Not to be deterred by the notorious disaster of the Note 7, Samsung steps through the fire and flames with the next iteration of their phone-tablet hybrid, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.
Samsung has shown fierce determination to go ahead and call this the Note 8 following the potential explosive and fiery flaws of the Note 7. To reinvigorate faith in the brand, Samsung is taking battery safety very seriously with the Note 8. They’ve partnered with third-party inspection groups in addition to their in-house testing and an 8-point battery safety protocol for their new products.
It helps that the Note 8 follows the well-received Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. The Note 8 is very similar to the S8 in many ways. It packs the same Snapdragon 835 processor, but upgrades the RAM from 4 GB to 6 GB. The screen is also a tenth-of-an-inch larger than the S8, at 6.3-inches, and it features the same type of curved display and almost invisible bezel.
Of course, what the Note phablets bring to the table is the S Pen stylus. The new S Pen features the same 0.7 mm tip and 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity of the earlier versions, but the software interactivity on the Note 8 is new and inspired. The “Screen Off Memo” mode activates when you pull the stylus out of the device, automatically launching an app for quick note-taking without having to unlock the phone. Much like the drawing features of iOS 10 Messages, you can use the S Pen to draw little animated pictures and messages to send via text to your friends. It even exports your drawings as GIFs to share with friends using other devices. You can also perform quick language translations with the S Pen when hovering it onscreen over text.
Another big upgrade on the Note 8 is the dual cameras. The Note 8 has 2 12-megapixel cameras on the back of the phone: a wide-angle f/1.7 lens and a telephoto f/2.4 lens. Unlike the dual camera setup on the iPhone 7 Plus, the Note 8 features optical image stabilization on both lenses. “Dual Capture” lets you take a photo with both lenses at the same time, capturing both a wide and a focused version of the same moment. Another neat trick is that you can adjust the depth of field on portrait photos, blurring the background, even after you’ve already taken the photo.
App Pair is a new feature that utilizes the larger screen. You can program pairs of apps to launch together, each taking up a dedicated half of the screen.
The Note 8 will come loaded with Android 7.1.1 and comes with the features you’d expect from a Samsung phone, including Bixby (Samsung’s virtual assistant), a fingerprint reader, wireless charging, docking support with Samsung’s DeX device, and water resistance.
Pre-orders for the Note 8 are available now, with a launch planned for September 15. The phone is available in the U.S. in both “midnight black” and “orchid gray,” and only in a 64 GB configuration (though it is expandable via microSD). Prices will vary depending on the phone carrier, but you can expect a price tag of around $900 for this premium phone.