We review the 12-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel selfie camera on the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung’s latest and greatest phablet. How does the Note 7’s camera tech compare with the Galaxy S7’s snappers, and is the Note 7 one of the best camera phones of 2016?
So far in 2016, the Samsung Galaxy S7 has proved itself as the best mobile snapper thanks to its incredibly dependable and adaptable 12-megapixel camera. Which is why we weren’t too surprised when Samsung announced that the new Galaxy Note 7 would come packing the same excellent camera tech.
We’ve been using the Note 7 as our full-time phone this week and have once again fallen in love with that camera. Here’s our full Note 7 camera review, complete with high-res photo and video samples.
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Samsung Galaxy Note 7 camera review: Features and camera app
If you’ve used one of Samsung’s recent mobiles, you’ll know exactly what to expect from the Galaxy S7 Note’s camera app.
The user experience is pleasingly simple. On full auto mode, you have a shutter button for taking photos and a video button to immediately start recording video. On the opposite side of the screen you get a short selection of essential settings: flash, HDR and a button for switching between the rear and front cameras. There’s also a settings icon for diving into more in-depth features, such as changing resolution and activating video stabilisation.
The Note 7 also supports a number of shortcuts for quickly accessing the camera and its main features. A double-tap of the Note 7’s home button launches the camera app in a second or so, while flicking up or down the screen swaps between the two lenses. A flick left brings up filters and a swipe right lets you change camera modes.
Photo capturing is quick and effortless. The Note 7’s auto focus is excellent, rarely letting you down with a blurry shot even in low light conditions. However, you can manually focus with a tap of the screen all the same. Poke the shutter button and your photo will take instantly, or you can hold it down to take loads of snaps at once (perfect for action shots).
For our in-depth analysis of the Note 7’s bonus camera and video modes, check out our Note 7 camera features guide.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 camera review: Photo samples
On auto mode, the Note 7 can happily capture sharp, detail-packed photos in pretty much any conditions. The built-in HDR mode helps to even out high-contrast scenes, and even when viewed back on a big screen, our test photos looked pleasingly crisp.
The Note 7’s screen might be super-vibrant, but the photos captured by that 12-megapixel camera boasted realistic tones rather than artificially boosted hues. We had no problem snapping up-close macro shots, while landscape photos are truly stunning.
Like the Galaxy S7 before it, the Note 7 camera’s true superpower is its ability to snap decent low-light shots. While most rivals offer up grainy, ugly photos when the lights go down, the Note 7 manages to keep things bright and reasonably sharp. Issues only arise if your subject is moving about the place (likely if you’re trying to snap a pet or child). In that case, you’re likely to capture little more than an ugly blur.
Pro photographers have a full range of settings at their fingertips in the Pro mode and can also shoot in RAW format as well as JPEG, even in auto mode.
Here are some photo samples taken with the 12-megapixel camera on full auto mode.
For full-sized high-res photo samples from the Note 7 camera test, check out Recombu’s Flickr page.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 camera review: Video samples
The Galaxy Note 7 can shoot video in Full HD at either 30 or 60 frames-per-second, as well as Quad HD or 4K Ultra HD resolution video. You get optical image stabilisation in all cases and bonus digital stabilisation for everything but 4K footage.
Our video footage looked great when viewed back on a TV, especially the 60 frames-per-second video. The image stabilisation works beautifully, giving a smooth finish and eliminating judders. Audio quality is also strong.
Check out our Note 7 video samples below.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 camera review: Selfie camera
Of course, the most important factor is, can the Note 7 make you look bloody gorgeous on a night out?
Well, the 5-megapixel selfie camera is again just as strong as the Galaxy S7’s, capturing crisp detail (uh-oh) and natural tones in most lighting conditions. There’s also a ‘flash’ mode which illuminates the screen to make your face glow, if you want to take a club selfie.
Here’s some example selfies shot with the Note 7’s front-facing camera.
You can pre-order the Note 7 from O2 right now, from £50 per month on contract.
Check out our Galaxy Note 7 hub for our full Note 7 review, features, comparisons, tips, tricks and more.