August 22, 2016

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

My 3-4 Yearly Smartphone Update Has Been Ordered

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Update 2018/19: As you are not doubt aware, the Galaxy Note 7 had a tendency to explode. Not good. Therefore, I scrapped my order. I went for the Samsung Galaxy S7 which I have now had for a couple of years and love it. 

However, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is now due for release and I am going to once again bite the bullet and swap my Smartphone for a Phablet.

The older I get, the less excited I get about certain stuff and phones is one of them. Sure, when Smartphones first came out, I was hooked. What with all the apps, games functionality and so on. However, over the past few years they have all become amazing with very similar specs. It seems that there is a new phone announced, "leaked" or launched every month.

How often should you upgrade?

It is difficult to keep up and know when to buy or upgrade. After all, the minute you think you find the right phone, a new one is rumoured to be around the corner. A Smartphone, phablet or tablet that is the holy grail of phones…arrrgh!

This is why I only upgrade or renew every three or four years. I manage to hold back the temptation and resist until the upgrade not only makes sense, but renews my excitement in getting a new phone.

Don't get me wrong, my trusty excellent Samsung Galaxy S4 (before that I had the iPhone 4s) is still going strong. It has with barely a mark on it (I look after my gadgets) with a battery that is still running perfectly*.

*I "got it" early on that a battery lasts longer when it is regularly charged even when not fully depleted. I even use it whilst charging even when it doesn't need a charge. After more than three years, it still holds a good charge.

The only problem is the occasional lag with newer apps. Plus the camera is getting a little dated and frustrating. Also, I cannot use it with my DJI Osmo or Inspire 1 which is a pain as it is good to have a data connection for map loading and live feeds…

So Which Smartphone Did I Buy and Why?

Lately I have been doing some research. A respected source says that the upcoming iPhone 7 is worth bypassing for the later iPhone 7s. There were big hints at a much better phone in the "s" version.

Also, and even though the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are superb phones with brilliant specs, the S8 to be released in 2017 is going to be huge with the possibility of a bendy, flexible screen!?!?

Anyway, I got fed up with the thought of continually waiting for the "next big thing" when I saw the new Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

It seemed to match everything I was looking for in my next phone.

Main Features

  • 12MP camera, f1.7 aperture (great in low light and currently one of the best Smartphone cameras going)
  • 4K video
  • Superb 5.7-inch quad-HD Super AMOLED display
  • Gorilla Glass 5 (super tough)
  • Octa-core CPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB storage + microSD slot (I have ordered a 200gb MicroSD card)
  • S Pen stylus
  • Android 6.0.1
  • Fingerprint and Iris scanner (iris scanner…meh)
  • USB-C (excellent and no more trying to put the USB in the wrong way…)
  • Fast and wireless charging
  • 3,500mAh battery
  • IP68 water resistance

Personally, the best things here for me are the camera, video, screen, power, battery and water resistance. I like the stylus and have used it with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition). The iris scanner is a bit gimmicky but I may use it for the password protection of folders and apps within the phone. Then, having up to 320GB of on board storage is a must for photos and 4K video.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Camera and 4K Video

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

In the past, I have been obsessed with taking my DSLR everywhere with me. Just in case I come across a stock photo or an amazing scene. It has become cumbersome and unnecessary so I find myself using the S4 or iPod Touch 6 most of the time nowadays. Having the Note 7 with its wonderful camera, camera app features and 4K video, I can see myself only using this for most family days out etc.

The larger dual pixels and 1.7 aperture lens will make for great low light shots too.

Having 4K video in a Smartphone still blows me away. Only a couple of years ago, 4K cameras would have set you back many thousands of pounds. Great stuff and I will be testing to see if it cuts the grade for selling the footage as stock.

The new 'Live Broadcast' option on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 lets you upload and beam videos straight to YouTube too…

Super AMOLED 518ppi HDR Display

I was a little reticent about the curved edge phones. However, the Galaxy Note 7’s screen is a little less curved with steeper edges. Having the curves on both the front and back should make holding the thing nicer…although I will no doubt be getting a case for it.

The resolution of the 5.7" screen didn't make 4K as expected by some people. For me though, a 2K HDR screen on a device this small is fine thanks! It will be perfect for using with the DJI Inspire 1 drone as it is big enough and bright enough to see outside in the sun. Plus it has the bonus of having a data feed for live streaming and map loading (when I forget to load them at home in preparation).

It is also good for showing clients photos, video drafts and so on. HDR is a massive bonus and something that will become mainstream on most TV’s and video streaming services soon. High Dynamic Range offers a new level of image quality for videos and movies!


I have used the S-Pen on the larger tablet for critiquing photos, making notes etc. It is generally a good thing to have, when you remember it is there. I may use it now and again but it wasn’t the main reason for my choice. However, it has a cool, animated GIF maker that allows you to record up to 15 seconds of video (from your library, YouTube etc or direct from the camera) and make an instant, animated GIF to upload. With text if you desire.

Water and Dust Resistance (IP68)

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

The Galaxy Note 7 is fresh water resistant to 1.5 metres for up to 30 minutes. This will be perfect for using on holiday, at the beach or for shooting in less than perfect conditions with my other cameras…happy days.

All in all, by using this with my Inspire 1 drone, Osmo hand-held camera and as an all in one phone, camera, video camera, viewer and business-in-a-box device, it should last me for at least another 3-4 years.

I was pretty chuffed with the business deal I got from EE too. 25GB of data for £100 down and £38 per month (not that much more than my current pay-as-you-go contract)!

  • Business Deal - double speed 4G
  • Unlimited minutes
  • Unlimited text messages
  • 25 GB data
  • 180 mins to and from Europe & USA
  • 180 texts to and from Europe & USA

I will post a full review after a few weeks use with sample photos, videos and all that jazz!

Update 2018/19: As you are not doubt aware, the Galaxy Note 7 had a tendency to explode. Not good. Therefore, I scrapped my order and went for the Samsung Galaxy S7 which I have now had for a couple of years and love it.

However, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is now due for release and I am going to once again bite the bullet and swap my Smartphone for a Phablet.

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