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Samsung Galaxy Note7 review

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Samsung Galaxy Note7
Samsung Galaxy Note7
Samsung Galaxy Note7
Samsung Galaxy Note7
Samsung Galaxy Note7
Samsung Galaxy Note7
Samsung Galaxy Note7
Samsung Galaxy Note7
Samsung Galaxy Note7
Samsung Galaxy Note7

What's good

  • Stunning design
  • S-Pen input
  • All-day battery life
  • Detailed camera
  • HDR video support
  • Future-proof performance
  • Plenty of storage space

What's bad

  • Price
  • 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.”

Operating system
Operating system
2.3 GHz
2.3 GHz
Screen Size
Screen Size
12+ MP
12+ MP
3500 mAh

What the Critics Are Saying...

Gadget Review
Gadget Review

After a good run with the Note 7, we’re left overly positive impressions. Samsung is edging smartphone perfection now, as this latest Note takes the Galaxy S7’s elegant and expertly crafted curved glass design and packs on even more features for power users. In our opinion, the Note 7 is...

- Josh Noriega, Gadget Review
Tom's Guide
Tom's Guide

If you want a phone with a big screen, the Galaxy Note 7 should be at the top of your list. It offers a gorgeous 5.7-inch display in a striking rounded design that's a pleasure to hold, plus a best-in-class camera, water resistance and very long battery life.

- Mark Spoonauer, Tom's Guide

The Galaxy Note 7 is one of the best, if not the best, smartphone that I've ever tested and I'm considering it as my next phone. The exploding battery situation might be terrible for Samsung, but if it resolves the issue and drops the Note 7 price, it could make the Note 7 an even more attractive pu...

- Camila Rinaldi, AndroidPIT
Fone Arena
Fone Arena

The Samsung Galaxy Note7 is without a doubt the best Note series device and possibly the best smartphone Samsung has made ever although the S7 Edge may come on top for a few people based on their preference. It is also most definitely one of the best phablets that you can buy at the moment, if not t...

- Sandeep Sarma, Fone Arena
The Gadgeteer
The Gadgeteer

I feel like the Samsung Galaxy Note7 is the best Android smartphone to date from any manufacturer. It’s just a shame that this particular phone is always going to be referred to as that smartphone with the exploding battery. I’m hoping that Samsung can recover from this massive blow to t...

- Julie Strietelmeier, The Gadgeteer

Prices (Where to Buy)

Common Questions

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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Screen Size

The Samsung Galaxy Note7's screen size is 5.7 inches with 1440 x 2560 pixels resolution.

2.3 GHz

There is a Samsung Exynos 8 Octa core 2.3 GHz processor (CPU).


The phone runs on the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow operating system (OS).

12+ MP

You can take photos with the phone's onboard 12+ MP camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 5+ megapixels resolution.

64 GB

Internal memory is 64 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 256 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.


The phone is powered by a Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol), 3500 mAh battery. Samsung's performance ratings are 2280 minutes, 840 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

Galaxy Note7 Specs

Release Date August 19, 2016
Regions Available USA, Canada, United Kingdom
Operating System Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Samsung Exynos 8 Octa core 2.3 GHz
Internal Storage 64 GB
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 0.39 W/kg
Body: 0.67 W/kg
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included USB Power Adapter, Manual, Headset, Data Cable, Stylus
Mobile / Cellular Data
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Wi-Fi Calling Yes
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Yes
SIM card size
Dual SIM No
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 4.2
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HID, HFP, HSP, PAN
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
Mobile Hotspot Yes
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 256 GB)
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Main Camera
Resolution / Aperture
12+ Megapixels
Yes (LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, Image stabilization, ISO, Multi-shot, Panorama, HDR, Voice activation, Scenes, Slow motion recording, Time lapse
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, 3G2 / 3GPP2, MPEG-4, WMV, ASF, FLV, AVI
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
Resolution / Aperture
5+ Megapixels
Additional Front Camera Info
Wide Selfie
Video Recording Parameters
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology Super AMOLED
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1440 x 2560 pixels
Pixel Density 518 pixels
Size 5.7 inches
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Digital Compass
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen, Dual edge screen, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Power & Battery
Battery Type Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol)
Battery Capacity 3500 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging Yes
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Up to 1080 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to 840 minutes
Internet Use (Cellular) Unknown
Talk Time Up to 2280 minutes
Standby Time Up to 2.5 days
Mixed Usage
Physical Characteristics
Design Type Bar
Material Plastic
Colors Blue Coral, Gold Platinum, Silver Titanium, Black Onyx
Dimensions [H x W x D] 15.3 x 7.4 x 0.8 cm (6 x 2.9 x 0.3 in)
Weight 169 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Water Resistant
Rugged design No
IP Rating IP 68
Headset Jack 3.5mm
External Speakers Yes
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key Yes
Input / Keyboard Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
External Volume Control Yes
Fingerprint Sensor No
Additional Information Other Names (AKA): Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Additional Sensors: Fingerprint sensor, Barometer, HR Sensor, Iris Sensor
Additional Features: Quick charging

Rereleased as Samsung Galaxy Note FE with a different battery; Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 3200 mAh.
Related Links Quick Start Guide (PDF)
Manual (PDF)
Where to buy Samsung Galaxy Note7
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