Samsung has had a good start to 2016 in the smartphone market, with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge being both critically and commercially well-received. Now it wants to keep that momentum up with the launch of its third flagship smartphone of the year: a new Galaxy Note model.
Expected to launch in New York on Aug. 2, according to numerous reports, the new smartphone will come along over a month ahead of Apple’s big-screen smartphone for 2016, the iPhone 7 Plus, which Samsung hopes will give it a big advantage over its fiercest rival.
Here are the seven things you need to know about Samsung’s new smartphone:
1. This Isn’t the Note 6
As night follows day, the Galaxy Note 6 follows the Galaxy Note 5, just as it followed the Galaxy Note 4 — and, well, the picture is clear. Except, that is, this time around: Samsung is widely thought to be launching the Galaxy Note 7 next month, completely skipping the Galaxy Note 6.
The reason? Nothing other than wanting to get its ducks in a row and have all of its flagship devices on the same number. It makes sense from a marketing point of view, where a Galaxy Note 6 may have seemed lagging compared to the Galaxy S7 in terms of features.
2. It’s Going to be Big
While Samsung will be hoping the new smartphone is big in terms of sales, physically the Galaxy Note 7 is also going to grow. The Galaxy Note 5 features a 5.7-inch screen, a size a lot of people feel is already big enough, but the South Korean giant is now rumored to be increasing the screen of the Galaxy Note 7 to 5.8-inches.
However, the increased size is likely to be offset by the expected dual curved screen which the new phone is set to incorporate. In terms of resolution, the company will continue to lead the pack with a 2K display, which is about as good as it gets on smartphones these days — Sony's ridiculous 4K smartphone aside, of course.
While Sony pioneered waterproofing on high-end smarpthones, it did so with flaps, which were annoying and inconvenient. Samsung has been using a special coating around ports and the headphone jack in recent years to waterproof its Galaxy S range, and now its set to bring that to the Note range for the first time.
This is a big deal, as the S Pen stylus, which is incorporated into the Galaxy Note range, creates a large hole for water to flood in, and if Samsung has successfully solved this problem it will be a significant breakthrough.
4. Iris Scanner
Samsung has in the past been accused of incorporating features just for the sake of it — the heart rate monitor on the rear of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S7 is a case in point.
However, if Samsung has managed to get an iris scanner into the Galaxy Note 7, it could prove really useful as a new biometric security measure that many believe will be better (faster and more accurate) than the fingerprint sensors which have been in use for several years already.
5. It Will Have a Headphone Jack
Everyone is talking about Apple’s reported move to eliminate the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 but, despite Samsung being continually accused of copying Apple, there is no indication that Samsung will get rid of the headphone jack on the Galaxy Note 7.
Where Samsung is making a port change is with the microUSB port.
Many smartphone manufacturers have already moved one the new USB-C standard, but it was a mild surprise this year when Samsung’s Galaxy S7 retained the microUSB port (the reason why can be discovered below). The Note 7 however is set to move to the new standard which promises faster data transfers and quicker charging.
7. New Gear VR
One of the reasons Samsung is thought to have stuck with the microUSB port on the Galaxy S7 was because it would allow it to work with the popular Gear VR headset, which uses the port to connect with the phone.
Therefore, with the expected move to USB-C, the Galaxy Note 7 won’t work with the original VR headset. This could mean that, alongside the new smartphone, we could see a new Gear VR model in August. Samsung has already said it is working on a standalone virtual reality headset that doesn’t require you to use your smartphone’s screen, but it could be a bit early to see that model.