All great speeches start with carefully prepared notes. For yet another year Samsung has taken the role of a modern-day orator, pushing for a return to personal handwriting against the trend of detached digital text.
It’s the S Pen that gives the Galaxy Note7 and its predecessors their unique identity and writing on the screen with the new S Pen feels the most natural yet. And with this generation, you can even scribble notes where the screen is off and it would happily venture where most electronics would not dare – underwater.
The Note7 also represents the first major design change in the flagship Galaxy line since the S6 (the S7 was just a thicker version of that). The symmetrical dual-curved design makes the beautiful screen appear borderless while making a big phone feel smaller than it is.
While the S Pen is undoubtedly the heart of the Note experience, the screen is a close second. The Edge features that debuted with 2014’s Note Edge were perfected through the S6 edge and S7 edge of the following years. Even the Always on screen was improved, despite being only months old (perhaps it was just waiting for the S Pen, their interaction is the best new feature).
Some things may not sound particularly exciting, but users have waited a long time for them. The S5 was waterproof, but there hasn’t been a waterproof Note before, the Note7 is the first one. The microSD slot came back after only a year of absence but to some Note 4 users looking for an upgrade that was a year too long.
Then there are features that are completely new to Samsung phones in general – the iris scanner, the USB Type-C port, and the HDR video capable display. We think at least two of those will become a mainstay of flagship phones.
Perhaps we mentioned the Note5 too often for an intro to the Note7 review. But you have to understand that the 5 was the trouble child of the family, and it left a void, especially in Europe, where the S6 edge+ had to replace it.
And it didn’t do too good with the Note crowd, which swears by their S Pens. But the dual-curved screen stuck and that’s how the Samsung Galaxy Note7 was born.