The always-on display can provide a clock and notifications, as well as a read-out of whats playing from Spotify or other music apps. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian
The back glass has surprisingly high levels of friction, which makes it easier to keep hold of, but also makes it a fingerprint magnet
Theres a heart beat sensor on the back that barely anyone will employ for health monitoring, but it can be used as a selfie camera trigger
You can only register four fingerprints on the scanner
The always-on display shows the time, date, calendar or image, depending on your settings, and can be scheduled to turn on or off between set hours to not keep you up at night, or turned off completely
The always-on display (which I had active turning my battery tests) consumed around 10-15% of battery life each day
The Note 7 had the strongest signal of any smartphone Ive tested, but suffered battery drain and got hot in the congested network conditions of London commuter trains
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 costs 700 and is available in three colours: black, blue with gold sides, and silver.
For comparison, the
5.5in Galaxy S7 Edge costs 639, the 5.7in Google Nexus 6P costs 449 (64GB is 499) and the 5.5in Apple iPhone 6S Plus costs 619 (64GB is 699), which makes the Note 7 about the same price as top-end rivals. Verdict
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is, without doubt, the best phablet going. Its powerful, full of useful features and little in the way of gimmicks, and provides productivity tools others simply dont.
The S Pen is something you may not use all the time, but comes in really handy at least once a day for me, and when not in use safely docks out the way, not detracting from the aesthetic or function of the phone.
The cameras, fingerprint scanner, wireless charging, waterproofing and screen are also top notch. So is the fit, finish and feel of the device. The iris scanner is a novelty that may become more useful when winter rolls along. But it is the curved edges and minuscule bezels around the screen that are the Note 7s best bit.
They make a very large phone feel not too big too hold – its more manageable than any other 5.7in phablet without sacrificing screen real estate.
The only real downside, which has been the same for each of Samsungs Note series launched around August, is that its software is no longer up to date.
Android 7.0 Nougat is much improved on notifications and battery life. The Note 7 will get an update to Nougat, but when is unknown.
Pros: waterproof, curved screen and back, fingerprint scanner, iris scanner, wireless charging, microSD card slot, S Pen, brilliant display, great camera
Cons: not yet Android 7 Nougat, only one days battery, expensive
The S Pen slots into the bottom of the phone with a push-button click. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian Other reviews