Samsung today unveiled its iPhone 8 competitor: the Galaxy Note 8. Samsung’s flagship device for the second half of 2017 is based on the Galaxy S8 but comes with its own set of features and enhancements that make it better prepared to take on the competition from Apple’s upcoming 2017 iPhone lineup.
The Galaxy Note 8 features the same design language which Samsung has used on the Galaxy S8 but with the traditional Note design elements like squarish corners and back thrown in. Then, there’s also a slot on the bottom right of the device for the S Pen. Similar to the Galaxy S8, the Galaxy Note 8 features an IP68 certification that makes it dust and water-resistant. The front and rear of the device make use of Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 with an aluminum chassis sandwiched in between.
At the front, the Galaxy Note 8 comes with a 6.3-inch QHD+ Infinity Display. The display is just a wee bit bigger than the panel used by Samsung on the Galaxy S8+. The lack of bezels surrounding the 18.5:9 aspect ratio display makes it an absolute gem to look at.
Internally, the Galaxy Note is powered by a Snapdragon 835/Exynos 8895 chip running at 2.45GHz. This is paired with 6GB RAM, 64GB storage, a microSD card slot, Wi-Fi ac connectivity, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, Samsung Pay, GPS, USB-C with fast charging, wireless fast charging, and a 3300mAh battery.
The oddly placed fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S8 continues to remain in the same position on the Note 8 as well. The handset also features iris unlock and face unlock.
The traditional Note S-Pen is also here and it has not seen any upgrade when compared to the Galaxy Note 7 from last year. This means you are still looking at 4,096 pressure points and a 0.7mm tip. Samsung, however, has improved its software to take better advantage of it. This includes an improved translation feature, a more advanced Always On Display on which you can pin and edit notes, and more.
What sets the Galaxy Note 8 apart from the Galaxy S8 is its dual-camera setup at the rear. The Note 8 is the first Samsung device to feature a dual-camera setup at its rear. While the primary camera remains the same as the Galaxy S8 — 12MP f/1.7 aperture with 1.4um large pixels and OIS — it is now paired with a secondary 12MP telephoto lens. Featuring an f/2.4 aperture and OIS, the telephoto lens allows the Galaxy Note 8 to offer up to 2x digital zoom. Additionally, the Galaxy Note 8 offers a Portrait mode similar to that of the iPhone 7 Plus, though here you can also adjust the focus point after taking a photo. The front 8MP f/1.7 shooter is the same that Samsung debuted with the Galaxy S8 earlier in the year.
On the software front, the Galaxy Note 8 runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat with Samsung’s new Experience UI on top of it. The interface is similar to what Samsung had already debuted on the Galaxy S* earlier in the year with just a few tweaks thrown in.
The Galaxy Note 8 goes up for pre-orders across major carriers in the United States in Midnight Black and Orchid Gray colors from August 24th. It will start hitting the retail stores from September 15th. As a bonus for orders placed between August 24th and September 24th, Samsung is bundling a free Gear 360 camera or a Galaxy Foundation Kit consisting of a 128GB microSD card and a fast wireless charger.