Samsung's New Smartphone Is Your iPhone's Biggest Competition Yet

Photo: Courtesy Samsung.
In the U.S., the smartphone market is dominated by Apple's iPhone. This is proven by the numbers and backed up in person — just take a look at the phones around you as you walk down the street. But globally, Samsung has the edge, selling more smartphones than the Apple Geniuses it competes against. And with its latest release, Samsung might finally take over the U.S. and convince even the most loyal Apple fans to make the switch.

This morning, Samsung announced its newest smartphone, the Galaxy Note7, and it's got some seriously compelling features. Here's why you should consider buying one.

Increased Security
The Galaxy Note7 identifies users with eye-scanning technology, a feature that isn't rumored to come to the iPhone until 2018. Instead of pressing your thumb onto a fingerprint scanner (which you can also do), you just hold the phone up so its front-facing camera can scan your eyes. We saw a demo, and we promise that it looks every bit as cool as it sounds. The iris scanning seems especially useful if your hands are sweaty after a run, or if your phone gets wet in the rain.

And if you've got some apps or files you'd rather keep to yourself, there's a Secure Folder on the phone where you can keep personal information private, protected behind one more layer of biometric identification (i.e., if you hand your unlocked phone to a friend, he or she would still need to scan a thumb or an iris to access the Secure Folder). Samsung says that its eye-scanning technology will also be used to make mobile payments safer in the future.

A Useful, Interactive Lock Screen

The Note7 S Pen, a stylus that's housed in a slot at the bottom of the phone, can be used to draw and write notes not just in apps, but on the locked homescreen. The screen has an Always On display; if you need to jot something down real quick, just whip out the S Pen and write it on the lock screen. You can also pin a note, too, so you won't forget to make a call or send a text.

With a ballpoint-like .7mm tip, the pen is easy to use and accurate — more comfortable than the Galaxy Note5's S Pen. You can also use the pen to create your own GIFs. When a video is playing, select any frames that you'd like to turn into a GIF, and one will instantly be created for you to share on social or via text.
Photo: Courtesy Samsung.

No "Out Of Storage" Notifications
You'll have to really store a lot of material on the Galaxy Note7 to get a notification that says you're running low on space. Every phone starts with 64 GB of storage (compare that to the entry-level 16 GB iPhone 6s).

Easier Access To Apps
The Edge Panel along the side of the phone (which was also available in Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge) makes it feel more natural to use the Galaxy Note7 with one hand. When you swipe the Panel out from the right edge of the phone, you can access various apps as well as your contacts, calendar, and the phone's selfie camera. You can customize what shows up here in the phone's settings.

A Stellar Camera
The Note7 has the same dual pixel camera technology as the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. This kind of tech used to be limited to high-end, pro-level DSLR cameras. It may show up on the new iPhone this fall, but it's already here on Samsung's handsets.

Samsung's 12 MP camera with dual pixel autofocus took photos that were brighter than those taken with an iPhone, in our tests.

A Big, Beautiful Screen
Samsung is known for its TVs, some of which have innovative, curved screens that are supposed to deliver increased picture quality and a more immersive movie-viewing experience. The company has brought similar thinking to the Galaxy Note7, which has curved edges and has a higher pixel resolution than the iPhone 6s.

One drawback may be size, though. The Galaxy Note7's size and weight (153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm, 169 g) put it in between the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. This isn't terrible, especially if it's going to live on your desk or in your purse most of the day, but if you have small hands or small pockets, its size could prove to be problematic. However, for such a big phone, it didn't feel that big to us.

A New Color
There are rumors that one of the new iPhones this year might be blue. If so, Samsung beat Apple to it. The Galaxy Note7 comes in four colors: Silver Titanium, Gold Platinum, Black Onyx, and a brand-new Blue Coral that's supposed to represent a calm, peaceful moment in a time of chaos, one representative said. We're not sure that the blue actually made us feel calmer, but it sure is pretty to look at. Oh, and like the Galaxy S7, the Note7 is also IP68 water- and dust-resistant, so you don't have to worry about your phone dying if it falls in the pool.

The Galaxy Note7 will be available for preorder starting tomorrow and can be bought in-store at AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Target, Verizon Wireless, Sam's Club, and select Walmart stores on August 19. You can find it online at and Pricing details should be announced soon.

If you are considering making the switch or upgrading your current Samsung, now is the time to do it, since you'll also get a free Gear Fit2 (Samsung's version of a Fitbit) or a 256 GB memory card for extra storage. If you need a new phone ASAP, it could be a smart buy, but if you're on the fence about what kind of phone to grab next, you might want to wait another month or so to balance all your options.

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