This could end Samsung battery fire jokes forever. This could push Apple to the limit. This could be the greatest Android phone ever. This is the brand new Samsung Galaxy Note 8.
The Boring Stuff
Let’s quickly get the basic specs out of the way first.
OS: Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Storage: 64GB+ (expandable to 256GB)
Screen: 6.3″ Quad HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity Display at 18:5.9 aspect ratio
Battery: 3300 mAh
Water resistance: IP68 certified
Here’s my take on that. With Android 8 Oreo rolling out shortly, 7.1.1 is already behind. However, with the Note8 being a brand new flagship device, it wouldn’t be surprising if it got a quick update shortly after launch. That’s despite Samsung’s notorious delays in rolling out major OS upgrades.
The processor is the latest and greatest and is already proven in the Galaxy S8 and S8+. 6GB of memory will be fantastic, and expandable storage will appeal to power users who haven’t embraced cloud storage yet. The battery plays it safe for the most part, understandably so. 3300 mAh is still respectable in every way.
Dat Screen Doe
Let’s talk about the screen, which means we’re going to talk about the design. It’s an evolution of the amazing Infinity Display we first saw with the 2017 S iterations. It is .1″ larger in span than the S8+‘s 6.2″. Even so, a closer look reveals that the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is more squared-off, a recent trademark of the Note series. The corners are less rounded, but the glass stills stretches from edge to edge, with tiny bezels at the top and bottom.
Around back, the glass panel houses dual cameras, flash, and a fingerprint reader. Unfortunately, Samsung placed that print sensor right next to the camera cluster again, so get ready to wipe off your lens repeatedly. Why don’t they put it in the center of the device, below the cameras, where everyone else does? Is it stubbornness, or do they know something we don’t?
The metal around the outside wraps it all together in a water and dust-resistant package. A headphone jack, USB-C port, speaker, and S-Pen sit at the bottom. How long before Samsung drops the audio jack, which a growing number of manufacturers are contending is no longer essential?
After the Note7 debacle, some people might be surprised that Samsung would release another Note so soon. The South Korean chaebol acknowledged that there is a set of loyal Note users that love using this stylus.
The new S-Pen does all the cool gimmicky stuff we’ve all grown to know and love. Pop that sucker out, and you can start taking notes on the screen immediately. Some new features include Live Message. Scratch out a note or drawing, and the Note8 exports it as a GIF. When you send it to someone, they can watch exactly how you drew that smiley face. I told you there would be gimmicks.
Cameras (Yes, Plural!)
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 joins the growing trend of dual camera smartphones. One is a wide-angle, and the other a telephoto. Both have optical image stabilization and measure in at 12MP each. This setup allows for real 2x optical zoom, unlike the digital zoom we’ve gotten from Samsung flagships in the past. The two sensors can work together and promise greater detail and better low light performance. We’ll see how they stack up to the upcoming Pixel, V30, and iPhone.
Sitting in the sliver of a bezel on the forehead of the phone is an 8MP selfie camera. Smart Auto Focus and all the usual Samsung tricks might be able to help you step up your Snapchat game. Might.
Bixby Strikes Back
Besides the illogical placement of the fingerprint reader, the Bixby button is my least favourite thing about the Galaxy S8. I understand that Samsung wants to build their own smart ecosystem. The nerd in me loves it – in theory. In reality, I constantly find myself using Google Assistant instead, and getting visibly annoyed every time I hit that Bixby button accidentally. First World Problems.
This blasted button is not going anywhere soon, as it sits below the volume control on the side of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 as well. Someday, I might get over my aversion to Bixby. But not today. Does anyone disagree with me?
Wrapping Up the Samsung Galaxy Note 8
This newest Note will be available in four colours worldwide. However, the US market only gets Black and Gray at launch. Bummer!
Preorders are rolling out now, so you should watch out for the best bundle deal. You know pre-order perks are inevitable, and I love taking advantage of them. Also, unrelated… if anyone wants a couple of Gear VR sets, you can find mine on Amazon.
This beautiful beast of a flagship will be available soon and will cost a lot. If you want the latest and greatest, and love using a stylus to scribble love notes, this thing is for you. However, if “power user” isn’t your vibe, you may be better off getting something a little less over-the-top. Either way, stay tuned to Don’t Hate the Geek for more coverage of this brand new smartphone!
So, do you think the Note8 will make up for the sins of its father, the Note7? Also, are the subtle differences enough for you to pass up the S8+ for this pricier choice? Let us know in the comments!