Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is here, and it looks like one of the strongest Android phones yet, especially for power users. But it commands a serious premium, with a full retail price that’s between $930 and $960 (or a bit over $30 per month to $40 per month).
We went hands-on with the new Note 8 and checked out its features, from its large 6.3-inch display and improved S Pen to its powerful dual cameras — a first for Samsung phones. Here are eight things you should know about the Note 8, which will be available for pre-orders starting Aug. 24, and will go on sale Sept. 15.
The Note 8 is a smidgen wider and taller than the Galaxy S8+; I was initially concerned that my hands, big as they are, would still not be able to wrap around the Note 8’s 6.3-inch Infinity Edge screen. However, the phone was comfortable to hold in one hand; the curved sides of the Note 8, while not as pronounced as the S8+, certainly help with that.
Measuring 6.4 x 2.9 x 0.34 inches, the Note 8 is just a hair larger than the S8+ (6.3 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches) and longer, but narrower, than the iPhone 7 Plus (6.2 x 3.1 x 0.29 inches). The difference in thickness really made a difference, as it was much easier to stretch my thumb across the Note 8’s display than on the 7 Plus.
Weighing in at 6.9 ounces, though, the Note 8 is considerably heavier than the iPhone 7 Plus (6.6 ounces) and the S8+ (6.1 ounces).
Like the S8, the Note 8 is IP68-rated, which means it can be submerged in up to 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. And in the case of the Note 8, that’s regardless of whether the pen is inserted.
There are a few additional reasons that I think the Note 8 fills that spot better than the S8 or S8 Plus, including:
Dual rear cameras:
I’ve tested dual cameras on several smartphones and thought we would see much the same with the Galaxy Note 8. After seeing the Note 8 in person, I am convinced the ability to capture images and then later decide what you want to do with them is implemented best on the Note 8. You have dual OIS cameras with telephoto and wide-angle support, dual capture, and much more.
S Pen capability:
Screen-off memos have been improved, new Air Command options are available, you can animate notes in GIF format, real-time translation is supported, and more functions not available on any other smartphone are available on the Note 8, thanks to the S Pen.
The Galaxy Note 8 has a slightly larger 6.3-inch Infinity display with no side bezels and small top and bottom bezels. Independent testing also shows the Galaxy S8 has the highest-rated display of all smartphones, and the Note 8 is sure to improve on that standard.
Improved Edge Panels:
While the Edge Panels are useful for many reasons, the addition of App Pair shortcuts is likely to make using two apps on the display at once much more convenient. You can now setup shortcuts that appear on the Edge Panel to launch two apps at once with a single tap on the icon. This is sure to improve productivity and make using two apps at once a more common occurrence.
People use their smartphones for everything, and with the improvements in Samsung DeX, I will be using it a lot more on the Note 8 than I did on the Galaxy S8. These improvements include video conferencing, more application support (including Samsung Focus), and a better app launcher for an improved full display experience.
Fast charging and wireless charging:
Actual battery life testing remains to be tested on the Note 8. However, if you do need to top off, it only takes a few minutes via USB Type-C or a wireless dock. Fast wireless charging has spoiled me over the past several months, and I am not sure I can use a phone without it any longer.
Multiple security options:
With the Galaxy Note 8, you can set it up to unlock via facial recognition, iris scanning, fingerprint, pattern, PIN, password, and Google Smart Lock. The Note 8 is easy to secure, and there is no reason not to keep it locked down for just your own use.
Samsung continues to improve its virtual reality experience with a handheld controller now included with the Gear VR. While VR can be used for games or media viewing, there are also enterprise reasons for VR. These include presenting virtual walk-throughs of engineering designs, medical procedure reviews, and interactive presentations.
Apple Pay is popular, but nothing beats Samsung Pay when it comes to the number of retail locations that are supported and the technology that allows you to replace your credit or debit card. More banks are added regularly, and Samsung offers a ton of promotions to encourage Samsung Pay use. I also use it with my Gear S3 on a regular basis.
While Apple and other Android makers took away the headphone jack, I keep going back to 3.5mm headphones and still find it is best to have it as an option when you don’t have a Bluetooth headset charged.
It’s clear that Samsung continues to push smartphone technology forward with the Note 8. It is the best smartphone available for the enterprise.