With new features ranging from a security-focused iris scanner to advanced stylus support and fast wireless charging, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 -- launched earlier this month -- is earning stellar reviews. However, its star performance comes at a price: $849.99 and up.
That price tag exceeds the cost of Samsung's flagship Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, both of which were released in March. Those phones are priced at $670 and $770, respectively. Until the Galaxy Note 7 (pictured above) came out, the Galaxy S7s had been considered by numerous reviewers to be the best smartphones on the market.
Samsung said the Galaxy Note 7 was designed for productivity, but also offers cutting-edge support for virtual reality products and services. Other features touted by the company include water and dust resistance, an improved 12MP camera, expanded storage and the "sleekest and slimmest body yet."
'Glorious,' 'Remarkable' and 'Near Perfection'
"Samsung nearly achieves smartphone perfection," ZDNet said in its review of the Galaxy Note 7 today. Among the highlights ZDNet cited: an "incredible design and form factor," a "fantastic industry-leading camera" and a "stunning display with minimal bezels on all sides." And using the Note 7 s a "glorious" experience, according to The Verge.
CNET called Samsung's latest device "the sexiest large-screen phone ever," adding that "it's a real improvement over 2015's Note 5." On the downside, however, CNET noted that the Galaxy Note 7 is also "pricier than almost every other Android phone."
Ars Technica described the phone's price tag as its greatest drawback, asking, "What's the opposite of 'bang for your buck?'" An XDA report last week faulted the Galaxy Note 7 for underperforming on application launch times and other benchmarks, although days later the publication called the device "a remarkable phone for life."
One more caveat noted by several reviewers was the Note 7's use of Corning's Gorilla Glass 5 for the front and back faces. While that type of glass was designed to better withstand being dropped, it also appears to be prone to scratching, according to Forbes.
"[T]he fingerprint sensor stopped functioning on the Note 7 when it was scratched," Forbes reported. "So it is highly recommended that you use a screen protector if you plan to buy a Note 7."
Support for 'an Ecosystem' of Devices
The Galaxy Note 7, which weighs 169 grams and is 7.9 millimeters thick, has a 5.7-inch AMOLED screen with a Quad HD resolution of 2560 x 1440, or 515 ppi. The U.S. version of the phone is powered by quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processors.
With the addition of a microSD card, the 64 GB Note 7 can offer up to 256 GB of storage space. And the 3500mAh battery supports fast charging, both wired via a USB-C port and wirelessly.
The Note 7 is "the best phone we've ever built, and it's made even better by the ecosystem of Samsung devices that support and enhance it," Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America, said in a statement when the phone was launched. Those devices include Samsung's Gear VR headset, the Gear S2 watch, the Gear Fit2 fitness tracker and other peripherals.
Image credit: Product shot by Samsung.