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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.

I’ve already addressed this in my initial hands-on with the device, but if you’re wondering why there’s no Galaxy Note 6 this year, that’s because Samsung opted to skip it and jump straight to the number 7 so that the Note family is in line with the Galaxy S series. The name change also helps illustrate the fact that the Galaxy Note 7 contains most of the same components as the Galaxy S7, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of RAM.

note 7 benchmarks pcmark

In our PCMark benchmark tests, the Galaxy Note 7 performed on par with its counterpart, the S7 Edge. The OnePlus 3 surpassed it because of its extra 2GB of RAM.

note 7 benchmarks 3dmark

The Galaxy Note 7 is a stellar player with games, too, as exhibited in our 3DMark benchmarks. 

The Galaxy Note 7 performs on par with the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, and the other flagship devices this year that run on the same system-on-a-chip. And like its siblings, the Note 7 is Vulkan ready, and there are now a few game titles that take advantage of the new graphics API. If you decide to bring home a Galaxy Note 7 as your daily driver, you’ll get access to the Galaxy Game Pack via the Google Play Store until January 31, 2017. The bundle includes $400 worth of titles and in-app-purchases, including four Vulkan API-ready games. You can read the full list of games offered here.

Battery for business or pleasure

note 7 benchmarks battery fixed
The Note 7's battery lasted about as long as the Galaxy S7 Edge, overall.

I am impressed that the Galaxy Note 7’s 3,500mAh battery outlasted the S7 Edge’s 3,600mAh battery in one of our tests, though it was slightly shorter (as expected) in the PCMark battery test. You would think that because one is slightly bigger than the other that there would be a discernable difference, but there isn’t. You’ll get enough battery life out of this device to last you an entire day of activities. I experienced similar results in my day-to-day usage: I got through an entire day of shooting photos and checking Snapchat at the Gravenstein Apple Fair without needing a charge—and that was with the Note 7’s display at high brightness.

Still the best camera phone

note7 sampleshots
The Galaxy Note 7 produces sharp, contrasted photos.

The Galaxy Note 7 comes equipped with the same camera hardware as its siblings, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. This includes a 12-megapixel rear-facing Dual Pixel camera with a f/1.7 aperture and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with a built-in beautifying feature, which automatically airbrushes your face so that you look perfectly prepped every time you snap a selfie. And like its counterparts, the Note 7 is fast to focus and quick to shoot.


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