Samsung unveiled its latest Galaxy Note 7 phablet at a special "Galaxy Unpacked" event in New York City on Aug. 2, featuring all-new iris scanning capabilities, a much-improved integrated S Pen stylus, a first-ever "Secure Folder" feature and other updates aimed at making users more productive and creative.
The new Note 7 is slimmer and more rounded compared with the previous version, the Note 5, which debuted in August 2015. The latest device takes many of its features from the company's latest S7 and S7 Edge smartphones, which were released in March.
The new phone, which will be available in Blue Coral, Silver Titanium and Black Onyx colors, is available for preorder starting Aug. 3 and will be available in the United States on Aug.19 through AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless. Prices have not yet been announced by Samsung for the Note 7, but T-Mobile is listing the device for $849.99 or for $69.99 down and 24 monthly payments of $32.50.
Highlighting the Note 7 is a 5.7-inch quad HD dual-edge Super AMOLED display (2,560-by-1,440 resolution, 518 pixels per inch) that's covered with the latest Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for protection, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 octa-core 64-bit processor, 4GB of LPDDR4 memory, 64GB of onboard storage and a microSD slot for additional storage via memory cards up to 256GB. The phone runs on the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow operating system.
The Note 7 also includes the high-performance "dual-pixel" cameras featured in the S7 and S7 Edge, which capture rich low-light images. The rear camera is a 12-megapixel model with F1.7 lenses, built-in flash and smart optical image stabilization, while the front-facing camera is a 5-megapixel model to capture quality selfies. The phone also includes HDR video capabilities for multimedia playback and recording. For gaming fans, several games from Vulkan will be available when the phone is released.
The Galaxy Note 7 is a 4G LTE phone that also includes a 3,500mAh battery with quick charging and wireless charging capabilities, a USB-C port and an always-on display so users can keep track of important information without having to activate the device's screen. The handset, which is 6.04 inches long, 2.9 inches wide and 0.31 inches thick, includes WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2 and near-field communications (NFC) connectivity capabilities. It weighs 5.96 ounces.
The phone also meets IP68 water- and dust-resistance standards and includes a wide range of enterprise-ready security features, such as Samsung's Knox security suite to keep data secure. The Note 7's new iris scanning capabilities allow users to choose from iris or fingerprint biometric security options for device security.
Among the highlights of the latest Note 7 is a much-improved S Pen stylus, which features a narrower 0.7mm writing tip that glides better and more quickly over the device's screen when used to input images, words or other details. The S Pen also allows users to "write" on the screen even when it is wet. In addition, the style can be used for other new functions, including making creative GIF images by editing video segments on the device and posting notes on the always-on screen for quick access. Erasing is also now easier using the S Pen using a one-press process on its relocated button on the pen.
Other new S Pen features include a hover capability that allows users to magnify a section of a web page or screen at will, as well as new translating capabilities for some 71 languages using Google Translate. The S Pen's integration with the built-in Samsung Notes app is also improved, making it easier to access all functions from one place rather than through separate apps in the previous Note 5.
"The Galaxy Note 7 combines productivity, entertainment, with strong security features," D.J. Koh, the president of mobile communications for Samsung Business, said in a statement. "Powering a robust ecosystem, it is the ideal device for those who want to achieve more in life. Life now moves faster than ever so we created the Galaxy Note 7 to help users get things done more easily wherever, whenever."
The Note 7 also gets a new "Secure Folder" capability, which sets up a separate folder with an extra layer of authentication to keep private for users. The Secure Folder is only accessible to the user.
The phone will also be available at Samsung Experience Shops at Best Buy, as well as Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Car Toys, Sam's Club, Target and select Walmart stores.
Customers who buy a new Note 7 or an S7 Edge smartphone can get a free Gear Fit2 or a Samsung 256GB memory card with their purchase under a limited time promotion from Samsung. They can also get $20 in rewards when they make their first qualifying purchase using the Samsung Pay feature on the device.
Also being released by Samsung on Aug. 19 is the Samsung Gear 360 camera, a 360-degree, stand-alone camera accessory that can capture video for Galaxy smartphone users. The Gear 360 is priced at $349. Available as well is a new line of accessories for the Note 7, including covers, accessory external lenses, an IP68 water-resistant battery backpack accessory and more.