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Samsung Galaxy Note7: An excellent phone for the high-price market

Dan Rosenbaum | Aug. 17, 2016
Samsung's new addition to its Galaxy line of phones has a superb display, well-thought-out design and strong security features.

Secure Folder allows your phone to have two separate personalities, with different email service, different contacts, different photos, different apps -- everything but a different phone number.

But if you're an IT manager, keep in mind that Samsung draws a line between the "lockbox" of Secure Folder and the containerization of a managed device. Secure Folder, says Samsung's Briglin, is designed so you can hand your phone to friends and keep them from seeing things you'd rather they not see. IT departments that want to control Samsung devices can add Knox Workspace, a separate product that allows complete policy management.

In fact, a phone with Knox Workspace, Briglin says, could have three containers: the main phone, the Secure Folder, and the container under corporate control. A separate email from Samsung, however, said that Secure Folder itself was beyond the reach of Workspace policies.

Advanced camera and other features

The excellent 12MP camera is the same as the one as in the S7 phone. It can take videos of up to UHD (3840 x 2160) quality, and save stills in RAW format. Even the 5MP front camera can take videos of up to QHD (2560 x 1440) quality. You can trigger the shutter by tapping the screen; showing it your palm; by saying "smile," "cheese," "capture," or "shoot," or "record video"; or tapping a volume control.

As other vendors seem to be cutting back on photo modes, Samsung continues to go all in. Modes include panorama; selective focus; slow motion; hyperlapse; a food mode; virtual shot; video collage; live broadcast, which connects to YouTube Live Event, and Pro, which gives you manual control over everything from ISO speed and metering to white balance and autofocus mode.

Other interesting features: The Note7 also adds the same utility to the right-hand curved edge of the screen as the S7 Edge uses. You can add panels to the phone's edge that keep your calendar, the weather, browser bookmarks, news and contacts a swipe away.

Samsung Pay works as expected -- which is to say, well. It's activated by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, locked or unlocked. Remember that Samsung Pay can mimic a card swipe at the diminishing number of credit card terminals that aren't ready for contactless payments. Be advised, though: That feature has a tendency to freak out unknowing cashiers.

Bottom line

Where is the ceiling on smartphone prices? The Note7 -- which comes in black onyx, blue coral or silver titanium -- costs $879 free and clear from AT&T. At T-Mobile, it's $850, plus $20 for the SIM card; at Verizon; it's $864; and at Sprint it's $850. (All vendors have installment plans that discount the phone but tie you to contracts.)


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