Most people probably know by now I prefer my Android phones and tablets with HTC or Nexus on the label, but of all the Samsung devices over the years, the Note has intrigued me the most. I still remember seeing the first one on a table at the Consumer Electronics Show and joking it was the table. That's how big it looked compared to the other phones of the time. Now we're at Galaxy Note 7 — Samsung skipped Galaxy Note 6 to better line up with Galaxy S7 and, if you believe the conspiracy theories, to not appear dated against the upcoming iPhone 7 Plus, should Apple go with that name — and at first glance it appears to be both the best Note ever, but also the least outrageous. Until you see that iris scanner, that is.
Smartphones are mainstream now, though, and the industry is coagulating around what appeals most often to the most people. It's a form of normalization that's great for quality and usability, if not variety. You still have that enormous screen, even though many phones have enormous screens now, but more importantly, you still have the stylus and the software optimized for it. And until Apple Pencil hits the iPhone, it makes the Note still the best hand-held Wacom-style device in the world.
Michael Fisher, of MrMobile fame, has already posted his hands on:
And here's what Andrew Martonik of Android Central writes in his extensive Galaxy Note 7 review:
Even though the Note 7 doesn't immediately strike you as an altogether stand-out device like its predecessors, it's still an amazing phone that stands atop others available today. The Note 7 takes the Galaxy S7's formula of minimizing gimmicks in order to offer a fantastic core smartphone experience, and does so with very few, if any, missteps. It checks all of the boxes, and goes above and beyond expectations in just about every way. It's the best Galaxy Note to date.
Samsung has even put in the effort to better align the industrial design, a stark contrast to previous years.
Will it be enough to gain ground against the upcoming iPhone 7 Plus, widely expected to be announced in September? It's tough to say this year. Normally Apple would be unveiling an all-new design, and that's what a lot of people wait for. This year, rumor has it, we'll be getting something closer to a second "s"-class device, with updates inside rather than out.
For me, the internal updates have always been the most exciting, bringing speed and video, Siri, Touch ID, 3D Touch, and more. This year they could include an Apple A10 processor, optimized to run artificial intelligence and machine learning locally for better privacy, improved water resistance, a dual-lens camera system for better low-light photography, a virtualized Home button, and more.
The point is, we don't know and won't know until September. So, if you've been waiting for the Galaxy Note 7 but aren't sold on it yet, hold off another month, check out the iPhone 7 Plus, compare the two and pick the one that's best for you.
In the meantime, Android Central will have ongoing coverage of the Samsung event and the Galaxy Note 7 — make sure you follow along!