Samsung Galaxy Note7 review: Thinking Big

GSMArena team, 16 August 2016.

Gallery

The TouchWiz Gallery has been touched up to bring more focus to Stories. Stories are shared, collaborative albums - that means your friends can add their own photos from the party or just a Story on a shared theme (e.g. sunsets).

TouchWiz Gallery - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review TouchWiz Gallery - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review
TouchWiz Gallery

For your friends without a Galaxy smartphone, Stories are shared over SMS with a link to SamsungCloud.com. A simple (and not very secure) verification is used - the person who receives a link has to type the last four digits of their phone number (not the sender's number). Anyway, from here people can download the Story, but not add to it.

Stories - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review Adding to a Story - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review Sharing a Story - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review
Stories • Adding to a Story • Sharing a Story

Several image editing tools are available - from basic cropping, to collage making, to a more capable editor (which supports image correction, effects and drawing).

Viewing an image - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review Image details - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review Sharing options - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review Powerful editor - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review
Viewing an image • Image details • Sharing options • Powerful editor

Using the S Pen, you can create short GIFs. You select a portion of the screen and hit record and the unfolding action on this particular area can be then turned into a GIF. The downside is that you can't record your interaction with the user interface so the feature is best suited for making GIFs out of videos or similar content, which would run on its own.

Creating a GIF with the S Pen - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review
Creating a GIF with the S Pen

Google Play Music enhanced by Samsung's AQ features

Google Play Music is the default player for your tunes on the Galaxy Note7. It can play your local files, as well as stream music from the cloud and it's backed by Samsung's extensive sound enhancements.

They include the SoundAlive tool, which has an intuitive interface for tuning the equalizer. Presets and two simple dials are available for basic users, a manual 7-band equalizer for more advanced users.

Google Play Music - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review Google Play Music - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review Google Play Music - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review Google Play Music - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review
Google Play Music

Adapt Sound is even simpler. It tunes the EQ to your hearing and your particular pair of headphones by playing multiple frequencies and asking how well you hear them. Smart Volume automatically adjusts the volume of tracks from multiple sources.

UHQ sound resolution enhancer is available as well for upscaling compressed audio. There are also features such as Surround sound emulation and Tube Amp Pro simulator.

Equalizer and other settings - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review Equalizer and other settings - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review Equalizer and other settings - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review Equalizer and other settings - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review
Equalizer and other settings

If you truly miss Samsung's player, it's still available in the Galaxy Apps store (look for it under the For Galaxy tab).

Video player

There is no video player app pre-installed and the Gallery handles the videos by default. Like with the music player, you can grab the traditional TouchWiz app from the Galaxy Essentials collection in Galaxy Apps (the Video Editor is there too).

Anyway, the Gallery app is up to the task. It has full subtitle support with advanced features to modify their appearance. The app lets you play only the audio track of the video.

Video player - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review Video player - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review Video player - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review
Video player

You can download third-party video players and they can tap into the system-wide Video Enhancer feature as well. We tried VLC, MX Player and BS Player and they were all recognized correctly. Even YouTube worked.

Video enhancer supports any app that plays video - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review Video enhancer supports any app that plays video - Samsung Galaxy Note7 review
Video enhancer supports any app that plays video

This feature tries to make up for the relative lack of HDR content and digi-magically enhances SD video to HDR (it does the same for audio as well). It touches up the contrast curve and color rendering to make the image pop.

We downloaded some HDR demo files to play through the gallery, but we didn't notice a difference between what we saw on the Note7 screen and on a S7 edge screen. Samsung says you can find HDR content on Amazon Video (but Netflix has some too).

Top-notch audio output

Unsurprisingly, given Samsung’s track record in the area, the Galaxy Note7 delivered seriously impressive audio output. The phablet aced the first part of our test mixing very loud output with impeccable quality – nothing to frown at really.

Plugging in a pair of headphones caused next to no distortion – even the hike in stereo crosstalk was hard to notice without dedicated equipment. And just to one-up its predecessor this time volume didn’t drop at all here, for a flawless overall showing.

And here go the results.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Samsung Galaxy Note7+0.01, -0.04-92.892.70.0029 0.0075-92.9
Samsung Galaxy Note7 (headphones attached)+0.04, -0.02-92.492.40.0088 0.059-81.2
Samsung Galaxy Note5+0.04, -0.01-93.693.50.0024 0.0076-94.7
Samsung Galaxy Note5 (headphones attached)+0.02, -0.05-93.193.20.0023 0.030-84.1
Huawei Mate 8+0.01, -0.03-97.899.10.00540.0087-97.3
Huawei Mate 8 (headphones attached)+0.02, -0.09-97.397.90.0150.078-81.3
Huawei Nexus 6P+0.03, -0.01-94.790.00.00290.010-94.3
Huawei Nexus 6P (headphones attached)+0.02, -0.20-96.283.20.0410.147-37.7
Nokia Lumia 950 XL+0.01, -0.08-91.691.70.00350.012-89.3
Nokia Lumia 950 XL (headphones attached)+0.48, -0.07-90.491.50.0110.293-55.6
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium+0.01, -0.03-95.989.60.00340.012-95.5
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium (headphones attached)+0.11, -0.40-95.680.70.00570.227-55.2
Apple iPhone 6 Plus+0.04, -0.04-94.094.00.00130.0064-72.0
Apple iPhone 6 Plus (headphones attached)+0.10, -0.04-94.093.90.00160.087-64.1

Samsung Galaxy Note7 frequency response
Samsung Galaxy Note7 frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

Reader comments

  • Asif Mir

Any update about release of Refurbished Note-7 with 3200mAH Battery ??? Will it be released in Pakistan as well ?

  • Ezduzit777

Think TSA and/or major airlines are ready for this re-issue? I want one!

  • AnonD-314089

Well, the good news is that Samsung is already working on the new firmware d if the note 7, now Note 7R( from refurbished). Still not mention the market where it will be sell.