Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has finally been unveiled and there is no doubt that a year, or even two, can make some real differences. But does it mean every time a newer device comes into the market you should upgrade?
Well, the only way to find out this is by running down a quick comparison between the 2016 Galaxy Note 7, last year’s Galaxy Note 5 and the 2014 Galaxy Note 4. One good thing about this new release is that unlike the Note 5, this one will make it to the UK and Europe in general.
Design and display
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has just been launched and in fact, it will not be available for purchase until after two weeks. But from the first glance, the phone keeps some aspects from the past two years. The 5.7-inch display size is retained, but the Galaxy Note 4 is the bulkiest at 176g compared to 171g for the Galaxy Note 5 and 169g for the Galaxy Note 7.
You will also come across similar metallic edges on the three handsets, something that is meant to give you some assurances in cases of drops and falls. However, the Galaxy Note 7 and Galaxy Note 5 have glossy backs as compared to the textured back of the Note 4. The result of the premium-looking glossy back is that the two newer Note phones are easy to pick up fingerprints, but this is not easily noticeable.
Like the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, Samsung included water resistance on the Galaxy Note 7. This is a huge advantage over the Galaxy Note 5, especially given that this water resistivity goes beyond the Note 7 to include the S Pen stylus, meaning it can still be used even when in water.
As noted earlier, Samsung retained the 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display screen size used on the Galaxy Note 5 and Note 4. In addition, the three units have QHD resolutions that promise the best visuals possible – talk of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. This means you technically get the same quality of display on the three phones.
One major difference on these screen matters is the fact that the Galaxy Note 7 went for a curved dual-edge design as opposed to the flat screens used on the previous handsets. This means that you get a bezel-less screen that also adds other functions, just like the Galaxy S7 Edge and last year’s Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy S6 Edge+. Honestly, this has everything to do with beauty, but there is really nothing much that this curved screen adds to the already proven display quality of the Galaxy Note 5 and Note 4 for that matter.
Hardware and camera specs
Samsung Galaxy S7 owners will be very familiar with what is under the hood of the new Galaxy Note 7. In fact, there are basically no changes in the hardware configurations. U.S. models will come with a Snapdragon 820 SoC that is clocked at a speed of 2.15GHz and is backed by a RAM of 4GB. This is the same configuration you find on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, however, Samsung has stepped up things in the storage category by including 64GB instead of 32GB. This storage can also be expanded via a microSD card, which is one of the things that the Galaxy Note 5 loses out to this year’s model as well as the Galaxy Note 4.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5, on the other hand, comes with an Exynos 7420 SoC that is also backed by the same 4GB RAM. Samsung has yet to confirm the Exynos version that will come with the international variant of the Note 7, but it could be the same Exynos 8890 used on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. Even though it lacks room for expandable storage, the Galaxy Note 5 has three storage options of 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB. However, more storage means more money.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 packs a Snapdragon 805 SoC that is backed by a RAM of 3GB. There is also an Exynos 5433 variant, but it keeps the same 3GB RAM. There is only one storage option available for the Galaxy Note 4 – 32GB – but as noted earlier, there is room for microSD card expansion.
Obviously, there are some huge improvements in terms of performance thanks to the new Snapdragon 820 SoC, something that might not be enough to convince users of the still speedy Galaxy Note 5 and even Note 4. However, the features that the Galaxy Note 7 adds might do. These include an iris scanner for authentication, which adds to the fingerprint scanner that is already available on the other handsets.
Users of the new Note 7 will also enjoy the best smartphone cameras in the market so far. Samsung has carried over the Galaxy S7 camera hardware to the Note 7, meaning you get the same quality from the 12MP rear snapper and 5MP selfie camera. You also get 4K video recording, but this is also offered on both the Galaxy Note 5 and Note 4. However, the former has a 16MP rear snapper and 5MP selfie camera while the latter has a similar 16MP snapper, but with smaller f/2.2 aperture, and a selfie camera of 3.7MP, but with a better aperture of f/1.9.
Battery life and software
In terms of battery capacity, the Galaxy Note 7 has the largest among the three. This is a 3500mAh unit compared to 3220mAh of the Galaxy Note 4 and 3000mAh for the Galaxy Note 5. There is fast charging on the three phones, but the oldest model retains the advantage of a removable battery.
In terms of software, the three are at the same level. Samsung went for the latest Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, a version that is already available for upgrade on the other two models.
From the look of things, the differences are somehow subtle, which might not be convincing enough for some to make the shift. But this is just an early look at the Galaxy Note 7. With time, there will definitely be more reasons to love the new handset as compared to the Galaxy Note 5 and Note 4.