The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is going to be out on August 19, which means that millions of people are mulling whether to sink their hard-earned dollars into what is likely Samsung's best, and most expensive, phone to date.
While the Korean giant didn't elaborate on many of the software changes found in the Note 7 during the keynote, we were able to uncover some unique and interesting additions that will take your Note-ing to a new level.
The camera app is all new
Samsung's camera app has come a long way since the admittedly dreadful experience of the Note 3 era. Things started improving with the Note 4 and S5, but even today there are things that could stand to be improved.
Starting with the Note 7, Samsung has taken a gesture-friendly approach to the camera app, letting you switch between modes like Pro and Video using a vertical swipe, as well as filters and other settings using a horizontal swipe.
The UI has also been cleaned up, with a much clearer delineation between the viewfinder and the buttons, all of which have been simplified, too. I got to use the new app briefly during my time with it, and have to say it's a big jump from Samsung's previous efforts, and will at the very least make switching between back and front cameras considerably easier.
Power-saving mode actually lowers your resolution
Like most phones today, the Note 7 has a great power-saving mode. But unlike most phones, turning it on actually lowers the resolution of the phone to make the screen use less power.
That's right: when you first enable the medium power saving mode on the Note 7, your QHD resolution screen drops to 1080p, in addition to the standard toggles like lowering CPU speed and adjusting background processes. The maximum power saving mode lowers the resolution even further — to 720p.
This is certainly the first time we've seen something like this, and it's unclear how much battery this will save in the long run, but it's a very interesting idea.
The S Pen doubles as a magnifying glass
There are a lot of very cool new features in the Note 7's S Pen, but one of the coolest is its Magnifying feature. Yes, it's mainly for accessibility, but that makes it especially important, since it's one of the easiest ways for someone with less-than-perfect vision to see the finer details of an on-screen object.
The feature allows for up to 300% magnification, and the great thing is that even at that level the screen doesn't appear pixelated, thanks to the high-density QHD display.
The S Pen at a glance
Here's another unique use case for the S Pen: Glance, which generates a small thumbnail of an app that can be maximized when the stylus hovers over it.
Think of the possibilities, especially for apps that don't support Multi Window: you need to refer to an email or text message but don't want to constantly switch back and forth between apps, so you minimize the client and hover over it when you need it. Very cool idea, and one that I think I'm going to use a lot.
There's a blue light filter to save your eyes
Blue light filters are certainly not new to smartphones, but Samsung's implementation in the Note 7 is not only good, it's customizable.
It can scheduled to turn on at sunset — or any time you want — to save your eyes the indignity of all that sleep-affecting blue light. It's also possible to adjust the intensity of the filter, so you can find just the right level to suit your late-night reading needs.
Samsung's browser has extensions
While many browsers have extensions support, Samsung's bundled version comes with two pre-loaded ones that hope to entice you away from Chrome. The first is a QR code reader, which is useful in a pinch.
The second is a video assistant, which perfects the color and sound of a web-based video. Not necessarily the most exciting add-ons, but the fact that Samsung has created a single place for all it's extensions means that it is doubling down on its homegrown browser, which runs counter to the majority of other manufacturers in the industry that have accepted Chrome as their default.
You can turn off those awful icon frames
For some reason, the Note 7 burdens the natural beauty of Android's app icons with white "frames", something we've bemoaned from the likes of Huawei for years. While many of Samsung's redesigned icons have been designed to look good encased in white, the vast majority of others do not.
Thankfully, Samsung offers a toggle to return back to the blissful simplicity of the status quo. Because some things shouldn't be changed.
What's your favorite feature of the Note 7, hardware or software? Does the iris scanner interest you, or is it the updated software experience that is getting your attention? Let us know in the comments below!
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