It’s only a few hours since the Galaxy Note 8 has been released by Samsung and judging by what we’ve seen, here is all we need to know about the new Phablet from Samsung.
Samsung hasn’t had a good run with the previous Galaxy Note which we all know was subject to major criticism and one of the phones that made rounds on blogs and major sites for it’s battery problem that caused to the phone to catch fire as reported by a number of owners. Samsung made a recall, said had fixed it, put it back into the hands of users only to suffer the same previous problem until Samsung decided to stop it’s sale and distribution.
But even after such events coupled with losses, Samsung didn’t hold back when many thought it could have been the end of the Galaxy Note line. Here we are again with the best Samsung has got to offer, the Galaxy Note 8.
For starters the Note line is aimed for power users, people who use their phones a lot if you were wondering why the S and Note line exist along one another. Samsung always releases from these two lines once a year and despite the Note 7 fate last year, Samsung has promised that is in the past and matter of fact, all it’s phone batteries for every phone released goes through an 8-point check to ensure the batteries are safe. Aside from that, there are a few new things and improvements the Note 8 brings; The new display up front, new software features, the new dual cameras, updated S Pen features and new specification. These are what we are going to look at below in detail.
The Note 8 by all means gives us a familiar design. It takes most of the design elements from it’s predecessor the Note 7. To some people it may come off as a boring look at first glance but to others interesting even so formal.
At the front is the 6.3 inch 18.5 by 9 Quad HD Super AMOLED infinity display with a resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels about 521 ppi pixel density arguably the best display you can find in a phone right now. If you have used Samsung’s AMOLED displays you already know how sharp colors pop and how dark color like black can be.
Like the S8 and previous Note 7, the Note 8 is slightly curved at the edges with no bezels on the sides but still retains a thin chin up top and below the display. No hardware home button below the display but the software home button that vibrates on touch to emulate a hardware key. The thin bezels almost make it sit in the same footprint as the Note 7 that had a 5.7 inch display.
On it’s right you’ll find the power button, on the left is are the volume rockers and below them the Bixby button is placed just like on the S8 which is mapped to launch Samsung’s digital assistant Bixby once pressed. At the back are the two camera sensors and a fingerprint sensor that is again oddly placed at the back similar to the S8. It’s positioning at the back in line with the rest of the camera modules is tricky to find especially for people with small hands.
At the top are the sim tray and microSD card slot while at the bottom you’ll find the S Pen, speaker grill, USB Type-C port and headphone jack.
The Note 8 uses the latest most high-end Snapdragon 835 Octa-core with the Adreno 540 GPU for the USA and China variants and Samsung’s own Exynos 8895 Octa with Mali-G71 MP20 for the International version. It packs 6GB of RAM currently the largest amount of RAM Samsung has put in their flagship phone. It comes with on-board storage configurations of 64GB, 128GB and 256GB which can be expanded to 256GB via microSD.
The Note 8 also carries a sightly improved S Pen with a thinner tip with more levels of pressure sensitivity. Screen-off notes with the S-Pen still exist.
Added to what the S Pen can do is the scrolling wheel that pops up when the pen is pulled out of it’s placement, which wheel can now be spun using the Pen and also now allows addition of a shortcut or another app to the list of options on the wheel to create some kind of quick launcher for your favorite apps whenever the pen is pulled out. Another addition to what the Pen can do is create and send animated gifs and translating text on the go.
In the battery department the Note 8 is powered by a 3300mAh, relatively smaller than expected in such a huge phone but was possibly done to reduce the risks of what happened with the previous Note. Fast charging and wireless charging return to the Note 8 as well.
The Note 8 runs on Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box which is currently the latest Android version used in most current phones though Android 8.0 Oreo has been officially launched and currently runs on only Google Pixel phones. We wait to see if the 8.0 update will be pushed to the Note 8 once all manufactures gain access to the source code.
The User Interface itself the the same as in the S8, doesn’t look like stock but refined to look flatter and faster according to most reviews that have been made about the device.
The other new software feature added is Paired Apps the ability to make and launch two of your favorite apps at once in split screen mode with just a single tap. This will definitely draw more users to use split screen often to take advantage of the large display, say a user can pair YouTube and their favorite browser at once on one screen if the app combination is what they often use.
This biggest change will be noticed in the camera. The Note 8 now spots two 12 mega-pixel cameras at the back, one with a normal 1x wide angle lens and the other with a telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom, a feature that has been known to be in the iPhone 7 Plus. The difference though is that both of the lenses in the Note 8 have Optical Image Stabilization. This essentially means there will barely be any noticeable shaky scenes when a video is being shot in the most unstable scenarios far less than what can be seen in the iPhone 7 Plus. Also, Optical Image Stabilization is expected to work better in low light conditions. 4k video recording is also supported by the rare cameras.
Samsung also tossed in a few software features like a 1x and 2x buttons to switch between these two cameras. New photo modes like Live Focus more like portrait mode in the iPhone 7 Plus have been added. When taking a photo, the camera can be moved from the 1x to the 2x telephoto lens and blurs the background but you can still change the level of background blur hence the name ‘Live Focus’ before taking the actual photo. The lens will artificially add a blur. And when taking a photo with the 1x lens, the camera simultaneously takes another photo with 2x wide angle lens. Going to the gallery will still let you adjust the background blur as well.
The secondary camera is an 8 mega-pixel camera with an f1.7 aperture good in low light conditions too.
IP68 Water and Dust resistance still makes it’s way to the Note 8 along with Iris scanning and facial recognition as extra security features to unlock the device. Samsung Dex that lets you mount your Samsung onto a monitor and use it in PC mode is not only supported on the S8 but now on the Note 8.
The Note 8 comes in four colors: black, grey, gold and blue.
The Note 8 is being priced about 950 US Dollars to way above 1000 US Dollars depending on the model. The phone is available for retail on September 15 in the US and UK, while Australians will get their devices on September 22.