Samsung’s latest Note 7 is without a doubt one of the highlight of consumer tech in 2016. Having used the Note 7 for close to 2 weeks, the only thing I can say is that the Note 7 is just as good as advertised, it’s not only beautiful, but powerful as well.

Design

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It’s pretty, sleek and modernistic. I wouldn’t say that it’s the most aesthetically-pleasing devices out there in the market, but if I were to compare the S7 and the Note 7, the Note 7’s design wins hands down.

The Note 7 is armed with a dual-edge curved Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5 finishing, which is unique to the Samsung Edge devices. It gives the Note 7 a balance between a squarish and round look to make sure it doesn’t come off too masculine.

The slim body with about 7.9 mm of thickness is sleek and the “frameless” design make the 5.7″ device extremely easy to grip and maneuver with one hand. For ladies with smaller hands, it might still prove to be an issue though.

Display

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The 5.7-inch screen isn’t just full-HD, it’s quad-HD. It has a SUPER AMOLED display and an adaptive screen which changes colour and brightness based on your surroundings. Watching the device’s fluid screen flow according to it’s environment was nothing short of epic.

If you intend to use it as a media device, you will realise that the phone is HDR video streaming-ready. It gives users a powerful theatre-like experience with not only powerful and bright colours, but a darker black.

Hardware

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Storage and Dual-SIM

With 64GB of on board memory, you wouldn’t really need to worry about storage to be honest. Throwing in an additional expandable memory slot which goes up to 256GB, memory is not an issue at all.

The Note 7 also comes with dual-SIM capabilities which works with Nano-SIMs, but if you choose to use an SD card, then you won’t be able to tap on the dual-SIM technology.

IRIS Scanner

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With all these biometric scanning security measures going on, the Note 7 take security to the next level by introducing an iris scanner in addition to fingerprint technology that it has. This is actually pretty awesome and quite accurate most of the time for me.

Was this necessary? Probably not, but hey, why not?

The S Pen

The whole point of getting a Note 7 is to wield the S Pen.

Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but you can’t deny that the S Pen is so awesome. It’s no ordinary stylus, it has a precise tip that has sensitivity controls.

If you are an artist, it will be awesome to use with apps like Adobe Create, Adobe Vector etc but if you just want to take simple notes, it works fine too.

Waterproof

The Galaxy Note 7 and its S Pen are both waterproof, IP68 level resistant, which means it’s not some splashproof phone. It’s waterproof. That actually means you can soak it in water above 1m in depth. That’s just mad awesome.

User Experience

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Power and Performance

With a 4GB RAM on board alongside an Exynos 8890 processor, the Note 7 is one of the most powerful phones you can ever hope to find. No matter what app I used, or how many apps I tried to run, I didn’t even encounter lags at all. Mini or even micro lags might have been there, but I didn’t really notice it.

Antutu ratings on this phone was between 120,000 and 130,000 although other reviewers got above 130,000. This appears to be on par with the S7 Edge, which is commendable for sure.

User Interface

Samsung’s launcher is cool, but probably not really top-notch to be fair. I much prefer adding on the Google Now launcher, which is my favourite. But the ordinary load screen is fairly easy to use.

One feature I loved was the secure folder function. It allowed you to

Camera

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When you look at the specs of the Note 7’s camera, you might not think much of it. However, in real life, the camera holds up fairly well for itself.

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The 12MP camera sensor with Dual Pixel technology makes focusing on the Note 7 incredibly fast. On the SUPER AMOLED screen, it seems as if the Note 7 has a punchy colour and saturation, but it may make it feel as if some photos are overprocessed on normal screens. In my personal opinion, I found this not to be much of an issue and I was more than happy with the Note 7’s camera.

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Clarity and resolution were superb under well-lit conditions and in low-light conditions, it held up well with the optical stabilisation technology that was built into the Note 7, giving you clearer photos in the dark.

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Battery Life and Charging

I wouldn’t call the Note 7 a superb phone in the department of stamina. When I used it intensively, I could have the phone last me a full working day, if I used it casually, it could go around 20h without issue. With 3,500mAh worth of battery, it’s incredibly power-efficient for sure.

With USB-C capabilities, the Note 7 charges faster than a normal phone. It isn’t lightning fast like the Oppo R9 Plus, but its quite a bit faster than your regular devices.

Verdict

The Note 7 is a true flagship. Is it as good or even better than the S7? I wouldn’t make a quick judgement on this, but one thing I can tell you for sure, is that the design of the Note 7 is way cooler than the S7.

Power and performance wise, they are quite on par in my opinion, so it ultimately boils down to your personal preference.

If you want a well-balanced flagship that is strong in all areas, the Note 7 might be what you’re looking for.

At a price point of $1,168, the Note 7 isn’t exactly value-for-money, but it certainly fits the bill as a top-notch smartphone.