We’re about a month away from getting our hands on the next Galaxy Note if rumors about an August release for the updated phablet pan out. But we may already know what the new phone looks like thanks to some leaked marketing images of the upcoming Note.
The leaks come courtesy of Evan Blass, a usually reliable leaker who posted what he said are final marketing renders for the Note on his Twitter account. The image, which shows three models, reveals a new iris scanner next to the phone’s front camera and confirms a new name for the phone — it’ll be the Galaxy Note 7.
That means Samsung is jumping from the Note 5 straight to the Note 7, a leap that had first been reported last month by South Korea’s ETNews. With the name change, Samsung hopes to bring the naming of the Note phablets in line with the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.
But it’s not the name that’s likely to get people talking about the Note 7; rather, it’s the features we can spot in the photos leaked by Blass. Here’s a closer look at what to expect from the Note 7.
Based on the leaked images of the Note 7, it looks like Samsung’s upcoming phone will match the dual edge display of the Galaxy S7 Edge. That Edge screen won praise for its improved functionality tanks to another row of app shortcuts.
In a June report on Note 7 production, ETNews says a dual-edge OLED display will be used on the Note. And the fact that all three models in the leaked photo have curved screens seemingly confirms an earlier report in the Korea Herald that says Samsung wasn’t planning to release an alternate model of the Note 7 with a flat screen.
Whatever shape the display takes, it’s expected to be a biggie: earlier this year, SamMobile said the next Note would feature a 5.8-inch display. That would make it slightly larger than the 5.7-inch Note 5 as well as the 5.5-inch S7 Edge.
Likelihood: The leaked photo seemingly confirms that Samsung’s committed to curved screens.
Back in April, Dutch website GalaxyClub spotted an order for parts that would make up an “iris cam.” Such a sensor could be used as an added security feature, letting you unlock your phone or authenticate transactions by scanning your eye. Because details were scarce, we weren’t sold on that feature making its way into the next Note.
Seeing is believing, though, and image posted by Blass seems to have an extra lens up front. We’re still waiting on more details about how such a feature would work, but that extra lens has to serve some purposes. A new security feature seems as good an explanation as any.
Likelihood: It seems more probable than it did a month ago.
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 phones use microUSB, but that could be changing with the Note 7 if a report in Forbes proves accurate. Forbes contributor Gordon Kelly cites images from case maker Olixar that feature a USB-C port. (Olixar’s cases also confirm an Edge display and extra lens up front.)
If true, it’s a rather significant change for Samsung, particularly since the company’s Gear VR headset uses microUSB to connect to Galaxy phones. Still, USB-C is becoming more widely adopted among smartphone makers — the LG G5, HTC 10, and OnePlus 3 are among the phones to feature it — and Samsung will have to take the plunge sometime.
Likelihood: We’re not sold yet, but it could happen.
An August Launch Date
Traditionally, Samsung has announced its Note phablets in the fall, but it looks like the company wants to get the jump on Apple and the iPhone 7 with an earlier-than-usual release. That’s what analysts told Bloomberg earlier this year, and recent reports seem to suggest that Samsung is moving forward on that plan.
ETNews says that mass production of the Note 7 will begin in July, with Samsung gearing up to have 5 million phones ready to sell by August. That would fit with the time frame proposed by SamMobile, which posted an image of a Galaxy Unpacked invitation of an event on August 2 in New York, when the phone is expected to make its debut.
Whether that turns out to be the date or not, a summer debut for the Note wouldn’t be an unprecedented move. Both the S7 and S7 Edge came out this past March, a month earlier than Samsung Galaxy releases of the last few years. And the Note 5 made an August debut in 2015 rather than wait until the IFA trade show in the fall like past Samsung releases.
Likelihood: August seems very likely.
Butterfingers, rejoice! Just like the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, the next Galaxy Note is likely to come in a water-resistant body so you never need worry about using your phone near the pool or in the rain again. SamMobile reported that the next Note will be rated IP68 for dust and water resistance, meaning it will survive dips in 1 meter (3.3 feet) or more of water for up to 30 minutes.
That’s good news for fans of the Galaxy phablet, considering its larger size makes it harder to hold on to with one hand. Although water resistance has yet to be officially confirmed, we’re pretty sure this feature will be coming to the Note 7.
Likelihood: Basically real.
Return of SD Card Slot
For some reason, Samsung had a brain fart last year and decided to remove microSD card support on its 2015 flagship models, upsetting plenty of power users. This year, the company brought back the microSD card slot in the Galaxy S7 devices, and it’s expected to do the same thing on the Note 6.
Tech Times reported that Samsung is supposedly considering the return of upgradeable memory in the new Note, although the publication doesn’t cite sources for that tidbit. However, Samsung has already demonstrated its ability to include a microSD card slot in a beautiful, water-resistant body with the Galaxy S7, so this is a fairly likely feature.
Likelihood: Almost certain.
In addition to enhancements that we can generally take for granted, such as an improved processor and new operating system, some rumored specs sound particularly exciting. In its report on the expected 5.8-inch display SamMobile says the next Note will have a whopping 6GB of RAM. That would put it on par with the just-announced OnePlus 3.
Considering Samsung has reportedly been mass producing larger-capacity RAM components in 2015, the 6GB RAM rumor seems pretty plausible.
Likelihood: Pretty certain.
There’s more to the Note 7 than just extra RAM. A report by GSM Helpdesk, helpfully translated byAndroid Authority, breaks down the other specs that are reportedly targeted for the new Note: an Exynos 8 CPU, a 4,000 mAh battery and a 12-megapixel rear camera that has a dual-pixel sensor. Those camera specs would match the ones that vaulted the Galaxy S7 Edge to the top of our best camera phones list.
As for the other specs reported by GSM Helpdesk, both would improve upon what’s already included in the Note 5. We’re particularly eager to see how the new Note can top the Note 5’s 9 hour, 35 minute battery life, which leaves it just outside our rankings of the longest-lasting smartphones.
In posting the photo of the three Note 7 models, Evan Blass also listed their colors. The Note 7 will reportedly be available in black onyx, silver titanium and blue coral.
Likelihood: The camera improvements seem particularly certain.
Features We Want
We haven’t heard about these potential goodies yet, but we’d sure like to see the Note 7 come with the same super cameras on the Galaxy S7, which are our current favorite smartphone cameras. The rumored USB Type-C port would go a long way in future-proofing the phone.
You’d hope that a new Note will run the latest version of Android. Pushing the release of the phone up to August could complicate that, but Google is promising a summer release for Android Nougat. If the timing works out, the Note 7 might be the first phone to ship with Nougat.
The Galaxy S7 handsets both came with larger batteries, and we’re hoping for the same on the Galaxy Note 7. As we noted above, the Note 5’s 9:35 battery life is ahead of most smartphones, but rivals such as the iPhone 6s Plus and the Nexus 6P clocked 10 hours and an epic 12 hours, respectively. Samsung has some catching up to do on the Note’s endurance.