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Thursday December 1, 2016 1:03 pm

Bleeding Edge TV 606: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Review

Is the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 the best Android phone you can buy right now? This is certainly a controversial topic, what with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 exploding battery issue that has spawned a recall of the device. Still, the Note 7 features a bunch of great technology, like the built-in iris scanner and dual pixel camera. Check out my Galaxy Note 7 review to find out what I think of Samsung's latest flagship phablet!

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Video Transcript:

What started as a completely redundant niche in 2011 has evolved into one of the most awaited flagships every year. You might question why it isn't the Note6 you're meeting this year, but in an attempt to streamline their offerings, Samsung have skipped the 6, for the gorgeous yet familiar Note7.

The all glass design is retained from its preceeding generation and siblings with the metal frame around adding just the right premium. The right and left sides of the phone house the robust power and volume control keys respectively while the bottom houses the S-Pen slot, a poor speaker unit, the primary microphone, a Samsung first USB-C port with QuickCharge 2.0 and the 3.5mm headphone jack. Up on the top edge, you'll find the SimCard tray, which also houses the micro-SD slot for up to 256GB of expansion.

Up front, there are various proximity sensors, the LED indicator, an IR port for the Iris Scanner, the loudspeaker and the 5MP selfie camera. The bottom chin sports the home button that doubles as a very fast fingerprint scanner, which is also flanked by capacitive back and multitasking buttons. Lastly, at the back of the device, there's the 12MP Dual-Pixel camera unit with LED flash and the heart rate monitor.

The 78% screen to body ratio means means the 5.7" QHD AMOLED display provides some of the most immersive experiences in a smartphone thanks to its almost bezel-less curved edge design. The 518ppi on the screen make content consumption sharp while a layer of Gorilla Glass 5 may help in terms of protection. Rounding up the hardware tour, there's a Qualcomm SD 820, which is a Quad Core 64bit chip running at 2.2GHz, an Andreno 530 GPU, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of built in storage and a 3500mAh battery that pushes close to 6.5 hours of SOT. Premium hardware in a premium shell is a rare find, and the additional IP68 certification of the Note7 means it manages to check almost all boxes, apart from its tendancy to catch fingerprints. But that too can easily be fixed with a dBrand skin. They come in various colors and textures and fit the device perfectly. You can learn more through the link in the description.

Moving to multimedia consumption, this one's a mixed bag. While the screen does well to use its Mobile HDR technology and its Video Enhancer features in supported applications to produce some of the most vivid scenes, the audio quality from the speakers is poor. They do get loud but its not the experience you find with front-facing speakers, and covering the speakers up at full volume leads to a tremendous drop in sound output. However, instead of completely neglecting sound, Samsung has included a few quirks to play around with to fine-tune the experience as per the individual's preference.

Now, onto the camera. The hardware side of things remains identical to the S7 series. The 12MP Dual Pixel unit with an f/1.7 aperture produces some insanely quick focus times and detailed pictures in well lit scenarios. The drop in quality in the dark isn't as considerable as many might think, with it still fairing pretty well. The camera is also capable of taking 4K video at 30fps, which produces good stabilized footage thanks to its OIS and captures detail even though a bit blown out in dimly lit conditions. It was a pleasant surprise to find microphone quality also very audible, especially in louder environments. The suite of effects and modes provided on Samsung's application are plenty with manual mode providing a good level of control over shots. As for the front 5MP camera, it is more than capable of taking selfies in most conditions and also can record footage up to 2K for vloging purposes, except in the night. All of this combined with the relatively quick launch time of the application and the features and effects it brings to the table makes the Note7's camera one of the best on a smartphone.

But no good smartphone is complete without checking all boxes in terms of performance. The Snapdragon 820 chip and 4GB of RAM do a decent job of running TouchWiz with some RAM management issues, but the performance is poorer than the Exynos run Note7 which I found surprising. Regular day to day tasks don't get you hiccups and Samsung's TouchWiz UI, even though heavy, packs some interesting features. Native splitscreen functionality and the arrangement of notifications into cleaner looking lists, something we have just seen introduced in Android Nougat, is already present. The ability to fine tune the screen's colors, screen enhancing software I discussed previously and the Secure Folder is available too, to store anything NSFW 😉

The array of S-Pen features also adds a lot of functionality to the device in my opinion. The slightly thinner nib at 0.7mm makes writing feel real and the host of different Air Command features are neat. The additions here are Magnify, allowing you to zoom into something on screen by hovering over it and Translate, another hover feature to translate a word displayed on screen to your preferred language. Something also worth noticing is the Glance feature, which allows users to minimize an application and perform tasks in the background and re-access it by hovering over it. The ways to use the S-Pen are endless and you can use your imagination as much as you want to make the most of it but with the Note7, Samsung is definitely pushing the stylus even further, making it compatible underwater and accessible for an Always On Display S-Memo and yet managing to reduce all their S-Pen applications and bloatware into one streamlined S-Notes application.

Combine all of that with the Edge Functionality for quick access to various essentials and a world's first iris scanner that performs surprisingly well in various environments and you're looking at an absolute beast. The TouchWiz skin might be a hinderance for many but the amount of value Samsung has managed to incorporate into it really is astonishing. The changes are even evident in the Power Save Mode for the device, which now lets users change the resolution of the display on the go, for that extra punch in battery.

Speaking of battery, the 3500mAh cell on the device gets you through the day easily, just like the S7 Edge. You can expect up to 6.5 hours of screen on time with moderate and heavy use but the QuickCharge 2.0, albeit an outdated charging feature can get the juice back up quickly. I was disappointed not seeing QC3.0 implemented especially with the new USB-C port but there is wireless charging support nonetheless.

If you're in the market for the best and most feature packed flagship smartphone on the market, the Note7 is for you. While not everything about the phone on the software side is complete, the imminent launch of Android Nougat will most definitely fix the issues. The phone comes in Black Onyx, Silver Titanium, Gold Platinum and the newest Blue Coral. Retailing for $850 for the 64GB variant with micro-SD support as I mentioned, the Note7 is a sports a hefty price tag to swallow and might not be the best upgrade from an S7/S7Edge but is definitely worth its money if you're coming from the Note5 or any device prior to that.

Thanks a lot for watching guys and make sure to hit that like button if you enjoyed this one and if you loved it, do me a favour and hit that subscribe button to stay updated with our future reviews, tutorials, giveaways and more. Leave a comment on what you think about the Samsung Galaxy Note7 and whether you'll be picking one up soon. I'm Andru Edwards and I'll catch you in the next video.

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