Skipping over the Note6 and aligning its smartphone portfolio with its Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge flagships, Samsung today took the wraps off the new Galaxy Note7, the latest in the company's large-screen (5.7-inch) handsets with stylus support, during its Unpacked event in New York City.
This year, the South Korean electronics maker added a new feature to help users keep their work and personal data safe. Joining Samsung's fingerprint reader is a new iris scanning technology, a biometric authentication option that relies on the uniqueness of each person's eyes. It uses a scan of a person's iris – the portion that determines a person's eye color – to detect a user's unique iris patterns.
Initially, the Note7's iris recognition capabilities can be used to unlock the phone, but Samsung has bigger ambitions. According to the company, it's working on integrating the security-enhancing tech into its Samsung Pay mobile payments platform for secure purchases. The company also intends to roll out Samsung Pass in the future, enabling fingerprint and iris scanning authentication on select apps and services.
Also new is a Secure Folder that requires added authentication to access its contents. Samsung is portraying the feature as a means to protect users' personal and private information from prying eyes.
The included S Pen stylus, the Note series' signature feature, has been updated to enable new, more precise digital inking experiences. The Note7's S Pen now features a smaller tip (0.7 millimeters) that "provides a ballpoint pen-like experience," claims Samsung.
New Air Commands, invoked by hovering the S Pen over the smartphone's display, allow users to translate text or magnify on-screen content. Users can also jot down notes without unlocking the Note7 and pin memos directly onto the device's Always On Display.
Inside, the Note7 packs a quad-core 2.15 GHz processor similar to the Galaxy S7, running Android 6.0.1 ("Marshmallow"). The device sports 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage. Buyers can expand their storage up to 256 GB by inserting a microSD card.
Borrowing from the S7 Edge, the Note7 also features a dual-edge, AMOLED display (2560 pixels by 1440 pixels) that slopes down the sides. A 12-megapixel camera adorns the back of the device while a 5-megapixel shooter can be found in front.
When the Samsung Galaxy Note7 goes on sale on August 19, the device will enjoy widespread carrier support in the U.S. (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless). Preorders start on August 3. Available colors include in Blue Coral, Silver Titanium and Black Onyx.
To commemorate the device's launch, Samsung is kicking off a promotional offer. For a limited time, the company is tossing in a free 256GB memory card or a Gear Fit2 activity tracker to customers who buy a Note7 or Galaxy S7 Edge.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.