Notebookcheck

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Smartphone Review

Daniel Schmidt (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 09/20/2016

Explosive combination. The Note is finally available in Europe again. The launch, however, is overshadowed by technical problems causing a world-wide recall. We still had a look at the Galaxy Note 7.

For the original German review, see here.

Samsung uses the Galaxy Note (SM-N930F) to correct its strategy from the previous year and once again offers the smartphone in Europe. Most of the changes compared to the Note 5 are in the details, but the jump from the Note 4 or Note Edge is much greater.

The 4 GB of memory has not changed compared to the predecessor, nor have the size and the resolution of the panel. However, the display now has two edges similar to the Galaxy S7 Edge. The internal storage capacity is doubled to 64 GB and the battery capacity has increased by 500 mAh, while the device is actually slightly lighter. The battery also turns out to be the biggest problem of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, since it resulted in a world-wide recall of all devices due to several explosions (we reported). The reason seems to be a problem during the manufacturing of the battery. Anode and cathode of faulty products could come in contact with each other, which result in an overheating battery. As a result, Samsung has asked all customers to send in their devices. This happens even via push notification on the smartphone. We recommend users to follow this request if you have an early model. The replacement of the device is certainly an inconvenient process, but this technical issue, which is supposed to affect approximately 0.1% of the devices, will not have an effect on the rating.

The specification sheet of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 leaves a good impression. The Koreans offer the best that is  currently available and put it into a big smartphone. This is also the reason why many parts of the hardware are reminiscent of the Galaxy S7 series from the manufacturer, but the screen of the Note 7 is larger and there is once again an S-Pen. Another aspect that has increased is the price. Samsung has priced the phablet at 849 Euros (~$945), which is 150 Euros (~$167) more than the predecessor.

There is no real competitor for the Note 7, only the LG Stylus 2 has a similar size with an integrated stylus, but the technical specifications are miles away from the Note 7. We therefore primarily use high-end smartphones with large screens such as the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL, the Google Nexus 6P, the LG V10, the Apple iPhone 6s Plus and the Huawei Mate 8.

Update 10.10.2016: Due to the ongoing problems with the battery of the Note 7 (see here for more info) we decided to remove our rating. We recommend to take part in Samsungs exchange programm.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (Galaxy Note Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
4096 MB 
, LPDDR4
Display
5.7 inch 16:9, 2560x1440 pixel 515 PPI, Touch Display, native pen support, Dual Edge Super AMOLED, Gorilla Glass 5, HDR, glossy: yes
Storage
64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash, 64 GB 
, 52.4 GB free
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm headphone jack, Card Reader: MicroSD up to 256 GB (SDHC, SDXC), 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Barometer, Fingerprint scanner, Gyroscope, geomagnetic sensor, Hall sensor, Heart rate monitor, Iris scanner, Proximity, RGB Light Sensor , Ant+, BeiDou, Galileo
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2, GSM/GPRS/Edge (850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz), UMTS/HSPA+ (Bands 1, 2, 4, 5 and 8), LTE Cat. 9 (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28 (all FDD) as well as bands 38, 39, 40 and 41 (all TDD)), LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7.9 x 153.5 x 73.9 ( = 0.31 x 6.04 x 2.91 in)
Battery
3500 mAh Lithium-Ion, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 26 h
Operating System
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Camera
Primary Camera: 12 MPix Dual-Pixel autofocus, aperture f/1.7, optic image stabilization (OIS)
Secondary Camera: 5 MPix additional 3.7 MP infrared sensor, which is used as Iris scanner
Additional features
Speakers: Mono speaker, Keyboard: virtual, two OTG adapters, power adapter, USB 2.0 cable, headset, quick-start guide, warranty information, S Pen, Samsung Apps, Edge Launcher, Grace UI, 24 Months Warranty, USB Type-C, IP68 protection, SAR head: 0.249 W/kg, Body SAR: 1.280 W/kg, fanless
Weight
170 g ( = 6 oz / 0.37 pounds), Power Supply: 60 g ( = 2.12 oz / 0.13 pounds)
Price
849 Euro

 

Case

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The case of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 leaves a very good impression and is available in the colors Black-Onyx, Blue-Coral and Silver-Titanium. At 7.9 millimeters (~0.3 in), it is slightly slimmer than the Note 5 (8.5 mm/~0.33 in) and the camera is only protruding by 0.6 millimeters (~0.02 in) from the chassis. Samsung uses a combination of metal and glass, the latter being the new Corning Gorilla Glass 5. We cannot confirm rumors about quicker scratching of the glass. The surface does not seem to be prone to scratches, but only a long-term use will tell the truth. The glass on the other hand is a real magnet for fingerprints, which are easily visible on our black test model. It is, however, pretty easy to clean the surface with a cloth.

The build quality is on a very high level. Most of the gaps are tight and even, and they are only slightly wider at the corners between the display glass and the frame, so these places collect some dirt. Twisting attempts are not an issue for the device, and we could only hear some minor creaking sounds from inside the phablet. Because of the OLED panel, there are no ripples on the screen even under pressure.

Samsung could have put a bit more effort into the card tray, which can accommodate a Nano-SIM and a microSD-card. It sits flush with the rest of the chassis, but is made of plastic and does not appear to be very sturdy. The S-Pen on the other hand is well integrated into the case and jumps slightly out when you push it, so you can easily take it out. Samsung seems to have listened to the criticism for the predecessor, because it is not possible to insert the pen the wrong way this time.

Another new feature is the IP68 certification, which describes protection against water and dust. This means that the device is waterproof for up to 30 minutes in a water depth of 1.5 meters (~5 ft) if it is properly sealed. The latter primarily concerns the card tray. The pen does not have to be inserted to ensure dust and water protection.

Overall, both the design and the tactile feeling of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 are very good. Only minor flaws between the display and the frame as well as the slightly clattery card slot cause some criticism.

Size Comparison

Connectivity

The feature list of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is a highlight and does not leave a lot to be desired. Besides NFC and the current Bluetooth 4.2, wireless communications to fitness devices can also be established via Ant+. Content can be wirelessly transferred to monitors via Miracast, which worked well in combination with an Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Finally, the USB port has a Type-C connector. It is a USB 3.1 (Gen. 1) port, which is potentially much faster. Unfortunately, Samsung ships the phablet with only a USB 2.0 data cable. The port also does not support wired picture transfers, neither via MHL, SlimPort, nor DisplayPort. At least USB-OTG is available, so external storage drives or input devices can be easily attached to the Note 7.

The microSD card reader supports all common standards, which are cards with a capacity of up to 256 GB as of this writing. As with the S7-series, it is not possible to format it as an internal storage or transfer apps to the memory card.

The infrared transmitter is not available on the Note 7 and there is no FM radio, either. On the other hand, you will find a number of sensors at the back, including a heart rate monitor, which can once again also be used as a camera trigger.

Left: Volume rocker
Left: Volume rocker
Top: Microphone, card slot
Top: Microphone, card slot
Right: Power button
Right: Power button
Bottom: Audio, USB, microphone, speaker, S-Pen
Bottom: Audio, USB, microphone, speaker, S-Pen

Software

The operating system is Google's Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Samsung's new Grace user interface, which is being referred to as TouchWiz 2015 on the website. Most changes are visible in the settings, which have been completely reworked and newly arranged for the Galaxy Note 7 so it will take some time to get used. The new UI leaves a slightly more grown up impression and is not quite as colorful as before. The visuals basic functions such as the Edge bar or Air Command have not changed. Samsung KNOX is supposed to increase the security.

We can also find the familiar Samsung apps on the phablet that we already know from the Galaxy S7. Samsung Notes is not preloaded and needs to be downloaded from the Galaxy Store first. However, there are some bloat wares on the device. In addition to some common social networking applications, there are also some apps from Microsoft. Not all of them can be completely removed, but only deactivated. The Game Launcher and some Samsung Apps are also preloaded.

An update to Android 7.0 Nougat is being prepared and expected in the first quarter of 2017.

Communication and GPS

Mobile Internet connections on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 can be established via HSPA+ (up to 42 Mbps downstream) or the more modern LTE Cat. 9 (up to 450 Mbps downstream and 150 Mbps upstream). Many frequencies are covered and frequent travelers should not have any problems. The signal quality was inconspicuous in the metropolitan networks of O2 and Vodafone.

The specifications of the WLAN module meet the current standards with support for the IEEE 802.11 standards a/b/g/n/ac in 2.4 as well as 5.0 GHz networks. MU-MIMO is supported as well. This means that in theory the transfer rates should be higher, but the Galaxy Note 7 is rather disappointing in our test. The transfer rates between the phablet and our reference router Linksys EA 8500 are stable, but the performance is below expectations. The receiving performance is surprisingly slow at 113 MB/s on average, while the receiving speed is okay. It is possible Samsung will improve the situation with a patch.

Receive 5 GHz
Receive 5 GHz
Send 5 GHz
Send 5 GHz
Networking
iperf Server (receive) TCP 1 m
Acer Liquid Jade Primo
Adreno 418, 808 MSM8992, 32 GB eMMC Flash
551 MBit/s ∼100% +91%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
303 MBit/s ∼55% +5%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
288 MBit/s ∼52%
OnePlus 3
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
286 MBit/s ∼52% -1%
iperf Client (transmit) TCP 1 m
Acer Liquid Jade Primo
Adreno 418, 808 MSM8992, 32 GB eMMC Flash
451 MBit/s ∼100% +299%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
290 MBit/s ∼64% +157%
OnePlus 3
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
256 MBit/s ∼57% +127%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
113 MBit/s ∼25%
GPS Test: Indoors
GPS Test: Indoors
GPS Test: Outdoors
GPS Test: Outdoors

Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 basically uses anything flying over our heads to locate its position: GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou and Galileo. The latter is not complete yet and is still being tested, but the support for the European satellite network does at least offer a certain security for the future. The sat fix is also quick indoors and very accurate at 4 meters (~13 ft), which is not improved outdoors.

To get a better idea of the performance of the GPS module, we took the Note 7 on a small bicycle tour and compared the results with the bicycle navigation device Garmin Edge 500. The deviations are not huge at 320 meters (~350 yd) on the 12.17 km (~7.9 mi) long track, but other smartphones perform better. While the course is still pretty accurate at the beginning of the tour, it drops a bit in the area of the bridge. The reason is the rather long distance between the locations. The deviation at the bridge is also the biggest during the whole tour. The Note 7 once again takes a similar shortcut while we rode under a train bridge. Overall, the GPS performance of the phablet is still entirely sufficient for daily tasks.

Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Telephone and Voice Quality

The Phone app on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is very similar to Google's default application with minimal design modifications.

The voice quality of the phablet is good when it is held against the ear, but there is a steady murmur from the ear piece. Our voice on the other hand was easy to understand by our call partner. A movie in the background was always audible to our call partner, but it was muffled. The speaker works well. There are some echoes, but it is usable in quiet environments. The provided headset sounds decent, but the microphone is not that great and sometimes it was hard for our call partner to hear us clearly.

Overall, a good performance in terms of voice quality, but it could be slightly better for a high-end product.

Cameras

Picture with the front camera
Picture with the front camera

Samsung uses the excellent camera technology from the Galaxy S7 models. The front camera has a 5 MP sensor with an aperture of f/1.7, which has an auto HDR as well as a Beauty mode and takes comparatively good pictures.

The main camera has a 12 MP sensor and offers numerous features that we have already had a closer look at in the review of the Galaxy S7 Edge. The main camera also has a wide aperture of f/1.7 and 1.4 µm pixels, which promise high light sensitivity. Settings can be adjusted in the Pro mode, and RAW pictures are also possible. The autofocus is very fast and we really like the automatic HDR mode. As with the S7, the sensor captures a lot of light, which results in a lot of details in the dark. This does affect the quality of the pictures though, but this is only noticeable at the full picture size. You can manage better results in the manual mode.

The quality is on a comparatively high level and is among the best you can currently get in a smartphone. Low-light pictures and HDR shots in particular are in a class of their own. The differences compared to the rivals are not that big in daylight. The quality of the Huawei P9 in particular is quite high in good lighting conditions, so it is basically a matter of taste. The dynamic range of the Note 7 is slightly higher though and the pictures are a little sharper.

Videos can be recorded at up to 2160p at 30 frames per second, so nothing has changed compared to the S7 in this respect.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
ColorChecker Passport: The reference color is displayed in the lower half
ColorChecker Passport: The reference color is displayed in the lower half

We also check the camera performance of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 under controlled lighting conditions and the behavior is identical to that of the similarly equipped Galaxy S7 Edge. Most colors on the ColorChecker Passport are oversaturated to ensure more brilliant pictures, and the white balance is comparatively warm. This suits the pictures pretty well though.

We also took a picture of the test chart under identical conditions. The result is very sharp and we can only see some blur towards the edges, but this is completely normal.

Accessories and Warranty

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 comes with some accessories. Besides a modular power adapter (9 V, 1.67 A or 5 V, 2 A, respectively), you get a corresponding USB cable. It can be used to charge the device as well as data transfers with other devices, but unfortunately it supports only the 2.0 standard. There is also an adapter from USB Type-C to Type-A as well as Type-C to Micro-USB. A headset, a SIM tool and a small tool to change the S-Pen tips including five replacement tips are also included. The usual service brochures with a quick-start guide, warranty information and security information are also included.

There are numerous optional accessories for the Galaxy Note 7, starting with protective cases, better headphones with or without cables, charging adapters and stations, attachable keyboards, camera lenses up to external devices or attachable battery packs.

The warranty for the device is 24 months, two months for the battery and 6 months for the other accessories.

Input Devices and Handling

The capacitive touchscreen of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 can recognize up to ten inputs simultaneously and works well in all areas. The surface is very sensitive and reacts immediately to even light inputs. The gliding capabilities are good and inputs on the edges are recognized accurately.

The physical buttons have a well-defined pressure point and leave a very sophisticated impression. Samsung has redesigned the keyboard layout without really changing anything. We liked it, but you can obviously download other keyboards from the Play Store.

Samsung has implemented the usual fingerprint scanner for the security. It is still integrated into the Home button and  as usual works well. The Iris scanner is a new addition, which is supposed to improve the security even further. It works pretty reliably and well in practice as long as the user does not wear glasses or contact lenses. It is also unfortunate that you can only store one Iris profile, so this feature does not offer a lot of value for many users.

Even though it is mandatory for the Note series, the S-Pen is the highlight of the device. It does not need its own battery and is extremely slim and light. If you take it out of the device, the so called Air Command will pop up on the screen with corresponding actions for the user. Besides the simple creation of notes, you can also copy or mark text passages, mark screenshots or even translate texts. The pen has only to hover above the word for the latter and a translation in the selected languages will pop up. This works even when the camera module is active, but requires some practice. The function “Overview" can reduce the size of an app and it will hover as an additional icon above the picture content, and can be enlarged if necessary, to make a note, for instance. Air Command can be equipped with up to six functions, which can be arranged freely. You also get a magnifier, which offers a 4x zoom.

The S-Pen is now also resistant against water to ensure better handling of the Note 7 in the rain. Another handy feature is the possibility to make a note without even activating the smartphone. You just have to take out the pen and write on the screen; the note can also be attached to the always-on display. The tip of the S-Pen is now much thinner and is only 0.7 millimeters (~0.03 in) thick. The pressure levels were doubled to 4096 compared to the predecessor. The S-Pen is therefore a powerful tool, which is much more than a conventional input pen and has been well refined.

Display

Subpixel array
Subpixel array

The panel of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is just as big as the predecessor at 5.7 inches and the resolution is also identical. 2560x1440 pixels result in 515 PPI and therefore extremely sharp pictures. Unlike the Note 5, however, the display of the test model also has the rounded edges at both sides, but they are not as pronounced as the edges on the S7 Edge. It is also the first panel from Samsung that supports HDR, which is supposed to provide more details during movie playback in particular.

Samsung's own Super AMOLED display manages a great luminance and we can measure up to 554 cd/m² with the activated ambient light sensor, so it is on par with the S7 Edge. The manual setting reaches up to 352 cd/m² to avoid quick draining of the battery. When we measure the luminance with an even brightness distribution of bright and dark areas (APL 50), the Note 7 even reaches up to 686 cd/m². Thanks to the absolute black value, the resulting contrast ratio is extremely high and tends towards infinite in theory.

Only the brightness distribution of our test model is not that good at just 84%, while the S7 Edge still managed 96%. The distribution clearly shows a decrease towards the lower third of the panel. This might be caused by a production error. You can use a blue light filter for more comfortable reading in the dark. It will have to be activated/deactivated manually every time but unfortunately it cannot be controlled via the brightness sensor.

Pulse width modulation (PWM) is always difficult topic for OLED screens, so we had a closer look in the case of the Note 7. We can see display flickering at every brightness level under the oscilloscope. The manifestation is pretty different. The PWM is just measurable at the maximum luminance and is visible at a slight notch in the diagram with an almost linear amplitude curve. These notches get bigger as soon as we reduce the brightness and result in display flickering at about 60 Hz. Because of the big gaps and the low intensity of the notches, we do not consider them to be annoying. The frequency is already at 238 Hz at 90% luminance, so there can actually be problems for sensitive users.

PWM at 100% luminance
PWM at 100% luminance
PWM at 95% luminance
PWM at 95% luminance
PWM at 90% luminance
PWM at 90% luminance
PWM at minimum luminance
PWM at minimum luminance
554
cd/m²
544
cd/m²
497
cd/m²
545
cd/m²
544
cd/m²
467
cd/m²
543
cd/m²
542
cd/m²
473
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 554 cd/m² Average: 523.2 cd/m² Minimum: 1.77 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 84 %
Center on Battery: 544 cd/m²
Contrast: ∞:1 (Black: 0 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 1.9 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 1.8 | - Ø
100% sRGB (Argyll) 83.92% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.12
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Dual Edge Super AMOLED, 2560x1440, 5.7
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
Super AMOLED, 2560x1600, 5.6
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
Super AMOLED, 2560x1440, 5.7
Huawei P9 Plus
AMOLED, 1920x1080, 5.5
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
AMOLED, 2560x1440, 5.7
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.5
LG Stylus 2
IPS, 1280x720, 5.7
LG V10
Quantum-IPS, 2560x1440, 5.7
Screen
-35%
-1%
-100%
-25%
-38%
-132%
-117%
Brightness
523
474
-9%
397
-24%
366
-30%
297
-43%
560
7%
374
-28%
431
-18%
Brightness Distribution
84
94
12%
91
8%
87
4%
93
11%
91
8%
92
10%
93
11%
Black Level *
0.46
0.25
0.22
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
1.9
2.24
-18%
1.49
22%
5.1
-168%
2.67
-41%
3.55
-87%
6.1
-221%
5.18
-173%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.8
4.02
-123%
1.98
-10%
5.5
-206%
2.81
-56%
3.88
-116%
7
-289%
6.94
-286%
Gamma
2.12 113%
3.07 78%
2.19 110%
2.24 107%
2.08 115%
2.2 109%
2.25 107%
2.24 107%
CCT
6449 101%
6476 100%
6382 102%
7388 88%
6379 102%
7280 89%
8350 78%
8091 80%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
83.92
66.31
-21%
59.05
-30%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
100
99.79
0%
92.8
-7%
Contrast
1267
1480
2045

* ... smaller is better

As with other Samsung flagships, the Galaxy Note comes with an adjustable display, which will select one of the three picture profiles depending on the app. If you have a favorite, you can also set it manually in the settings.

All profiles show low DeltaE deviations, but the most accurate profile is Photo, which also has a big color gamut. The average DeltaE deviation for the grayscale is just 1.8 and all measurements stay below the target value of 3, so the deviations are not visible for the eye. The white point is also close to the ideal (6500 K) at 6449 K. Thanks to the wide color gamut, the colors in the AdobeRGB reference are also much more accurate. The average DeltaE value is very good at 1.9, even though red and green are two small outliers at 4.2. The sRGB color space is completely covered, the wider AdobeRGB reference by almost 84%.

We can notice the typical blue cast with the profile Cinema and colors are generally cooler. The profile Simple  has only a comparatively low color space coverage, but the colors are not as saturated. Overall, the panel of the Galaxy Note 7 is convincing and delivers great pictures.

Grayscale (profile: Simple, target color space: sRGB)
Grayscale (profile: Simple, target color space: sRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (profile: Simple, target color space: sRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (profile: Simple, target color space: sRGB)
ColorChecker (profile: Simple, target color space: sRGB)
ColorChecker (profile: Simple, target color space: sRGB)
ColorChecker (profile: Simple, target color space: AdobeRGB)
ColorChecker (profile: Simple, target color space: AdobeRGB)
Grayscale (profile: Cinema, target color space: sRGB)
Grayscale (profile: Cinema, target color space: sRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (profile: Cinema, target color space: sRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (profile: Cinema, target color space: sRGB)
ColorChecker (profile: Cinema, target color space: sRGB)
ColorChecker (profile: Cinema, target color space: sRGB)
ColorChecker (profile: Cinema, target color space: AdobeRGB)
ColorChecker (profile: Cinema, target color space: AdobeRGB)
Grayscale (profile: Photo, target color space: sRGB)
Grayscale (profile: Photo, target color space: sRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (profile: Photo, target color space: sRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (profile: Photo, target color space: sRGB)
ColorChecker (profile: Photo, target color space: sRGB)
ColorChecker (profile: Photo, target color space: sRGB)
ColorChecker (profile: Photo, target color space: AdobeRGB)
ColorChecker (profile: Photo, target color space: AdobeRGB)

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 also works well outdoors. Thanks to the enormous contrast and the high luminance, it is also easy to see the display content on sunny days. Only direct sunlight will result in strong reflections caused by the glass surface.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
4.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 2 ms rise
↘ 2.4 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 2 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (26.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
5.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 2.8 ms rise
↘ 2.8 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 2 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (42.4 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 59.52 Hz

The display backlight flickers at 59.52 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) .

The frequency of 59.52 Hz is very low, so the flickering may cause eyestrain and headaches after extended use.

In comparison: 54 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8499 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

The viewing angle stability of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is very good. Colors do not invert and the brightness drop is minimal from flat viewing angles. As usual, Samsung uses a Super AMOLED screen, so there is no clouding. We can still see the familiar color cast from a viewing angle of 30 degrees, which is a blueish-green and less pronounced compared to the Galaxy S7 Edge. The much gentler rounded display edges also improve the visuals since contents do not distort as much.

Viewing angles Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Viewing angles Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Performance

As with many other aspects, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 also uses many technical components from the Galaxy S7 models. This means that the new Note is also equipped with Samsung's own Exynos 8890. Its CPU has eight cores and is based on the big.LITTLE concept. It consists of four Cortex-A53 cores (up to 1.6 GHz) as well as four Samsung M1 cores. The latter can reach up to 2.6 GHz when two cores are active or up to 2.3 GHz for all four. The system is supported by a 4 GB LPDDR4 memory and the integrated graphics unit ARM Mali-T880 MP12.

The performance of the Note 7 is therefore on par with the S7 Edge, which is not a big surprise. Even though the SoC has been available on the market for almost 6 months now, it still offers the best performance you can currently get in a smartphone.

One interesting aspect is the system performance since the Note 7 is equipped with a different UI. The change actually improves the results. The PCMark result is 10% higher and AnTuTu also determines a slightly higher score. Basemark OS II does show a very good performance for the Note 7, but it is slower than the S7 Edge. PCMark delivers the most consistent results and shows that there is an improvement over the old TouchWiz UI, but the competition from Huawei, HTC, and OnePlus are still much better. Subjectively, there are also some small stutters from time to time, which is not the case for the P9 or the OnePlus 3.

AnTuTu Benchmark v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
133845 Points ∼59%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
128749 Points ∼56% -4%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
133626 Points ∼59% 0%
HTC 10
131866 Points ∼58% -1%
Huawei P9
95743 Points ∼42% -28%
OnePlus 3
142090 Points ∼62% +6%
LG Stylus 2
28232 Points ∼12% -79%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
94122 Points ∼41% -30%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
1532 Points ∼50%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2002 (min: 1539) Points ∼65% +31%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
1552 Points ∼50% +1%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
1697 Points ∼55% +11%
HTC 10
1512 Points ∼49% -1%
Huawei P9
2510 Points ∼81% +64%
OnePlus 3
1789 Points ∼58% +17%
LG Stylus 2
728 Points ∼24% -52%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
2670 Points ∼35%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
3015 (min: 2895) Points ∼39% +13%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
1471 Points ∼19% -45%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
4557 Points ∼59% +71%
HTC 10
4581 Points ∼59% +72%
Huawei P9
1080 Points ∼14% -60%
OnePlus 3
4633 Points ∼60% +74%
LG Stylus 2
42 Points ∼1% -98%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
2292 Points ∼46%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2710 (min: 2421) Points ∼54% +18%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
1488 Points ∼30% -35%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
3316 Points ∼67% +45%
HTC 10
3157 Points ∼63% +38%
Huawei P9
1237 Points ∼25% -46%
OnePlus 3
3424 Points ∼69% +49%
LG Stylus 2
53 Points ∼1% -98%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
19834 Points ∼28%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
19610 Points ∼27% -1%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
17380 Points ∼24% -12%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
12854 Points ∼18% -35%
HTC 10
20344 Points ∼28% +3%
Huawei P9
15517 Points ∼22% -22%
OnePlus 3
21771 Points ∼30% +10%
LG Stylus 2
9085 Points ∼13% -54%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
23431 Points ∼5%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
33031 Points ∼7% +41%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
26964 Points ∼6% +15%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
41615 Points ∼9% +78%
HTC 10
30061 Points ∼7% +28%
Huawei P9
21577 Points ∼5% -8%
OnePlus 3
34023 Points ∼7% +45%
LG Stylus 2
3744 Points ∼1% -84%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
22523 Points ∼11%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
28671 Points ∼15% +27%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
24020 Points ∼12% +7%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
27795 Points ∼14% +23%
HTC 10
27176 Points ∼14% +21%
Huawei P9
19854 Points ∼10% -12%
OnePlus 3
30241 Points ∼15% +34%
LG Stylus 2
4307 Points ∼2% -81%
Geekbench 4.0
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
5213 Points ∼19%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
5503 Points ∼20% +6%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
4286 Points ∼16% -18%
Huawei P9
4904 Points ∼18% -6%
OnePlus 3
4097 Points ∼15% -21%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
1865 Points ∼32%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
1840 Points ∼32% -1%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
2503 Points ∼43% +34%
Huawei P9
1755 Points ∼30% -6%
OnePlus 3
1754 Points ∼30% -6%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
80 fps ∼6%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
81 fps ∼6% +1%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
78.9 fps ∼6% -1%
HTC 10
73 fps ∼5% -9%
Huawei P9
40 fps ∼3% -50%
OnePlus 3
89 fps ∼7% +11%
LG Stylus 2
5.1 fps ∼0% -94%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
27.11 fps ∼2% -66%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
52 fps ∼5%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
51 fps ∼5% -2%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
59 fps ∼6% +13%
HTC 10
43 fps ∼4% -17%
Huawei P9
43 fps ∼4% -17%
OnePlus 3
60 fps ∼6% +15%
LG Stylus 2
4.9 fps ∼0% -91%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
18.75 fps ∼2% -64%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
38 fps ∼7%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
38 fps ∼7% 0%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
18 fps ∼3% -53%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
38.4 fps ∼7% +1%
HTC 10
39 fps ∼7% +3%
Huawei P9
18 fps ∼3% -53%
OnePlus 3
47 fps ∼9% +24%
LG Stylus 2
3.9 fps ∼1% -90%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
17.54 fps ∼3% -54%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
25 fps ∼4%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
27 fps ∼5% +8%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
11 fps ∼2% -56%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
38.4 fps ∼7% +54%
HTC 10
24 fps ∼4% -4%
Huawei P9
19 fps ∼3% -24%
OnePlus 3
46 fps ∼8% +84%
LG Stylus 2
1.8 fps ∼0% -93%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
11.81 fps ∼2% -53%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
26 fps ∼6%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
28 fps ∼7% +8%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
28 fps ∼7% +8%
HTC 10
24 fps ∼6% -8%
Huawei P9
10 fps ∼2% -62%
OnePlus 3
31 fps ∼7% +19%
LG Stylus 2
fps ∼0% -100%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
14 fps ∼3%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
15 fps ∼4% +7%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
28 fps ∼7% +100%
HTC 10
14 fps ∼3% 0%
Huawei P9
11 fps ∼3% -21%
OnePlus 3
30 fps ∼7% +114%
LG Stylus 2
fps ∼0% -100%
GFXBench 4.0
off screen Car Chase Offscreen (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
15 fps ∼4%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
15 fps ∼4% 0%
HTC 10
18 fps ∼5% +20%
Huawei P9
6.5 fps ∼2% -57%
OnePlus 3
18 fps ∼5% +20%
LG Stylus 2
fps ∼0% -100%
on screen Car Chase Onscreen (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
7.9 fps ∼0%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
7.9 fps ∼0% 0%
HTC 10
10 fps ∼0% +27%
Huawei P9
7.1 fps ∼0% -10%
OnePlus 3
18 fps ∼1% +128%
LG Stylus 2
fps ∼0% -100%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
5115 Points ∼60%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
4660 Points ∼55% -9%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
5113 Points ∼60% 0%
HTC 10
5809 Points ∼68% +14%
Huawei P9
7058 Points ∼83% +38%
OnePlus 3
7101 Points ∼83% +39%
LG Stylus 2
4030 Points ∼47% -21%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
1101 Points ∼65%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
994 Points ∼59% -10%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
998 Points ∼59% -9%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
1199 Points ∼71% +9%
HTC 10
928 Points ∼55% -16%
Huawei P9
1029 Points ∼61% -7%
OnePlus 3
1112 Points ∼66% +1%
LG Stylus 2
1008 Points ∼59% -8%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
837 Points ∼49% -24%
Graphics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
4273 Points ∼46%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2203 Points ∼24% -48%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
2476 Points ∼27% -42%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
4299 Points ∼46% +1%
HTC 10
5009 Points ∼54% +17%
Huawei P9
1583 Points ∼17% -63%
OnePlus 3
4813 Points ∼52% +13%
LG Stylus 2
324 Points ∼4% -92%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
2040 Points ∼22% -52%
Memory (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
2532 Points ∼57%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2072 Points ∼47% -18%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
1138 Points ∼26% -55%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
1124 Points ∼25% -56%
HTC 10
1772 Points ∼40% -30%
Huawei P9
2627 Points ∼59% +4%
OnePlus 3
2052 Points ∼46% -19%
LG Stylus 2
462 Points ∼10% -82%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
1945 Points ∼44% -23%
System (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
3994 Points ∼39%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
4080 Points ∼40% +2%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
3305 Points ∼32% -17%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
3925 Points ∼38% -2%
HTC 10
2806 Points ∼27% -30%
Huawei P9
3930 Points ∼38% -2%
OnePlus 3
3537 Points ∼34% -11%
LG Stylus 2
914 Points ∼9% -77%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
1386 Points ∼13% -65%
Overall (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
2626 Points ∼69%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2074 Points ∼55% -21%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
1746 Points ∼46% -34%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
2206 Points ∼58% -16%
HTC 10
2193 Points ∼58% -16%
Huawei P9
2025 Points ∼53% -23%
OnePlus 3
2496 Points ∼66% -5%
LG Stylus 2
609 Points ∼16% -77%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
1465 Points ∼39% -44%
Basemark ES 3.1 / Metal - offscreen Overall Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
714 Points ∼38%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
733 Points ∼39% +3%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
858 Points ∼46% +20%
HTC 10
608 Points ∼32% -15%
Huawei P9
328 Points ∼18% -54%
OnePlus 3
631 Points ∼34% -12%
Lightmark - 1920x1080 1080p (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
13.33 fps ∼35%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
13.31 fps ∼35% 0%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
6.6 fps ∼17% -50%
Huawei P9
7.9 fps ∼21% -41%
OnePlus 3
23.32 fps ∼61% +75%

Legend

 
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa, ARM Mali-T880 MP12, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa, ARM Mali-T880 MP12, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A Samsung Exynos 7420 Octa, ARM Mali-T760 MP8, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
 
Apple iPhone 6S Plus Apple A9, Apple A9 / PowerVR GT7600, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
 
HTC 10 Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 MSM8996, Qualcomm Adreno 530, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Huawei P9 HiSilicon Kirin 955, ARM Mali-T880 MP4, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
OnePlus 3 Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 MSM8996, Qualcomm Adreno 530, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
 
LG Stylus 2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916, Qualcomm Adreno 306, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash

We performed the browser benchmarks on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 with the preloaded browser, which is based on Chrome 44. The subjective browsing performance is fast and the benchmarks confirm our impression. The Note 7 is once again on par with the Galaxy S7 and is only beaten by the iPhone 6s Plus in all tests. The OnePlus 3 and the P9 are also slightly faster with Java tasks.

WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
177 Points ∼24%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
163 Points ∼22% -8%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
Mali-T760 MP8, 7420 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
96 Points ∼13% -46%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
190 Points ∼25% +7%
HTC 10
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
108 Points ∼14% -39%
Huawei P9
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 955, 32 GB eMMC Flash
128 Points ∼17% -28%
OnePlus 3
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
122 Points ∼16% -31%
LG Stylus 2
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
51 Points ∼7% -71%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
113 Points ∼15% -36%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
61.3 Points ∼0%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
75.12 Points ∼0% +23%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
Mali-T760 MP8, 7420 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
48.821 Points ∼0% -20%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
118.7 Points ∼0% +94%
HTC 10
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
52.1 Points ∼0% -15%
Huawei P9
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 955, 32 GB eMMC Flash
68.4 Points ∼0% +12%
OnePlus 3
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
54.4 Points ∼0% -11%
LG Stylus 2
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
17.8 Points ∼0% -71%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
46 Points ∼0% -25%
BaseMark OS II - Web (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
1101 Points ∼65%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
994 Points ∼59% -10%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
Mali-T760 MP8, 7420 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
998 Points ∼59% -9%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
1199 Points ∼71% +9%
HTC 10
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
928 Points ∼55% -16%
Huawei P9
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 955, 32 GB eMMC Flash
1029 Points ∼61% -7%
OnePlus 3
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
1112 Points ∼66% +1%
LG Stylus 2
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1008 Points ∼59% -8%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
837 Points ∼49% -24%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
12579 Points ∼25%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
13191 Points ∼27% +5%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
Mali-T760 MP8, 7420 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
7534 Points ∼15% -40%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
15967 Points ∼32% +27%
HTC 10
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
8905 Points ∼18% -29%
Huawei P9
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 955, 32 GB eMMC Flash
11783 Points ∼24% -6%
OnePlus 3
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
9155 Points ∼18% -27%
LG Stylus 2
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
2742 Points ∼6% -78%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
8059 Points ∼16% -36%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
2569.1 ms * ∼4%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
2564.1 ms * ∼4% -0%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
Mali-T760 MP8, 7420 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
5089.2 ms * ∼9% -98%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
1743 ms * ∼3% +32%
HTC 10
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
3146.3 ms * ∼5% -22%
Huawei P9
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 955, 32 GB eMMC Flash
2922.6 ms * ∼5% -14%
OnePlus 3
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
2920.7 ms * ∼5% -14%
LG Stylus 2
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
12713 ms * ∼21% -395%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
5552.9 ms * ∼9% -116%

* ... smaller is better

Samsung has equipped the Galaxy Note 7 with fast UFS 2.0 storage. The storage capacity of 64 GB is also quite generous, so it seems tolerable that apps cannot be transferred to the memory card. The internal storage is, as expected, very fast, but is still a little slower than the S7 Edge or the Xiaomi Mi 5.

We checked the microSD-card slot with our reference card, Toshiba Exceria Pro M401 (up to 95 MB/s read, 80 MB/s write). The results are good, but cannot fully utilize the possibilities of the card.

AndroBench 3-5
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
43.84 MB/s ∼50%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
50.36 MB/s ∼58% +15%
HTC 10
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
65.44 MB/s ∼75% +49%
Huawei P9
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 955, 32 GB eMMC Flash
24.83 MB/s ∼28% -43%
LG Stylus 2
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
49.73 MB/s ∼57% +13%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
72.45 MB/s ∼75%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
76.43 MB/s ∼79% +5%
HTC 10
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
83.3 MB/s ∼86% +15%
Huawei P9
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 955, 32 GB eMMC Flash
55.05 MB/s ∼57% -24%
LG Stylus 2
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
74.9 MB/s ∼78% +3%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
14.72 MB/s ∼9%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
15.79 MB/s ∼10% +7%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
Mali-T760 MP8, 7420 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
20.42 MB/s ∼12% +39%
HTC 10
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
15.89 MB/s ∼10% +8%
Huawei P9
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 955, 32 GB eMMC Flash
47.45 MB/s ∼29% +222%
OnePlus 3
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
18.23 MB/s ∼11% +24%
LG Stylus 2
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
7.3 MB/s ∼4% -50%
Xiaomi Mi 5
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
13.61 MB/s ∼8% -8%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
82.68 MB/s ∼48%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
86.71 MB/s ∼50% +5%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
Mali-T760 MP8, 7420 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
90.32 MB/s ∼52% +9%
HTC 10
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
29.92 MB/s ∼17% -64%
Huawei P9
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 955, 32 GB eMMC Flash
39 MB/s ∼23% -53%
OnePlus 3
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
137.62 MB/s ∼79% +66%
LG Stylus 2
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
9.8 MB/s ∼6% -88%
Xiaomi Mi 5
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
106.78 MB/s ∼62% +29%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
135.24 MB/s ∼65%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
145.11 MB/s ∼70% +7%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
Mali-T760 MP8, 7420 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
150.05 MB/s ∼72% +11%
HTC 10
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
115.56 MB/s ∼55% -15%
Huawei P9
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 955, 32 GB eMMC Flash
72.19 MB/s ∼35% -47%
OnePlus 3
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
153.3 MB/s ∼73% +13%
LG Stylus 2
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
75.9 MB/s ∼36% -44%
Xiaomi Mi 5
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
159.29 MB/s ∼76% +18%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
484.6 MB/s ∼61%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
487.34 MB/s ∼61% +1%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
Mali-T760 MP8, 7420 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
385.39 MB/s ∼48% -20%
HTC 10
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
275.09 MB/s ∼35% -43%
Huawei P9
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 955, 32 GB eMMC Flash
281.26 MB/s ∼35% -42%
OnePlus 3
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
408.71 MB/s ∼51% -16%
LG Stylus 2
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
130.3 MB/s ∼16% -73%
Xiaomi Mi 5
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
459.64 MB/s ∼58% -5%
BaseMark OS II - Web (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
1101 Points ∼65%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
994 Points ∼59% -10%
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
Mali-T760 MP8, 7420 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
998 Points ∼59% -9%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
1199 Points ∼71% +9%
HTC 10
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
928 Points ∼55% -16%
Huawei P9
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 955, 32 GB eMMC Flash
1029 Points ∼61% -7%
OnePlus 3
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
1112 Points ∼66% +1%
LG Stylus 2
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1008 Points ∼59% -8%
Xiaomi Mi 5
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
1106 Points ∼65% 0%

Games

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is a great gaming device. Thanks to the powerful SoC and the fast graphics adapter ARM Mali-T880 MP12, games look great on the high-resolution screen. The new Vulkan API is already supported, so the Note 7 is also well-equipped for upcoming games. We can once again find the familiar Game Launcher from the Galaxy S7, which  is a simple way to take screenshots or videos during the game or minimize the game. The "not disturb" mode is also available, so there are no annoying notifications.

The touchscreen and the sensors of the phablet work great, so inputs are immediately executed. The only  drawback is the speaker, which can be easily covered in landscape mode.

Asphalt 8
Asphalt 8
Lego Star Wars: TFA
Lego Star Wars: TFA
Asphalt 8: Airborne
 SettingsValue
 high30 fps
 very low30 fps
Dead Trigger 2
 SettingsValue
 high55 fps

Emissions

Temperature

The surface temperatures of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 are not critical by any means, but it does get warmer than the S7 models. It gets lukewarm at some spots while idling and we can measure up to 40.4 °C (~105 °F) under sustained load.

We also checked the performance under sustained loads with the GFXBench Battery Test, where the OpenGL ES 2.0 test repeats the T-Rex scene thirty times while the battery capacity and the frame rates are logged. The throttling behavior is similar to the Galaxy S7 Edge and the performance will drop by around 50% after about twenty runs, before it recovers slightly. The more demanding OpenGL ES 3.1 test starts to reduce the performance sooner, but the difference is not that big with around 20%. Still, performance also drops by around 60% in this stress test after 18 runs.

OpenGL ES 2.0
OpenGL ES 2.0
OpenGL ES 2.0
OpenGL ES 2.0
OpenGL ES 2.0
OpenGL ES 2.0
OpenGL ES 3.1
OpenGL ES 3.1
OpenGL ES 3.1
OpenGL ES 3.1
OpenGL ES 3.1
OpenGL ES 3.1
Max. Load
 40.4 °C40.1 °C39.9 °C 
 39.9 °C40.1 °C38.7 °C 
 39.5 °C39 °C38.7 °C 
Maximum: 40.4 °C
Average: 39.6 °C
35.9 °C39.8 °C39.6 °C
36.7 °C38.4 °C39.2 °C
36.1 °C38.2 °C38.5 °C
Maximum: 39.8 °C
Average: 38 °C
Power Supply (max.)  36.2 °C | Room Temperature 21.9 °C | Voltcraft IR-260

Speakers

Pink-Noise diagram
Pink-Noise diagram

At around 86 dB(A), the mono speaker at the bottom of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 can be pretty loud. The quality is okay for such a component, but it cannot be called a good sound, especially since Samsung highlights the multimedia capabilities of the device, so stereo speakers would have been a better choice. The sound is focused on high tones and sounds a bit tinny. Medium tones are rather weak, and the audible range is generally unbalanced.

The quality is certainly sufficient for occasional videos on YouTube and the like, but if you like to listen to music, you should switch to external speakers or the headphone jack. Objectively, the latter offers a noise-free sound output.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2031.638.52525.433.33125.329.44032.928.75033.634.56331.626.98028.429.41002728.912520.830.71602236.320021.345.425020.85031521.254.940019.456.350019.563.563017.767.180017.969.7100017.870.8125017.369.7160017.469.4200016.773.7250017.274.1315018.278.2400017.975.7500017.671.7630017.776.4800017.875.71000017.9701250018.1721600018.259.1SPL3085.7N1.362.7median 17.9Samsung Galaxy Note 7median 69.7Delta1.3939.632.44132.431.335.531.531.731.234.22630.446.839.441.833.936.234.629.328.630.233.825.430.629.421.334.434.523.340.541.922.544.845.622.450.153.321.355.85518.458.155.817.56056.817.56152.517.256.660.216.861.769.717.362.774.417.466.87416.672.175.317.371.973.717.665.469.717.663.266.317.756.170.617.459.27017.761.167.317.961.259.118.159.463.318.155.583.129.878.149.11.337.6median 60.2HTC 10median 17.7median 59.410.71.64.737.536.427.134.832.437.534.827.726.630.831.334.832.233.629.529.731.732.238.33634.933.72638.350.547.147.347.739.450.531.633.329.131.936.231.628.231.532.626.728.628.230.625.227.624.525.430.632.626.428.523.621.332.642.523.539.922.123.342.549.423.446.621.222.549.45524.65022.722.45559.531.553.326.121.359.563.528.755.421.818.463.567.126.358.620.117.567.169.230.256.820.317.569.270.337.65722.217.270.370.141.756.928.516.870.174.852.660.840.617.374.878.459.862.945.817.478.478.761.364.942.316.678.78265.166.247.517.38279.563.963.348.817.679.577.668.26248.917.677.67273.356.654.217.77261.673.24653.917.461.653.371.136.752.917.753.347.473.926.954.817.947.439.973.122.654.218.139.926.859.618.741.118.126.888.480.373.361.629.888.464.534.827.811.81.364.5median 63.5Huawei P9 Plusmedian 52.6median 55.4median 40.6median 17.7median 63.512.620.211.813.31.612.6hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (85.71 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 28.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (8.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.5% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4.9% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (6.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (20.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 12% of all tested devices in this class were better, 10% similar, 78% worse
» The best had a delta of 14%, average was 26%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 45% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 48% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

HTC 10 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.13 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 20.4% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (12.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 7.3% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (8.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 10.3% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (6% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (26.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 54% of all tested devices in this class were better, 10% similar, 35% worse
» The best had a delta of 14%, average was 26%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 74% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 20% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Huawei P9 Plus audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (88.38 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 18.5% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 8.1% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (5.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 12.2% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (11.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(-) | overall sound is not linear (30.5% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 78% of all tested devices in this class were better, 6% similar, 16% worse
» The best had a delta of 14%, average was 26%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 87% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 9% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency Comparison (Checkboxes select/deselectable!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is very good and it is a very power efficient device. While idling and at the maximum manual luminance, it consumes only 1.44 watts, but the values will quickly increase with the activated brightness sensor and under direct sunlight. They also support the reason why Samsung limits the manual brightness, because it will draw 5.68 watts from the battery.

The standby consumption is also okay at 0.20 watts and is hardly increased by the Always-On display (0.23 watts). The power consumption of the power adapter is also surprisingly low, which only pulls 0.0009 watts from the socket, so it is not a big issue if you leave it plugged in.

The provided quick-charge adapter fully charges the smartphone in about 1.5 hours. Wireless charging via induction is also possible, but takes slightly longer.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.02 / 0.2 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.72 / 1.37 / 1.44 Watt
Load midlight 5.56 / 6.78 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Gossen Metrahit Energy
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
3500 mAh
Huawei Mate 8
4000 mAh
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
3340 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
3600 mAh
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
2750 mAh
Huawei P9 Plus
3400 mAh
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
 mAh
Power Consumption
-13%
-127%
4%
-3%
7%
-26%
Idle Minimum *
0.72
0.85
-18%
2.85
-296%
0.63
12%
0.5
31%
0.87
-21%
0.4
44%
Idle Average *
1.37
2.07
-51%
2.95
-115%
1.1
20%
1.9
-39%
1.2
12%
1.5
-9%
Idle Maximum *
1.44
2.28
-58%
3.26
-126%
1.56
-8%
2.2
-53%
1.27
12%
2.4
-67%
Load Average *
5.56
3.91
30%
8.92
-60%
5.95
-7%
3.2
42%
4.69
16%
6.9
-24%
Load Maximum *
6.78
4.69
31%
9.39
-38%
6.7
1%
6.4
6%
5.63
17%
11.8
-74%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

The low consumption values have a positive effect on the battery runtimes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Not least thanks to the larger battery (3500 mAh), the runtimes are correspondingly longer compared to the Note 5.

The two most important tests are the ones with an adjusted luminance of 150 nits. More than 10 hours web browsing via WLAN for the Note 7 is a great result, but it is even beaten by the Galaxy S7 Edge and Huawei Mate 8, which are equipped with even larger batteries. Surprisingly, the LG Stylus 2 also lasts slightly longer despite the smaller power source. One note: The medium power-saver mode was active in the Note 7, but we did not reduce the panel resolution. If you reduce it to the small HD resolution, the runtime will be two hours longer in the same test scenario.

A loop of a Full HD video also runs for an excellent 16 hours on our test model. This value could be even better when you adjust the energy settings. Samsung offers many options. The Note 7 can definitely convince in terms of runtimes.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
23h 49min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
10h 07min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
16h 00min
Load (maximum brightness)
6h 01min
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
3500 mAh
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920A
 mAh
Huawei Mate 8
4000 mAh
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
3340 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
3600 mAh
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
2750 mAh
Huawei P9 Plus
3400 mAh
LG Stylus 2
3000 mAh
Battery Runtime
-5%
11%
-38%
10%
-18%
-15%
-15%
Reader / Idle
1429
1775
24%
1872
31%
1078
-25%
1663
16%
1655
16%
1446
1%
1225
-14%
H.264
960
963
0%
611
-36%
914
-5%
714
-26%
776
-19%
697
-27%
WiFi v1.3
607
431
-29%
865
43%
369
-39%
732
21%
513
-15%
530
-13%
663
9%
Load
361
322
-11%
256
-29%
179
-50%
392
9%
197
-45%
263
-27%
258
-29%

Pros

+ great display
+ great camera
+ long battery runtimes
+ S-Pen with many features
+ generous sensor equipment
+ fast LTE Cat. 9
+ finally USB Type-C
+ OTG
+ protected against water and dust (IP 68)
+ quick-charge and wireless charging
+ fast SoC...

Cons

- ... which throttles under sustained load
- medicore speaker
- bad WiFi performance
- possibilities of USB 3.1 are not utilized
- Iris scanner not fully developed
- neither MHL nor SlimPort support

Verdict

In review: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (SM-N930F). Test model courtesy of Notebooksbilliger.
In review: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (SM-N930F). Test model courtesy of Notebooksbilliger.

Samsung offers another great smartphone with the Galaxy Note 7, which does not have a real competitor in its class. No other smartphone offers a comparatively powerful tool like the S-Pen, which has been consequently improved by the manufacturer and is much more than just a simple stylus.

You also get great hardware. It starts with the display and continues with the processor, the generous and fast memory equipment all the way up to the case, which does not only leave an impression of elegance, but is also protected against water and dust. The camera takes great pictures and the battery provides long runtimes. And even Samsung has finally managed to implement a USB Type-C port into its phablet.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 shows off with high-end hardware and a great S-Pen. Only the battery issues for the first models are quite a problem at this price.

There is also criticism for some details. The WLAN modules showed a surprisingly low receiving performance and the possibilities of USB 3.1 could be utilized better. We also do not really understand why Samsung only ships the device with a USB 2.0 cable. The speaker performance could also be better and the increased price will put a big hole in your wallet.

Fans of the Note series will still be thrilled, and if you are looking for a digital tool, there is hardly any way around the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

Update 10.10.2016: Due to the ongoing problems with the battery of the Note 7 (see here for more info) we decided to remove our rating. We recommend to take part in Samsungs exchange programm.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Smartphone Review
Daniel Schmidt, 2016-09-20 (Update: 2016-10-11)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.