Is the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 the best smartphone yet?

This week has seen Samsung launch its Galaxy Note 8. The announcement, which took place at this year’s Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event, was widely anticipated. What’s more, for the most part, was that they could confirm the rumours about what to expect from the new handset.

At the event, Samsung’s leadership team took to the stage to explain the thought process behind the Note 8 and showcase its finest features. As well as hearing about the Note 8’s specifications, we learnt where Samsung is focusing its efforts to outdo the competition and who the company expects to buy the handset.

Who is the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 for?

DJ Koh, President of Samsung Mobile, identified ‘multi-taskers and power users’ as the target audience for the Galaxy Note 8. In other words, the Galaxy Note 8 is for busy people who want to be on a conference call, stream a video and update their music all at the same time. Of course, it’s also a phone for people with money – price listings on the Samsung website place the device at £869.00.

How will the Galaxy Note 8 compare to the Note 7?   

Aside from not having a battery that’s going to blow up in your pocket, Samsung has announced the following new features:

Infinity display meets S-Pen

The Galaxy Note 8 is Samsung’s largest phone yet at 6.4-inches (16.3cm) tall. Unsurprisingly, it also comes with that edge-to-edge infinity display that went down a treat with Samsung fans after the Galaxy S8’s release.

The large display will be paired with an upgraded S-Pen, which has a finer tip for enhanced sensitivity. In fact, with such a large canvas, you’ll likely be using the S-Pen to draw, annotate and edit more than ever.

At the Unpacked event, the Samsung team were keen to demonstrate that the S-Pen is more than just a gimmick. For example, you can use the S-Pen to animate normal messages and images before sending them to anyone you like in a standard animated format. As well as being fun, this makes the S-Pen a pretty powerful tool for self-expression. Now, it’s easy to supplement written communication with visual cues, thereby making yourself understood while your personality shines through.

Other useful S-Pen features include the screen-off memo and the touch-to-translate function. The screen-off memo lets you scrawl and save notes on your Note 8 without even unlocking the screen. Meanwhile, the touch-to-translate tool instantly translates text written in another language when you highlight it with your S-Pen.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 in Orchid Grey

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 in Orchid Grey

A dual camera with optical image stabilisation (OIS)

Samsung has been lagging behind rivals such as Sony and Apple when it comes to its phone’s cameras. One of the main reasons for this was the lack of a dual camera – a two-lens set up that lets cameras reduce blur and take photos with wider angles.

The Galaxy Note 8 has caught up, and we now have two rear lenses that work together to take the perfect shot. One lens is specifically for broadening the scope of photos, making images as true-to-life as possible. The other lens is a telelens that lets you zoom in on the subject of your photo to capture more detail. The Galaxy Note 8 is the first smartphone to include OIS for both lenses, which should eliminate blur from photos.

When taking your photo, you can use the camera’s live focus feature to edit the final image. The feature lets you create a bokeh effect, whereby you make your subject stand out while artfully blurring the background. We’ve already seen this feature on other phones, such as the OnePlus 5, but its adoption by Samsung will please fans nonetheless.

Samsung Dex compatibility  

Samsung is pushing the concept of replacing your PC with your phone with their Dex. The Dex is a circular docking station that lets you display and use your phone on a normal computer monitor. All you need is a monitor, mouse and keyboard. The Note 8’s 10-nanometre processor with 6GB of RAM will do the rest.

Initially, the Dex felt like a nice idea that was limited on a practical level. However, with the dock now integrating with Microsoft and Adobe apps, the potential of Samsung Dex is clear. On the Dex, apps can be made into normal desktop shortcuts. You’ll also be able to take phone calls, reply to emails and share your screen. So, for the first time, we have a phone powerful enough to replace your PC and a dock to make it happen.

Top features carried over from the Galaxy S8

Samsung fans will be happy to know that the Note 8 will retain the following:

  • An (upgraded) iris scanner
  • A micro SD card slot
  • Water resistance
  • Speedy wireless charging
  • Out-of-the-box AKG earphones
  • A headphone jack
  • A cleverer than ever Bixby assistant

These features and add-ons have gone a long way to helping previous Samsung handsets secure a reputation for user-friendliness. By keeping them, Samsung reaffirms its desire to take customer feedback on board when building its devices.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 release information      

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will be available on the high street from 15th September. Alternatively, the phone is available for pre-order at the Carphone Warehouse.

Is the Galaxy Note 8 the best smartphone?

We’re yet to get our hands on a Note 8, but we’re desperate to put the phone through its paces. Either way, the Galaxy Note 8 will soon have other new flagships with which to compete, including the iPhone 8 and Pixel 2. Whether these upcoming releases from Apple and Google can compete with the Note 8’s power, camera and superb display remains to be seen.