The Galaxy Note7: A Legacy Left Behind

Posted on Posted in Tech & Gadgets

Its official: the Galaxy Note7 is dead.

What was supposed to be one of the best Android smartphone of the year has now gone up in smokes (literally) due to the number of incidents of the said smartphone exploding.

And while the incident has been a popular source of memes and internet sensation for the past few weeks, The news to officially put a stop on the production of the phone leaves a bitter taste to many fans – myself included.

The Samsung Galaxy Note7 was a fantastic phone. It had everything: premium build quality, performance, camera, functionality, etc. It even came with new features that were present in the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, such as IP67 water resistance, MicroSD or SIM2 card slot, fast (and wireless) charging and an always-on display.

But more than anything, the Note series from Samsung is an established brand. It had a reputation to uphold and was considered as the best phablet/large screen phone since the first Note was introduced.

It was the de-facto smartphone to get for any user looking for size, power, performance, function and battery-life. Its legacy offerings a proof on how great and successful the series was, and how it could have been for the Galaxy Note7.

With the brand’s reputation now in shambles because of this recent incident, we now ponder whether the Galaxy Note7 will be the last phone Samsung ever makes for the Note series.

While I certainly hope not, the possibility does exist due to the amount of negative PR the brand has received.

With that said, let us look at the legacy the Note series has left behind, as a reminder of how great and revolutionary the product was since its first introduction.

1. Samsung Galaxy Note

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There are two major elements that made the Note series so successful: its size and its stylus (S-Pen). Both these features were considered heretical to be present in a smartphone prior to the Note series introduction.

Its screen size (originally 5.3 inch) was considered too large for a smartphone at that time. And the presence of a stylus were a reminiscence of older resistive touchscreen phones.

Despite this Samsung launched the first Galaxy Note in September 2011, and it was a success.

Its large form was justified by the fact that most of its size was taken by its large screen, and that its stylus took full advantage of it along with other software enhancements.

Like its namesake, the Galaxy Note truly acted like a notebook – offering functionalites from the latter that was yet present in other smartphones of the past – and even today.

(Samsung Galaxy Note review by GSMArena here.)

2. Samsung Galaxy Note II

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With the Galaxy Note’s success, it only made sense for Samsung to continue development of its next form iteration – the Galaxy Note II.

Its features improved in every way possible: Screen size, performance, features, etc. It had it all. Unfortunately it was also ugly.

Maybe ugly is not the right word, but the device did felt cheap. Alongside its sibling, the Galaxy S3, Samsung went with the “soap bar” shape and used plastic that had a “brushed aluminum” look (which ironically still looked like plastic).

From here on out, Samsung had established a reputation for its flagship phones by being functional, powerful, and cheap looking.

(Samsung Galaxy Note II review by GSMArena here.)

3. Samsung Galaxy Note 3

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Arguably the best Note iteration for its time, the Galaxy Note 3 improved on a lot of things.

First, the bump from 5.5 inch to 5.7 inch screen while retaining the phone size as its predecessor, the inclusion of 1080p resolution screen and its new faux-leather look, while still plastic, gave a much premium look compared to the Galaxy Note II.

It also introduced a lot of new features present in its sibling, the Galaxy S4, such as air and motion gestures along with an improved S-pen that supports these.

Not much is left to say here, except that this was one great phone that still offers great performance despite its age.

So if your looking for a spare smartphone in a very tight budget, a secondhand Note 3 might still be worth considering. It also doesn’t explode in case you’re concerned.

(Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review by GSMArena here.)

4. Samsung Galaxy Note 4

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The Note 4 felt like a sequel to a great book or a movie. Its a great phone in its own right, and while there are major improvements and features added, compared to its predecessor, the Note 4 felt short by just a hair’s margin.

Like was mentioned, new things were added into the new Note, like the new 2k resolution standard and a new fingerprint sensor. But many had mixed feelings with the addition of 2k resolution display for a smartphone (like do we really need such a sharp screen display), and its implementation of a fingerprint sensor fell short compared to Apple’s.

Performance jump was of course present, but it was also expected. And at this point, performance increase were not as relevant as compared before.

Not much has changed also in terms of aesthetics, aside from the stitch-design being removed from the Note 3, and that the ugly MicroUSB 3.0 of the Note 3 reverting to the previous one (which felt more like a downgrade than an upgrade).

Overall, still a great phone. A good update coming in from the Note II or the original, but being the successor to the Note 3, I expected more from it during this time.

(Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review by GSMArena here.)

5. Samsung Galaxy Note 5


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Like how the Galaxy S6 was to its predecessors, the Note 5 changed a lot of things from the series in terms of aesthetics and functionality.

Gone are the days where Samsung phones looked and felt cheap. Instead design was refreshed into a chamfered & curved glass build, with no plastic on sight.

The transition to a more premium finish was not perfect though, and the Note 5 had to sacrifice well-known power features such as replaceable battery and microSD expansion in order to achieve this.

And while not all are happy with this sacifice, it is a welcome change for Samsung, as the Galaxy Note 5 is a premium phone, and does behest premium build quality.

I currently use the Note 5 as my daily driver. And as much as I like the phone, I will assess to the fact that the phone does get hot, especially during charging and active hotspot. So for fellow Note 5 owners, take care of your devices.

Perhaps this issue could have been something the engineers from Samsung tackled more carefully. But then again, its already too late.

(Samsung Galaxy Note 5 review by GSMArena here.)

The Galaxy Note7 on paper seems like the perfect upgrade. Same chamfered glass as with the Note 5, the return of microSD card or dual SIM card expansion, IP67 water resistance, Edge functionalities present in the Galaxy S7 Edge, and a welcome increase in performance.

It also gained high praise from other tech sites and bloggers from all around the world. But all that is put to naught once the issues in the phone arises. At the end of the day, an exploding phone is just not worth it, even if the chances of that happening are like 1 in a million.

It’s disappointing that Samsung overlooked such a major flaw in the device. Even more so by the fact that the recent recall still hasn’t fixed the exploding issue altogether.

Let this be a wake up call to all smartphone manufacturers, not just Samsung, to put product quality and safety as topmost priority when developing new products and devices.

At the very least, I applaud Samsung for their decision to pull the Galaxy Note7 units permanently – prioritizing safety over sales. Lets just hope that the Note7’s successor doesn’t suffer from the same disease – assuming there will be a successor.