Friday 23 March 2018

Samsung unveils its latest flagship smartphone - and it can be unlocked with your eyes

Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Samsung has unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 7.

The device, which has curved glass edges like Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge phone, is being pitched largely at work and professional users.

In this vein, the Note 7 features an extra-large battery (3,500mAh) and a redesigned stylus pen that can scribble notes without unlocking the phone. Samsung has also added a new iris-scanning security feature as an alternative to fingerprints and passwords.

And the Note 7 is waterproof at five feet underwater for up to 30 minutes.

It sports the same 12-megapixel camera as the existing Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge and comes with 64GB of internal storage, complimented by a memory card slot that can expand the memory to 256GB.

The Note 7's 2K screen is a dazzling 518 pixels per inch, the highest resolution for any large-screen smartphone.

Curiously, there's no gold version of this phone (the the Irish market, anyway) -- the Note 7 will come in silver, blue or black.

Under the hood, an octocore processor combines with 4GB of Ram to give this handset just about the most powerful performance you can currently get on a mobile device. Samsung has also switched to USB-C charging for this phone, meaning faster power-ups but consigning all your current Android MicroUSB cables to the bin.

The new Note 7 marks a return for Samsung to its big-screen heritage among so-called power-users.

Its Galaxy Note 1 device in 2011 signalled the start of big-screen smartphones in mainstream mobile usage, helping to coin the phrase 'phablet' (half-phone, half-tablet). Samsung had this market wrapped up until 2014, when Apple increased the size of its main phones in the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Since then, Samsung has focused most of its energy on its Galaxy S models, going so far as not to release the last version of the Galaxy Note in Europe.

But now it is back in the high-end professional user space with what looks to be a top-end phablet device.

In this vein, the phone's security features have been ramped up with the inclusion of Samsung Knox, a new iris-recognition sensor and 'Secure Folder', which is a separated folder that adds an extra layer of authentication to keep private information safe.

Samsung also says that the iris recognition technology can be used to authenticate secure purchases that are made on Samsung Pay.

The Note 7's open stylus is also being highlighted, with a smaller 0.7mm tip and greater pressure sensitivity than Samsung's previous styluses to ape a real pen-like experience.

For people who like to take quick notes, the Note 7 will also use Samsung Notes, a new unified app that lets users make handwritten notes, draw, or edit memos "from one location".

Samsung also says that this "fully supports and can even translate the Irish language".

Note 7 users also get a free 15GB of space in Samsung Cloud, which lets you back things up between (Samsung) devices.

Samsung also says that the Note 7 gives an extra "premium" edge to virtual reality content on its own Gear VR headset because of the high resolution Amoled screen. And the phone can also be used with Samsung's 4K Gear 360 camera, which shoots 360-degree photos and videos that can be posted to Facebook and YouTube.

The new Galaxy Note 7 will be available to pre-order in Ireland from August 16th. Samsung says that anyone who pre-orders the phone from Carphone Warehouse, Three Ireland, Tesco Mobile or Vodafone will get a new Gear VR headset with it for free.

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