Note 7 Review

Note 7 review: What makes it standout and what’s new?

A Note 7 review can be one of the most involved reviews someone can put together. There’s so much to this phone that it makes for a beefy post. Personally, the Note line is one of my favorite lines of phones available. It’s the best daily driver phone because of all the useful features. At least for how I use a phone. This year Samsung skipped the number 6 to match up with the S7, which is fitting because the Note 7 isn’t too, too much different from the S7 Edge. There’s a lot that is familiar about the Note 7, but what makes it standout and what’s new?

Before getting into the areas where the Note 7 is different and what’s new, let’s look at some specs and a few notes that might seem similar to what we have seen already. For your information, the Note 7 being reviewed is the Verizon variant.

Note 7 Specifications

LTE Advanced With 50% faster peak speeds in more than 450 cities from coast to coast.
World Device Works in over 200 countries
Standby Time – Up to: 13 days**
Usage Time – Up to: 31 hrs**
Camera 12 MP
Width 2.91 in
Weight 5.96 oz
Height 6.04 in
Screen 5.7″ curved Super AMOLED display.
Battery 3500mAH Lithium Ion Battery, Non-removable
Operating System Android Marshmallow (6.0.1)
Storage 64GB internal memory
Expandable Memory Removable microSD up to 256GB (sold separately)
Colors Black Onyx, Silver Titanium, or Blue Coral
SAR Simultaneous Head SAR: 1.19 W/kg, Body SAR:1.10 W/kg
Hearing Aid Compatibility M4/T4
Network LTE Band 2,4,5,13 LTE Roaming 3,7,8, 18,19,20
GSM/UMTS Quad TD-SCDMA 34, 39 TDD LTE 38, 39, 40, 41
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820; 64-bit (MSM8996, Quad-Core, 2.15GHz + 1.6GHz)
HD Voice Experience HD Voice, Video Calling and Simultaneous Voice & Data. Enable Wi-Fi Calling and make calls anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection.

Notes on Note 7

The Note 7 has some new features, but there are some elements that are familiar and still worth noting. Mind as well speak on the elephant in the room. The recall.

The Note 7 recall is by far the most historical recall in the wireless industry. To be honest, I am having a hard time giving up my Note 7 for the exchange program offered. At this time there is no timeline of when the safe Note 7s will be released. Briefly, the Note 7’s battery and charging ports have exploded on a number of occasions deeming the phone dangerous. Samsung has taken response by offering users the choice to return the Note 7 or exchange for another device without worry of restocking fees, etc.

The Note 7 packs in many of the same features as the S7 Edge. Some may see the Note 7 not that big of an upgrade from the S7 Edge, but there are some reasons to justify upgrading. Those reasons are a little further down, but here are some similarities that are a good thing.

Camera – the Note 7 camera is the same as the S7 Edge, but that’s not really a bad thing. The camera is still one of the best available and in my opinion is the standard to compare against.

  • OIS is smooth
  • Snappy camera
  • Pro Mode
  • Fun features
  • YouTube live streaming
  • Quick access by double pressing the home button
  • Great audio quality

Note 7 Review

Screen – the Note 7 screen is easy on the eyes. Whether you’re watching videos, playing games, or using the camera; images simply look stunning on the Note 7’s screen. The Note 7 boasts a 5.7″ display versus the 5.5″ display of the S7 Edge.

Form Factor – the Note 7 look just about the same as the S7 Edge with the all glass design. However, the front and back curves are symmetrical and sharper. The curves on the Note 7 are better and less intrusive. Meaning, the curves don’t rob screen size.

What’s New With The Note 7?

Iris Scanner

At first I was a bit skeptical if the Iris Scanner would a practical tool to use with the Note 7 and to my surprise, I like it. Now, it’s not for every unlocking situation, but definitely will come in handy when you can’t use your fingerprint scanner. For example, in the winter time users might have gloves on and even if the gloves are touchscreen friendly, the fingerprint cannot be read. Therefore, swipe up on the lockcreen and look into the Iris Scanner. The Iris Scanner unlocks rather quickly too. Not as fast as the fingerprint scanner, but not too far behind.

Note 7 Review

USB Type C

Everyone was wondering if the S7/Edge would have USB Type C or not prior to release and disappointedly it did not. Reason being was for compatibility with the Gear VR. This time around with the Note 7, Samsung created a Gear VR headset with USB Type C leaving no excuse to leave this type of connection off the new Note.

USB Type C is welcomed to the Note 7. My collection of USB Type C cables are starting to pay as I am not using Micro USB as much.

Note 7 Review

Edge Panel

The Edge Panel made it over from the S7 Edge to the Note 7, which is one of the major reason opinions will say the Note 7 is just an S7 Edge with an S Pen. That aspect might be true concerning the Edge Panel, but there’s more to the Note 7 compared to the S7 Edge. Regardless, the Edge Panel is a nice feature to have, but not the most used on my end.

Basically, the Edge Panel becomes like a dock full of shortcuts, apps, and information by swiping from the right edge.

On Circle

Part of the Edge Panel is On Circle. At this point On Circle is an exclusive messaging feature only Note 7 users can tinker with. It gives a reason to use the S Pen more, but other than that, it’s just a nifty feature. There’s an option to write a message to someone who has On Circle access. It’s fun to use for sure, but since there’s limited people in my contacts who have a Note 7, it’s become a not so used feature. I hope this feature opens up to at least all Notes in the near future. Even other phones could benefit from On Circle by using a stylus or finger to write the notes.

Note 7 Review


The UI has been tweaked in a way that mimics stock Android a little more. Not saying it’s a direct replica of stock Android, but it’s getting there. For example, the notification shade and shortcut menu you don’t swipe across anymore, but swipe up and down. Down once with one finger to get the main shortcuts and notifications. Swipe with two fingers to get to all the shortcuts.

The Theme Store changed it’s look a little bit, but that’s not really that important. What I care about the most is being able to change the theme to my preference, which is Stock Android. My Note 7 has an Android 7.0 theme and looks amazing!

Note 7 Review

S Pen

Obviously can’t not talk about the S Pen when reviewing the Note 7. Each year the S Pen gets better and the Note 7’s S Pen is no exception. Fortunately, Samsung corrected the issue from the Note 5’s S Pen when inserting the pen backwards; it would get stuck and completely ruin the internals of the phone’s S Pen. Samsung added a couple new features along with being able to use the S Pen while submerged in water.

Note 7 Review

New Features: 

  • Magnify – Acts like a magnify glass
  • Glance – Minimizes the window for more multitasking options
  • Translate – highlight a word and translate languages

The S Pen still has note taking, quick notes, screen write, and the ability to write on the lockscreen.

Note 7 Review

Camera App

The camera itself is basically the same as the S7/Edge, which is not a bad thing. An upgrade we normally see with the Note series would have been nice. Although, still gonna get great results. The app is what I like the most from Galaxy devices and the camera is superb, but the app is what makes the experience wonderful. It’s got everything you need.

The UI is a little different and has become a bit more simplistic/ easy to use. There are more swipe gesture actions to access features.

  • Swipe from the left for modes (Auto, Pro, Panorama, Selective Focus, Slow Motion, Hyperlapse, Food, Virtual Shot, Video Collage, and Live Broadcast to YouTube)
  • Swipe from the right to access filters
  • Swipe down/up to swap to selfie/ front facing camera

At the top has toggle between front and back camera, HDR, flash, and settings. You can also double tap the home button to quickly access the camera from any screen including the lockscreen. Double tapping the home button within the camera will swap between the front and rear camera as well.

Optimizations (battery saving, blue light filter)

Samsung has included some extra optimizations such as battery saving methods, blue light filter to help ease the eyes in certain situations, and some performance options.

Short Cut Menu

The short cut/ notification shade is a little different this time around and mimics stock Android more now. Prior to this version, you could swipe left to right for custom short cuts, but now everything is vertical actions. Swipe down once with one finger for the main short cuts, swipe again to get em all. Using two fingers swiping down will get to the whole panel. Basically the same idea to get to all notifications.

A change that I don’t like is it takes two actions to get to the brightness slider. It used to be accessed with the one swipe.

Water Resistant

Having a water resistant phone is a great feature to have. I’m not the type who will use for underwater footage, etc. But it does add a level of peace of mind knowing if the Note 7 comes in contact with water the phone will not be damaged. This allows the user to have more freedom to do more activities with their phone. Such as exercising without worry of sweat or getting caught in the rain. Going to the lake or beach won’t hold you back from using the phone in those conditions either.

Micro SD

I. AM. SO. GLAD. Samsung brought back the SD card this year! Not to mention the promo of getting a free 256GB SD card when pre-ordering and a current promo at this time of this post. I prefer to store photos and videos on my device for content purposes. Not having to worry about running out of space is a huge deal to me. Even more so, the cost is way less than needed to buy the next level of storage like what we see with other phones who don’t have expandable storage. That to me is such a rip off.

For example, if you want to buy an iPhone, but not get the lowest GB size, you’re gonna have to fork over a ton of money. On the other hand, with phones with expandable storage, SD cards are very inexpensive on Amazon these days. SD card support is a big money saver for the consumer.

64GB Internal Storage

Keeping in mind about storage, the Note 7 now comes standard with 64GBs of internal storage and can be just enough storage for some people. Last year 32GB was the trend and I am happy to see Samsung raising the bar in this department. As a matter of fact, even though I have the ability to add my 256GB card, I have not yet, and still have plenty of space on my phone. If I feel like I need to have more space, I’ll just pop in an SD card.

There’s so much to the Note 7 that if I were to write about it all, it would be the size of a novel. My video review turned out to be about 18 minutes long, making it one of my longest reviews on the channel. But it is worth highlighting all the new features along with the ones we’re familiar with that excel. With that said, the Note 7 is a fantastic device, not perfect, but the best for my daily driver needs. To close out this review let’s touch on some areas of improvement and changes I would make.

Note 7 Cons

  • Lag – Performance wise for normal use the phone has been just fine. However, with some heavier tasks, the Note 7 does have a few hiccups here and there. Not enough to drive me crazy and want to use something else.
  • Build – Design wise the glass looks amazing, but is prone to senseless scratching. Cases or skins are a must have to avoid scratches. My Note 7 has been out of a case maybe 1% of the time and still managed to gain a small blemish on the back. While I’ve not broken a screen or back glass (knock on wood), I am still overly cautious about how I handle the phone. For paying about $900 for this phone, I want it to look pristine all the time.
  • Battery Life – It’s not bad, but I feel like it could be better. It lasts all day and that’s the least I ask for.
  • Color – Bring back white.
  • Battery Icon – The replacement/fixed phones now have a green battery icon to let users know they have a safe device. But it’s ugly. Perhaps an alternative way could have been used?
  • Processor – Verizon’s model is the Snapdragon and the international uses the Exonos. In DroidModderX’s video shows how much better the Exonos is. Can we all just have the best processor please?

That’s about it with cons. Not any deal breakers.

Note 7 Final Thoughts

My Note 7 review turned out to be a lengthy one, but well worth adding in the details I’ve noticed about the Note 7. The Note 7 is a great phone. It’s got a lot of similarities to the S7 Edge, but enough that’s different to warrant me to say I much rather use the Note 7 over the S7 Edge. I love using Samsung Pay, the bigger screen, S Pen, and camera. It’s my favorite daily driver phone.

Note 7 Review


Verizon | Best Buy | Amazon | T-Mobile | AT&T  | Samsung

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