Opinion

It’s all about perspective: critics of the curved Galaxy Note 7 are just flat wrong

It’s Galaxy Note season, and with a new arrival soon to emerge, there’s the usual discussion about whether or not the Galaxy Note (in this case, the Galaxy Note 7) is worth the financial investment from consumers. Everything in life is about perspective, but in some cases, a given perspective goes too far: it goes from saying that “the Galaxy Note 7 is not for me” to “the Galaxy Note 7 isn’t for anyone,” “it’s a device that isn’t worth the money,” and so on.

I’m all for the idea that everyone has likes and dislikes, everyone has priorities when making purchases, and that some manufacturer priorities are not appreciated by everyone (though manufacturer preferences, like consumer preferences, should be respected). Despite the fact that you may not find a Da Vinci or a Rembrandt painting educational or insightful doesn’t mean that it isn’t insightful or that a lot of work didn’t go into crafting it.

It’s easy to see a bunch of lines, colors, and odd shapes when looking at a painting, but it’s an exaggeration to say that the painting is “no big deal” and “nothing innovative” when one doesn’t understand what the painter or artist has gone through to create the painting or the drawing. It presumes too much to just write off the artist because he or she hasn’t drastically transformed the painting to something completely different.

And that’s where we find ourselves with Samsung and the Galaxy Note 7. The new claim against the upcoming device is that it lacks innovation, with a “pointless” iris scanner and features that we’ve already seen on the Galaxy S7 edge, and the same Galaxy S7 edge SoC will make its way into the Galaxy Note 7 — yet another sign that Samsung is dropping the ball in the eyes of some. “Samsung is getting lazy” is the new chant.

There’s respect to be had for the claim, but the claim itself is, to use a statement that goes against the curved design of this year’s Galaxy Note 7, “flat wrong.”

The Galaxy Note 7 should be compared to the Galaxy Note 5, not the Galaxy S7 edge

Here’s a thought: the Galaxy Note 7 should be compared to the Galaxy Note 5, its proper predecessor, not the Galaxy S7 edge. The Galaxy Note 7 will have a curved design that it’s not borrowing from the S7 edge, but instead, the Note Edge that was announced alongside of the Galaxy Note 4 back in 2014. If anything, Samsung brought the curved design from the Note over to the S line in the Galaxy S6 edge in 2015, so the Galaxy S7 edge shouldn’t even enter the equation when talking about the Note’s curved design.

The Galaxy Note 7 can’t be “a bigger Galaxy S7 edge with an S Pen” because it isn’t borrowing its design language from the S7 edge, but instead, the Note Edge (with some tweaks). The Note Edge was the start of Samsung’s curved revolution. It’s fine that the curved display was too futuristic for some when it was announced two years ago: great ideas are usually ahead of their time, anyway, and are embraced later.  This is what we see happening with the Galaxy S6 edge and Galaxy S7 edge.

The Galaxy S7 edge, if anything, has borrowed its design from the Galaxy S6 edge — which borrowed its design from the Galaxy Note Edge. That’s where the curved revolution started, and that’s where the discussion should begin. Placing the Galaxy S7 edge in the equation sounds to me like “card-stacking” at its finest.

The Galaxy Note and S lines are two different products for two different customers

It goes without saying, though current circumstances merit saying it, that the S line and Note lines are two different products for two different customers. The S Pen is more than just hardware: Samsung has integrated it with the Korean giant’s own software that lets you draw, sign documents, write off-screen, and so on – activities that are impossible to do on the company’s Galaxy S phones.

Those who are compare the two are not comparing oranges to oranges, but oranges to some other fruit (your choice here). If one wants to examine Samsung’s innovation properly, he or she should compare S phones to S phones and Notes to Notes. Compare the Galaxy S6 edge and Galaxy S7 edge, for example, and the Galaxy S6 to the Galaxy S7 (or vice versa), but comparing two different phones in two different product lines is a way of watering down the complex nature of both phones for the sake of creating a straw man fallacy.

Sure, the Galaxy Note 7 and Galaxy S7 edge will have some features in common, but name any combination of S and Note phones over the last few years that haven’t had features in common. When you look back at the history of phones, Samsung has always had features on one line it brought to the other. Why? Because those features are standard for the year in which they arrive and the R&D Samsung has done, not as a measure of laziness. I won’t bore you with details of other manufacturers in the high-end market that have done the same exact thing with their phone lines, such as the whole Moto X and Droid Turbo series, or the HTC One M series and the HTC One A series, or LG’s own smartphones.

The Galaxy Note 7 brings something new to the table, above the Galaxy S7 edge

As I’ve stated above, the Galaxy S7 edge shouldn’t be in the same discussion as the Galaxy Note 7 because the two phones are different in intention, but beyond this, the critics who say Samsung has gotten lazy in innovation are overlooking one thing: the Galaxy Note 7 will have new specs that you won’t find on the Galaxy S7 edge. Where’s the Galaxy S7 edge’s USB-C port or iris scanner? Funny, but the S7 edge didn’t get either of those. And that doesn’t even include the S Pen and the new software features Samsung will bring – features that won’t ever appear on the Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge.

The USB Type-C Samsung incorporates will have faster charging speeds than what we see on the market currently, and if fingerprint scanners have been said to “have potential,” then the same can be said of the iris scanner – even if the critics say it’s pointless.

Where’s the Galaxy S7 edge’s 64GB variant? That never arrived to the US, with 32GB being the maximum amount of internal storage available for the US market. Just ask those you know whether or not they own a 64GB Galaxy S7 edge. You won’t find many because only the Galaxy Note 7 (not the S7 edge) will be graced with 64GB as the base storage variant in Samsung’s phone lineup.

Critics simply don’t understand the Galaxy Note series

I’ve given in some long detail the firsts that the Galaxy Note 7 will accomplish for the Note lineup, but I think it’s safe to say that the critics make these claims about the Galaxy Note 7 being “a bigger Galaxy S7 edge with an S Pen” because they misunderstand it completely. The Galaxy Note line has always been committed to the integration of the S Pen with its software features, letting you do things that can’t be duplicated on the Galaxy S lineup. And those who buy the Galaxy Note don’t buy it for a larger screen or a bigger battery, but for the S Pen.

It’s called “Galaxy Note” for a reason: because it lets you jot down notes, sign documents, and do any form of writing you need done, right from the display. I sure wish other Android OEMs would understand that you cannot name a device “Note” without giving a stylus for note-taking abilities (here’s looking at you Xiaomi, with your Redmi Note, or Lenovo with your K5 Note that lacks stylus integration altogether).

And this is the biggest misunderstanding of the critics: the Galaxy Note lets you “note,” but the Galaxy Note 7 will do everything the Galaxy Note 5 could do and then some. The Galaxy Note line has more capabilities than the S line has ever had, so it’s misguided to claim that the Galaxy Note 7 is nothing more than an S7 edge with an S Pen.

The comparison is only valid for oranges to oranges, or Galaxy Note 7 to Galaxy Note 5

When comparing the financial progress of any smartphone maker, including Samsung, it’s common practice to measure the company’s performance in say, Q2 2016, for example, with the company’s same earnings in the same quarter one year earlier (Q2 2015). The purpose of this financial comparison to give an idea of the company’s performance is to take into account that companies often profit well in certain seasons or quarters but then either go back to having high sales or plummet terribly.

The same can be said for comparing “oranges to oranges.” In the matter at hand, the only valid comparison for the Galaxy Note 7 is the Galaxy Note 5, not the Galaxy S7 edge or the Galaxy S7. Those phones were the standard annual upgrade for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, not the Galaxy Note lineup. And, since the Galaxy Note is always announced near the end of the year, Galaxy Note 5 users who’ve been waiting for their annual upgrade get to have their new device that packs the technology of the Galaxy S line with new S Pen features that put the Galaxy Note 7 above the best of the Galaxy S line.

In other words, the Galaxy Note 7 is a 2016 upgrade from the 2015 Galaxy Note 5, not an upgrade from the four-month-old Galaxy S7 edge.

Conclusion

Some things should not be said more than once, but sometimes they bear repeating because it seems as if some critics just don’t understand the Note lineup, a series that has been on the market since 2011.

The critics who believe Samsung is getting lazy on innovation seem to miss the evidence, so let’s put it here: 1) Samsung’s dual camera modules are being purchased by Chinese OEMs, along with the Korean giant’s dual-edge curved displays. Additionally, companies like Meizu have been buying Samsung’s processors, and Samsung’s LPDDR4 RAM is an industry standard: even in the LG G5, the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge’s flagship rival, you’ll find that the LG phone bears Samsung’s LPDDR4 RAM. HTC’s 10 bears a Samsung front camera sensor (and this isn’t the first time HTC has gone with Samsung’s front camera sensors).

Samsung’s Exynos 7420 octa-core SoC found in the Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+, and Galaxy Note 5 swept the market last year in performance and are even being used in VR headsets nowadays. As for this year’s Exynos 8890 SoC, it’s definitely still ahead of the game, so much so that Qualcomm decided to employ Samsung’s low-power 14nm-FinFET process in producing the Snapdragon 820. This doesn’t take into account the company’s AMOLED panels which are being purchased by Android OEMs; heck, even Huawei and Google placed an AMOLED panel on the Nexus 6P in 2015, and OnePlus utilized a Samsung AMOLED panel in the OnePlus 3 this year. And for all the claims of an “iterative” design in the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, Samsung’s phones are even winning their critics over. It’s amazing how a few changes and tweaks can make something good even better.

No matter where you look, whether in battery life, cameras, SoCs, display tech, RAM, and even hardware in general, Samsung is leading the way in a number of areas and planting its feet firmly in others. They continue to lead the way in wireless charging, too, though you’d be hard-pressed to find other OEMs on the market investing in it (some have even removed it in their flagships). Samsung isn’t perfect, but the company is anything but lazy.

And when you look at the Galaxy Note 7 for the first time, remind yourself that Samsung’s dual-edge curved design will be the de facto standard that unsettles the conformity of the current box-form factor in smartphone design in the next few years (Samsung’s GPUs will set a new industry standard, too). That’s what Samsung means when it says that it offers “what’s next now.”

Yes, looking at the Galaxy Note 7 is all about per-spec-tive – placing the specs in their proper context. In this case, comparing them to the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge make little sense whatsoever. When you compare the Galaxy Note 7 to the Galaxy Note 5, you’ll see that micro-USB in the Galaxy Note 5 transforms into USB-C in the Galaxy Note 7, a 16MP camera with OIS and VDIS in the Galaxy Note 5 transforms into a 12MP back camera with OIS and Dual Pixel phase detection autofocus (PDAF) in the Galaxy Note 7, and a device that lacks water and dust resistance in the Galaxy Note 5 gets them with the next Galaxy.

The 3,000mAh battery in the Galaxy Note 5 transforms into a 3,500mAh battery in the Galaxy Note 7. It was said that the 3,000mAh battery in the Note 5 would take a turn for the worst in battery life as compared to the 3,220mAh battery in the Galaxy Note 4, but Samsung’s 3,000mAh battery proved the critics wrong then, too. A Galaxy Note 5 that had UFS 2.0 only now gets to see UFS and microSD cards play nice together in the Galaxy Note 7, with hopes of adoptable storage coming in the near future to make the most of their re-integration.

The Galaxy Note 7 is anything but boring, but the constant claim that Samsung isn’t innovating, when the evidence shows otherwise, is.

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LegendSmoker
LegendSmoker

the definition of note 7 is that this is a S7 Edge with new (still laggy) skin (grace bs) with a pen and smaller battery. And everybody who is saying we should ignore S7 Edge in comparing must be pretty creazy… Yeah just ignore the fact that almost the same phone (S7E) is half of price of New Note 7 wich clearly is the same phone. But hay guys compare it to Note 5 wich lost a ton of features in compare to Note 4. Is this the new Samsung thing? Will 2018 Note 8 will be the ”First Curved… Read more »

MasterElwood
MasterElwood

Sorry – but that article is BS. If you don´t like how a phone with a curved screen feels in your hand – EVERY other point becomes invalid. I tried the N4e, S6e, S7e… every time i bought the flat model. I can´t buy a flat N7 – so i won´t buy one. I love Samsung phones to death – but not making a flat version was a stupid decision.

superg05
superg05

i love the note 7 but it appears to charge slower than my note 4

abdelkader sakr
abdelkader sakr

thank you

HotInEER
HotInEER

I would love to know what you are doing wrong? Or what I’m doing right. As a S6 edge and S7 edge owner I have never had any accidental touches. What are you guys doing to get this? Are you using the phone without a case? Or with a case? I have never been able to even duplicate a accidental touch. I pre-ordered the Note 7 and this will be my first Note. I love the way the edge just melts away and makes the phones look bezel-less. If you have a Black Onyx version and use a black wallpaper… Read more »

bmcelvan
bmcelvan

I was eligible to upgrade my phone about a month ago (end of June). After learning about the Note 7 I was very intrigued and monitoring the news feed daily for any new tidbits of information. When I learned that the note 7 was going to be edge only, I went to BestBuy at least three times to try out the s7 edge. After the third time of trying to get myself to really “like” the edge version, I couldn’t. I HATE THE EDGE!!! It just feels all wrong, in every possible way. I’m not going to buy something that… Read more »

istoff
istoff

>Critics simply don’t understand the Galaxy Note series Apparently fans don’t either. Why I like(d) the Note series (previously) is that it didn’t compromise. Battery life, screen size, performance, screen quality, were all top notch. Then you add in the S-PEN, IR Remote, Microphone Array (Note4) without sacrificing expandability and most importantly for power users who travel, the ability to swap batteries. The Note5 was a huge backwards step(compromise is king). Even more so when you listen to the keynote where executives claim to listen to Note fans. #NoYouDidn’t I’m still using my Note4 in the hopes that it gets… Read more »

n900mixalot
n900mixalot

Thank you for saying it Dierdre. Thank you thank you. But I fear Samsung has lost me this time. Or I’ve lost Samsung. I settled for Note5, keeping my Note Edge and desperately wishing for a solid update that would bring it back to life. It never came, instead we got a buggy hot mess of an update. I just sold my Note5 and I’m on my Nexus 6 and you know what? I don’t miss it being on that Note5. I’m one of those people who begged for an Edge 2 but Samsung and everyone else said, “just get… Read more »

jamesmullen75
jamesmullen75

You have a Nexus 6 and are critical that the Note 5 is “missing that spark”? If you think the Nexus offerings are more exciting than the Note offering then perhaps the Note models just aren’t for you… Stock is incredibly boring and limited comparatively speaking. Fast updates are the only thing they have going imo.

moogaloo
moogaloo

Saying it over and over again does not make it true. If you are a Note fan who does not really use the S-Pen. Then comparing to the S7Edge is justified.

Then it is just the other extras to consider, different design, more storage, iris scanner, UFS Memory card slot, Type C USB, Better Camera?. If these don’t do much for you, why go for the new Note?

sociologist
sociologist

if there is no IR blaster its not going to be appealing to me. Samsung keeps trying to rush out new versions of their phones since the S6 redesign because they aren’t selling. Taking away features make the phones less appealing. The note 4 was perfect. They should build from that not start from scratch

sagarsiddhpura
sagarsiddhpura

When customers have option to buy both note 7 and S7 edge, it is very obvious to compare both of them. This is about person who wants to buy new phone would look at every choice and compare them. You cannot say if you had note series phone you will only compare it with note 7. Reviewers care about progress in phones but a normal person looking to buy phone will always compare all available options. Its that simple and its very wrong to say this cannot be compared to that!

AmazingAura01
AmazingAura01

HAHAHAHAHA YES

herpherpherp
herpherpherp

When will we see 5.8″, 5.9″? It’s sad. and no IR? still no IR – who cares about iris? Make the fingerprint scanner powerful, high resolution, fast – it’ll work faster than you can pull the phone to your face.

Foolish move Samsung. I would have considered this phone if flat – but nope.

herpherpherp
herpherpherp

Does Deidre work for Samsung? Her articles only go up when a new phone comes out and they are always excessively pro-Samsung. Totally unwilling to see why fans might be disapointed at things. Curved screen: More glare Very difficult to get a good case protector SPen might have issues in the corner Visual ‘anomalies’ (not just glare) with ‘bending’ keyboards and what have you Far more difficult to get a case which protects the whole phone, due to protruding curved display Nope, nope, nope. Same old from Deidre, every new phone release. Is this a fan site or a sponsored… Read more »

pcriz
pcriz

I dont know if you havent noticed but this isn’t as curved as the s7e. There are some good cases out already as well as curved screen protectors.

Just seems like you are arguing a bunch of what if points.

And if you havent noticed, there is an article about samsung being lazy that should be right up your alley.

herpherpherp
herpherpherp

ANY curve is a bad curve. I want a FLAT screened phone. Screen protectors are a nightmare to get on the phone in the first place.

They are spending MORE money on producing a BAD feature that a heap of people don’t want. I don’t want to accidentally press the screen, I don’t want it more susseptible to drops – I don’t want curved, it’s poor design.

mirrordemon92
mirrordemon92

“I don’t want to accidentally press the screen” really? I use my father’s S7 Edge daily and I’ve never once done this. Not every phone is made to suit everyone on the planet (IT’S NOT POSSIBLE). If you have such a problem with curved screens you know the solution right? Don’t get the phone it’s that simple. If you want the Note series then there’s always the Note 5 with the FLAT screen you seem more worried about an any other feature so it should suit you fine I’m sure. Remind me how some phones are more susceptible to drops… Read more »

ChodaBoy
ChodaBoy

The author sure wrote a lot of words just to prove that SHE simply does not understand the Note series. The Note5 was essentially an S6pen. The Note7 is proving to be an S7 edgepen. Curved edges are not compatible with using a stylus. HOW does one write or draw from edge to edge then? If the edges were additional screen real estate like the Note Edge, then the flat area would be used exactly like Note 4. Unfortunately, it appears that the Note7 will be just like the S7 edge and the canvas area will bleed into the curved… Read more »

glowman
glowman

What Have You Done for Me Lately – Janet Jackson. Maybe Sammy is checking on you lately… for the payroll? The title caught my eye and got the the feeling it was yours… it was yours indeed. I’m not anti-Sammy, in fact all of my phones are Samsung including my new S7E or I’ll not be here. But, writing something that is so obvious becomes ridiculous. People compare these from flagship to flagship and you can’t tell the masses to compare it by its series. Note used to be a high end workhorse, not a beauty contestant. Samsung tends to… Read more »

orionbg
orionbg

Curved screens are evil! I’ve had the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus and I don’t want to see another curved screen till the rest of my life!!! I’m playing games and those phantom touches at the sides ruined a lot of hours for me… The Note must be flat and not curved! Samsung will see their mistake when the sales numbers begin to come in…. unless they fake them of course… And on a side note why are all the big companies making their Big phablets (6″ and more) mid-rangers??? Is it so hard to make something like the Xiaomi Mi… Read more »

drali
drali

Used to get this series and always buy it at the first day of selling Then i got my Note 4 Although i decided before to stop getting Sam devices I thought that i could get Note 7 After the rummers which claims that it will be S7E with stylus I think transfering to another company is A MUST at the begining Note series was the the luxury series of Sam. At the end sam decided to make it just a follower to S series Then they asking to not compare S to Note series At the end of the… Read more »

superjdb22
superjdb22

So we should compare S series to S series and Note series to Note series?
Then certainly compare iPhones to iPhones, and Motos to Motos, … so every phone can be the greatest phone ever made and break all the records in its class. In fact I heard every new iPhone is “the best iPhone ever” so yeah, this makes total sense.

Hoggington
Hoggington

I appreciate the opinion piece Deidre, but I wholehardly disagree with you. It’s a fact, not opinion, that the apex of each edge of the display, has very noticeable glare. Glare you simply don’t get with a flat display. It’s also a fact, not opinion, that text and images warp over the edges, creating a distorted image or text. And it’s a fact, that the usable screen space for the Note 7, will be significantly smaller than the Note 5. Probably about a 5.4″ flat display. Back to the warp… Whether it’s on a Web page, or even the keyboard,… Read more »

NotReallySamsungFan
NotReallySamsungFan

It’s a subtle curve, Jesus it’s going to be barely more curved than 2.5D glass so significantly less glare than the S7 edge. It’s just to slim the phones side bezels.

harinsheth
harinsheth

HEY ALL

WHEN SAMSUNG IS NOT EVEN FOLLOWING THE RULE : COMPARE NOTE TO NOTE

I MEAN THEY CHANGED MY LOVELY NOTE 6 NAME TO NOTE 7 !

WHAT IS THIS ?

SAMSUNG ON HIS OWN COMPARING NOTE SERIES TO S SERIES AND CHANGING NAME OF NOTES !

THEN WHY DONT WE COMPARE ???

eHoolie
eHoolie

Well said SenorSjon.

frankgrimes
frankgrimes

The Note lineup was from the get-go supposed to be the top of the line phablet and the best thing Samsung had to offer, when it comes down to specs and features. Samsung wants my money (upgrading from the Note 4) so I’m the one who decides if their newest offering is worth it or not and given that it’s just a bigger S7Edge it’s not worth it. The comparison with the S7Edge does make a lot of sense and Samsung is doing that to themselves, what were they expecting? The phone has the same SOC, same amount of RAM… Read more »

billywongwashere
billywongwashere

Come on. The truth is that people expect iterative improvements from flagship to flagships regardless of the s or note line. In the past the note would have represented the cutting edge in the fall smart phone line up. Therefore, people do have the right to compare it to a 6months old phone. People/consumer will be or is being put off with the speculation(until proven wrong) that you will be paying a new hefty premium for “old” tech (6months is old news nowadays). It’s right to compare it the s7 edge as its simple a slightly tweaked product with some… Read more »

smfrinfan
smfrinfan

I will explain why people compare note to s and why they expect better specs…

Look at speed test iphone 6s plus vs s7edge in youtube…iphone is faster so we, samsung fans want to shut apple fanboys by the note…so we will be disappointed if note7 will have same proc same ram so it will be still equal or less than iphone speed so if the upcoming iphone 7 will be faster it will kill the note 7 even if we all know that even note 5 in reality is better than ishit…

herpherpherp
herpherpherp

I desperately want an S8 PLUS / S8 + / S8 LARGE edition that’s 5.8″ – then I can forget about the Note series.

superjdb22
superjdb22

The Note 7 will be a great phone, the best Samsung has at the moment!

But to the writer of this article, please, it’s a Galaxy S7 edge with S Pen… it looks exactly like an S7 edge, and nothing like a Note Edge. They stopped short of actually calling it the S7 note. A lot of people are right to criticize this… the Note series has always been a step above the S series, nut not this year. The same is good enough this year.