Samsung Galaxy Note Fan Edition pays homage to Galaxy Note7

YOU GOT TECH - Abe Olandres - The Philippine Star
Samsung Galaxy Note Fan Edition pays homage to Galaxy Note7

For the fans: With a suggested retail price of P32,990, the Galaxy Note FE is still a good buy.

There’s not a lot of difference between the Galaxy Note7 and the Galaxy Note Fan Edition. There’s actually just two noticeable differences – lower capacity and Android version. The exterior is almost exactly the same.

The name Galaxy Note Fan Edition (Galaxy Note FE) was carefully crafted to avoid a connection to the original Note7 (since airlines continue to ban them in the airplane cabin) but as a tribute to fans who really loved the original.

So here you are, a slightly revamped version of the original favorite at a slightly lower retail price. Besides, Samsung had millions of unshipped and recalled units and it would be a waste to jump dump them all in a landfill. Re-assembling all of them with a new and much safer battery was the logical thing to do.

This is the same old Galaxy Note design that everybody really loved – a large screen in a compact body. The 5.7-inch screen might not be that huge anymore in 2017, considering the Galaxy S8 has 5.8 inches and the Galaxy S8+ has 6.2, but the Note FE is not far off.

Before moving to the 18.5:9 aspect ratio, the Note FE can be considered among the best-looking devices with a 16:9 aspect ratio. The 79 percent screen-to-body ratio is actually impressive (current 18:9 devices are around 82 percent) since the fingerprint sensor and Home button are still in front. 

The power button is found on the right side while the volume controls are on the left. The SIM card slot is up top along with the noise-canceling microphone. At the bottom end are the 3.5mm audio port, primary mic, speaker grill and the USB Type-C charging port. The slot for the stylus pen is also found in the bottom right corner.

Up in front is an all-glass panel protected by Gorilla Glass 5. While the edges are curved, they’re not as pronounced or as curvier than the Galaxy S7 Edge. While looking very similar to the S7 Edge, the profile is still distinct.

The front camera, sensors, and loudspeaker are at the top corner while the Home button/fingerprint sensor is at the bottom corner. A lot of people will appreciate the physical Home button and fingerprint sensor at the front. It’s easy and quick to use and unlock the phone and also serves as a shortcut to launch the camera app. 

The back panel is all glass as well, protected by Gorilla Glass 5. A single camera is right smack in the middle with the dual-LED flash right beside it along with some sensors. The Samsung logo sits below the camera module and far down is a label printed in large bold letters “Galaxy Note Fan Edition”.

Samsung does not normally do this but it had to properly label the Fan Edition so that people do not mistake it for the recalled Note7 (spares you the headache when flying with it as well).

There is just one storage variant and that’s 64GB, which is complemented by a microSD card slot that supports up to 256GB capacity. The Note FE is also IP68-rated with dust and water resistance of up to 1.5 meters for as long as 30 minutes.

Maintaining the 5.7-inch display size, Samsung uses the same Super AMOLED technology in the Note FE with a quad HD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, giving it a pixel density of 534ppi.

Both the front panel and the back panel are protected with a layer of Gorilla Glass 5. Corning claims that Gorilla Glass 5 can survive up to 1.6-meter or shoulder-height drops onto hard, rough surfaces up to 80 percent of the time.

The single speaker grill at the bottom produces really loud and balanced sound. Audio quality is pretty good and ideal even for watching a movie or streaming YouTube without any earphones.

The S Pen stylus is very useful for taking notes, sketching or drawing, and adding a few more productivity features only unique to the Galaxy Note series.

Samsung used the same exact camera in the Galaxy S7 with the Note FE – same dual-pixel technology and HDR video tucked inside the 12MP rear sensor. In fact, they even used it with the Galaxy S8 and S8+ earlier this year.

There’s 4K video recording at 30fps and you can also do slow-mo or time-lapse. The Note FE, like its newer cousins in the Galaxy lineup, still has one of the best cameras in the market today.

The device came with Android 7.0 Nougat right out of the box with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI layered on top. While there’s really not that much design improvement from the previous version, the focus was making the S Pen more useful and incorporating all of the Edge panels into the Note FE.

Samsung used the older Exynos 8890 octa-core processor for the Note FE. This is paired with a Mali T-880 GPU, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. That’s still a pretty good combination even by today’s standards.

The Galaxy Note FE has a slightly lower capacity battery. This was reduced from the original 3,500mAh to just 3,200mAh. This resulted in a slightly lower battery life compared to the original one but thankfully, the device still supports fast wired and wireless charging.

The Galaxy Note Fan Edition is a fitting tribute to the old Galaxy Note series. This model came about because fans truly wanted it revived and released back to the market.

The design is already a year old but it’s still as beautiful and impressive as ever.

The old design layout sets it apart from the current lineup of Galaxy S8, S8+ and Note8 series.

With a suggested retail price of P32,990, the Galaxy Note FE is still a good buy. If the Galaxy S7 still retails for P31,990, the Galaxy S7 Edge is at P35,990, then the P32,990 asking price of the Note FE should be justifiable. Besides, the P49,990 price tag of the Note8 is still beyond reach for many Samsung fans.

Even with a year-old design and hardware, the Galaxy Note FE can still handily go head-to-head against many other flagship smartphones of 2017.

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