DJ Loh opened the Samsung unpacked show with a speech applauding the loyal users of the Note series of smartphone phablets. Samsung headed back into the smartphone ring with the Note 8.
At first glance, you are forgiven for thinking that this phone was going to be a Galaxy S8 with a S-pen, but you would be so wrong. The Note series is designed for multitaskers and creatives and many of those functions demand more power and smarter software. So here are a selection of the main highlights of the new Note 8
Yes, it has the infinity display so loved by the recipients of the S8, with a QHD+AMOLED display. The 6.3” screen gives more real estate for those creations. The curved edge is steeper to allow you to write and draw more. There is still the split screen so you can work with two apps at the same time, to this has been added the ability to pair apps, for example you ‘Maps’ and ‘Music’ for driving.
The dual curved edge and aluminium unibody is unchanged. The phone comes in four colours midnight black, deep-sea blue, orchid grey and maple gold. It has a c-type USB connection and those who were worried that Samsung would follow Apples lead with the ear-phone socket, will find it still there and ready for the Harmon earphones that come shipped with the phone. The fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitors are now on the rear.
Sporting a best in class dual pixel sensor, the Note 8 also has dual cameras, one with a telephoto lens, the other with a wide-angle lens. Both these cameras work together, giving you depth of field. As both take individual shots and combine them, this means you can use a live focus mode to concentrate on your subject whilst blurring the background…in real time and after taking the shot. Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) is in both cameras giving you stability in both photos and video. Samsung even cheekily compared their video shot in Thailand against the latest apple offering!
You do not buy a Note without appreciating what the S-pen can bring to the experience. The Note 8 S-pen has the same pressure sensitivity and pen release seen in earlier Notes. The new features include off screen notes increased to over 100 pages worth, without having to switch your screen on, plus the ability to edit and erase too. You can now translate whole sentences from text, or pictures, making life easier on your travels. It will convert currency too! One very cool feature, is the way you can now write or draw messages and then send via SMS. You can also write or draw on photos you have taken before sending.
PenUp was mentioned as it is an app, featuring the community of Note users, showcasing their works of art created with the S-Pen. There is now a gallery of colouring pages for those quiet creative moments.
Although Bixby has been slow in getting to England, the Note 8 has Bixby onboard and ready to use. The Bixby button can have several commands programmed to a couple of words. The example given was the command ‘food photo’ which opens the camera, sets the filter to ‘food shot’, after the photo has been captured, file the photo to an album, labelled ‘food’. Leaving you virtually hands free and saving several taps on the screen.
The processor driving the Note 8 is a 10Nhm Qualcomm, backed with 6GB RAM and starting with 64GB storage. This storage is expandable with a microSD card. Samsung Knox is still present to protect your phone and opening the device is quick with iris scanning, though fingerprint, face recognition, password, pattern, and PIN are also available.
The Note 8 is available on pre-order and ships from the 15th September. Prices start at £869 for the 64Gb
Watch the demo here