After months of leaks and rumours, Samsung has announced the Galaxy Note 7, a new large-screen smartphone with an edge-to-edge display and iris scanner. The phone goes on sale in the UK soon and is the first Note to be available in the country since the Note 4 arrived in October 2014.

Since then, Samsung has launched the Note 5 in the US only and the curved Galaxy S6 Edge Plus in the UK (and for some reason there never was a Note 6...), so the launch of the seventh-generation is a big deal, especially for lovers of big-screen 'phablets'.

Falling somewhere between a smartphone and a tablet, the Note 7 has a 5.7in screen, a design similar to the Galaxy S7, an S Pen stylus and, in a first for any mass-market phone, an iris scanner for securely locking the handset.

Here we have compared the new phone to the last Note to be sold by Samsung in the UK. Two years on, is it time for an upgrade?

.Samsung Galaxy Note 7Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Screen size5.7in5.7in
Screen resolution2560 x 14402560 x 1440
ProcessorExynos 8890 Octa-coreExynos 5433 Octa-core
Cameras5MP front / 12MP rear3.7MP front / 16MP rear

On specs alone, the content isn't as clear-cut as you might have thought. The Note 4 still puts on an impressive show for a two-year-old handset, with the same screen-size and resolution, and a similar pair of cameras.

But look closer and there are clear differences. The Note 7 has more RAM, more storage and a slimmer and more compact design. There is also a higher resolution front camera and larger pixels in the rear to help capture more light. It also has a more powerful processor, a more accurate S Pen stylus, water resistance to a depth of 1.5 meters, and that smart new iris scanner, which unlocks the phone when you look at it.

Also new is the ability to both use the S Pen without unlocking the phone, and underwater. For all those times you need to update a shopping list while swimming, presumably. Finally, the screen of the Note 7 is curved slightly at the edges.

IBTimes UK is at the London launch event right now, and will be publishing our hands-on first impressions soon.