Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review: Samsung reveals cause of explosions
Cause of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 explosions issues revealed
Samsung has finally revealed the cause of those Galaxy Note 7 explosions. Following some pretty high profile fires and explosions, the South Korean manufacturer led an in-depth investigation after production ended on what briefly held the top spot as the king of smartphones.
You can read a more in-depth analysis on the battery issues here but in short, the two (unnamed) battery suppliers are to blame. These manufacturing defects and design flaws saw the battery manufacturer not supplying enough space in the battery pouch and an improper contact between the positive tab and the negative electrode. In layman’s terms, these issues led to the two recalls, and contributed to the death of the Note 7.
You can still read our original thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 when it was first released below. We hailed it as the best smartphone ever made before these issues came to light, but you’ll just have to imagine how it once was (two days before the recall) as there’s simply now way of acquiring one anymore.
My original Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review continues below.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7: At a glance
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 is a superb smartphone – one of the best money can buy, in fact. Given how expensive it is, however, that may not come as a surprise – and you’ll definitely want to consider its pros and cons before rushing down to your local smartphone emporium. To help you make your decision, we’ve drawn up a simple summary of the Note 7’s key features below. If you want to know more, then scroll down to read our in-depth review.
- It’s big, but not that big You can think of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 as a bigger version of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, with a 5.7in screen. That said, it doesn’t feel all that big in your hand or your pocket, and if you’re used to 5in phones it’s not much of a leap at all.
- It looks great Just like the S7 and S7 Edge, the Note 7 is clad in glass front and back, and it also boasts a rather fetching set of curved glass edges. The screen is the also best display Samsung has every produced when it comes to quality and brightness.
- You can write on the screen The Note 7 comes with a stylus, which lets you jot notes and sketch onscreen, and carry out other tasks such as capture screenshots. It works really well, and it will even recognise your handwriting and convert it to text.
- It has iris recognition Fingerprint unlocking has become commonplace in recent times, but the Note 7 adds another string to its security bow: iris recognition, allowing you to unlock the phone with a glance at the screen.
- It’s fast The Note 7 we tested has Samsung’s own processor on board – the Exynos 8890 – plus 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage. This is an incredibly quick combination, making the Note 7 one of the fastest phones on the planet. Apple’s iPhone 6S Plus is still marginally quicker in some tests, though.
- The camera is amazing, but no better than the S7 and S7 Edge Samsung’s smartphone camera are the best on the planet, but the Note 7 won’t give you better results than the cheaper S7 or S7 Edge because it uses exactly the same camera hardware inside.
- It’s expensive The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is one of the most expensive smartphones you can buy, costing even more than the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. At launch, the phone will cost £730 SIM free, and will cost upwards of £41 per month on contract.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7: Full review
Back in 2011, Samsung looked at the mobile phone landscape and decided everything was too damned fiddly for our massive hands. The result was the Samsung Galaxy Note: a handset that almost single-handedly started the phablet boom, and ensured that today it’s pretty hard to find a top handset that’s smaller than 5in.
The Note 2 followed in 2012, and then predictably the Note 3 in 2013. You can guess when the Note 4 was released if you’ve been paying attention, but that’s where the guessing game gets more tedious. The Note 5 never launched in the UK, and the Note 6 – like Windows 9 – never existed. Good news if you bought a contract Note 4 right at the start: you’ll be due an upgrade right on time.
So we’ve jumped straight to 7, bringing the Note parallel with the S series – at least in name. That makes sense: the Note 7 is every bit the handset the S7 is – in fact, in the literal sense, it’s a fair bit more.
What was once the Note’s unique sell – its size – is now far more commonplace, but while it’s still a big phone, Samsung has managed to squeeze in a larger display without making it the size of a compact tablet. Impressively, with dimensions of 154 x 74 x 7.9mm, it’s actually smaller overall than the iPhone 6s Plus – a good result when it manages to pack in a larger 5.7in, 2,560 x 1,440 AMOLED screen.
And it looks nice. Really nice. Samsung has learned a thing or two about how to make an attractive handset since it ditched plastic and removable batteries a year and a half ago, and the Note 7 carries on the good work. Barely any space on the front of the handset is wasted, with the curved Gorilla Glass 5 screen wrapping around the front of the phone and the edges of the glossy rear panel also curving up to meet the phone’s slender aluminium frame. You’ll have a choice of two colours: Black Onyx and Blue Coral. Whichever finish you opt for, the phablet is extremely sleek and guaranteed to catch the eye of your fellow commuters/travellers/mates down the pub (delete as appropriate).[gallery:1]
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review: S Penny for your thoughts
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s other key strength – and one not matched by many other smartphones today – is its stylus. Sorry, “S Pen”. The stylus has gone out of fashion since PDAs stopped being a thing, but the S Pen makes an extremely compelling case for them being given a second chance.
I’ve used every Note since the brand was born, and given this is the fourth iteration of the pen since then, it’s no surprise that it’s more of a pleasure to use than ever before. It has a 0.7mm tip (down from 1.6mm in the previous model), and now feels less like you’re dragging plastic across glass, and more like you’re actually writing on a page. Even something as typically fiddly as annotating screenshots is a doddle.
It’s not just the feel of the S Pen that’s improved. It’s more sensitive than the previous model, with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity instead of 2,048, and Samsung has added a few more party tricks, too. The most impressive of these is that the Note 7’s software now comes with Google Translate built in, meaning you can get an instant translation just by hovering over a word. More impressively, this even works with photos, so intimidating foreign menus needn’t traumatise you anymore – unless they use a silly font, of course.[gallery:7]
Bringing the Note series in line with the S7 means the phablet also gains some of the established features of its flagship stablemate. Most eye-catchingly, this means the Note 7 is more rugged than older versions, despite having to include a hole to keep the S Pen in. The Note 7 gets an IP68 rating, meaning that if you really must, you can give your phablet a bath in 1.5m of water for half an hour.
Indeed, Samsung was so confident of this at the launch event that they’d installed a handful of devices with a game that involved catching virtual fish by physically dunking your the Note 7 in a large container of cold water. I asked, and no, that was just for us and won’t be on the finished phone. Nonetheless, it does have practical benefits: it means it’ll survive an accidental trip into the washing up bowl, and also that you can still use Google maps or send text messages in the rain. That’s an important consideration for us Brits.
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Samsung Galaxy Note 7 specifications
|Processor||Octa-core 2.3GHz Samsung Exynos 8890|
|Screen type||Super AMOLED|
|Front camera||5 megapixels|
|Rear camera||12 megapixels|
|Storage (free)||64GB (52.8GB)|
|Memory card slot (supplied)||microSD|
|Wireless data||3G, 4G|
|Dimensions||154 x 7.9 x 74mm|
|Operating system||Android 6.0.1|