Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 comes with a huge premium display, dual cameras and improved S-Pen stylus at a premium price point.
When does the Galaxy Note 8 come out? Pre-sales from 25 August 2017, available from 22 September 2017.
What’s new about the Galaxy Note 8? 6.3 inch infinity display, octa-core processor, improved S-Pen, Dual cameras
How much will the Galaxy Note 8 cost? $1,499 outright or on contract
What is the Samsung Galaxy Note 8?
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 continues Samsung's typical pattern of releasing one set of smaller premium phones in the first half of a given year, followed by the larger "Note" variant in the latter half of the year.
Last year, that led to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, a phone that was superb in absolutely every respect save one. Unfortunately, that one flaw was that Samsung couldn't stop them catching fire or exploding, and that was enough to see the entire production line recalled worldwide. It was a catastrophe for Samsung, and while it has invested heavily in safety checks to ensure that fires should be a thing of the past, it still leaves the Note line with something of a charred reputation.
That makes the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 particularly important for Samsung, because it wants to wipe the slate clean and remind smartphone buyers that it not only invented the phablet category, but that it can also make exceptionally good smartphones.
So what did we see when Samsung officially announced the Note 8 curtain on 23 August 2017?
The Note 8 features a 6.3 inch 2960x1440 pixel screen with the same "infinity display" edge found on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8+. What that means in practical terms is that nearly all of the front of the phone is taken up with the screen display, with virtually no bezels to speak of.
That allows phone makers to produce units with larger screens that still don't overly impact the hand, although with a 6.3-inch screen, the Note 8 isn't exactly a small device.
The S-Pen stylus has been part of the Note story all along, and it certainly is a big part of the Note 8 story. Samsung's claims around the new S-Pen found with the Note 8 is that it's more sensitive than previous S-Pen models, with the added ability to use it to create animated GIFs if that's your style. Like the Note 7, it can also be used to directly jot notes on the "always on" display if you need fast notes.
Buy the Samsung Galaxy Note8 today from Samsung
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 combines a powerful processor with Samsung's curved Infinity Display and innovative S-Pen to create a handset that's ideal for both productivity work and personal entertainment purposes.View details
Is the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 powerful?
Samsung is well aware that the Note series has long sold itself not only on screen size and the S-Pen, but also on being the best of the best when it comes to market. It certainly not holding back on the power front, with a choice of two different processor configurations depending on the market, alongside 6GB of RAM. Unusually, Samsung's specifications state that is producing the Note 8 in three different storage configurations, at 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. Here in Australia, we'll see the 64GB version only, although with microSD expansion on board you could always bump up the storage anyway.
On the software front, Android 7.1.1 is onboard at launch with the promise of Android 8.0 ("Android O") at some point in the future. Samsung has historically been quite good at keeping its flagship phones updated with both Google's security updates for Android as well as full releases for a reasonable length of time, and the short span between the Note 8's arrival and expected launch of the Google Pixel XL 2 and the introduction of Android O, it's virtually assured.
The Note 8 will also be just the second phone series to see Bixby, the AI assistant that it launched with the Galaxy S8 range. Bixby has only recently started actually talking to Australians. Samsung has made no secret of the fact that it intends Bixby to be the centrepiece of its AI ambitions moving forward for all of its technology lines.
Does the Galaxy Note 8 have a good camera?
Samsung has been a strong competitor in the smartphone camera space over the past couple of years, but this year with the Galaxy S8 and S8+, it rather rested on its laurels, with only the slightest of improvements over last year's Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge cameras. They were (and are) fine cameras for general smartphone use, but against competitors such as the Huawei P10 Plus or Sony Xperia XZ Premium, Samsung wasn't pushing the edge.
The Note 8 should shift the equation back in Samsung's favour, with dual rear cameras on board. Specifically, it sports a wide angle Dual Pixel F1.7 12MP sensor with optical image stabilisation sitting alongside a telephoto F2.4 12MP AF sensor, with 2x optical zoom and optical image stabilisation. On the front of the Note 8, you'll find an 8MP F1.7 sensor for selfies. In terms of camera effects, you'll be able to use both rear cameras simultaneously to apply bokeh effects either before or after a shot is taken, as well as the ability to fire off Dual Capture mode, which allows two shots to be taken at once so you get the wide and standard/telephoto view of the same scene.
The use of dual cameras on the Note 8 puts it rather squarely (and certainly deliberately) up against Apple's iPhone 7 Plus, which also offers a 2x optical zoom feature.
How will I charge the Galaxy Note 8?
We're very tempted to say "cautiously", given what happened with the Note 7, but the reality here is that it comes with USB C based charging, just like the Note 7, Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ do. Wireless charging is also standard on the Note 8, with Samsung promising extra-fast charging for wireless charger users.
The battery is clearly going to be a touchy subject for Samsung, and on that basis it was never going to push capacity terribly hard. Still, the larger frame of the Galaxy Note 8 has given it space to drop a 3,300 mAh battery inside.
Is the Galaxy Note 8 water resistant?
The Galaxy Note 8 features a water resistance rating that exactly matches that of the Galaxy S8/Galaxy S8+, both of which feature IP68 water resistance.
As a reminder, water resistance ratings are tested in clean lab water conditions, so they're not a recommendation to throw your phone through a washing machine or down a sewer and expect it to survive. Still, the Note 8 should be a hardy device, as most premium handsets these days tend to be.
When will the Galaxy Note 8 be available in Australia?
Early rumours pinpointed a pre-sale date of 25 August 2017 in Australia for the Note 8, and they were right on the money. Samsung and its carrier partners will offer the Note 8 for pre-sale from 25 August 2017 in Australia, with a pre-order bonus of a Samsung Convertible Fast Wireless Charger, valued at $119.
In addition, early Note 8 adopters who order between 25 August and 31 October 2017 and register by 14 November 2017 will be entered into Samsung's "Screen Assure" program, which offers a single free screen replacement for breakage events in the first 12 months of ownership.
How much does the Galaxy Note 8 cost?
Samsung has always priced the Note family at the absolute pinnacle of its pricing strategy, mostly because it becomes its default flagship once it's launched. Its pricing follows that strategy precisely, with an outright selling price of $1,499. That's not quite the most expensive smartphone in Australia, but it is the highest priced Android handset currently on the market.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will also be offered by a range of carrier partners on contract terms if you're keen and don't want to pay the full cost of the phone upfront.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Review
We've run the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 through its paces, and we were impressed with what we found.
"The Note 8 does have to face the challenge of justifying its $1,499 purchase price, however, and that's a big challenge that, despite its very evident quality, will decide whether this is the phone you should buy."
All the Galaxy Note 8 headlines
Galaxy Note 8 Specifications
- Product Name
- Galaxy Note 8
- Display Size
- 6.3 inches
- Octa core (2.3GHz Quad + 1.7GHz Quad) or Octa core (2.35GHz Quad + 1.9GHz Quad)
- Operating System
- Android 7.1.1
- Front camera
- 8MP AF, F1.7
- Rear camera
- Dual 12MP: Wide-angle: 12MP Dual Pixel AF, F1.7, OIS Telephoto: 12MP AF, F2.4, OIS 2X optical zoom, 10X digital zoom
- 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6mm
- $1,499 or on contract
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