Skip To Content

    Here's Everything You Need To Know About Samsung's New Phone

    The Galaxy Note 7 goes on sale tomorrow and we got a sneak peek.

    Zoe Burnett / BuzzFeed

    Waddup Android peeps! There's a new Samsung phablet: the Galaxy Note 7.

    Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed

    Galaxy Note phones have always been great for productivity, with their spacious screens and handwriting-friendly styluses. Today, Samsung is announcing the *new* Note 7, an oversized, 5.7-inch device that goes on sale in the US on August 19, and is available for pre-order August 3.

    Samsung brought its phone/tablet hybrid up to the standards set by the Galaxy S7 Edge, released earlier this year. The company waterproofed the entire device (even the stylus), added eye iris scanning, and gave it a curved edge that actually makes the phablet comfortable to hold.

    I'm generally not a fan of Samsung phones. The devices typically come pre-loaded with a ton of bloatware (useless apps that take up precious phone memory). But I was very impressed by the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, which both boast great processors and gorgeous, brilliant displays.

    So my expectations for the Note were very high – and, after spending a few hours with the phone, can report that the new Note is *the* phone for big hands and stylus lovers. Here are some of my first impressions.

    TL;DR – The Galaxy Note 7 is a Galaxy S7 for grown-ups.

    The Note 7 has iris scanning, so you can unlock your phone WITH YOUR EYES.

    Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed

    From the demo, this feature seemed p r e t t y impressive, if anything because it looked like a fantastic party trick. Have glasses? Don't worry – the feature is spectacle-friendly.

    If the iris scanner doesn't work, you can use the fingerprint scanner or enter a passcode as a back up.

    A new protected Secure Folder feature keeps your private docs, nudes, etc. under wraps.

    Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed

    You can keep important files, like a copy of your passport, in a separate folder that can be protected with an extra layer of protection (a passcode or iris scanning).

    The stylus – the #1 reason why you'd get a Note – is better than ever.

    Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed

    The Galaxy Note is the only phone with a dedicated stylus that can be stored in the device itself, making it *the* pick for stylus-loving, Palm Pilot-nostalgic peeps.

    The "S Pen" can be used in a variety of ways: drawing, precise input and navigation, handwriting, turning handwriting into text, grabbing screenshots of web pages, and much more. It's pressure sensitive too, so you can push down to make thicker strokes.

    Samsung improved the hardware of the stylus (the pen nib size decreased to .7mm, which is a standard ballpoint pen size, and its pressure sensitivity has been increased by two times).

    There's also a new GIF-creation feature, so you can now use the pen to "smart select" video that's not copyright protected (like YouTube and personal videos) and quickly turn them into GIFs. You can also "hover" the S Pen to magnify the screen or translate words.

    The stylus is now fully waterproof, too.

    Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed

    The pen is now fully waterproofed, so you can quickly jot down That Thing during a torrential downpour or wherever else inspiration may strike.

    I'm not even sure why you'd want to write underwater (maybe it's raining outside?) – but in case you do, the Note *and* its stylus have an IP68 rating, which is a fancy way of saying that they're safe for 30 minutes in up to 1.5 meters of water.

    Are you wondering, "Wait, what the hell happened to the Galaxy Note 6?"

    Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed

    No, you didn't miss the Galaxy Note 6. Samsung decided to just jump from the 5 to the 7, and it's probably because the new Note looks and feels exactly like a Galaxy S7, right down to the curved edges. The big difference with the Note is the included stylus.

    There's also a new curved "edge panel" that gives you a shortcut to things like contacts or calendar.

    Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed

    Like the S7, the Note has a wraparound screen design that makes the phone feel much narrower than it actually is. The phone is easier to hold than other non-curved phablets, like the Nexus 6P or iPhone 6S Plus.

    The edge is integrated into the software as well. Swipe in from the side, and you'll expand the "edge panel," which offers quick access to favorite contacts, most-frequently used tasks (adding an event to your calendar, for example), top headlines and more.

    There aren't a ton of applications for the edge panel yet, but I could see it being super useful for a device of this size, where one-handed operation is virtually impossible.

    The Galaxy Note has a new charging port for USB-C cables.

    Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed

    Goodbye, micro USB! Throw your ol' cables away, because the new Galaxy Note uses USB-C. This is amazing because, like Apple's lightning cable, it doesn't matter which way you plug it in 🙏.

    Better yet, the Note 7, like most USB-C devices, features fast charging. The phone has a bigger 3,500mAH battery than the Note 5, but charges at the same rate.

    Samsung is re-introducing expandable memory, too. The Note 7 supports SD cards up to 256 GB.

    Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed

    Yasssss for never having to worry about running out of space again! To the dismay of many power users, Samsung removed the micro SD tray in the Note 5.

    But the company is righting their wrongs by bringing back one of the biggest advantages of Android over iOS: expandable memory. Micro SD cards cost between $12 to $20 on Amazon, depending on size, and you can just pop one right in the tray.

    The "always on" display saves your battery by turning on only the relevant pixels – and it can now show written memos.

    Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed

    Most people destroy their phone batteries by constantly turning on the display to check the time or look at notifications.

    The "always on display" is, you guessed it, always on and reduces the screen to black and white. It only activates the few pixels it needs to display text. The always-on display can now show written memos, in addition to the time.

    There are smaller updates on other features, too.

    Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed

    The phone comes in a new color (blue coral, on the right), and it's 2.2 mm thinner. On the software side, the interface has been updated so that the menus match the color of the hardware.

    Here's what hasn't been upgraded in the Galaxy Note 7.

    Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed

    * It's got the same "all-day battery life."

    * The display remains 5.7-inches with a 2560 x 1440 resolution at 518 pixels per inch.

    * The 16MP rear-facing and 5MP camera is unchanged.

    * The Samsung ecosystem (S Health, Samsung Pay, etc.) still comes pre-loaded on the device.

    So, should you upgrade?

    I'm not sure yet. Pricing is TBD, but expect the device to be in the $600 to $700 range, depending on carrier. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless will offer the Galaxy Note 7.

    The expandable storage and fully waterproofed stylus are big wins, but it's not dramatically different than the Note 5, which is still a fantastic phone. For now, I'd hold off on pre-ordering unless you're desperate for an upgrade. If you have already owned a Note and know that it's the best device for you, you should preorder to claim the free Gear Fit2 or 256GB microSD offer.

    👀 Stay tuned for my full review! 👀


    Verizon announced that customers can purchase the Note 7 for $36 per month for 24 months or $864 retail.

    Want awesome DIY tips in your inbox three times a week? Sign up for the BuzzFeed DIY newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form