I spent the better part of the past 30 days with Samsung’s latest phone, the Samsung Galaxy Note7 as a business phone. Net-net, I believe business users will enjoy the experience like I did and embrace the many business-friendly features that it has. Samsung was the company to create the device category that we now know as the “phablet” as well as the modern business smartphone market with the Note line of products. This was enabled by the larger display sizes and the ability to write accurately on the screen with a stylus which Samsung branded as the S Pen. Prior to the Note7, the Note line looked and felt very industrial and the Note7 is a departure from that design philosophy. I have previously written about the consumer as well as the enterprise IT point of view but I also wanted to write about it from the business user POV. End-users like consumers want a great looking phone that they can also get a lot of work done on.
Sexy, consumer design
The Samsung Galaxy Note7 is not the kind of phone that you will feel like you need to carry a personal phone with because your work phone is ugly. The Note7 is the kind of work phone that you would show off to your friends and family and they would get jealous. I know this as it’s already happened to me. This is simply a beautifully crafted phone, mine came in Black Onyx but it also comes in Blue, Gold and Silver. A lot of the great design of the Samsung Note7 comes from the fact that it has a double curved edge display like the Galaxy S7 Edge as well as a very clean and smooth back to complement the front.
The Note7 also has one of the best cameras in the industry with a 4K video capability, 12 megapixel still images and an extremely fast shutter speed. These features are in addition to support for RAW image files as well as slow-motion video. It is an overall great consumer camera, but if your line of work also involves taking pictures such as a real estate agent, insurance adjuster or appraiser, you will be very happy with the quality and ease of use. Additionally, Samsung has fitted the phone with 64GB of standard capacity memory as well as expandable memory so you can fit up to 256GB of additional storage without ever needing to delete any files. 256GB is a lot of pictures and videos.
All of this is possible while also making the Note7 water-resistant which means that if your line of work is in the elements or around water you will appreciate this. The Note7 isn’t water-proof, but mine has survived many trips into the pool as well as other bodies of water. Samsung is clear to note that the Note7 is only rated to be IP68 water resistant to 30 minutes and up to almost 5 feet of water. That means replacing phones a lot less often when they get dropped in water or something gets spilled at a dinner or at a conference room table.
The display on the Samsung Galaxy Note7 is very high resolution, as you’d expect from a flagship smartphone. It features Samsung Electronics own SAMOLED (Super AMOLED) 1440P display which at such a high resolution allows you to see every detail of any document or photo and zoom in as well. The Note7 is also the first phone with an HDR display which requires HDR content from sources like Netflix to support it and allows you to see more details and color than ever before. This also means that the display is capable of being extremely bright, up to 1,000 nits which means it’s extremely easy to see outdoors. This solves a common problem for people that work outdoors in direct sunlight and cannot read the displays on their phones. I found myself being able to do things like WebEx in my car, while in a parking lot, and appreciated having the bright and crisp display. Samsung also enables the Note7’s display to always be on, letting you see notifications without having to turn the phone’s display on and off every time you want to check your phone. Samsung also allows you to write on the Note7’s display while in locked mode so you can jot down quick notes without having to unlock your phone.
Solid multitasking performance
The Samsung Note7 is no slouch when it comes to performance and Samsung outfitted it with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 with 64GB of storage capacity, 4GB of RAM and expandability of up to 256GB in additional storage. The memory and storage numbers are starting to remind me more and more of the PC in terms of capacity. I used a lot of business applications like Outlook, Word, Chrome, OneNote, WebEx and Skype for business. If Microsoft is your corporate standard, this is basically a productivity PC in your pocket. I haven’t quite mastered the Note7’s split screen capability but those who do will appreciate the performance. I’m more comfortable with swapping back and forth between apps using the task key in the lower right-hand corner of the phone.
The Note7 also has a MIMO 2×2 802.11AC Wi-Fi antenna which works great in newly upgraded corporate Wi-Fi networks as well as acquiring better Wi-Fi signal in poorer conditions. Users with the latest 802.11AC Wave 2 hardware will see the most benefits from the Note7, but nearly any user with an older device would see improved Wi-Fi performance with the Note7. Samsung also loaded the Note7 with LTE Cat 9. capability for LTE connectivity, carrier willing. This means that working outside of the office shouldn’t feel any different in terms of performance than in the office.
Privacy and Security
Samsung Electronics has implemented some very user-friendly and business-friendly security features with the Note7. One of those features is that Secure Folder which helps keep IT out of a user’s personal apps and data. IT can wipe the folder, but cannot access or manage what is in the Secure Folder. This gives the user a certain level of comfort about their personal use of the device as well as gives IT the peace of mind that things can be kept under control.
The Secure Folder is very secure thanks to Samsung’s introduction of an iris scanner which allows for only the correct user to open the Secure Folder. Having both fingerprint and iris scanning capability on the same device allows for some major security and can improve the user experience for business users that might not always have clean enough fingerprints to unlock their phones. The protection of personal information is extremely valuable and iris scans have been shown to be even more difficult to spoof than fingerprints.
As I had just mentioned earlier, thanks to the low power display and the “off screen” note feature I was able to take lots of notes. This is shocking to me because I’m not a big note taker. Samsung removed most of the barriers to quick and easy note taking with the Note7 and made it extremely easy for me. I would like it to be able to sync with OneNote though since that is my primary note-taking application.
Samsung Electronics continued to improve the software capabilities of the S Pen in the Note7 by consolidating multiple S Pen apps into Samsung Notes. This means putting both handwritten notes and drawings into a single multi-purposed S Pen app. IT may or may not want you to use the app for business so they may remove it, but if they do then you can always add it in Secure Folder for your own personal notes. The translation capability of the S Pen launcher worked well but where are the Chinese languages? I also found the snipping feature quite nice because I could easily annotate and share excerpts of news stories as well as create my own fun GIFs.
Power and modularity
The Note7 has a plethora of power options for different types of users with different battery life needs. The Differential power setting got me days of battery life. Do note, however, that you will lose some features but the option is still there if you need it and can be a godsend on long trips. When you do need the phone to charge, though, it can charge pretty quickly from 0 to 100% in under 2 hours which is similar to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge which has the same battery capacity of 3,500 mAh.
Samsung Electronics also has some accessories for work that I didn’t try but do find interesting. I do recommend that you get a case for the Note7 as you don’t want to drop an all-glass phone without a case. Don’t feel like you need to get a water-proof case, as I feel that ruins the consumer experience as its already plenty water-resistant. There are also options for a battery case, zoom lens cover and smart case. These accessories are designed to further cater to certain niche use cases of the Note7 but are admirable attempts by Samsung to add even more value and modularity to the Note7.
The Note7 has proven itself to be a fantastic culmination of technological advances to enable a superior business user experience. I believe that in my last month of using the Samsung Galaxy Note7 that business users will embrace this device and consider it as a feasible upgrade path from their existing devices. Things like Secure Folder and consumer features should really reduce the need for users to bring in their own separate phone to work. I really enjoyed the experience and think you should consider it too. Ask your IT group for it, they should be pretty receptive.