What's the difference between the Galaxy Note 7, Galaxy S7 edge and Galaxy S7?

The Galaxy Note 7 isn't part of the Galaxy S series in name, but it sure is in spirit. The latest Note has a ton of high-end specs and features, but most of them can be found in the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge that were announced some six months earlier.

The specs are nearly identical, the cameras are the same and most features are shared — so where are the actual differences between these three phones? Let us explain.

On the inside

We're all pretty familiar with the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, and so much is shared internally between these three phones that it makes more sense to simply focus on the differences — let's get to it.

The biggest notable differences between the three are screen size, where the Note 7 tops out at 5.7-inches, the Galaxy S7 edge is 5.5-inches and the Galaxy S7 is a relatively small 5.1-inches. They all have the same screen technology and resolution, meaning you're getting an awesome display on each one.

Different screen, battery and storage sizes

Further, you'll find 64GB of storage on the Galaxy Note 7, compared with 32GB in the other phones, though all three have a microSD card slot that can handle up to 2TB cards ... once they become available. The Note 7 has a larger battery than its predecessor at 3500 mAh, but that's a touch smaller than the Galaxy S7 edge's 3600 mAh (remember, you need room for the S Pen) — they both beat the Galaxy S7's 3000 mAh.

You'll also see a USB-C port on the bottom of the Note 7, while the other phones are stuck on last-gen Micro-USB connectors. That doesn't make a difference in terms of charging, though: all three make use of Samsung's Fast Charge tech, which is compatible with Quick Charge 2.0 accessories. You also get both Qi and Powermat wireless charging.

And now, a full breakdown of how the specs line up:

Category Galaxy Note 7 Galaxy S7 edge Galaxy S7
Operating System Android 6.0 Marshmallow Android 6.0 Marshmallow Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Display 5.7-inch 2560x1440
Super AMOLED
Dual edge screen
Gorilla Glass 5
5.5-inch 2560x1440
Super AMOLED
Dual edge screen
Gorilla Glass 4
5.1-inch 2560x1440
Super AMOLED
Gorilla Glass 4
Processor Quad-core Snapdragon 820 (U.S)
Octa-core Exynos (international)
Quad-core Snapdragon 820 (U.S)
Octa-core Exynos (international)
Quad-core Snapdragon 820 (U.S)
Octa-core Exynos (international)
Storage 64GB 32GB 32GB
Expandable microSD up to 2TB microSD up to 2TB microSD up to 2TB
RAM 4GB 4GB 4GB
Rear Camera 12MP f/1.7
1.4-micron pixels
OIS
12MP f/1.7
1.4-micron pixels
OIS
12MP f/1.7
1.4-micron pixels
OIS
Front Camera 5MP f/1.7 5MP f/1.7 5MP f/1.7
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 ac MIMO
Bluetooth v4.2 LE
ANT+, USB 2.0, NFC
Wi-Fi 802.11 ac MIMO
Bluetooth v4.2 LE
ANT+, USB 2.0, NFC
Wi-Fi 802.11 ac MIMO
Bluetooth v4.2 LE
ANT+, USB 2.0, NFC
Charging USB-C
Fast Charge
Qi wireless
Powermat wireless
Micro-USB
Fast Charge
Qi wireless
Powermat wireless
Micro-USB
Fast Charge
Qi wireless
Powermat wireless
Input S Pen stylus
4096 pts of pressure sensitivity
Touchscreen Touchscreen
Battery 3500 mAh 3600 mAh 3000 mAh
Water resistance IP68 rating IP68 rating IP68 rating
Security One-touch fingerprint sensor
Iris scanner
Samsung KNOX
Private folder
One-touch fingerprint sensor
Samsung KNOX
One-touch fingerprint sensor
Samsung KNOX
Dimensions 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm
Weight 169 g 157 g 152 g

On the outside

Externally, the similarities are very clear. You're looking at the same glass-and-metal combination across the three, though Samsung has tweaked the formula a bit on the Note 7. You'll find tighter corners around the Note 7, leading into a frame that's symmetrical with the same glass curve on the screen as the back glass. Though the Galaxy Note 7 and S7 edge both have curved "edge screens," the Note 7's curves are much smaller and tightly curved, increasing usability with fewer accidental touches. The Note 7 has the latest Gorilla Glass 5 covering both sides as well, decreasing the chances of cracking from drops.

There are extremely subtle design changes sprinkled all around this hardware

The Note 7 also has a couple new color options to differentiate from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, including an all-black color that anodizes the metal frame a deep black color to match the front and back, and a "blue coral" combo with a bright blue front and back accentuated by a pinkish coral metal.

You'll also notice a couple of extra holes up at the top of the Note 7 flanking the earpiece — they're used for the new iris scanning technology. An infrared light on the left and a secondary camera on the right are capable of reading your irises to give you access to secure data on the phone.

More comparisons coming

As we spend more time with the Galaxy Note 7, we'll be evaluating exactly how it stacks up against the other leading Galaxy phones of the year. In the meantime, you can catch up with our Galaxy note 7 coverage, and get back up to speed with everything we've done with the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge!