If you're looking for a new flagship phone, the Galaxy Note 8 could be the one for you.
After the disaster that was the Galaxy Note 7 last year, a phone that was recalled due to its tendency to catch fire and explode, there was speculation Samsung would end the tarnished Note brand. That speculation has been killed with today’s announcement of the company’s latest flagship smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.
The phone represents the latest and greatest in Samsung’s arsenal and could prove to be one of its best-sellers — provided we don’t run into any issues with the phone’s battery. Check out our Galaxy Note 8 hands-on review to learn more.
Pricing and availability
In the United States, the Galaxy Note 8 is available for pre-order now, and it will go on sale in stores starting September 15 at a variety of carriers, including AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint, as well as smaller networks like Cricket Wireless, U.S. Cellular, and Xfinity Mobile.
It’s already setting records: Samsung says the Note 8 is the most pre-ordered Note device ever. “More people in the U.S. have purchased the Note 8 than previous Samsung Note phones during the same period,” Samsung said in a press release.
Pricing will differ slightly depending on where you get it, but Verizon is offering the Note 8 for $960 total, or $40 per month for 24 months. Sprint is also charging $960, while AT&T and T-Mobile are $950 and $930, respectively.
The Note 8 is available for pre-order unlocked and off-contract directly from Samsung, where it ships with expedited delivery. It’s also on pre-sale at retailers including Best Buy, Target, and Walmart.
Check out our buying guide for a full list of stores carrying the Note 8.
The Note 8 comes in two colors for American buyers: Midnight Black and Orchid Gray. Samsung is extending a special offer to Galaxy Note 7 users who were forced to return their phones. Former Note 7 owners are eligible for an instant trade-in value of $425 through Samsung’s website when they upgrade to the Note 8 from their current device.
Additionally, customers who purchase a Note 8 by September 24 get the choice of either a free Samsung Gear 360 camera or “Galaxy Foundation Kit” featuring a 128GB MicroSD card and one of Samsung’s portable fast wireless charging stands. Terms and conditions are available at Samsung’s Promotions page.
The display on the phone is one of the main reasons to get it, and it’s pretty beautiful. It sits at a massive 6.3-inches, with a spectacular resolution of 2,960 x 1,440. The Infinity Display stretches the screen to the edges of the phone, meaning you get more screen real estate in a similar frame as a traditional 5.5-inch phone.
On the back, you’ll find the camera, which is one of the distinctive qualities of the Note 8 against the Galaxy S8. Otherwise, the Note 8’s layout is fairly similar to the Galaxy S8 Plus. There’s the fingerprint sensor in the same awkward placement next to the camera; the power button is on the right edge, and the volume rocker is on the left above the dedicated Bixby button. The headphone jack sits on the bottom of the phone, next to a USB Type-C charging port and speaker grill.
A dual-camera setup
The Note 8 is the first Samsung smartphone to feature a dual-camera setup. Both lenses pack 12-megapixels each, and they support a new mode called Live Focus. This is like the iPhone 7 Plus’ Portrait Mode, which lets you use a blur-effect, or bokeh, around a primary subject. Live Focus is a little different because you can change how much blur you want in your shot before and after you take a picture.
There’s also Dual Capture mode, which takes a photo with both lens at the same time, so you get to choose between a wide and a zoomed in photo. What makes Samsung’s dual-camera setup unique is how both lens have optical image stabilization, meaning your shots won’t be blurry if you zoom in even more than the 2x optical zoom.
The front-facing camera on the phone sits in at 8-megapixel with an aperture of f/1.7.
The first thing you’ll notice about the phone is that it features Qualcomm’s latest and greatest chip, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. That’s the chip that’s found in most 2017 flagships so far, and while Qualcomm could be planning a new one soon, the 835 is still a top performer. That’s especially true given the fact that it’s coupled with a hefty 6GB of RAM, which should help make the Note 8 with multitasking.
The phone comes with 64GB of internal storage, though there are larger options available internationally. Thankfully, there’s a MicroSD card slot, so you can add storage as you see fit. The Note 8 is equipped with a pretty huge range of sensors too, including the standard accelerometer, barometer, gyro, and fingerprint sensor. You’ll also get the iris scanner found on the Galaxy S8, and a heart rate sensor. It’s IP68 water-resistant, so it’ll survive submerged underwater for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1.5 meters.
There’s also the S Pen, a standout feature of the Note series. It’s tucked away on the bottom edge of the phone, and it carries many of the same features as the S Pen on the ill-fated Note 7. You can make notes right as you take it out, on the screen’s always-on display. You can edit and add more notes, and even pin them to the always-on display so you don’t forget about them. The S Pen has more pressure sensitivity, meaning it knows when you want to make a line bold or thin, and there’s a new feature called Live Messages that lets you sketch an animated message and send it to friends as a GIF.
As was the case with the Galaxy S8, the Galaxy Note 8 is compatible with Samsung’s DeX Station desktop experience, so if you’re looking for a phone that can work like a computer too, this might be the device for you. In case you ever need tech support, Samsung has selected HelloTech to be the provider of in-home tech support and training for using the phone.
How can you get your hands on the phone? You’ll have to shell out $1,000 for the privilege, but pre-orders are available now through the Samsung website, as well as Best Buy, Target, and all major carriers in the U.S. If you pre-order the phone by September 24, you’ll also get your choice of a free Samsung Gear 360 camera or a “Galaxy Foundation Kit,” which comes with a 128GB memory card and a wireless charging dock.
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