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First 24: Hands-on with Samsung's Galaxy Note7

When the original Samsung Note made its debut in 2011, I remember thinking how massive the device was. The 5.3-inch display was huge compared to most other smartphones on the market that had an average screen size of around 4.3-inches. Now, several years later, we arrive at what is technically the seventh iteration in the Note series, the Galaxy Note7. While I've had plenty of opportunities in the past to purchase a Note, the appeal of the device never really seemed to click for me. However, this year, things are different.

With the release of the S7 and S7 edge, it was clear that in 2016, Samsung mastered how to build a device. The two handsets were heralded, easily entering into many "best of" Android handsets lists. So, it was no surprise that Samsung would create a Note borrowing elements from its S-line, utilizing the same glass and metal construction, waterproofing and expandable memory card slot. But, perhaps where the real magic occurs, is in the slim bezels of the screen, minimizing the overall size of the device, making what should be a large phone very comfortable to hold and pocketable.

The Note7 offers the latest in terms of silicon with a Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB RAM. Needless to say, the handset is fast when it comes to opening apps, web pages, and processing other various tasks. The display is top notch, offering 5.7-inches of QHD real estate, and is slightly curved on both edges. Samsung's "dual-edge" display isn't as pronounced as something you would find on the S7 edge, but it does slope enough to give the handset a nice aesthetic, with the screen melting into the metal sides.

Where the Note7 and every other Note before it has differentiated itself from the pack, is in its stylus. The S-Pen stylus is cleverly concealed in the lower right hand corner, and easily pops out with a press. When you engage the stylus when the screen is off, it will automatically initialize a memo pad, allowing the user to take notes in an instant.

When the screen is on, there is a dedicated S-Pen widget that gives you access to a customizable shortcuts. You will be able to create a note, screenshot and capture gifs, capture a screen and notate, translate and more. These apps can be swapped out, but for the most part, Samsung has preset the apps that will most likely get the most use. While I'll get into more detail about each app in the full review, the "smart select" tool is probably the most interesting, allowing a user to capture an animated gif from a video source like YouTube, Vimeo and others. It isn't the most productive, but it is definitely quite entertaining to be able to make gifs on the fly.

Samsung brings over the S7 and S7 edge's 12MP camera to the Note, and it's still fast and extremely accurate. During the day, the shots are top-notch and even at night on full auto, it seems to be able to balance the colors fairly well. The night shots aren't perfect by any means, with quite a bit of grain creeping in when in low light, but for full auto, it does a good job.

The Note7 is also capable of capturing 4K video, with similar quality as its images. The footage looks great during the day, but can get grainy in low light areas.

As for battery life, the 3500mAh cell should provide enough juice for most users for a full day. If you use more intensive and draining apps like Snapchat, you will most likely have to charge up later in the day. In my daily use, I am on Twitter quite frequently, with sparse use of Chrome, heavy use of Snapchat, and I also tend to take several photos throughout the day. I also have Bluetooth and GPS enabled, and use Spotify to stream music to my vehicle. At the end of the first day, I returned home after a 12 hour day with about 10% battery life remaining. Luckily, the Note7 does offer quick charging capabilities, giving you a quick boost, in a short amount of time. There are also some very interesting battery saving utilities in the settings, but I'll cover that in detail on a separate article.

While this is only a quick first impression, I can say that I am thoroughly impressed with the Note7. It offers quality construction and materials, top of the line specifications, and brings a refreshed dynamic to smartphones with its improved S-Pen stylus. Naturally, I will be going more in-depth in the review, which should arrive in the coming weeks. For those that might have questions about the Note7, you can leave a comment down below or ask me on Twitter.

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