Samsung has finally revealed the Galaxy Note8 which was revealed today at an Unpack Event in New York. On release, last year’s Galaxy Note7 was looking really good before infamy caught up to it. The flagship phablet got off to a running start with its premium design and various productivity oriented features. This was swiftly tempered by the explosive news that hit users.
Samsung tried to salvage the situation for a time before realising the battery was the culprit in this case and swiftly called off the production and distribution of the handset. Although the company had acted with due swiftness, its reputation had been hit, hard.
So has Samsung figured it out or is the Galaxy Note8 not ready to shine, yet.
Hardware and Features
The Samsung Galaxy Note8 carries forward this year’s design trend of combining a metal frame sandwiched between two glass pieces. Combined with Samsung’s Infinity Display you have one gorgeous looking handset which does not feel very large even though it is just an iterative step forward and not a major break in design. The good thing about this is that the handset retains its IP68 ingress protection.
In fact, one can be mistaken that this is actually a Note7 thanks to the very similar rounded edge design that the Korean electronics giant has nailed for some time. The largest differentiating factor between the two Note devices is the length of the Galaxy Note8 because of the Infinity Display. Flip the phone over and you will see the exciting new colours the smartphone has been debuted in combined with Samsung’s first stab at featuring a dual camera system. The fingerprint scanner retains its unergonomic positioning like the Samsung Galaxy S8 range of smartphones.
The Samsung Galaxy Note8 comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC (in the US variant) or the company’s in-house Exynos 8895 SoC (international variant). Complementing the chip is 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory which is expandable via a microSD card. The Infinity Display which dominates the front of the device is a 6.3-inch Super AMOLED panel with 1440 x2960 resolution. Powering all this hardware is a 3300mAh battery while out of the box the Note8 is running Android v.7.1.1, Nougat under the updated TouchWiz UI.
Camera and S-Pen; Productivity Master
The dual camera setup that Samsung has implemented on the Galaxy Note8 are the first of their kind in the company’s entire product stack. The setup is comprised of dual 12-megapixel cameras, one with a wide-angle lens and aperture of f/1.7 while the other is a telephoto lens with a f/2.4 aperture. Just like other dual camera setups, the Note8 is capable of capturing images with the “bokeh” depth-of-field effect.
You can even tweak this post capture of images with the “live focus” mode which captures a wide-angle shot and telephoto shot which you can then tweak to adjust the focus area and amount of background blur. The camera is capable of 10x digital zoom and 2x optical zoom. Another interesting first in the dual camera setup is that both lenses feature built in Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS).
What really sets the Galaxy Note line apart from other phablet devices though is the S-Pen its newest iteration has a narrower writing tip of just ~0.7mm. Other features include a new screen off memo functionality which now enables a user to pin a message to the handsets Always-on-Display. Once a screen off memo is made using the S-Pen, the display will continue to breathe it, a quick way of reminding yourself of certain tasks.
Another brand new feature for the S-Pen is, Live Messages, this allows a user to create a message (doodles, writing et al) which is converted to an animated GIF before being sent via email, text or social media. A bar up top showing how much “time” there is before the gif is complete.
Another new feature for the Note8 related to the edge screen functionality is related to how the smartphone utilises that space. Users can now instantly launch two new applications simultaneously with edge screen access rather than having to launch two separate applications. The user can prepare a pinned shortcut that allows him to access them so.
Pricing and Availability
The Galaxy Note8 seems to be a cautious step forward instead of a great leap ahead. This can be justified due to the Galaxy Note7’s infamous “explosive” exit. Samsung, unfortunately, did not announce the pricing of the Note8 but suffice to say it will come north of the price for the Samsung Galaxy S8+.
Pre-orders for the device will open up in select markets tomorrow with retail availability commencing from the 15th of September. Those who pre-order the device will get to pick from two options, one will come bundled with the Samsung Gear 360 camera and the other would be to a Wireless charging station and a 128GB microSD card. Inside the box, users will get a pair of premium AKG earphones tuned by Harmon Kardon.
The smartphone would be available in Orchid Grey, Deep Sea Blue in the US market while the international variants would come in the Midnight Black and Gold finish.
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