We were front and center at the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 launch on Tuesday. The simultaneous global launch was live streamed to SA media at the swanky JSE venue. Check out our hands on preview of the Note 7.
The world got together on Tuesday to see what Samsung had up their sleeves for the new Note 7 and the South African launch event was done a bit differently this time round. We were invited to attend the Galaxy Note 7 unpacked event at the JSE in Johannesburg with a 15:30 for 16:00 start, which struck me as a bit strange. I quickly realised though that Samsung was intending to launch their latest phablet flagship at the same time around the globe. We were welcomed at the JSE is typical Samsung glitz and glam style being peppered with gourmet finger foods and an open bar (which is expected at these types of events 🙂 ).
Formalities were kicked off by Michelle Potgieter (Director for Brand Communications in SA) and she explained that the stock exchanges around the world are interconnected and the JSE would be the perfect spot to globally launch the new Note 7.
After stocking up on biltong, some popcorn and chocolates we were ushered into the auditorium where we would watch the live streamed unpacked event.
The New York event kicked off at 17:00 SA time (11:00 local time) and the latest array of Samsung goodies were revealed. Here is a breakdown of the Galaxy Note 7’s specs:
Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow)
LTE Cat.12 / LTE Cat.10 / LTE Cat.9 *May differ by markets and mobile operators*
Alongside the Note 7 (Samsung skipped the Note 6 naming convention to align with the current S-Series), the Korean company also unveiled the new Gear360 camera (which allows users to capture 360 degree video footage) as well as the updated GearVR. After the showy reveal presentation the press in SA had a quick Q&A session with Samsung staff (including Michelle, Graige Fleischer (Director Integrated Mobility) and Justin Hume (Chief Marketing Officer)). Some of the more interesting questions included: Q: When will the Galaxy Note 7 be available in South Africa?
A: The device will be available on September 1st. Pre-orders will start immediately.
Q: What will the Note 7 retail for?
A: The exact number is being finalised. The rand/dollar exchange rate has been quite volatile recently. The number will be available before launch. Various service providers will confirm their package details within the next 2 weeks. Q: Will the iris scanning technology and Samsung Pay come to SA?
A: We are at an advanced stage of discussions with the top 5 banks in SA. We definitely see both those features being adopted – earliest estimation would be Q1 2017. Q: Will the Galaxy Note 7 pre-order campaign include bundled accessories, like previous campaigns?
A: Yes, the Note 7 pre-order campaign will include a starter pack including 2 screen protectors, a fast charging wireless stand and a back cover for the device (bundle estimated at R 1500). Q: What colours will be available in SA and which processor (Qualcomm or Exynos) will we get?
A: The SA market will receive the Blue, gold and black models powered by the Samsung Exynos chip. Q: Will the device be accompanied by Samsung’s accidental damage benefit?
A: The accidental damage benefit is a purely SA benefit. There will be some of these benefits available but might differ from previous agreements.
After the Q&A session we were allowed to experience the Galaxy Note 7 for ourselves. According to the Samsung staff these demo models literally landed in SA a few hours before our event kicked off. The phone has an extremely premium feel (something that Samsung isn’t historically known for) and fits nicely in your hand despite its 5.7-inch screen. The reason for this is the curved sides of the screen moulds perfectly into the curved back cover, providing a totally round edge on both sides.
The screen is bright and very responsive and the S-Pen takes like a duck to water (you can literally use it in water as both the phone and S-Pen is water resistant). I quickly setup the iris scanning function (which took just 2 mins) and tested the unlock response. As long as you look directly at the phone the screen will unlock within a second or two. The S-Pen has a tiny 0.7 mm tip which allows for great detailed work (depicted by live sketch artists at the event). The UI feels a lot less clunky than the TouchWiz disasters of old and I believe it is safe to say that Samsung will be dominating the phablet market for at least another year. I also had a go with the new GearVR. The ergonomics of the device have been significantly updated allowing for a more immersive experience. The lens size has been increased which also gives you a wider viewing landscape.
The S-Pen has a tiny 0.7 mm tip which allows for great detailed work (depicted by live sketch artists at the event). The UI feels a lot less clunky than the TouchWiz disasters of old and I believe it is safe to say that Samsung will be dominating the phablet market for at least another year.
I also had a go with the new GearVR. The ergonomics of the device have been significantly updated allowing for a more immersive experience. The lens size has been increased which also gives you a wider viewing landscape.
The ergonomics of the device have been significantly updated allowing for a more immersive experience. The lens size has been increased which also gives you a wider viewing landscape.
Check out the press photos below:
All in all the Galaxy Note 7 made one hell of a first impression. Samsung seems finally be able to identify which of their gimmicks actually pays off. Hopefully we can get our hands on a Note 7 for a full review in the near future to see whether the love at first site can develop into a lasting relationship.
Follow Jaco van der Walt on Twitter: @Jaco_vdWalt