5 Samsung Rumors: Can the Galaxy Note 7 Beat the iPhone 7?

Each week, an array of exciting new Samsung rumors surfaces. Even if you aren’t typically eager to learn about the new components that tech giants are working on or don’t get particularly excited to read rumors about devices that may or may not actually materialize, it’s hard not to be curious about what Samsung is planning for its future devices. Read on for this week’s most interesting rumors about Samsung’s plans and future products, from the implications of the technology introduced with the Galaxy Note 7 to the features expected with the Gear S3 to Samsung’s plans for future Tizen phones.

1. The Galaxy Note 7 may be a better buy than the iPhone 7

Justin Denison, senior vice president of product strategy at Samsung, speaks during a launch event for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 at the Hammerstein Ballroom, August 2, 2016 in New York City. The stylus equipped smartphone will be available starting August 19, with preorders starting August 3.

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Todd Haselton reports for TechnoBuffalo that the just-introduced Galaxy Note 7 is “miles ahead” of the iPhone, and that includes the features that Apple is expected to integrate into the upcoming iPhone 7. Putting aside our biases in the rivalry between Android and iOS — everyone’s got one — there are many features on the Galaxy Note 7 that the upcoming iPhone 7 may not be able to match.

The Galaxy Note 7 is equipped with a 5.7-inch quad HD display that can accept input from the S-Pen stylus. Apple is very unlikely to use a quad HD screen, and almost certainly won’t support an integrated stylus. The iPhone 7 is rumored to get water resistance, but it reportedly won’t be IP68 certified, as the Galaxy Note 7 is. Samsung equipped the Galaxy Note 7 with a microSD card slot for expanding the 64GB of base storage, while the iPhone 7 definitely won’t feature a microSD card slot, and may or may not start at 32GB of storage, much less 64GB of storage.

Additionally, the Galaxy Note 7 supports fast charging and wireless charging, two features the iPhone 7 is unlikely to include, and also supports mobile HDR, a feature that Apple isn’t likely to introduce to the iPhone lineup this year. While the iPhone 7 is rumored to retain the Touch ID sensor, Samsung has moved on to adding an iris scanner to complement its fingerprint reader. For platform-agnostic users who are considering either a Samsung phone or an iPhone this fall, the iPhone 7 may be found wanting when compared to the Galaxy Note 7.

2. The screen on the Galaxy Note 7 could spell the end for sapphire screens

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 2: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones are displayed during a launch event for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 at the Hammerstein Ballroom, August 2, 2016 in New York City. The stylus equipped smartphone will be available starting August 19, with preorders starting August 3.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Quinten Plummer reports for Android Authority that Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 7 is the first smartphone to use Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5, a material that Tim Bajarin posits in a piece for Re/code could “mean the end for sapphire screens.” Rumors had indicated that Gorilla Glass 5 would be featured on both the Note 7 and the upcoming iPhone 7, and during the Note 7 announcement, Samsung confirmed that Gorilla Glass 5 protects the Note 7’s 5.7-inch display.

Gorilla Glass 5 is Corning’s newest and toughest glass cover for mobile device, and the company says that phone faces protected by Gorilla Glass 5 have an 80% chance of emerging unscathed after a fall from heights of up to 1.6 meters, or about 5.25 feet. Bajarin notes that while Apple famously pursued the possibility of using sapphire screens for use in iPhones, it killed the project. That’s because even though sapphire is very hard and very scratchproof, it’s more breakable than Gorilla Glass. And if there’s even a small flaw in a sapphire screen, it becomes even more fragile when dropped or hit.

Notably, Corning has another project in the works, called Phire, which Bajarin reports “will be a new version of Gorilla Glass, with additional properties that could make it even more scratchproof, yet highly durable and fundamentally unbreakable.” Corning hasn’t shared a timeline for when Phire-based Gorilla Glass will be available to smartphone makers, but Bajarin notes that “when it does, it probably represents the final nail in the coffin of sapphire screens for smartphones, since demand for sapphire covers would be minimal to nonexistent in the future.”

3. The Gear S3 will likely have a rotary bezel and advanced sensors

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 06: Attendees examine Samsung's Gear S2 smartwatches at CES 2016 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through January 9 and is expected to feature 3,600 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to more than 150,000 attendees.

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SamMobile reports that Samsung’s upcoming Gear S3 smartwatch is expected to feature a rotary bezel, like the one on its predecessor, when it appears at IFA in September. That effectively confirms that this year’s smartwatch release from Samsung will be round, as well. The publication also reports that the Gear S3 will feature advanced new sensors “to support an active lifestyle.”

Those sensors reportedly include an altimeter, a barometer, a speedometer, as well as integrated GPS. The altimeter will constantly measure altitude and display an altitude graph. The barometer will measure atmospheric pressure, and provide data that’s useful in forecasting weather and determining altitude. The speedometer will measure current speed, calculate average speed, and track distance and total time. The integrated GPS enables the speedometer to do its job, and SamMobile reports that “if location services are not enabled on the paired device or on the smartwatch itself the speedometer will not work.”

SamMobile expects that Samsung will unveil the Gear S3 at IFA, a trade show for consumer electronics that’s held in Berlin every year. This year, IFA will run from September 2 to 7, and The Verge’s Jacob Kastrenakes reports that a launch in September would make sense given the timing of the Gear S2 launch in 2015.

4. Samsung may launch new Tizen phones in South Africa

A Samsung employee demonstrates the new Samsung Z910F Smartphone (R) and the SM-R380 Smartwatch (L) at the Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco, California on June 3, 2014. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON

Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

SamMobile reports that after Samsung saw some success in marketing Tizen phones in India and Bangladesh, the company is planning to launch Tizen phones in South Africa, as well. Samsung is reportedly planning to launch the Samsung Z2, which will be the first Tizen device with support for 4G LTE, in October in South Africa. The company plans to introduce the phone in other countries, including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Kenya, and Nigeria, by the end of the year.

The publication reports that, according to “industry insiders,” Samsung wants to use these markets to test its Tizen-based IoT infrastructure before expanding those solutions to European and American markets. The Samsung Z2 will be the first Tizen smartphone to support Samsung’s remote assistance feature, which will enable users to get live help from the company’s call centers. The device is expected to feature an AMOLED display, 1GB of RAM, and the S Bike Mode that automatically responds to messages and calls while the user is driving.

5. “Turbo Speed Technology” may appear on more Samsung phones

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 2: Attendees check out Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones during a launch event at the Hammerstein Ballroom, August 2, 2016 in New York City. The stylus equipped smartphone will be available starting August 19, with preorders starting August 3.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Chris Smith reports for BGR that a feature of the new Galaxy J2 Pro 2016 edition, called Turbo Speed Technology (TST), may soon appear on other smartphones from the manufacturer. The feature includes software and hardware optimizations that are designed to offer a fast, fluid smartphone experience even on devices that don’t have cutting-edge processors or lots of RAM.

TST involves apps that consume less RAM while in use, plus a “proactive app management” feature that enables the phone to automatically kill apps that aren’t being used in order to free up more RAM. Samsung also introduced an “intelligent memory control” feature that rearranges and declutters RAM to make more available when necessary. TST is so far available only on the Galaxy J2 Pro, but Smith notes that it’s likely to appear on other Samsung phones in the near future.

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