Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Review: Feature-Packed And Refined [Updated]

Introducing The Samsung Galaxy Note7

Update - 9/2 - 8:40AM EST: Samsung has issued a global recall and replacement of all current Galaxy Note7 devices and will replace all phones. You can read more about it here. We applaud Samsung for stepping up quickly and addressing the potential battery issue for early customers of the Note7. It's an excellent smartphone and this recall does not change our view of Samsung's flagship device. Once early units are purged from the marketplace, we are confident replacement units will meet customer expectations. We did not experience any anomalies with our test unit so please read on for our full review here... 

The Galaxy Note line of stylus-equipped Android smartphones have carved a lucrative niche in the market for Samsung over the years, catering to users looking for a large format device with additional functionalities and features beyond traditional handsets. What started out as sort of a "utility player" type of device targeted at power users, has now evolved into Samsung's most premium, flagship Android smartphone line with all of the polish and glitz of the Galaxy S series. 

Last year's Samsung's Galaxy Note 5 was met with wide industry acclaim. We gave it top marks here at HotHardware as well, so a year later, the newly redesigned Galaxy Note has a lot to live up to. Furthermore, Samsung elected to step out of logical enumeration, branding this year's Galaxy Note the Galaxy Note7. The logic behind this was simple. This year's Galaxy S series of phones is designated with a "7" and because the Note was a step behind the Galaxy S6 series with its "5" moniker, Samsung felt it was important to underscore the fact that the new Galaxy Note7 is as premium a device as their latest Galaxy S7, hence skipping the 6. 

So, is the new Galaxy Note7 worthy of the two level-up successor Samsung has targeted it to be? We'll let you be the judge on the pages ahead.
Galaxy Note7 Front
Before we dig into the finer points, benchmarks and analysis, however, here's a quick guided tour of the new Samsung Galaxy Note7 and a view of it in action, showcasing what it does or doesn't do best. 

Samsung Galaxy Note7
Specifications & Features
Model Name Galaxy Note7 (N930T)
Display 5.7 inch Display (1440 X 2560 Resolution, 518 ppi pixel density)
Super AMOLED, Force Touch with TouchWIZ Grace UI
Processor Snapdragon 820, 64bit Quad-Core Processor
153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9mm, 169g
SIM Nano SIM, Dual SIM/SD Card Slot, Samsung Pay
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 5
IP68 Water & Dust Resistance - Up to 30 min in up to 5 feet of water
GPU Adreno 530
OS Android v6.0.1 (Marshmallow)
Storage/Memory 64 GB
Micro SD up to 256 GB
Camera 12 MP f/1.7 primary camera, 26 mm
5 MP Front facing camera with Dual Video call
Networking 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, HSPA, GSM support
v4.2 LE Bluetooth, NFC, USB Type-C, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, GPS, GLONASS
Sensors Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint, Gyro, Geo-magnetic, Hall, HRM, Proximity, RGB Light, Iris Sensor
Battery 3500 mAh Non-Removable Battery
Colors Black Onyx, Silver Titanium, Blue Coral
Price  ~ $850.00 (Unlocked) - Also on all major carriers with subsidies and contracts

The Galaxy Note7 is Samsung’s most premium, feature-packed Android smartphone. It’s available across all the major carriers for a hefty $850, in a single 64GB of storage version and with an absolutely beautiful 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display. We’re working with a black onyx T-Mobile variant, though Silver Titanium and Blue Coral versions are available as well. Underneath the gorgeous AMOLED screen and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 sheathing lies a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 power plant with Adreno 530 graphics, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of Flash storage and all the latest connectivity options like 802.11ac MU-MIMO WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, USB 3.1 and a USB type C port.

Galaxy Note 7 Kit

Samsung bundles a healthy assortment of accessories in with the Note7, including a set of earbuds, an AC adapter with USB-C charging cable and a couple of USB-C dongles -- one for standard full sized USB and another for Micro USB connections. You also get a few extra pen tips and an extractor tool for the Note7’s trademark S-Pen.

Let's look at design and build quality next...

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