Here it is then, the long-awaited Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the Korean company’s come-back prestige device backed up by an extensive battery safety check programme, to make up for the fiery fiasco that was the Note 7 last year.
I had a pre-release sample of the Note 8 for a couple of days for an early look. This is not a full and complete review, but I’m nevertheless impressed by the Note 8 that tries to be best-in-class in every single area.
The Note 8 has a 6.3-inch curved Infinity display that’s just a few millimetres bigger than the Galaxy S8 Plus screen, and has the same very high 2960 by 1440 pixel resolution.
You probably don’t need the 521 pixels per inch density the display provides, but it’s a fantastic screen with great colour, high contrast and very visible outdoors, even in sunlight, with AMOLED technology.
Pictures and video look quite amazing on it.
Size-wise, I like big smartphones and can’t lie. Why would you not get a device with a big screen that’s easier to work on and to view? Get bigger pockets if you need to.
There’s a new, enhanced S-Pen tucked into a slot at the bottom; again, this isn’t a totally necessary feature, but just like with the Apple Pencil that makes the iPad Pro a more complete device, having the S-Pen for scribbling (handwriting recognition is great) and sketching soon becomes second nature. You’ll miss not having it once you start using a stylus on a device: it stops greasy screens and extends your fingers (so to speak) on a big device.
As this is a pre-production device with early software that still has debugging code, I didn’t run benchmarks on the Note 8; nevertheless, the device has a fast system on a chip with octocore processor and six gigabytes of RAM, and it never hesitated, and was very responsive.
My favourite new bit on the Note 8 is the dual camera: there’s a wide-angle imager with an f/1.7 aperture lens, and a telephoto one. While both have optical image stabilisation, the wide-angle features a 1/2.55-inch sensor and 1.4 µm photodiode size, and 26mm focal length.
The telephoto one has a 1/3.6″ sensor, 1.0 µm photodiodes and 52mm focal length – like on the iPhone 7 Plus, the longer lens is more like 50mm standard glass in 35mm film terms.