Samsung has officially launched its latest flagship phablet, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. But what’s new in the Galaxy Note 7 compared with the Note 4 and Note 5, and what are the best new Note 7 features? Here’s our full hands-on Galaxy Note 7 features review.
The 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 7 obviously boasts updated specs compared with the Galaxy Note 4 (the last Note phone to be released in the UK) and the Galaxy Note 5. But besides the boosted performance, the Galaxy Note 7 also packs in plenty of cool new features not found in older Note mobiles, like a very impressive iris scanner and an HDR-ready display.
Here’s our review of the best new Note 7 features, and check out our Galaxy Note 7 vs Galaxy Note 5 vs Galaxy Note 4 comparison review to see how the Note phones stack up.
Best new Galaxy Note 7 features: Best bits of the Samsung Galaxy S7 included as standard
While the Galaxy S7 isn’t quite perfect, there’s plenty in there to love, and most of the best S7 features have been ported over to the Galaxy Note 7.
For a start, the Galaxy Note 7 is fully water-resistant, to survive a dunking in a sink, toilet, pool or bath. The Note 7’s built-in storage can be expanded with a microSD memory card, great news if you want to carry around a massive media collection. And you also get the same great 12-megapixel f/1.7 rear camera, which is awesome in low light conditions.
Read next: Samsung Galaxy S7 long-term re-review
Best new Galaxy Note 7 features: All-new water-proof S-Pen stylus
We already love the super-accurate and responsive S-Pen stylus which comes bundled with the Note phones, but Samsung has made the S-Pen even more intelligent for the Note 7.
For a start, the stylus is now fully water resistant, just like the phone itself, so you don’t need to worry about the thing breaking if it gets dunked in water. Even better, you can actually use the S-Pen when the stylus and the Note 7’s screen are dripping wet too. Check out our best Note 7 features video at the bottom of the page for a full demonstration, but we’re incredibly impressed by how accurate our doodles were, even with water droplets covering the display.
For the stats fans out there, the Galaxy Note 7’s S-Pen weighs a measly 3g, while the tiny tip is just 0.3mm thick. In other words, it’s comfortably to wield for long periods and about as accurate as a real-life pencil. Nice.
Best new Galaxy Note 7 features: Better S-Pen apps
Of course, the S Pen is only as good as the apps you can use it with, and thakfully Samsung hasn’t disappointed there either.
As well as the usual Note apps, you now have the Samsung Notes app, which acts as an all-encompassing place to scribble notes, doodle and share your creations with others. Screen-off Memo is a new feature which Samsung has added to its Always On Display, which allows you to scribble on your phone’s hibernating display and save your note without actually bothering to unlock your phone.
New features Translate and Magnify have also been added to Samsung’s Air Command Wheel for the Note 7. Magnify is fairly obvious, and Translate can help to convert the language in a webpage or document to your native tongue.
GIF fans will also be chuffed to hear that you can quickly create and share these mini animations using the Note 7.
Best new Galaxy Note 7 features: More intelligent security
If smartphone security is an important issue for you, then the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is going to be a very worthy purchase.
You get the Samsung Knox security suite and built-in fingerprint scanner as standard, but the Note 7’s killer feature is Samsung’s spangly new iris scanner, which provides another layer of security that’s quick, convenient and (as far as we can tell) thief-proof. Check out our Galaxy Note 7 iris scanner review for our full thoughts.
The Note 7 also comes packing Samsung’s new Secure Folders feature. These can be locked up with a unique PIN or another method and filled with your most important and confidential documents. These docs are then stored at the chip level with industry-standard encryption, to keep them safe and secure.
Best new Galaxy Note 7 features: Mobile HDR ready
The Galaxy Note 7 of course packs a supremely sharp Quad HD screen, and as it’s a Super AMOLED panel you can also expect vibrant colours that really pop off the display.
But the Galaxy Note 7 is also Mobile HDR ready, so you can enjoy rich, gorgeous-looking HDR TV and movies on the go. Want to know more? Check out our what is HDR explainer guide.
Best new Galaxy Note 7 features: Gamer’s delight
The Galaxy Note 7 also supports Vulkan API, which means that Vulkan-ready games should be playable on the phone. Of course, Vulkan API is very much a work in progress and very few games support the tech right now, but that should change soon enough and we’re expecting some spectacular-looking titles to emerge soon enough.
Best new Galaxy Note 7 features: All-new Gear VR headset
The brand new Gear VR for Galaxy Note 7 headset is an update of the existing Gear VR, made especially for the Galaxy Note 7.
There’s better padding around the eye area where headset meets your face, for a more comfortable experience when using the Gear VR for extended periods. You also get more streamlined controls in the Gear VR for Galaxy Note 7, along with an external connector port to directly hook up accessories such as gamepads for VR gaming.
Finally, the Gear VR for Galaxy Note 7 boasts a sexy new darker colour, which helps to set the headset apart from loads of bright white rivals.
Video: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 best features
Check back soon for our full Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review.