Samsung has upgraded the Galaxy Note 7 with new hardware, design and technologies such as an iris scanner.
After unveiling its sixth large-screen Note series handset at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan, Samsung Electronics hosted a hands-on test session for more than 1,000 visitors to the launch event.
During a brief test, the Note 7’s new iris scanner worked faster than expected in comparison to the first fingerprint recognition function introduced to smartphones.
Like fingerprint recognition, users must register their biometric information by scanning their iris by looking into the infrared light camera of the Note 7.
Once in the correct position, registration is completed within three seconds. Unlocking the handset using the iris scan also worked as quickly during the test.
But users need to slide the device with a touch to activate the iris scan and they also need to be accustomed to scanning their iris in the correct position. It is also questionable if the iris scanner will work properly in bright environments or with smaller eyes.
Samsung Electronics said it has introduced the Samsung Pass to enable safer and more convenient login and personal verification on websites and mobile banking services, as users will scan their iris information instead of using other complicated verification codes.
The Note 7 added coral blue to the traditional silver, black and gold color options. It also adopted curved edges on both sides of its 5.7-inch front display for the first time in the series.
Still, the Note 7’s external design suggested a sense of balance instead of being flamboyant.
On first look, the Note 7 barely showed any difference to the Galaxy S7 edge. But when held, it felt more comfortable, thanks to the balanced, rounded edges.
The tilt of the curved edges was also designed not to cause unintended touching.
The Note 7 weighs 169 grams, slightly lighter than its predecessor Note 5’s 171 grams.
The S-Pen, the digital stylus which has been the symbol of the Note series for the last seven years, has been improved with more functionality. Its tip is now 0.7 millimeters, compared to the Note 5’s 1.6mm. As the IP68-grade waterproofing and dustproofing have been applied both to the handset and the digital pen, users can control the device and jot down something even in the rain.
On the back of a software upgrade to the S-Pen, it can now provide a word-for-word translation function once its tip touches a word in a foreign language.
Users can also instantly display handwritten memos on the lock screen and video capture whatever is being displayed on the screen in real time.
The Note 7 inherited its dual-pixel technology from the S7 series. Adding to the f/1.7 maximum aperture capacity and automatic high dynamic range (HDR) correction function, the new handset produced clear images even in a dark indoor environment.
Samsung Electronics said it will start selling the Note 7 globally on Aug. 19. In Korea, it will start receiving applications for subscription sales through mobile carriers Aug. 6.
Though the exact price was not released, expectations are that a Note 7 will not be priced over 1 million won ($903) despite the new functions.