Samsung has finally released their new Galaxy Note 8 at a gala event in New York, the device, which is now the benchmark for smartphones, is packed with cutting edge innovation that has not only been designed by Samsung, but the components made by Samsung.
Larger than the S8+ this device is a beautiful a slab of curved metal and glass that looks a tad more formal than the S8+.
Like the Note 7, which was scrapped and cost the South Korean company an estimated $6 billion, the new smartphone sports a big screen and advanced features to make it a more versatile device compared with Samsung’s main Galaxy S8 flagship product. Like its predecessors, it includes a stylus.
While some analysts are still banging on about past problems with the Note 7 the reality is that the Note 8 will fly off shelves even though it has an RRP of $1,499 in Australia.
The new Infinity Display is even bigger at 6.3 inches, and in the hand this device makes other top end smartphones feel old-fashioned by comparison.
Available in Midnight Black and Maple Gold from 22 September 2017, Australian owners will also get a free Samsung Convertible Fast Wireless Charger worth over $118 for free, the device will be, redeemable through Samsung.
Apple who is set to launch their new iPhone 8 the same week that the Note 8 goes on sale is tipped to charge for their wireless charger.
Samsung Australia is also offering free access to Samsung’s Screen Assure program. This will provide one free screen repair should the screen be damaged within the first 12 months of receiving the device.
In the hand, the Note 8 is slightly larger on all fronts, it comes with a stunning QHD+ AMOLED display which is ideal for watching movies and looking at shot imagers.
The slightly odd 18.5:9 aspect ratio allows you to stretch videos and apps to fit it so it doesn’t detract from anything.
Like the S8, the Note 8 is HDR certified by the 4K Alliance.
There are a few design differences between the Note 8 and its S8 siblings. The biggest is the addition of the S-Pen stylus, which is tucked away next to the USB Type-C port on the phone’s bottom. Even though this adds a for water to get in the Note 8 has the same level of IP68 water-resistance as the S8.
Samsung claims the S-Pen is more sensitive than previous versions, and its combination with the Note 8 will be ideal for artists looking for a mobile sketch station. I suspect that very few people will use the S Pen despite it being a nice addition.
One thing that Samsung has not learnt is that their finger print scanner is in the wrong place.
The rear-facing fingerprint scanner’s position is next to the camera module, which on a phone of this size makes it very hard to reach as it did with the S8+.
What Samsung has done is significantly improve their camera offering with this device by popping a 12-megapixel telephoto sensor next to the already excellent wider-angle 12-megapixel sensor from the Galaxy S8.
Importantly, both these sensors feature optical image stabilisation (OIS), so even if you use the 2x optical zoom, your snaps should be blur-free. The main issue with the secondary sensor on the iPhone 7 Plus is that it lacks OIS, and so it struggles if you’re not stock still.
With this camera, you can quickly jump to ‘2x’ zoom in the camera app, and from there access a Live Focus mode for achieving that blurry background bokeh effect.
Under the bonnet there is 6GB of RAM, either an Exynos 8895 or Snapdragon 835 CPU, and 64GB of storage, plus a slot for a microSD card.
Australia is set to get the Exynos processor.
The Android 7.1.1 software is all but identical to that included with the Galaxy S8, however Samsung has to be careful that they don’t upset owners with attempts to drive users to their software offerings or Samsung Pay. A big irritating feature with the S8+ is the swipe on the bottom of the screen that keeps trying to get users to ditch Android Pay for the Samsung offering.
Predictably, the majority of the extra software tweaks added for the Note 8 revolve around the S-Pen. Screen-off Memo remains my favourite, letting you pop out the S-Pen with the screen off and start jotting down notes on the black display. You can also live-translate words simply by dragging over the stylus, which works as advertised during my demo.
The 3300mAh cell offers less capacity than that of the Galaxy S8+ and how good this is will show up in testing.
While this device is very similar to the Note 8+ it’s the camera and pen that delivers the big difference.
“The Note 8 is arguably Samsung’s most important smartphone launch in its history,” said Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics Inc. “After the Note 7 battery fiasco, Samsung has been given a second chance by consumers and the company must not screw it up.”