The next best thing: what you can expect to keep (and give up) in the Galaxy Note 7 to Galaxy S7 transition

I wrote a column some time ago on the Galaxy S7 edge and Galaxy Note 7 being more alike than ever, a column that was designed to challenge Note faithful on how they perceive the Galaxy S series in general. Sure, the Galaxy Note 7 has an S Pen that you won’t find in the Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge, but there is a lot of carryover inspiration between the two devices that will help in this time of crisis and despair for Note 7 users who’d do anything to hang onto what some believe to be the best smartphone in world smartphone history.

But, it is in times like these that the carryover inspiration that many a Note fan has despised turns out to be a blessing in disguise. The reason comes down to the fact that the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge will provide a familiar experience that won’t require so much adjustment to something “new” (the S7 and S7 edge are 7 months old now as of Tuesday, October 11th) now that the Galaxy Note 7 has been officially recalled.

I’m getting ahead of myself though. There’s some significant ground to cover, so let’s get right to it.

The “Galaxy” continues: the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge and what they have in common with the Galaxy Note 7 

The Galaxy Note 7, as Samsung said back at its unveiling on August 2nd, borrowed its design inspiration from the Galaxy S7 edge, so the S7 edge will prove to be “the next best thing” for consumers who either 1) love the dual-edge design and functionality or 2) rarely use the edge functionality but love the design. The Galaxy S7 uses a flat panel, so those who wanted a flat-paneled Galaxy Note 7 can now have a non-edge Galaxy S7. Of course, keep in mind that the Galaxy S7 has a smaller display than the S7 edge (5.1 inches vs. 5.5 inches), so the larger display and similar Note 7-like design may just make the S7 edge the next best thing for Galaxy Note 7 users.

Apart from the design, there’s the 5MP front camera with f/1.7 aperture, 12MP back camera with f/1.7 aperture, Dual Pixel phase detection autofocus (PDAF), Super AMOLED display, UFS 2.0 storage and microSD card slot for expandable storage, IP68 water and dust resistance, Exynos 8890/Snapdragon 820 SoC, and 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM that are all specs and features of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge. If you pick up either of these, you’ll still get the same world-leading cameras, fast internal storage with expandable storage, water and dust resistance for braving the elements, as well as the same raw power under the hood.

The Always On Display for Samsung devices made its debut in the Galaxy series with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, so turning to these devices from the Note 7 means that you’re going back to the phone that introduced some of the 2016 features in Samsung’s “Galaxy” that we’ve taken for granted with the Note 7. Sure, you can always disable it, but the new third-party notifications may just make you think twice before disabling it. Fortunately, the battery capacity will be on par, since Galaxy Note 7 users who exchange it for the Galaxy S7 edge will get a slightly larger battery (3,600mAh vs. 3,500mAh for the Note 7) – though I’ve found that the Galaxy Note 7 does get better battery life. As is always said with battery life, your mileage may vary.

All these specs add up to one Note 7-like device that won’t require much adjustment – at least in theory. Of course, Note 7 owners will have to make one painful adjustment.

The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge will make you part ways with the S Pen, though 

I gave you the good news first, but the bad news is inevitable and must come. The good news is that the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge have features that Note 7 users have experienced with what many will call “the recall phone”, but there’s at least one feature you’ll be missing, though: the water-resistant, intelligent S Pen and its new capabilities.

The Galaxy Note 7′s intelligent S Pen was first, water-resistant, and secondly, the same S Pen diehard Note fans know and love but with some “intelligent” capabilities such as Glance, Magnify, and Translate. These features are exclusive S Pen features, so Note 7 fans will find themselves living without them (at least until the Galaxy S8, should Samsung surprise us in four months. The S Pen may make a debut on the Galaxy S series, if Samsung were to follow rumors and drop the Note brand – a suspect rumor at this point). Signing documents (Write on PDF), for example, will be impossible on the S7 and S7 edge unless you find a universal stylus to accommodate your writing desires. It won’t be the same as the S Pen, though, so I should warn you.

The S Pen, though, is the hardest trade for Galaxy Note 7 users fleeing the phone that has come to such an abrupt and tragic end in the “Galaxy,” but there are others. Take the new Power Saving “Medium” and “Maximum” modes on the Galaxy Note 7 that replaced the Power Saving and Ultra Power Saving Modes of the S7 and S7 edge: you won’t find this on the Galaxy S7 or S7 edge, unless Samsung should grace the S7 and S7 edge with an upgrade. Oh, yeah, speaking of “Grace”: the Grace UX will be absent as well, so the TouchWiz-critic crowd will need to make use of Samsung’s Theme Store to find a look that suits their tastes in design.

USB-C is also a casualty in this painful transition. Say goodbye to that even faster wire charging you’ve grown accustomed to over the last 7 weeks and embrace micro-USB once more until the Galaxy S8. Some Note 7 users won’t find this troubling at all because the majority of their cables are micro-USB anyway, but USB-C advocates may not enjoy this transition back to “old” technology. You can cure your woes if you’re an advocate of USB-C by charging your Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge via fast wireless charging, but you’ll need micro-USB cables for the fast wireless charging stands. The Galaxy S7 edge can charge from 0 to 100 wirelessly in just 2.5 hours, which is still as fast, if not faster, than charging some comparable phones via USB cables.

Storage is yet another area of compromise in this painful Galaxy Note 7-to-Galaxy S7 transition. Since the S7 and s7 edge have 32GB of base internal storage, as opposed to the 64GB internal base storage of the Note 7, prepare to live with half the storage. You can always pop in a 200GB Samsung microSD card, but the Galaxy S7 series doesn’t yet have Adoptable Storage — and the Note 7′s 256GB microSD storage will have you missing on external storage, too when you get “the next best thing”. The iris scanner that has become a beloved security feature on the Note 7 is absent on the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, so prepare to rely on fingerprint security fully once more.

Last but not least, in a move that may make some even more upset, you’re gonna have to bid goodbye to that sexy Blue Coral color – though not for long, perhaps. Verizon is destined to get a Blue Coral Galaxy S7 edge sometime soon, so Big Red customers (and perhaps worldwide carriers, too) will have another reason to buy the Galaxy S7 edge even more than before. Galaxy Note 7 users, keep an eye out for the Blue Coral. It won’t replace your Note 7, but the Blue Coral color will make you feel a bit more at home with the S series than before.


The Galaxy Note 7′s quick end has many struggling to understand how the one phone sitting atop the smartphone market could tank so quickly, but fortunately, Samsung is versatile enough to still supply other comparable phones in its smartphone arsenal to take its place.

As a diehard Note fan myself, and a current Note 7 owner, I understand the transition won’t be easy. I own an S7 edge as well and, for all its bells and whistles, can’t say that it’s a 100% “shoe-fitting” substitute for the Galaxy Note 7. If you’re an S Pen lover, you will still have something of a bad taste in your mouth (though not as bad a taste, compared to leaving Samsung’s 2016 lineup to pick up rival phones) after picking up the Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge. Samsung designed the Note series to stand out from the S series, and you’ll feel the difference once the S7 series goes home with you.

And yet, such is the price that we Note users pay at times for picking up the most exclusive handset on the market. When things go well for such an exclusive handset, we have bragging rights in the smartphone world. When things go wrong, as they have here, we’re forced to live like everyone else with every other handset in the Galaxy. And yet, we must never forget that living in Samsung’s Galaxy still entails living in the best of the best circumstances in the Android world (and smartphone space as a whole). Even with the worst high-end Samsung smartphone (if such a phone exists), it can be said that Samsung users still have the best. Check out our Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge review if you’re still unsure about the jump.

Galaxy Note 7 users, what concessions do you find difficult about the transition from your recalled Note 7 to another high-end “Galaxy”? Are there any other transitions that you’ve noticed that haven’t been mentioned here?

Opinion 24
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7 months 11 days ago

Instead of creating S8 and S8 Edge

Create Galaxy S8 and one called Galaxy S8 with S Pen

7 months 12 days ago

Not sure if you’re trying to say the S7 only supports 200gb sd cards, when in fact at time of the unveiling it was pointed out that it supported up to 2Tb sd cards pending larger chips be made. That being said that free 256 gb sd card should fit in right at home in an S7 or edge variant.

7 months 12 days ago

Waiting for the Note8! The Note series will never die!

7 months 12 days ago

I’ll buy another Note when Samsung puts a removable battery, IR Blaster back in it. and keeps the SD card slot. Meanwhile I’ll continue to enjoy my Note 4 running a custom rom called Dr. Ketan which transforms the Note 4 into and S7 / Note 5/7

7 months 10 days ago

As bad as sales have been since they started changing things with the S6 and now with the Note 7. I would hope that if Samsung wants to recover from this they would listen to their customers and add the IR blaster back to the phones. They are going ot have to gain the confidence and trust of other customers and keep their loyal customers and continuing to make phones that we reject isn’t keeping the loyal customers.

7 months 10 days ago

I get what you’re saying but the IR blaster will never come back. An app controls Samsung smart TVs and even my air-conditioners, house alarm and audio equipment is controlled by an app. IR blasters are old tech and disappearing fast. Don’t expect to see it on a Samsung phone, better for you to buy something else that still has one.

7 months 11 days ago

That’s never going to happen so you should look after your Note 4, as you won’t be getting another one.

7 months 13 days ago

I am thinking of going back to the Note 5 because I use the S pen. I am a little surprised that no one seems to be considering this option.


7 months 11 days ago

It’s a good point, I upgraded from Note 5 to Note7 but the reason I went for S7 Edge is due to resale value. I always buy Sim free, unlocked phones for cash so I finance the next phone from selling the old one. The Note 5 which will be going on two years old will lose resale value rapidly once we hit 2017, but an S7 or S7 Edge will command a better price. Otherwise I’d have a Note 5 too.

7 months 13 days ago

No one seems to consider it because it’s a 1 year old device with 1 year old hardware. They want the same specs that the Note7 had and the S7 and S7 edge have those. But even though the Note5 has amazing specs and still is a beast.

7 months 13 days ago

What I will miss with an S7 are; in S7 there is; no stylus, no blue light filter, no 64GB model in my country, no custom icon set support, no HDR video playback support (due to fairly lower brightness), and perhaps a few more I cannot remember now.
If Samsung wants more people to switch to S7, they can at least add support for built-in blue light filter and custom icon-set support.
Please feel free to add additional requests that I missed here.

7 months 13 days ago

Buying the S7 while waiting for the Note8!

7 months 13 days ago

Nope. That’s too much to lose. USB type C, power saving modes, s-pen, beautiful screen with a lesser curve than the s7 Edge. Also the screen size. Don’t tell me 5.5 is the same as 5.7.

7 months 13 days ago

Yes , I continue with my note edge in Italy and then wait for note 8 next year. I’m a NOTE fan and I stay a NOTE fan.

jide ofor
7 months 13 days ago

I continue with my note 4 and then wait for note 8 next year because, I personally don’t like galaxy S series. I’m a NOTE fan and I stay a NOTE fan.

7 months 13 days ago

i will go on with my Note7, i don’t want a smartphone without s pen.

7 months 13 days ago

Had the S7e before N7. It is a very good phone. But we need Garce UX asap.

7 months 13 days ago

The one thing I’m sure off. I don’t want to see a Gorilla Glass 5 as it sucked the whole bag of dicks. I’ve dropped my Note 7 from around 30cm on the floor and it cracked in the corner. Rubbish, so disappointed.

7 months 13 days ago

While it is a shame I will never have the joy of owning the Note 7, because I really was looking forward to it, I will hold off until next year for the next Note model. Simply put, the S-Pen is something I constantly use in my line of work. Plus, I hate having my fingerprints all over the screen due to little bit of OCD in me that screams at it whenever it looks dirty. There goes an old saying, “With patience comes great rewards.”

7 months 14 days ago

I consider it the end of “note” and the new beginning of “nokia”. If these note7 users are able to wait a little, they could switch to nokia instead of going back to the s series.

7 months 14 days ago

The reason the note 7 was popular is due to the S-pen. without it, there is nothing like it

7 months 14 days ago

I’m will not buy s7 or s7 edge, due smaller screen, i love the spen. Just skip samsung this year. Just keep Waiting for next year around august / september 2017

Neto Santos
7 months 14 days ago

My s7 edge too love only still it leaves me insecure fear of falling is breaking …

s7 Edge Wins

7 months 13 days ago

That’s the only drawback with a glass back. Other than that, it’s simply gorgeous to touch and hold, plus your S7 is the octa core version, not the rubbish quad core one. We live in the same country and I feel sad for never being able to touch a Note7 in my life, but I would love to get a gold S7 flat next month. I really love how both S7′s look like but the flat one got my attention, don’t call me gay but I find the gold S7 flat to look a little “cute”. It has a so adorable design and it’s the same size as my S5, plus it’s R$ 500,00 cheaper in average. What about the water resistance? Is it really able to handle a pool?