Samsung’s newest flagship adds dual cameras and a slightly bigger screen.
Samsung changed everything about the Galaxy S line earlier this year, and those changes are all making the jump to the bigger Note model. You get an extra-tall display with on-screen navigation buttons and slim bezels. The fingerprint reader has been moved to the back, next to the camera components. There’s also an iris scanner, a dedicated hardware button for Samsung’s “Bixby” voice assistant, and compatibility with Samsung’s “Dex” desktop dock.
So what is actually different from the Galaxy S8, which launched almost five months ago? Well, first, it’s slightly bigger. While the Galaxy S8+ topped out at 6.2-inches, the Note 8 bumps up to 6.3-inches. On the back there’s Samsung’s first dual-camera design, pairing a wide-angle camera with a telephoto one with 2× optical zoom. Both have optical image stabilization, something Samsung claims is a first. Samsung has a number of trick features using the dual cameras, such as fine control over depth-of-field and simultaneous dual captures to take a whole scene wide angle shot at the same time as taking a close-up detailed shot.
The Note8 has a more squared-off design, which leaves a bit more room internally for storage of the Note line’s trademark S-Pen stylus, itself another addition over the S8.
Like the S8, the spec sheet will be split across territories. In the US, we’ll be getting a Samsung-manufactured Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. Internationally, the devices will get a Samsung-manufactured Exynos 8895 SoC. The display resolution is the same as the S8: 2960×1440 for the 18.5:9 aspect ratio OLED.
There’s a baseline of 6GB of RAM (that’s 2GB more than the base model S8), 64GB of storage, a MicroSD slot, two rear cameras, one f/1.7 12MP dual-pixel wide-angle camera and the other an f/2.4 12MP telephoto camera, with an f/1.7 8MP front-facing camera too. Iris scanning is also supported as an additional biometric option. The Note8 has a 3300mAh battery, which thanks to having to make room for the S-Pen is a downgrade from the S8+’s 3500mAh battery. There’s also wireless charging, Samsung Pay, a USB Type-C port, and a heart rate monitor. Dimensions are 162.5mm x 74.6mm x 8.6mm, weighing 195g, and the device has IP68 water and dust ingress protection.
While Google launched Android 8.0 Oreo this week and the OS has been in a developer (and OEM) preview for five months, the Note8 is shipping with an old version of Android: 7.1.1 Nougat with Samsung’s TouchWiz skin on top. That’s still better than the Galaxy S8 line, which is stuck on Android 7.0.
The Note8 doesn’t have far to go to be an improvement over the Note 7, which was recalled after several batches of defective batteries made the devices catch fire or explode.
In the US, the Note8 will be available in two colors, Midnight Black and Orchid Gray. Carrier-branded devices will be available from AT&T, C Spire, Cricket Wireless, Sprint, Straight Talk, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon, and Xfinity Mobile. They, along with Unlocked by Samsung devices, will be on sale from September 15, with pre-orders opening August 24. Anyone buying before September 24 will be able to choose a free extra: either a Gear 360 camera, or a 128GB memory card and fast wireless charger.
Pricing has not been revealed, but leaks put it in the €999/$900 range.