Last week Samsung revealed its latest flagship handset, the Galaxy Note 7, to the world’s press and its fans, but what if you’ve only recently bought a Galaxy S7 Edge or the Galaxy Note 5? Does the announcement of 2016’s most powerful handset leave you with only one option? Or can last year’s handsets hold their own?

Galaxy Note 7
Image Credit: Steve Hemmerstoffer / NoWhereElse.fr

Galaxy Note 7 versus Galaxy Note 5 versus Galaxy S7 Edge in design

The Galaxy Note 7 comes with what are obvious design cues taken straight from the Galaxy S7 Edge; however, it has the standout look of a Galaxy Note due to squarer edges and the inclusion of a redesigned S-pen. The differences don’t stop there, as the Note 7 also has a metal build with curved glass on its front and rear.

As for size, the Note 7 measures in at 153.5mm x 73.9mm x 7.9mm and weighs 169 grams. Both a fingerprint sensor and iris scanner are present on the handset, along with water resistance rated at IP68, and it is available in three colors: Black Onyx, Blue Coral and Silver Titanium.

The Galaxy S7 Edge measures 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm and weighs 157 grams, which makes it lighter and slimmer than the Galaxy Note 7. As with the Note 7, the Edge has a metal build and offers Corning Gorilla Glass protection.

Lastly, we have last year’s Note 5; it measures 153.2 x 76.2 x 7.6mm. It hits the scales at 171 grams, making it the slimmest but also the heaviest of the three, and while the Note 5 is nearly 12 months old, it still feels like a new handset.

Display

Like previous Note devices, Samsung has decided to stick with a 5.7-inch display on the Note 7. Plus, like the Note 5, it has Super AMOLED display technology incorporated into its display, as well as Quad HD resolution.

So what is new? The Note 7 has a curved screen like the S7 Edge, plus it has the always-on-display feature that can also be found on the 7 Edge, but the Note has been designed to make better use of it, thanks in part to the S-pen. New display attributes, including Mobile HDR, mean that the Note 7 will be able to make use of HDR content when it becomes available, while the S7 Edge and the Note 5 cannot.

While all three handsets possess Quad HD resolutions and Super AMOLED displays, the pixel per inch ratio on the Note 7 has been significantly ramped up so that it can better deal with the demands of VR via Samsung’s own virtual reality headset.

Camera

The Galaxy Note 7 comes with the same camera specifications as you will find on the Galaxy S7 Edge. So that is a 12-megapixel rear camera with dual-pixel sensor, plus a 5-megapixel front-facing selfie camera.

The Note 5 features a 16-megapixel rear camera with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and while that means the Note 7 camera has a lower resolution than what was found on the Note 5, it has been a long time since that mattered, as smartphone cameras have much more that they can draw on these days to make their performance much better.

Hardware

Depending on where you are in the world, the Note 7 will have either an octa-core Exynos CPU or the Qualcomm SD280, and it will have 4GB of RAM. At the launch last week, Samsung suggested that 64GB was going to be the one and only storage option, coupled with up to 256GB worth of MicroSD storage.

However, since then, rumors have begun to spread suggesting that there could 128GB and 256GB variations on offer, depending on where you live. Its battery is a rather underwhelming 3,500mAh, and it also comes with wireless and fast charging.

The S7 Edge comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 CPU or the Exynos 8890, and again, this depends on where in the world you live. The handset also comes with 4GB of RAM and has variants offering 32GB and 64GB storage options; there is also MicroSD support. However, some issues are being reported in terms of compatibility with Android Marshmallow.

As for power, the S7 Edge has a 3,600mAh battery, which means it has a better display-to-power ratio than the Note 7.

Unlike the other two handsets, the Note 5 does not provide MicroSD support, which was something that many Samsung fans jumped ship over when it was first released. Storage capacity is available in 32GB and 64GB options, both of which have 4GB of RAM. Its processor also depended on what region you live in and offered either an octa-core Exynos CPU or a Qualcomm SD820 ship. The biggest disappointment for Note 5 owners, other than the lack of MicroSD support, is with its battery. At 3,000mAh, it certainly lacks the power needed for a handset of its size.

Final thoughts

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will hit the shelves either later this month or in early September with a design which takes the best points of both the Note 5 and S7 Edge and repackages them into something that works well with the redesigned S-pen.

While it is similar in many ways to both handsets, the additions of waterproofing and an iris scanner and the return of MicroSD support means that it should offer just enough to cause Samsung fans the world over to consider upgrading.