Samsung Galaxy Note 7 release date and rumors
Update: We’ve rounded up all the latest news and rumors in a video below. We’re awash with information: Leaked documentation of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 appears to point out some limitations of its rumored iris scanner. Plus, the phone may come in a gold shade and almost certainly has a 12MP camera, but may not actually have as big a battery or as much RAM as we had hoped.
Additionally, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7′s S Pen could work underwater and we’ve seen clear shots of the front, back and bottom edge of the phone, as well as a video. The possibility of a flat version has popped up again too. Here’s the latest Note 7 news.
Original article follows below.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is the large-screen phone for 2016 that Android power users have been waiting to upgrade to, and its release date is almost here.
Sure, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge stretched out fingertips into phablet territory too, with a 5.5-inch display earlier this year. But it didn’t have two Note series staples: a 5.7-inch screen and an S-Pen stylus.
Note 7 rumors point to a phone that maximizes the screen space, while minimizing the body and bezels. Returning features like a microSD card are welcome and the unconfirmed iris scanner will turn heads.
It’s especially anticipated in the UK and Europe, as Samsung made the bizarre decision not to launch the Galaxy Note 5 outside of the US and a few other countries. Their S-Pen upgrade is long overdue.
Just don’t expect it to be called the Samsung Galaxy Note 6. All recent rumors indicate that Galaxy Note 7 is the name of the next phablet. It’s thought the company wants to bring it in line with the name of the Galaxy S7 series – and the forthcoming iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
With the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 probably launching in early August we’re hearing plenty of rumors about it. We’ve also cooked up a wishlist of things we want to see.
- More into Apple? Check out the 5.5-inch iPhone 6S Plus and the upcoming iPhone 7 Plus. Or for something smaller there’s the iPhone SE.
- Looking to the future? We’re already hearing rumors about the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge in 2017.
No time for text? Get all the best news and rumors in our video roundup below:
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Samsung’s next phablet
- When’s it out? Expect an August 2 release date
- What will it cost? It’s sure to be very expensive
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 release date
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 release date is Tuesday, August 2, according to every rumor out there and, as of this month, a Samsung Unpacked invite. We got one and will be there in both New York and London.
The official announcement will happen at 11am EDT. That means you can expect all of the Note 7 news to start at 8am PDT, 4pm GMT (or 1am the next day, on August 3 AEST).
The August 2 launch event is a little under two weeks earlier in the year than the Galaxy Note 5 announcement. But it’s what we’ve suspected for several months now. A Korean news source believes production to be starting in July – so an August announcement made sense.
Samsung typically launches its Galaxy Note flagships during IFA, which is happening in early September this year, so that’s the only other possible launch date, but It may have its hands (or wrists) full with other announcements, like the Samsung Gear S3.
The good news is that Samsung has confirmed the Note 7 will be coming to the UK, corroborating a TechRadar source high up at one of the UK’s major networks.
TechRadar’s take: The evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of an August 2 launch.
- Let us know what feature you’d most like to see in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 colors
- Four colors at launch
- More may be added later
Before we get into the design, let’s talk about the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 colors. It may come in three hues, according to an early July leak that made the new Android phone look especially convincing.
Options include Black Onyx, Silver Titanium and, the highlight of the bunch, Blue Coral. However, we’ve since seen another leak, showing the Note 7 off in a gold shade, so we may get four colors at launch.
It’s also possible that Samsung will add additional colors to the mix after the initial sales rush, to revive interest in the phone.
Techradar’s take: Samsung limited the Note 5 in the US to three colors: Black Sapphire and White Pearl at launch and, eventually, Gold Platinum. However, there was a Silver Titanium color too, but it didn’t launch in the States. So it’s not clear whether all four of these colors will launch in all locations or not.
- Want more? Read our Samsung Galaxy Note 7 colors news
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 design
- A glass back and metal frame
- Water and dust resistance
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 design is poised to be more than just a bigger, S-Pen-included version of the Samsung Galaxy S7. In fact, there may be no flat version of the phablet at all, although a question mark remains on the Edge-only Note 7 rumor.
The image above, shared by techtastic.nl, gives one of our closest looks yet at the phone and mostly matches other images, though some lack the Samsung logo on the front. Since then another even clearer shot, which you can see below, has been shared by the same site.
The shape in these shots is a lot like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, complete with a physical home button and a likely metal frame. The back, based on other leaks, appears to be glass, which makes sense since it was on the Galaxy S7 range. However, it might be slightly more curved at the back than the S7.
Leaked renders from OnLeaks have also suggested the phone will look very similar to the Galaxy S7 Edge, but it will feature room for an S Pen and a slightly larger display as well. You can watch the video below to see the leaked renders and how the phone will probably look.
We’re hearing a few other rumblings about the design of the Galaxy Note 7 too. Rumblings like the possibility that it will be waterproof and dust-resistant. A Weibo post echoes those claims, saying it will be IP68 certified. That’s one rumor that seems likely, given that the Samsung Galaxy S7 is.
TechRadar’s take: It would make sense for Samsung to stick with the popular Galaxy S7 Edge design for the Note 7 and that included waterproofing, so expect to get that here too.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 screen
- 5.7 or 5.8 inches
- Curved screen
- Always-on display
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 screen is said to be large and curvy, with a 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display, according to phone leaks expert Evan Blass. That’s our best guess, too.
We also heard similar rumors from another Weibo post, which claimed the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will have a 5.8-inch screen in both curved and flat varieties. In fact it could be bigger still, as a listing on Indian import site Zauba puts it at 6 inches.
That seems like a literal stretch, but one thing is certain: Everything we’re seeing says it’ll be big.
It’s also going to fill that screen space with at least a QHD resolution, given that the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 uses a Quad HD display already.
But our money is on a 5.7-inch screen in the end. After all, the Samsung Gear VR might not be able to fit anything bigger, unless Samsung is shaving off .2 inches from the already-thin Note 5 inner bezel.
Curves are coming
Not only will the Note 7 be big, but almost certainly curved, as a teaser leaked to PhoneArena shows just such a display and also suggests that you’ll be able to write on the edge. The image could easily be fake, but a Samsung patent for exactly that has also been unearthed by SamMobile, so it’s more than possible.
Writing or no writing, the screen, in at least one version of the phone, will likely be curved though, as we’ve also now seen case shots, posted on MobileFun, which show a curved display.
It was starting to look like there might not be a flat version at all, but two recent leaks suggest one could still be in the works, with photos showing a flat screen prototype. Of course this could have just been something Samsung was toying with and decided against, especially as most leaks still refer to a curved version.
An always-on display was one of the major features of the Samsung Galaxy S7, and unsurprisingly it looks like it’s making a return for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, with a leaked image showing the screen in action.
Hopefully it’s going to be improved this time around, with more useful information and less drain on the battery.
TechRadar’s take: The Note 7 will likely have a 5.7-inch curved screen with an always-on display and no flat model. The resolution will probably stay at QHD.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 iris scanner
It looks very likely that the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will have a big new feature, namely an eye-catching iris scanner.
Iris scanning is a feature we’ve seen before in Android phones like the ZTE Grand S3 and Windows 10 Mobile phones like the Microsoft Lumia 950.
It’s a neat party trick, but not very practical in these two cases. We’ll have to see where Samsung takes the technology on August 2. Remember, the LG G5 was tipped to have the same feature, but an iris scanner never materialized (not even in modular attachment form).
Samsung has also released a tablet packing an iris scanner- though only in India and aimed at government and enterprises rather than consumers.
We reported on some product documentation that recently surfaced stating that the iris scanner will not work properly for those who wear glasses, or contact lenses when used in a dimly lit environment. It may also not work properly in bright sunlight or if the phone isn’t held steady, according to some leaked screenshots.
TechRadar’s take: The evidence strongly points to the presence of an iris scanner on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, but it will probably still have a fingerprint scanner too.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 camera and battery
- A 12MP camera
- Infrared autofocus
- A long-lasting battery
A tipster on Weibo claims the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will have a 12MP camera with Super OIS Plus, though we’d always advise taking Weibo posts with a pinch of salt. Then again, GSM Helpdesk also claims we’ll get a 12MP camera, as does an import listing on Zauba, so it’s looking like it’s probably true, especially as the Galaxy S7 has the same spec snapper.
A shot supposedly showing the back of the Note 7 features a seemingly identical camera design to the Galaxy S7, complete with a slightly raised lens, so this also suggests it will have the same spec camera as the S7.
While most camera rumors are pointing to a 12MP lens, PhotoRumors claims Samsung is working on a new sensor that will be between 18MP and 24MP and have a wide f/1.4 aperture, which should allow it to take in a lot of light.
Even if Samsung is working on such a sensor that doesn’t mean it will debut on the Galaxy Note 7, but it’s a possibility.
Whatever spec camera we get it may have an infrared autofocus for speedy focusing according to a post on Weibo.
Plenty of juice
The same post claims that it will have a huge 4,200mAh battery, which would be far larger than the 3,000mAh juice pack in the Galaxy Note 5 and slightly bigger than the 4,000mAh it had previously been rumored to be.
But don’t get too excited, as more recent rumors, this time from blogger Eldar Murtazin, suggest the battery might just be 3,600mAh. That’s still bigger than the Note 5′s battery, but it’s the same size as the one in the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, which has a smaller 5.5-inch screen to drive.
Despite that though, Murtazin claims it can play up to 20.5 hours of video at maximum screen brightness. In our tests the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge lasted around 10.5 hours doing the same and that was a strong result compared to most smartphones, so if the Note 7 can almost double it we could be looking at one of the longest-lasting handsets around.
But we’d take this with a pinch of salt, especially as it’s not clear how the phone would achieve this remarkable feat.
We’ve even heard that there might just be a 3,500mAh battery in the Galaxy Note 7, which would be smaller than the Galaxy S7 Edge. As such we’d say that’s unlikely, but if Samsung really has found a way to maximize the efficiency of it a juice pack of that size could still have a lot of life.
TechRadar’s take: A 12MP camera seems likely. Samsung’s approach to battery sizes is unpredictable, but the Note 7 should have room for a sizeable juice pack, so 4,000mAh or more would make sense.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 OS and power
- Loads of RAM
- 256GB of storage
- A speedy Snapdragon 823 chip
There’s talk out of China that the Galaxy Note 7 will use a 2.6GHz quad-core Snapdragon 823 chip, which is so new it hasn’t even been announced yet. That chip, if the rumors are right, will essentially be a slightly faster version of the Snapdragon 820, albeit with support for up to 8GB of RAM.
Though given that the Snapdragon 820 already allows for 6GB that doesn’t mean Samsung will stick that much in its next phablet, but 6GB seems likely and indeed 6GB has been rumored and is now looking ever more likely, as Samsung has announced its own 6GB RAM chip. However, we’ve recently reported on the leaked evidence that the Note 7 will only contain 4GB RAM.
Various tipsters on Weibo have also claimed the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will have a Snapdragon 823 chip, along with 64GB, 128GB and perhaps even 256GB of storage. It would almost certainly be the first handset out there with Qualcomm’s latest chipset.
It’s also possible that the Note 7 will sport the newly announced Snapdragon 821 processor, which is supposedly 10% faster than the Snapdragon 820. The Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe is doing just that (claiming the "world’s first" title that Samsung loves so much) by upgrading to the 821 chip.
But recent benchmarks have suggested it might be no more powerful than the Samsung Galaxy S7, with a Snapdragon 820 chip and 4GB of RAM. It’s now been benchmarked with that twice. Or, oddly, it might even just have 3GB of RAM and a middling Exynos processor. We’d take these listings, especially that last one, with a huge helping of salt though.
One good thing that’s mentioned by one of them is Android Nougat, but that too seems unlikely. The Galaxy Note 7 release date is said to be August 2, so it’ll likely miss out on Android 7 and instead run Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
However, the good news is that Samsung is said to be experimenting with a new TouchWiz interface that looks cleaner than the already-spruced-up S7 menu system. You can see a brief view of it in action in the leaked screenshots above and in a video shared by MobileFunTV, though as always, this could be a fake and it doesn’t reveal much other than the presence of TouchWiz.
TechRadar’s take: Samsung always dials up the power with its Note handsets, so expect at least the Snapdragon 821 (or possibly a similarly fast Exynos chip in some regions) coupled with 6GB of RAM. 256GB of storage is unlikely though given that the Galaxy S7 has just 32GB, but 64GB or 128GB wouldn’t be surprising.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 S Pen
- Write underwater
- Write on the edge
The S Pen is one of the standout features of Samsung’s Galaxy Note range and this year it’s rumored that Samsung is adding the ability to use if when the screen is wet, as well as allowing you to write on the curved screen edges.
Otherwise it so far looks much the same as the S Pen on the Galaxy Note 5, as you can see in the leaked render above, though we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s more sensitive and has other hidden features.
TechRadar’s take: Samsung is bound to add more features or at least more sensitivity to the S Pen, though the specific rumors about it so far lack much evidence.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 other features
- USB Type-C
- A laptop dock
Patently Mobile has uncovered a patent which points to a Samsung phablet device being used to power a laptop. Patents aren’t products, but it’s within the realms of possibility that Samsung could launch a laptop dock as an optional accessory for the Galaxy Note 7. With no other rumors pointing in that direction though it’s looking unlikely.
Other rumors include talk of a USB Type-C connector, which seems a likely bet. It’ll be a way for the company to almost soft launch the new connector before it hits its next flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S8.
We’ve also now seen images and even a video of a USB-C cable supposedly designed for the Galaxy Note 7, plus there’s a hint of a new Gear VR, which could suggest Samsung is making one with a new connection.
TechRadar’s take: USB-C would make sense and the evidence for it is there, but that laptop dock is very, very unlikely.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 cost
- A higher price than the S7 Edge
Here’s the big unknown about this big phone: How much will the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 cost? There are very few concrete rumors about the price right now.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 price in the US may be around US$250 on contract or US$700 unlocked. Recently, Samsung has delayed its unlocked phones for about four months, giving carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile a chance to sell them on contract first.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 UK price, since we believe the phone is coming out in all of Europe, could be between £600 and £760. That was the suspected price range for the Note 5 that never happened. Of course, the fluctuating British Pound could upend that historical trend. In Australia, the range is more like AU$940 – $1,149.
The only pricing leak so far is a rumor from SamMobile that the Galaxy Note 7 will cost €849 in Europe, which is €50 more than the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge originally retailed for. That translates to US$800/£700/AU$1,350.
Whatever the exact price ends up being, expect to pay a lot. It only makes sense, as it’ll be bigger and more powerful than the S7 Edge.
TechRadar’s take: With a larger screen and more power the Note 7 is sure to cost more than the Galaxy S7 Edge, so roughly US$800/£700/AU$1,350 seems plausible.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 competition
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is going to be pitted against some very tough competition. From its own camp there’s the powerful Samsung Galaxy S7 with a 5.1-inch display, and then there’s the 5.5-inch Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, which is basically a phablet already.
Apple has the iPhone 6S Plus at the moment, but around the time of the Note 7′s launch we’ll probably also get an iPhone 7 Plus, which is rumored to have another 5.5-inch display and high-end features like a dual-lens camera.
- Check out everything we know about the iPhone 7 Plus
Then there’s the LG G5, HTC 10 and many other phones that will prove tough competition for the Galaxy Note 7 when it’s officially announced. Outliers like the ZTE Axon 7 and OnePlus 3 offer many of the same specs for a cheaper price.
There’s sure to be a lot more Samsung Galaxy Note 7 news coming in between now and launch, so we’ll keep you updated on all the credible rumors and see if they sink or swim come August 2.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7: What we want to see
1. A microSD card slot
With the Galaxy Note 5 Samsung finally gave us a phablet that looked as premium as it was, but that sandwich of metal and glass lost its microSD card slot.
No microSD card slot means significant limits on how much media you can stick on the phone and a phablet more than any other type of handset is built for media, so it was a real shame.
The good news is that Samsung reinstated the card slot for the Galaxy S7, so it’s likely to put one in the Galaxy Note 7 too. We certainly hope it does.
2. A removable battery
Another casualty of the move to premium materials was a removable juice pack. This one might be harder to fix without a drastic redesign of the hardware and with a sealed battery in the Samsung Galaxy S7 too we’re not optimistic about getting a removable one in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
But it would be nice if we did. A removable battery means any concerns about longevity can be muted by carrying a spare and, perhaps more importantly, if and when your battery starts to wear out you can just buy a new one, rather than buying a whole new phone.
3. A sharper screen
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is almost pin sharp with its QHD display. But smaller phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7 also have a QHD screen, so with the extra space on the Note it could arguably benefit from some extra pixels.
Even if it’s overkill for general viewing it would be enormously useful for any VR explorers. The Gear VR is a nice bit of kit, but it’s held back by a lack of visual fidelity.
4. More compelling S Pen features
One of the main ways in which the Note range differentiates itself from other phablets is the inclusion of a stylus. Yet Samsung’s S Pen could stand to be more compelling.
It’s useful, but rarely as handy as an actual notepad would be. Solving that problem may not be easy, but hopefully Samsung’s thinking about it for the Galaxy Note 7, because the S Pen needs to continue to evolve if it’s going to be much more than a gimmick.
5. A waterproof build
Knowing your phone is water resistant can be enormously reassuring, so hopefully the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will be. It’s looking likely, given that the Samsung Galaxy S7 is and that rumors suggest it will be.
But we don’t want Samsung to just recycle features from the S7. The Note 7 will be a newer handset, so we want newer, better things, like full waterproofing, rather than just water resistance. We don’t just want to take the Galaxy Note 7 out in the rain, we also want to take it on a deep dive into salt water. Or at least we want to have the option to.
6. A new standout feature
Speaking of new things, it would be great to see a truly new feature in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Something that people can really get excited about beyond the obligatory spec bump.
It’s rumored that it might have an iris scanner, so that would be something, but the Microsoft Lumia 950 already has one of them. Ideally we want the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to go where no phone has gone before and have a truly revolutionary feature of some kind.
7. Tweaks to TouchWiz
TouchWiz gets better every year, but it’s still a poor substitute for stock Android. Some of the features are nice, such as the S Pen functionality we get with the Note, but we could do without the bloat and with a cleaner, more minimalist and more Material design inspired appearance.
8. A bigger screen
Now that non-phablets like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge are stretching to 5.5 inches there’s room for the Note 7 to grow beyond 5.7 inches.
We don’t want it to get massively bigger, otherwise we might as well just be using a tablet, but we wouldn’t say no to an extra 0.1 or 0.2 of an inch. Rumors suggest we might just get that too, with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 supposedly stretching to 5.8 inches.
9. A dual-lens camera
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 already has a great snapper. In fact, it uses the same impressive 16MP sensor as the Samsung Galaxy S6.
But the Samsung Galaxy S7 has it beat with a 12MP camera that offers superior low-light performance. It’s rumored that the Galaxy Note 7 will also have a 12MP snapper, complete with Super OIS Plus.
But while a similar camera to the S7 would be a good start we’d like to see it combined with a second wide-angle lens, like the LG G5 has, giving users a choice of which lens to use in any given situation.
10. A bigger battery
A removable battery would be nice, but it’s not likely. So at the very least we want the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to have a larger one. At 3000mAh the juice pack in the Note 5 is actually quite small for a phone of its size- it’s the same size as the battery in the 5.1-inch Galaxy S7 and far smaller than the 3600mAh one in the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
It would be madness for Samsung to put a smaller battery in the Note 7 than the S7 Edge, so we’d expect it will grow to at least 3600mAh, but hopefully it will be larger still and thankfully the rumors suggest it will.