Samsung has announced its latest Note, adding to its 2016 flagship smartphone line-up. The Galaxy Note 7 brings a fabulous design and some serious power with it, something that has come to be expected from the Note range.
The latest Note device to come to the UK was the Note 4 after Samsung chose not to launch the Note 5 in certain regions. The company skipped the Note 6 name in order to minimise confusion, but the Note 7 is still a long time coming, especially for those with a Note 3 who wanted to upgrade last year and were denied the chance.
If you are one of those, this feature is for you. Here is how the Galaxy Note 7 compares to the three-year old Galaxy Note 3. Is it worth the wait?
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Galaxy Note 3: Design
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has a beautiful design featuring a curved glass front and rear that is symmetrical from almost all angles. It measures 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9mm, weighs 169g and it has a water and dust resistance rating of IP68.
You'll find a fingerprint sensor within the main button on the front, as well as an iris scanner at the top of the device. A re-designed S-Pen stylus sits within the device in the bottom right, also waterproof, and USB Type-C is featured next to it.
The Galaxy Note 3 has a squarer design than the Note 7, featuring straighter edges and a flat front and rear. It has a metal frame and a plastic removable rear, allowing users to remove the battery.
The Note 3 measures 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3mm so it is wider and thicker than the Note 7, but around the same weight at 168g. The Note 3 is charged via Micro-USB 3.0 and like the Note 7, the S-Pen sits to the right of the charging port, though it is larger than the new device. There is no waterproofing on the Note 3, nor is there a fingerprint sensor or iris scanner.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Galaxy Note 3: Display
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has a 5.7-inch curved Super AMOLED display with a Quad HD resolution. This puts its pixel density at 515ppi, which is the same as the Note 5 and the Note 4.
The new Note has 4,096 levels of pressure, which is said to make it super responsive when it comes to the S-Pen, and it also brings the Always-on display technology from from S7 edge and S7 with it. Samsung has also included a technology called Mobile HDR, which makes the Note 7 the first smartphone capable of playing mobile HDR content, something that Amazon has just launched.
The Galaxy Note 3 also has a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display, but as we mentioned, it is flat rather than curved. Its resolution drops to Full HD too, meaning its pixel density is quite a bit lower than the Note 7 at 386ppi.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Galaxy Note 3: Camera
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 borrows its camera capabilities from the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge. That puts it with a 12-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front-camera, both of which have auto HDR and an aperture of f/1.7.
Both the S7 and S7 edge have been praised for their performance in the camera department so the Note 7 has some high expectations on its head. There is phase detection auto focus on board the rear, along with 4K video recording capabilities and an LED flash.
The Galaxy Note 3 has a 13-megapixel rear camera coupled with a 2-megapixel front camera. The rear camera has an aperture of f/2.2, while the front camera features an aperture of f/2.4, both of which are narrower than the Note 7, unsurprisingly.
The rear camera on the Note 3 has auto focus, as well as 4K video capture, being the first Note to offer the latter. The camera performance was better than the Note 2 by far, but the Note 7 will no doubt be better, despite the slightly lower resolution sensor on the rear.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Galaxy Note 3: Hardware
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will feature an octa-core Exynos processor or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 depending on the region, both of which are supported by 4GB of RAM. Storage options have yet to be detailed but microSD support for expansion will be present.
As we mentioned, there is a fingerprint sensor on board, as well as an iris scanner and USB Type-C. The Note 7 sports a 3500mAh battery, which can be wirelessly charged, as well as topped up quickly with fast charge.
The Galaxy Note 3 features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip under its hood, coupled with 3GB of RAM. It comes in storage options of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB, all of which have microSD support for further expansion.
The battery capacity within the Note 3 sits at 3200mAh and it is removable, unlike the Note 7's. There is no fast charging on board, but the Note 3 was a solid performer in terms of battery life when we reviewed it.
NFC is on board both the Note 3 and the Note 7, but Android Pay isn't available on the Note 3 so if you want to pay for something using your Note device, you'll need to upgrade.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 7: Release date, specs and everything you need to know
- Samsung Galaxy Note 7 design: Rumour vs reality
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Galaxy Note 3: Software
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 launches on Android Marshmallow with a refined and more subtle version of the TouchWiz software over the top. It also comes with the Edge UX, which is also found on the Galaxy S7 edge, utilising the curved screen as an access point.
Additionally, there are also a number of new features available with the Note 7, all of which you can read about in our separate feature, but they include improvements to the S-Pen software, as well as a separate Samsung Notes app.
The Galaxy Note 3 launched on Android Jelly Bean and it has since seen updates to the latest version of Android. It still features the TouchWiz software and it too offers its own functionality and features when it comes to the S-Pen. The experience will be familiar but it won't be identical to the Note 7.
It's also not clear whether the Note 3 will be updated to Android Nougat when it arrives later this year, whereas the Note 7 is sure to get that update at some point.
- What are the new S-Pen features for the Galaxy Note 7? New Air Command and features explored
- Samsung Galaxy Note 7: What's new?
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Galaxy Note 3: Conclusion
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 trumps the Galaxy Note 3 in every area, but that was to be expected. For those wondering whether to upgrade to the Note 7 from the Note 3, we'd say that's probably a no brainer if you have the budget.
You get more powerful hardware, a beautiful and significantly improved design, as well as a very good chance of better camera capabilities. You lose out on a removable battery and chances are your wallet will take a beating, but you will get a device that is up there with the latest tech.
You can see how the Note 7 compares to the Note 5 and the Note 4 in our separate feature in case you're considering upgrading but you aren't sure you want to stretch to the latest and greatest.