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Hands-on with Samsung’s Galaxy Note7 smartphone that unlocks when you look at it

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Samsung’s impressive new Galaxy Note7 smartphone has a long list of features and sounds amazing on paper but it feels even better when you hold the 5.7-inch device in your hand.

Tech Guide got its hand on the new Samsung flagship “phablet” after the gala launch in New York.

The first things you notice when you get the device in your hands are the curves on the front and back edges of the device.

On the front, the screen curves elegantly to the metal frame so when you look at it front on it looks almost edgeless.

And the same curves on the back panel ensures an even more comfortable fit in your hands.

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You can really feel the solid build quality and it has a nice weight to it.

What was surprising was how easily we could use the device one-handed seeing there was no angular corner to get in the way.

Another surprise is how compact the Note7 seems despite having a 5.7-inch display.

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When Samsung released its first Note back in 2011 it looked positively gargantuan but through a combination of us getting used to larger screen devices and the design improvements along the way – it’s the new normal.

That Super AMOLED screen is as dazzling as ever and we never tired of looking at the bright colours and sharp detail thanks to the quad HD resolution (2560 x 1440) at 518ppi (pixels per inch).

The screen is an excellent size – we’ve always liked bigger screens – and it is a nice everyday device and a handy travel companion as well.

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The display is easily large enough to enjoy your movies on your commute or your flight.

And with HDR (high dynamic range) capability, we can’t wait to see the HDR content that will be streamed in the near future on the Note7.

One of the standout new security features is the iris scanner which sounds like something out of a James Bond movie.

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There’s a dedicated iris scanner – it’s not using the front camera – that can read your eyes when held about a foot away from your face to unlock the device in a second.

This can also be used to safeguard a secure folder to store your most sensitive files and information.

There’s also fingerprint and password security onboard as well but the iris scanner is way cooler and will become the first thing customers show their friends when they get their hands on the device on August 19.

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Another tent pole feature of the Galaxy Note7 is the S Pen and it has gained even more features.

First up, the responsiveness has somehow improved. It was excellent on the Note5 but it has stepped up another level on this latest device.

You can write on the lock screen when you need to jot down a quick note and also pin it to the Always On Display so you will always see it.

And if you fancy yourself as an artist, the new draw and paint features provide and even richer experience.

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Don’t forget, there are 4796 levels of pressure sensitivity and it’s like using a real pencil, paint brush or crayon on paper.

You can also write on pictures and screen shots and every note can also be easily shared.

But the S Pen isn’t just for writing. One new feature is magnification so you can hover the tip above the screen to see up enlarge sections of the screen up to 300 per cent.

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And it works the same way when you hover over text or words in an image you’d like translated.

The device is also waterproof with an IP68 rating and that includes the S Pen so you can still write on the wet screen. You can even write in the screen when it is submerged as well.

One thing that’s also apparent with the Note7 is the power of the device.

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The octa core processor is super-fast (30  per cent faster than the Note5) and, when combined with 4GB RAM and the onboard 64GB storage and the potential to add 256GB capacity with the bonus pre-order microSD card, you’ve got plenty of space for all your content and all of your files on the move.

This will be a no-brainer purchase for mobile professionals who want a powerful device to get work done anywhere.

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But it will be equally appealing for any other user who enjoys a larger screen and consuming content and playing games on the move as well.

The Galaxy Note7 has a larger battery than the previous model at 3500mAh and it is also sporting a new USB-C connection – the first Samsung smartphone to feature this reversible port but certainly not the last.

On the accessory side, the new S View cover also serves as a stand so you can watch content on the go.

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And the new Gear VR headset offers improvements across the board as well, with a wider field of view and subtle changes to make it easier to navigate the menu and control.

The Samsung Galaxy Note7 is sure to be a popular release when it hits stores on August 19.

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Our advice is to get in and pre-order the device on August 5 to guarantee that you’ll get a unit on release day.

It will be a worldwide release with Australia, because of our time zone, becoming one of the first places in the world where it will go on sale.

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There will surely be strains on stock levels so jump in and pre-order the Note7 to avoid disappointment – and you’ll get a $299 256GB microSD card for your troubles well.

Sounds like a good deal to us.

* Stephen Fenech travelled to New York as a guest of Samsung