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Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review: A pricey phablet made for power users

Florence Ion | Aug. 17, 2016
The Note line continues to shine with its sixth-generation installment, and it's the best it's ever been.

Overall, I enjoyed the novelty of using such a forward-thinking bit of technology. But after a few days of attempting to unlock the phone only with my eyes, I found it faster to simply use a pattern unlock. I don’t like that Samsung puts the fingerprint scanner in the Home button, so I didn’t bother with that either. You may find your results vary, but for the most part the iris unlock is best if used solely with the Secure folder.

The S-Pen is twice as good

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Florence Ion: The S-Pen is perhaps one of the best additions to any Android device.

One of the main distinguishing factors between the Galaxy Note 7 and Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge is that the Note 7 comes with a dockable pressure-sensitive stylus called the S-Pen. It’s twice as pressure sensitive this time around, and it’s incredibly responsive, even when you use it on the edge of the curved display. The S-Pen’s tactile drag makes it feel like you’re wielding the real thing. I still struggle with writing on screen, however, and though the S-Pen is useful for things like editing photos and highlighting blocks of text, I hardly remembered to use it.

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Florence Ion: Drawing is easy with the S-Pen, even if you don’t know how. 

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A look at the Air Command menu and its customization options.

The S-Pen’s Air Command menu, which is activated by hovering the stylus above the display and clicking its single button, has been pared down to the basics. It offers shortcuts for penning a quick note, cropping part of the screen, and snapping an editable screenshot, as well as a shortcut for an instant translation feature, which lets you hover the S-Pen above individual words to quickly translate them into your language of choice. If you’re not interested in any of these features, you can edit the shortcuts that appear in the Air Command menu from the Settings panel.

Samsung bundled in a neat GIF making feature for those with a silly side. To make a GIF, simply use the Smart select feature on any DRM-free video as it’s playing. The feature will then offer a playback menu where you can record what’s on screen and consolidate it into a 15-second animated image. It’s fun to use the first few times, but it’s not something I’d use often. At the very least, you can edit the GIF to your heart’s content after you’ve made it.

Vulkan is here

 

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