The "1-Minute" Review
- Recall concerns
UPDATE: As of October 10, 2016 the Note 7 is officially dead.
Even if you have a replaced device as mentioned in the previous update, Samsung is recommending that all owners power down their phones immediately and take advantage of one of the many refund and return offers available.
Samsung is offering a full refund on Note 7 devices as well as trade offers to apply the existing cost of the Note 7 toward another Samsung device. You can find full details on their official recall page.
XDA Developers released this video of the crazy fire-resistant box that Samsung is shipping out for returns. If you’re looking to skip that whole hassle, your best bet is to contact your carrier and see if a nearby store can help!
UPDATE: On September 2, 2016, Samsung issued a voluntary recall for all previously shipped Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones due to concerns with overheating and fires during charging. Details are still scant on specific recall procedures. However, until this is handled, we recommend avoiding third-party sales sites if you’re seeing insane Note 7 deals.
UPDATE: Samsung has established an official exchange program for Note 7 owners in the US. They will exchange the phone for another Note 7 or allow you to switch to a Galaxy S7/S7 Edge and refund the difference. For the inconvenience, they are also offering a $25 credit toward your bill, carrier purchases or as a gift card.
Procedures for other countries are still undetermined. For full details on the process, refer to Samsung’s press release.
UPDATE: According to The Verge, Samsung is ready to start shipping replacement Note 7s. New devices with the battery issue resolved will include a blue S on the packaging. If you’re looking to buy a used Note 7, be sure that the IMEI or Serial Number on the box matches the phone and that it has a blue S as there might be a flood of old devices in new boxes emerging online.
Samsung’s Note series and it’s handy S-Pen have been the go-to mobiles for creatives or people looking for a productivity workhorse. With the latest release, Samsung has refined the Note even further. But does it still stand up with some many phones offering beasty performance and large screens?
Let’s see what reviewers are saying!
Like the rest of Samsung’s 7-series phones, the Note 7 features a metal and glass design. The S-Pen has a holster near the top of the device, otherwise, it’s your standard Samsung button arrangement with a hardware home button and fingerprint scanner combo and capacitive touch buttons for Android features. It’s also IP68 rated for water and dust resistance.
Reviewers raved about the phone design with Hot Hardware saying, “For a large 5.7 inch phone, it’s impressive how compact and comfortable it feels. Its glass front and rear faces are both slightly curved at the edges and feed into a smooth, polished aluminum frame.”
Flipping around front, you’re greeted with a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED panel running at 1440-by-2560. The sleek wrap-around glass extends the screen to the side edges of the handset. Android Authority noted, “Text is sharp across the board, video playback is always nice on a larger display, and playing games like MOBIUS Final Fantasy proved to be really fun with such a vivid screen.”
Reviews indicate that the phone’s quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM are more than ready to deal with the high-resolution display and today’s myriad of apps. Stuff tested the phone and said, “Apps open very quickly and multitasking is lightning fast as well. Sure, you might notice it getting a little hot at times but it's far from the worst offender on this front and it never reached uncomfortable levels during our testing.”
To ensure you’ve got plenty of room for your favorite apps, games and media, the Note 7 includes 64GB of onboard storage and support for microSD cards up to 256GB in capacity. The phone ships with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, though Samsung has promised updates to Android 7.0 Nougat.
The phone features Samsung’s much-debated TouchWiz UI. If you’ve disliked their additions to Android in the past, reviewers are much more positive with this latest edition. CNet noted, “Samsung's refreshed custom layer is a more colorful, trimmed down take on its TouchWiz software interface, and feels cleaner and easier to read.”
If you’re looking to snap pictures with your new phablet, the 12MP rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization and front-facing 5MP lens received great reviews--even in low-light. The Verge declared them, “arguably the best smartphone camera available right now.”
To help keep the design trim and make room for the S-Pen, Samsung had to use a 3500mAh sealed battery for the Note 7. This means no swapping batteries if power runs low. Fortunately, reviews on battery life were stellar. TechRadar said, “We found that the Note 7 went just shy of a day and a half with steady, normal usage.”
Security features include a fingerprint scanner and iris scanner--both of which received good reviews.
The real star of the Note 7--and arguably the biggest reason to buy it at all--is the S-Pen. Reviews on this smart stylus are better than ever. The Verge noted, “The pen tip itself is narrower and has twice as many levels of pressure sensitivity for a more natural writing feel.” From hand jotting notes to making GIFs, reviews who used the S-Pen loved it.
This brings us to the biggest issue cited by reviewers. Unless you’re going to use the S-Pen frequently, the price for the Note 7 simply doesn’t compete with similar non-stylus offerings. Time and time again reviewers noted price concerns. Those that used the S-Pen heavily felt the cost justified. Those that didn’t use the S-Pen felt the phone was overpriced.
Overall, Forbes summed up opinions well, saying, “So for people like me, the Note 7 is a worthy purchase. But to everyone else — the average consumer who doesn’t upgrade phones every half a year or someone who has no idea what 1080p or custom launcher means), I can’t recommend the Note 7. There are other phones out there that do 95% as much, at half the price.”
What the Critics Are Saying...
Prices (Where to Buy)
Samsung released the Galaxy Note7 on August 19, 2016.
We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 user manual here.
Samsung backs up the Galaxy Note7 with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your Galaxy Note7 has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Samsung support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Samsung's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.
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