While the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge almost stretches into phablet territory, Samsung fans will have to wait for the Galaxy Note 6 for a true 2016 flagship phablet from the company.
It’s a highly anticipated phone, especially in Europe where Samsung made the bizarre decision not to launch the Galaxy Note 5, leaving would-be buyers hungry for their next S Pen hit.
But while the Samsung Galaxy Note 6 probably won’t be with us until the tail end of 2016 we’re already starting to hear rumors about it. If that’s not enough to keep you sated we’ve also cooked up a wish list of things we want to see.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Samsung’s next phablet
- When’s it out? Late 2016, possibly early September
- What will it cost? It’s sure to be very expensive
Samsung Galaxy Note 6 release date
Samsung typically launches its phablet flagships towards the end of the year. The Galaxy Note 5 arrived at the very end of August 2015 and it’s thought that the Note 6 will arrive in the same month of 2016.
The good news is that according to a techradar source high up at one of the UK’s major networks this time it should make its way to the UK as well.
Samsung Galaxy Note 6 news and rumors
We’re already hearing a few rumblings about the Samsung Galaxy Note 6. Rumblings like the possibility that it will be water resistant. That’s one rumor that seems likely, given that the Samsung Galaxy S7 is.
There’s also talk out of China that it will use a 2.6GHz quad-core Snapdragon 823 chip, which is so new it hasn’t even been announced yet. That chip, if the rumors are right, will essentially be a slightly faster version of the Snapdragon 820, albeit with support for up to 8GB of RAM.
Though given that the Snapdragon 820 already allows for 6GB that doesn’t mean Samsung will stick that much in its next phablet, but 5GB or 6GB seems likely and indeed 6GB has been rumored.
Other rumors include the possibility of an iris scanner, though this is based on the fact that Samsung has been importing iris scanning modules, rather than any direct mention of them being used in the Galaxy Note 6.
Word from Weibo also points to a 5.8-inch 1440 x 2560 screen, 64GB or 128GB of storage and a 12MP camera with Super OIS Plus. Though we’d always advise taking Weibo posts with a pinch of salt.
Patently Mobile also uncovered a patent which points to a Samsung phablet device being used to power a laptop. Patents aren’t products but it’s within the realms of possibility that Samsung could launch a laptop dock as an optional accessory for the Galaxy Note 6.
What we want to see
1. A microSD card slot
With the Galaxy Note 5 Samsung finally gave us a phablet that looked as premium as it was, but that sandwich of metal and glass lost its microSD card slot.
No microSD card slot means significant limits on how much media you can stick on the phone and a phablet more than any other type of handset is built for media, so it was a real shame.
The good news is that Samsung reinstated the card slot for the Galaxy S7, so it’s likely to put one in the Galaxy Note 6 too. We certainly hope it does.
2. A removable battery
Another casualty of the move to premium materials was a removable juice pack. This one might be harder to fix without a drastic redesign of the hardware and with a sealed battery in the Samsung Galaxy S7 too we’re not optimistic about getting a removable one in the Samsung Galaxy Note 6.
But it would be nice if we did. A removable battery means any concerns about longevity can be muted by carrying a spare and, perhaps more importantly, if and when your battery starts to wear out you can just buy a new one, rather than buying a whole new phone.
3. A sharper screen
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is almost pin sharp with its QHD display. But smaller phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7 also have a QHD screen, so with the extra space on the Note it could arguably benefit from some extra pixels.
Even if it’s overkill for general viewing it would be enormously useful for any VR explorers. The Gear VR is a nice bit of kit, but it’s held back by a lack of visual fidelity.
4. More compelling S Pen features
One of the main ways in which the Note range differentiates itself from other phablets is the inclusion of a stylus. Yet Samsung’s S Pen could stand to be more compelling.
It’s useful, but rarely as handy as an actual notepad would be. Solving that problem may not be easy, but hopefully Samsung’s thinking about it for the Galaxy Note 6, because the S Pen needs to continue to evolve if it’s going to be much more than a gimmick.
5. A waterproof build
Knowing your phone is water resistant can be enormously reassuring, so hopefully the Samsung Galaxy Note 6 will be. It’s looking likely, given that the Samsung Galaxy S7 is and that early rumors suggest it will be.
But we don’t want Samsung to just recycle features from the S7. The Note 6 will be a newer handset, so we want newer, better things, like full waterproofing, rather than just water resistance. We don’t just want to take the Galaxy Note 6 out in the rain, we also want to take it on a deep dive into salt water. Or at least we want to have the option to.
6. A new standout feature
Speaking of new things, it would be great to see a truly new feature in the Samsung Galaxy Note 6. Something that people can really get excited about beyond the obligatory spec bump.
It’s rumored that it might have an iris scanner, so that would be something, but the Microsoft Lumia 950 already has one of them. Ideally we want the Samsung Galaxy Note 6 to go where no phone has gone before and have a truly revolutionary feature of some kind.
7. Tweaks to TouchWiz
TouchWiz gets better every year, but it’s still a poor substitute for stock Android. Some of the features are nice, such as the S Pen functionality we get with the Note, but we could do without the bloat and with a cleaner, more minimalist and more Material design inspired appearance.
8. A bigger screen
Now that non-phablets like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge are stretching to 5.5 inches there’s room for the Note 6 to grow beyond 5.7 inches.
We don’t want it to get massively bigger, otherwise we might as well just be using a tablet, but we wouldn’t say no to an extra 0.1 or 0.2 of an inch. Rumors suggest we might just get that too, with the Samsung Galaxy Note 6 supposedly stretching to 5.8 inches.
9. A dual-lens camera
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 already has a great snapper. In fact, it uses the same impressive 16MP sensor as the Samsung Galaxy S6.
But the Samsung Galaxy S7 has it beat with a 12MP camera that offers superior low-light performance. It’s rumored that the Galaxy Note 6 will also have a 12MP snapper, complete with Super OIS Plus.
But while a similar camera to the S7 would be a good start we’d like to see it combined with a second wide-angle lens, like the LG G5 has, giving users a choice of which lens to use in any given situation.
10. A bigger battery
A removable battery would be nice, but it’s not likely. So at the very least we want the Samsung Galaxy Note 6 to have a larger one. At 3000mAh the juice pack in the Note 5 is actually quite small for a phone of its size- it’s the same size as the battery in the 5.1-inch Galaxy S7 and far smaller than the 3600mAh one in the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
It would be madness for Samsung to put a smaller battery in the Note 6 than the S7 Edge, so we’d expect it will grow to at least 3600mAh, but hopefully it will be larger still.
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