Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Galaxy Note 5: What's the difference?

Samsung today launched the Galaxy Note 7, a brilliantly-designed phablet with an S-Pen to let you perform a range of tasks alongside the usual work, play and stream that you would otherwise use your smartphone for.

We take a look at how the Galaxy Note 7 compares with its predecessor and if it really brings in as many new capabilities to justify its price.

Look and feel

While Samsung has decided to retain the 5.7-inch display size, the display on the Galaxy Note 7 looks a lot sleeker than the one on the Note 5 as it curves around the edges to give the phablet a smoother finish and an immersive feel instead of the usual sharp edges.

Like in the Galaxy Note 5, the metal back also curves around the edges to meet the display and the curves on both sides, both front and back, will not be harsh on your fingers if you were to hold the phone for long hours.

Even though Galaxy Note 7 brings in a display which curves around the edges, the curves aren't as pronounced as on the Galaxy Note Edge whose display curved on its left and featured widgets and shortcuts to the camera, e-mail, notifications and a few other folders. If you've used the Galaxy Note 4 or the Galaxy Note Edge, you find the same display size and the same form factor but a little more comfortable-to-hold phablet in Galaxy Note 7.

The S Pen

While it isn't hard to tell without extensive usage if the S Pen with the Galaxy Note 7 is more intuitive and easy to use than the one in Galaxy Note 5, the new S Pen has arrived with several new features to let you work it with greater ease than ever before.

First of all, the S Pen comes with an IP 68 dust and waterproof rating. So if you happen to dunk it in a bucket of water, you wouldn't need to worry. Just wipe it and it is ready to use again.

The S-Pen also comes with a new Glance feature which will enable you to switch between apps by placing your it over any app.

The new Magnify feature also helps in magnifying any part of the display by simply hovering the S-Pen over a particular area. What's more, if you hover your S Pen over any word written in a foreign language, it will translate it to your preferred language using the new Translate feature. All these capabilities were not present with the S Pen that accompanied the Galaxy Note 5 or previous versions.

Specifications

Just like successive versions of smartphones arrive every year with stronger specifications than their predecessors, the Galaxy Note 7 comes with specifications that are much more solid than the ones on the Note 5. While Samsung has done away with the 32GB storage version, selling the device with 64GB of fixed storage, it has also, unlike in the Galaxy Note 5, included a MicroSD slot for users to add more files, pictures and videos to their heart's content.

Samsung has upgraded the chipset from the Exynos 7420 to the new Exynos 8890 processor which also powers the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones. The company has also upgraded its battery capacity from 3,000 mAh in Galaxy Note 5 to an impressive 3,500 mAh in the new one, even though it has decided to retain 4GB of RAM instead of bringing in a 6GB one as rumoured before.

Instead of featuring a high resolution 16MP camera like the Galaxy Note 5, Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 comes with a 12MP rear camera just like the ones in Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. However, the front camera remains the same in both generations of Note devices in terms of resolution.

Security

Unlike just the fingerprint sensor in Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy Note 7 offers a two-way authentication mechanism to keep your data secure. Apart from a fingerprint scanner, it is the first Note device to launch with an Iris scanner which is considered more secure than the former. Using the Iris scanner, not only will you be able to unlock the phone but will also be able to authorise NFC payments.

Featuring Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow OS, Galaxy Note 7 also comes with a range of new security updates which were also added to the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones recently to curb a range of vulnerabilities, including a critical error which allows malicious programmes to invade a handset's shared memory through the Jack audio service.

Verdict

Given that the Galaxy Note 5 was a splendid device, there wasn't much scope for Samsung to upgrade the device than bringing in a few patches here and there to make it even more user-friendly. Towards this end, Samsung has made the Galaxy Note 7 much smoother to hold and has also included an Iris scanner to make it even more secure than previous Note devices.

What has impressed us most is the fact that we get to use a MicroSD slot unlike in Galaxy Note 5, make use of advanced graphics in the phone for an amazing VR experience and use it for much longer on a single charge thanks to a powerful battery.

Even though the display size and resolution, front camera resolution and RAM remain the same, the Galaxy Note 7 will be a much faster and easier to use device for both home and business users compared to the Galaxy Note 5.

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