The Galaxy Note 7 is a beautiful smartphone. And it’s a world-class pocket camera.
At its core, the Note 7 is essentially a souped-up Galaxy S7 Edge — already the runaway best phone of 2016, with the best camera ever installed on a smartphone.
But the Note 7 packs a giant, curved 5.7 inch quad-HD AMOLED screen onto a nearly bezel-free frame with a smaller footprint than the iPhone 6s Plus. So the best camera in phone-land and the best display have come together in a single device.
It’s a freaking pleasure to use.
It shouldn't surprise anyone at this point that the Galaxy camera produces excellent images. Even in confusing situations, like the blue light of dawn, the Note 7 turns up high-contrast, colour-perfect images.
Colours are rich, details are sharp. And even in images like this, with a bright spot and deep shadows, the sensor's excellent dynamic range retains plenty of noise-free detail.
The wide f/1.7 aperture on this camera, which helps it shoot in low light, also throws backgrounds nicely out of focus when shooting nearby subjects. You can see the depth-of-focus recession in this shot.
And the bokeh, or texture of the out-of-focus regions of the image, just looks good. You could easily convince me this shot came from a prime DSLR lens costing several hundred dollars.
You can see how much detail the Galaxy camera captures -- even at the edges of its wide-angle lens -- in this segment of the above shot blown up to full size.
As always, the Galaxy camera is at its most impressive in low light. This shot of my friends reacting to a wrong answer in bar trivia looks much brighter than what my eyes could actually see in that dark room. Again, this is astonishingly high quality.
Even with a bright light shining in its eyes at night -- probably the most difficult situation for any device -- the Note 7 produces a clean, colour-accurate image with plenty of shadow detail.
But none of this is really a surprise. Packing the same hardware as the S7 and S7 edge, it would have been stunning if the Note 7 camera wasn't so good. But what sets this device apart is how nice it is to shoot with this big beautiful screen while you're making these high-quality shots. Even $6,000 DSLRs don't offer this kind of eye candy on their rear panels.
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