Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy Note 5: What We Know So Far

Lately Samsung Galaxy S7 rumors and leaked photos are arriving daily, not to mention reports of a February launch date, which means users are starting to weigh all of their options. With that in mind here we’ll be taking a look at current Galaxy S7 rumors, and how it will compare to the Galaxy Note 5 for those tying to decide on their next smartphone.

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In August, the Galaxy Note 5 was released nearly two months earlier than expected, and just a few months after the April 10th release of the Galaxy S6. They’re all great phones, but are missing key features. If you’re trying to decide on whether to buy the Galaxy Note 5, or upgrade to the Galaxy S7, we have some early details for prospective buyers.

Read: Galaxy S7 Release: 3 Key Details Emerge

Now that the Galaxy Note 5 has been available for a while, and a new Galaxy S7 is on the horizon with many features the Note 5 is lacking, users are probably waiting for it to be released. Here we’ll be examining what we know so far based on rumors or leaks, and comparing the two.

Exciting-Best-Galaxy-Note-5-Cases

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The Galaxy Note 5 is still by far one of the best Android smartphones available to date. In fact, it’s what I’m using right now. It has a premium design, an amazing screen and great camera, good battery life with fast charging, and runs pretty great. That said, it’s about to be replaced by a slightly smaller Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge with better specs across the board, and some extremely important features will be added back into the fold.

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We have good news. It looks like this year Samsung has fixed a few problems from last year. Those being battery life and storage. The Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge have bigger batteries that recharge extremely fast, and will return the micro-SD slot for expandable storage. That alone could be worth a Note 5 user upgrading to the Galaxy S7 Edge, or someone passing on the Note 5 for a Galaxy S7 in early 2016. Lets get started.

Galaxy S7 Release Date

First up is the release date, which is extremely important this year. The Galaxy S7 could be here much sooner than any prior model. Samsung has confirmed it will be announced on February 21st, and leaks suggest a March 3-4th release date. That said, the US release date has been rumored for March 11th, a Friday, which is still a month faster than the Galaxy S6 last year.

Galaxy-s7-unpacked

All this means is that users can wait just a short while and get the next best thing, rather than getting what’s currently available.

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We’ve heard Samsung wants to launch phones faster to get a lead on the competition, mainly Apple, and we saw exactly that with the Galaxy Note 5. It was both announced and released in August of 2015, rather than October like we’d see the prior 2-3 years. This was ahead of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, giving Samsung a clear lead.

It’s reasonable to believe all the rumors we’re hearing right now, which suggest the Samsung Galaxy S7 will be announced on February 21st, and released within weeks of that date. This will be ahead of any iPhone 7 details, and once again being a little early to give Samsung a leg up on the competition. Case manufacturers already have the final designs as well, lending credence to the reports of an early release. We can’t be sure, but assume the Galaxy S7 will be available before March comes to a close. If that’s the case, it will be nearly just in time for Galaxy S5 owners to upgrade to a new phone.

Hold out for just a little longer with that old Android 5.1 powered Galaxy S5, because a stunning looking, faster, better, more premium Galaxy S7 is coming soon.

Galaxy S7 Design

At this point we know nearly everything about the Galaxy S7 due to countless leaks. Reliable sources like the Korean Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters and more, claim the Galaxy S7 will look nearly identical to the Galaxy S6 from last year, which means it will be very similar to the Note 5 as well. That may sound bad at first, but Samsung’s reportedly integrated everything users missed in the Galaxy S6 and Note 5, and put it back this year.

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Rumor has it the Galaxy S7 will come in two different models (not three or four) and the curved “Edge” variant won’t come in a smaller size like last year. It will though, be a good middle ground between the Note 5 and the Galaxy S7. The Galaxy S7 Edge will be 5.5-inches, sitting right between the rest of the pack.

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The design will be very similar to the Note 5, with the same curved back and all metal and glass design. It may be slightly thicker due to a bigger battery, feature a slimmer camera hump on back and more, but overall these phones won’t look too much different aside from a few small changes and the physical size due to the screen.

Samsung is expected to stick to the same 5.1-inch 2560 x 1440 Quad-HD S-AMOLED display for the Galaxy S7. Then a 5.5-inch Edge. This will be a smaller screen than the Note 5 which is 5.7-inches, but have the same amazing display. This also means more pixels in a smaller display, for an improved overall visual experience.

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The Galaxy S7 is rumored to have the same rounded back as the Note 5 shown above, but that could be worrisome if the Edge is curved as well, meaning the sides could come to a point. The bottom is more rounded on the Galaxy S7 as well, based on leaked photos, which should make it more comfortable to hold.

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The most important aspect of the design though, is the slimmer camera that leaves room for a bigger battery (bigger than the Note 5 even) and the return of the micro-SD slot. We’re hearing a micro-SD slot will make a return this year, and be integrated into the SIM tray. The best of both worlds when it comes to the design, and expandable storage. If this is all accurate, the Note 5 will quickly be an after-thought and the Galaxy S7 Edge with better specs, a bigger 3,600 mAh battery, micro-SD slot and the latest features would be the better phone. Of course, unless you truly need the S-Pen stylus.

Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy S5: Specs

Being barely six months old the Note 5 isn’t outdated, but the Galaxy S7 will have a slight advantage in most areas. Everything is faster, better, and improved. Including the battery life. Here are the latest details based on countless leaks, benchmark test results and more.

Galaxy S7 Specs (Rumored)

  • 5.1-inch 2560 x 1440 Quad-HD Display (5.5-inch Edge model)
  • 8-Core Qualcomm 820 Processor with 4GB of RAM (Vary by region)
  • 32 and 64GB storage options (Micro-SD reportedly confirmed)
  • New 12.3 Megapixel Rear Camera with f/1.7 aperture, OIS and more
  • 3,000 mAh battery with Fast Charging, Wireless Fast Charging (3,600 on Galaxy S7 Edge)
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with TouchWiz
  • Fingerprint and Iris Eye Scanner
  • IP67 Dust & Water Resistance (Rumored)
  • Flat Design (no camera bulge)
  • more

As you can see above, the Samsung Galaxy S7 sounds pretty good. It will have an improved 5.1-inch Quad-HD display, and return many of the features Samsung ditched on the Galaxy S6. Powered by a new 8-core processor with 4GB of RAM, tons of storage, and return the micro-SD slot that made so many pass on the Galaxy S6.

Galaxy Note 5 Specs

  • 5.7-inch 2560 x 1440 Quad-HD Display
  • Samsung Exynos 8-core processor with 3GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB storage, no micro-SD slot
  • 16 Megapixel Rear camera with OIS, 5 megapixel front camera
  • 3,000 mAh battery with Fast Charging, Wireless Fast Charging
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop (Marshmallow coming soon) with TouchWiz
  • Fingerprint Scanner
  • All metal and glass design
  • S-Pen Sylus
  • more

The only benefit the Galaxy Note 5 will have is the bigger screen and an S-Pen stylus. And while that’s a feature many enjoy, most Note 5 users I know simply enjoy the bigger screen and rarely — if ever — use the S-Pen. As a result, the bigger 5.5-inch Galaxy S7 Edge may be the perfect middle ground.

It won’t be as big, but the screen is still fairly large. It will be improved across the board and have much better battery life. As more and more details arrive, the Galaxy S7 Edge is sounding better and better as Samsung’s next true flagship, not the regular Galaxy S7.

Software

Another big change is in the software on board. The Galaxy Note 5 will likely see Android 6.0 Marshmallow at some point this February or March as an update, but it may not be as feature-complete as the S7. The Galaxy S7 will have the latest and greatest across the board. Things like Google Now on Tap, Samsung or Android Pay, a better TouchWiz over stock Android and more.

Samsung’s come a long ways with software, and the skin covering stock Android isn’t so bloated with gimmicky features like we saw with the Galaxy S5. Another big rumor for the Galaxy S7 is a pressure sensitive display. Similar to Apple’s 3D Touch. If true, it will offer tons of innovative new features the Galaxy Note 5 won’t be able to offer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9lcaL-UqIk

Above is a teaser video. It doesn’t show exactly what to expect, but rather some of the possibilities that will be integrated into the Galaxy S7 and the pressure sensitive display.

We’ve also heard from reliable sources that Samsung has worked closely with Google on the software for the Galaxy S7. It won’t be stock Android, but it will be the most optimized and cleanest software ever released from Samsung. Promising fast performance, great battery life and more. Something we can’t say about the Note 5, but that could change with the update to Marshmallow.

Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy Note 5: Camera

The only “lower” spec on a sheet while comparing the two is the 12 megapixel camera. However, the new camera in the Galaxy S7 will take amazing photos and video that works great indoors or outdoors, have optical image stabilization, a fast f/1.7 aperture for fast shutter speeds and auto focus. Megapixels aren’t everything, and this 12 megapixel camera should be better than the excellent 16 megapixel camera that won the Note 5 so many awards. We’re a bit worried about this change, but Samsung has produced amazing cameras, so we have big hopes for this new 12 megapixel camera on the Galaxy S7.

Note 5 has a 16 megapixel camera

Note 5 has a 16 megapixel camera

The sensor is bigger which allows for more light to enter in quickly while taking a photo. It captures more light, extra details and more in a faster amount of time. So there won’t be blur from hand shaking and other things.

We’re hearing the front camera will remain a wide-angle 5 megapixel sensor, but it could be upgraded to 8 megapixels. We’ll have to wait and see. We’ll surely do camera comparison and samples once the Galaxy S7 arrives.

Carriers, Pricing and More

The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge will be released on all major carriers, likely in at least 2-3 different color options and storage sizes, but we’ll have to wait for the announcement to know for sure. We’re hearing March 4th, while some reports suggest March 11th. Either way, the wait is almost over.

Users can expect all carriers to release it around the same day, like we saw with the Galaxy Note 5 in August, for a price similar to prior years.

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The Galaxy S6 was $199 with a new 2-year contract and $599 outright for the 32GB model from most carriers, then went up with more storage or the Edge curved screen model. We’re expecting something very similar for the Galaxy S7.

Users will likely be able to grab the Galaxy S7 for $199 or less with contracts or monthly payment plans, or pay a little extra for the bigger 5.5-inch Galaxy S7 Edge. The Note 5 debuted at $299 with a 2-year contract, which is obviously more, but can be found for as low as $99 or less these days. Buying the Note 5 will probably still be more expensive right now, but after the Galaxy S7 launch, we could see discounts on the Galaxy S6 and Note 5 across the board.

Read: Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy S6: Early Comparison Based on Rumors

At the end of the day it all comes down to what buyers need. If you have the Note 5, there are only a few reasons to upgrade. One big one being the micro-SD card, or of course battery. If you’re debating the Note 5 as your next phone, wait a month for the Galaxy S7 to see if it has enough to make you choose a smaller screen for more features.

From everything we’re seeing Samsung has a pretty impressive phone in the works with the Galaxy S7, but it might not be enough to get Note 5 users to switch. That said, those with the Note 4 or a Galaxy S5 will love all the improvements in every single aspect of the phone. Stay tuned for more details, as we’ll know everything soon enough.