So you like your smartphones big,
powerful, and packing a stylus?
Samsung’s Galaxy Note has filled that
niche for five years, and it’s alost time for
a new one. With hype building by the day,
plenty of juicy details have leaked out
onto the web.
Naturally, not everything out there is true.
We’re pretty positive Samsung isn’t ready
to add 4K displays and PC-pounding
processors to its phones just yet. And
before you get your hopes up, all the
unfamiliar pics in this article are concepts
and renders – not bonafide snaps of the
Note 7.
Rumours are still handy for painting a
rough picture of what we can expect from
Samsung’s next latest and greatest
handset, though.
We’ve got the most likely details here, and
will keep this preview updated with all the
latest news, as and when we get it.
TO CURVE OR NOT TO CURVE?
There’s no question a new Note is on the
way, but the biggest mystery right now is
whether it’ll have the same gorgeous
curved screen currently making iPhone
owners jealous on the Galaxy S7 Edge.
If the early rumours were true, even
Samsung hadn’t decided as recently as
March and April. According to Dutch site
GSM Helpdesk , both flat and curved
screens were in development, but only
one of them is going to make it to market.
The leaked event invite (head further
down the page) leads with the line “The
next edge is just around the corner”,
suggesting we will indeed be getting a
curved Note on launch day.
Either way, it’s looking set to arrive with a
5.7in Super AMOLED screen. Hopefully
that’ll be based on the already excellent
OLED panels doing the rounds in the rest
of the Galaxy range.
Resolution probably won’t be jumping up
from QHD/2K, though. It’s what turned
up on the last few Note phones, and has
filtered down to the regular Galaxy line
too, but smartphones just aren’t powerful
enough to make the switch to 4K.
Leaked images posted on Weibo (via
SlashGear) suggest that the screen will be
always-on, or at least have the option to
be. In this mode, the AMOLED screen will
be able to show monochrome
notifications and the time while keeping
the remaining parts of the display
powered down – this way, it doesn’t
munch through your battery life too
quickly. This feature shouldn’t come as a
huge surprise, given that it debuted on the
Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, but it’s handy if
you want to keep up to date without
switching on the phone every three
minutes.
A new set of what appears to be official
press shots was leaked by South Korean
site seeko.co.kr , lending further weight to
the curved screen theory and revealing
that there will be gold, light blue and light
grey colour options.
Serial (and reliable) phone-leaker Evan
Blass, better known by his Twitter handle
@evleaks, has posted an image that
appears to show the Galaxy Note 7, front
and back, in three different colour
finishes – Black Onyx, Silver Titanium and
Blue Coral. It also appears to have a
curved screen in the images, which look
like official press shots of the device.
A sensor, which may be an iris scanner,
can be seen on the upper right of the
phablet’s front.
Our gut feeling, giving Blass’ past form, is
that this is the real deal; we’ll be pretty
shocked if these pics don’t accurately
represent the final design of the Note 7.
DON’T STOP ME NOW
A phone with a bigger screen usually has
a bigger battery to match, and Samsung
doesn’t look set to disappoint with the
Note 7.
A hardware specs leak on Chinese social
network Weibo (as reported by
SamMobile ) seems to confirm that the
Note 7 will carry a gargantuan 4000mAh
battery with support for fast charging.
There’s probably going to be a USB Type-
C port on the bottom, too. Samsung has
resisted the new connector so far this
year, but the Note 7 could be when it
finally gives in and follows the rest of the
Android crowd. In fact, Vietnamese site
Tinhte.vn has posted some a spy video of
what it claims is the Note 7’s USB-C
cable, along with a fast charger.
POWER UP
Go back a couple of years and the Galaxy
Note was literally the fastest phone you
could buy. Samsung might have its work
cut out to keep that title in 2016, but you
can bet the Note 7 won’t be a slouch
when it arrives.
According to a Chinese leak, there will be
two models: one with a Samsung-built
Exynos 8890 CPU and the other with
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 inside.
The 8890 already powers the Galaxy S7,
and that thing is seriously quick, so it
would be great to see it reappear here.
The Snapdragon 821, a quad-core chip
with 2.3GHz speed, looks to be the
general successor to the current 820. The
820 has rocked up in the HTC 10 , LG G5
and Sony Xperia X Performance, but
switching to better silicon might be
Samsung’s way of one-upping the
competition. Earlier rumours suggested a
Snapdragon 823 would be the main chip,
but that seems less plausible now.
You should expect a whopping 6GB of
RAM for serious multitasking, and
64GB/128GB/256GB of internal storage
(with microSD support, allowing you to
expand) and Android N running the show.
SNAP HAPPY
According to the same Chinese leak, the
Note 7 will carry a 12MP Dual Pixel phase
detection autofocus rear camera and a
5MP front camera. It sounds very much
like the same camera setup as the Galaxy
S7/S7 Edge, which is no bad thing – this
is probably our favourite smartphone
camera right now, performing brilliantly
in almost any situation and focussing
extremely quickly.
TOUCHWIZ GETTING AN
OVERHAUL
The Galaxy Note 7 is bound to come with
Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface
draped over Android like a second skin,
but it might not be TouchWiz as we
currently know it.
Italian tech site HDblog.it (via
SamMobile ) has posted a 15-minute
video preview of what it claims is the beta
version of the new UI, and if it’s real
(which we strongly suspect it is), it
represents quite a drastic change from
the version we’re using now.
As you can see from the video above,
we’re talking a less cartoonish overall
style, support for more customisation,
richer notifications and improved settings
shortcuts, and an image gallery that looks
a lot more like Google Photos than the
current edition.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
It would make sense for Samsung to call
its next phablet the Galaxy Note 6 – after
all, the Galaxy Note 5 (shown) came out
last year, and we had a new number for
each year prior going back to the original.
Thing is, Samsung’s now confimed that
it’s going to be called the Note 7.
Why? Well, it’s all about perception: the
Galaxy S7 is Samsung’s core flagship
line, and releasing a phone with a lower
number in the title might give the idea
that it’s less capable.
Then there’s the confusion added to the
mix if Samsung releases a Galaxy S7
Edge+ alongside the new Note, as it did
last year with the Note 5 and Galaxy S6
Edge+ .
It’s not like Samsung’s scrapping this
year’s phone and releasing next year’s
ahead of schedule: it will still be the
intended Note 6 at heart, just given a new
name to better unify the brands. Hey,
Microsoft jumped the line with Windows
10 (after Windows 8), and it worked out
pretty well there, right?
RELATED
PRICE AND RELEASE DATE
UPDATE 12/7/16: It’s official: Samsung
will unveil the next Galaxy Note on 2
August in New York City. We just received
the invite from Samsung PR establishing
the date and location of the next Galaxy
Unpacked event.
Furthermore, as you’ll see above, the
imagery makes it pretty clear that the
phablet is called the Galaxy Note 7,
seemingly confirming the leapfrogged
naming format here. And the scheme
lines up well with the design seen on the
recent leaked renders from Evan Blass, so
it looks like much of the speculation really
is true. We’ll see the Galaxy Note 7 in
three weeks, then.
PREVIOUSLY: Samsung has form when it
comes to launching new Note phones.
They’re almost always revealed at IFA, the
Berlin tech show held every year in early
September.
There are a few nefarious rumours doing
the rounds that the date could change this
year, and there could be an
announcement as early as July. In fact,
@EVleaks (normally a man in the know)
tweeted the Galaxy Note 7 would be
getting a US launch on “the week of
August 15″ – a lot sooner than Samsung’s
usual IFA event.
There’s some precedent here: it’s roughly
the same week Samsung launched the
Note 5 a year ago. A US announcement
seems to point towards the Note 7 not
getting a UK or European release,
though. Based on how quickly our Twitter
feeds filled with moans when it was
confirmed the Note 5 woudn’t be hitting
the UK, we were betting Samsung
wouldn’t make the same mistake again,
so this might not be good news.
The most recent leak seems to point to an
August 2nd reveal event, with phones
likely going on sale shortly after. It looks
pretty realistic, but until we get any
concrete facts we’re still holding out for a
September launch, and are keeping our
fingers crossed for a much wider release
this time around.
Prices are still up in the air, though.
Unlike Apple, which tries to keep
consistent from year to year, Samsung
isn’t afraid to play fast and loose with
decimal points. The Note 5 ended up at
US$740, and if a successor gets any big
new features, the Note 7 could end up
costing even more.
Still, there’s no way to tell until
everything’s official – we’ve got our eyes
peeled, and will keep you up to date if any
more news drops before Samsung
reveals all.

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