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Samsung Galaxy Note8: Time for redemption

Oh boy, it’s time. It’s Samsung‘s time to show the world what they can really do. It’s time for them to put an end, once and for all, to all the “will it explode?” jokes. It’s time for the South Korean electronics giant to give their Galaxy Note fans all around the world the device they’ve been thirsting for.

It’s time for the Samsung Galaxy Note8. Yep, it’s finally here and here’s everything you need to know about it.

We’ll start by getting the specs out of the way. It’s the Samsung Galaxy Note8, so you don’t really expect it to be a slouch, do you? If you did, I’m here to tell you it’s not. The Samsung Galaxy Note8 will feature all the top-of-the-line specs you will probably ever need.

Right off the bat, the thing you probably won’t be able to avert your gaze from is its gorgeous display. It’s a 6.3-inch Quad HD+ Infinity Display that’s pushing an eye-popping 2960×1440 pixel resolution giving it a crisp pixel density of 521 ppi. It’s also the biggest screen ever fitted to a Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone but thanks to its tall 18.5:9 aspect ratio, Samsung says it is “comfortable to hold in one hand”.

Next, we’ve got the internals. Samsung’s phablet flagship will be powered by a Snapdragon 835/Exynos 8895 10nm octa-core processor (depending on market) that’s mated to a whopping 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM. There will be three separate storage options, starting at 64GB, moving up to 128GB and finally topping out at 256GB for the top-of-the-range model. It will also support Dual SIM and allow for storage expansion via a microSD card (hybrid SIM tray) for up to an additional 256GB of storage.

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On the device security front, Samsung’s Galaxy Note8 will feature three different forms of biometric security, much like the Galaxy S8. You will have a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, an Iris Scanner, as well as facial recognition.  Other hardware specs include Cat 16 LTE connectivity with 802.11ac WiFi (no 802.11ad, unfortunately) and Bluetooth 5.0. NFC is also present and so is MST for Samsung Pay operations.

Battery capacity is probably the most disappointing part of this smartphone as the Note8 only has a tiny 3,300 mAh cell. However, Samsung’s pretty confident that it’s safe this time. The company says that it’s committed to safety and that the Samsung Galaxy Note8’s battery has undergone the company’s 8-point battery safety check — the most rigorous in the industry. At least, it will support Fast Charging and Wireless Charging too.

Now, though, comes the spec most of you are probably the most excited about — the Galaxy Note8’s camera. Many were quite disappointed that the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ didn’t come with a brand new camera but instead stuck to software and processing improvements. Well, this time, Samsung’s changing that by giving the Galaxy Note8 two cameras.

The first is your standard 12-megapixel Dual Pixel f/1.7 aperture camera. Well, we say “standard” but everyone knows the kind of amazing photos this camera can capture. Complementing that, Samsung added a secondary 12-megapixel sensor (no Dual Pixel AF, unfortunately) with an f/2.4 aperture short telephoto lens which can give users 2X optical zoom and up to 10X digital zoom.

You may be thinking: “Oh, so like the iPhone 7 Plus then?”. No, not like the iPhone 7 Plus because the Samsung Galaxy Note8 has optical image stabilisation on BOTH their camera lenses. Yep, the primary lens and the telephoto lens too.

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With the second sensor, Samsung’s Galaxy Note8 gains access to something the company calls Live Focus. In essence, this is Samsung’s take on the shallow depth of field effect, or Bokeh if you’re being technical. It’s not quite “Portrait Mode” because it lets you capture the photo then adjust the bokeh effect in post. Besides that, the Note8 also has something called Dual Capture which basically captures two photos with both the cameras simultaneously so you can have both a normal wide shot and a telephoto shot of the same scene.

For selfies, you’re getting an 8-megapixel f/1.7 aperture camera in front with autofocus.

Moving on to the smartphone’s body, I don’t think you’ll be surprised to find out that it’s one of the best-built handsets in the industry. Yet again, Samsung’s engineering prowess is on display here as the Galaxy Note8 is wrapped in a gorgeous body that blends metal and glass together almost seamlessly. Much like the Galaxy S8, the Note8 will also be IP68 rated for dust and water resistance. However, unlike the Galaxy S8, the Note8 is a lot more squared off which makes it look a little like a leaflet.

The thing that separates Samsung’s Note devices from their Galaxy S devices is the S Pen, so of course, this makes a return to the Note8. Although I personally am not an S Pen user, I know many fans of the Galaxy Note are so you’ll be happy to know that Samsung has improved its functionality in the Note8’s software. Hardware-wise, the S Pen is physically similar to the one on the Note7 with the clicky button, a finer tip and IP68 dust and water resistance.

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As far as functionality, though, Samsung has added more features to the S Pen than we saw last year. For starters, they’ve made improvements to note-taking by allowing you to pin and edit notes right on the Always-on Display itself. In fact, you can now take up to 100 pages of notes with the screen-off memo function. Translation is also further improved as users can now translate entire sentences (in 71 different languages) with the S Pen instead of just single words. You can also convert units and foreign currencies with the pen. You can also send GIFs across platforms that support animated GIFs (AGIF).

Speaking of software, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 will come out of the box running Android 7.1.1 Nougat with TouchWiz built on top. On this version of their software, Samsung has improved their Apps Edge function by adding something called App Pair. This is designed to make multitasking more effortless by allowing users to pair two apps and launch them simultaneously in multi-window mode at a tap.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note8 will also have DeX support so you can utilise the DeX Station and let your smartphone power a desktop experience much like the Galaxy S8 and S8+. Finally, of course, Samsung’s Galaxy Note8 will have Bixby built-in with Bixby Voice which you will be able to take advantage of (unlike on the S8 when it first launched) since it recently made its global debut.

The new Samsung Galaxy Note8 will come in four different colours — Midnight Black, Orchid Grey, Maple Gold, and Deepsea Blue — with availability set for mid-September.