Updated: August 3, 2016 3:06:27 pm
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 turned out to be exactly what I didn’t want it to be, but Sammy proved that it still has character to do the one thing really better: the S Pen. Samsung Galaxy Note 7 features a 5.7-inch display just like its predecessor. It comes with 4GB RAM just like its predecessor. It is powered by Snapdragon 820 in US, and Exynos 8890 in all other markets just like the S7 and S7 edge that launched before it. It has IP68 certification which makes it waterproof and dust proof just like the S7 and S7 edge. It has that same 12MP dual pixel image sensor everyone liked in the S7 and S7 edge. It even matches S7 edge in terms of battery with that decent 3500mAh backup. So why call it Galaxy Note 7, and not Galaxy S7 edge+?
Early this year when Samsung unveiled Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, Samsung heard every pain point of a S6/S6 edge user, and fixed them without going overboard. The company definitely reaped benefits, if the recent quarter results are anything to go by. This time around, maybe, Samsung heard no one by adding edge display to Note lineup. Samsung Galaxy S7 edge comes with a nice dual curved edge display which is really cool, but is it of any use? So far Samsung hasn’t been able to justify the need for that. It is nothing, but a gimmick. First day you like it, and after sometime you wonder why it even exists.
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Sticking with that edge display, the sideways notification is good, quick access to favourite contacts makes sense and Yahoo News on the edge display is quite useful. But there isn’t much beyond that for the edge display. While Samsung is bullish about its edge screen technology, it hasn’t really managed to build an ecosystem around it. You can’t do anything beyond pinning apps, pinning contacts or reading news from Yahoo (which isn’t the primary news provider for many).
My favourite racing app developer has not moved the on screen controls to the edge screen nor has WhatsApp reply button been moved to that specific screen. Samsung’s edge screen has been closed to developer initiative, and I’d have loved to see a regular Galaxy Note 7 instead.
I have used the original Galaxy Note and was very recently playing with Galaxy Note 5 and Samsung’s Gear VR. I believe the Note series has been Samsung’s best product lineup, but it holds an edge in the form of S Pen, and not that curved display.
Since the original Note, the USP for the device has been its stylus and Samsung has improved it vastly. At Unpacked 2016, Samsung made it even smarter. Samsung didn’t waste a moment to recognise its partner Wacom’s efforts in developing the new S Pen, which is water resistant this year. The S Pen also gets a finer tip and more sensitive points than its predecessor, which makes me believe it will be as good as the Surface Pen.
This year Samsung is bringing three new features to the S Pen – Translate, Zoom and Glance. With Galaxy Note 5, I found myself using the off screen memo a lot. With Note 7, I believe Translate will be that feature.
I spend a large part of my day decoding Chinese announcements and press statements and plugging into Google Translate every now and then. If I can accomplish something similar with just the S Pen, I am already convinced it’s a significant feature to have. I can already imagine myself opening up a Weibo page and translating it on the fly with S Pen. The thought process around it is totally worth appreciating.
Samsung’s two other S Pen features – Magnification and Glance are definitely not the most important here, but they look important. You might not use zoom option every time, but when you use it, you will definitely feel that it was a nice little feature to have. With Glance, Samsung is making the app switcher even more intelligent. It’s more easier to switch between apps with the S Pen in hand than ever before. The innovation might have plateaued, but it is definitely not out of the business.
For Samsung, Galaxy Note series has always been a mix of productivity and juiced up specifications, but this time it’s all about tossing S Pen to an edge. Make it more smoother, finer and user centric than before. After Galaxy Note 7 launch, I believe the Pen is still mightier than the edge.
With Note 7, the buying decision is clear than before. If you want a stylish smartphone with day long battery life, pick Galaxy S7 edge but if you want to be productive with style, Galaxy Note 7 is the place to put your money.
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