We have been neck to neck with the developments of the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8, up until it was launched yesterday at an event in New York City.
The phone is nothing different from what we’ve seen in the rumor mills. The design, the specs, the features and even the price is not so different from what has been said before. The Galaxy Note 8 looks like a bigger Galaxy S8+, but there’s more to this device than just the looks.
In the U.S. and Europe, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is already up for pre-orders, but it will start shipping on September 15th. In both markets, Samsung will accompany the Note 8 with freebies worth more than $200, which is equivalent to more than Ksh 20,000. These free goods will vary in different markets. For instance, those in the U.S. have two options to choose from – either a Samsung Gear 360 Cam or a 128GB microSD card and a fast wireless charger. In Europe, the phone will be accompanied by a free Samsung DeX dock, which is possibly what will be coming to Kenya as well.
Design and display
The new Samsung Galaxy Note 8 measures 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm. This is slightly taller, wider and thicker than the Galaxy S8+, which measures 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm, but you similarly get a bigger 6.3-inch display screen compared to the 6.2-inch on the S8+. The phone has the same protection as the S8 – Gorilla Glass 5 and IP68 dust and water resistance, meaning it can be used in the shower or even in the rain without worries. Due to the slightly bigger frame, some will be cursing why Samsung didn’t use a bigger than 3300mAh battery unit, but it’s obvious the S Pen also needed room in there.
Also, Samsung didn’t want to risk what happened last year when it pushed the Galaxy Note 7 too far with a 3500mAh battery unit in quite a smaller frame measuring 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm. The Note 8 is available in four color variants of Maple Gold, Midnight Black, Deep Sea Blue and Orchid Gray. It’s unlikely that all four variants will be released in Kenya.
There’s a big step when it comes to the hardware specs, where the phone will come with an Exynos 8895 processor, an octa-core with four cores clocked at 2.3GHz and four other clocked at 1.7GHz. This is the same unit you find in the Galaxy S8 and S8+, but the Note 8 gets a massive 6GB RAM. The U.S. and China will get a variant powered by a Snapdragon 835 chipset, a processor that was also made by Samsung using the same 10nm process used for the Exynos 8895.
The base storage is also 64GB, but the phone has other variants of 128GB and 256GB. It’s unlikely that these two will make it to Kenya, but it’s too early to rule out anything. If this is not enough, you have room to add a microSD card of up to 256GB.
Other goodies of the Note 8 include Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C, an iris scanner, facial recognition, rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and Bixby, a digital assistant that made its debut with Galaxy S8. Unlike HTC and Motorola or even Apple, Samsung still got faith in the 3.5mm audio jack.
For those who have been holding out for a Samsung phone that has a dual camera, the Galaxy Note 8 is your answer. The phone sports a dual 12MP camera on the back. Where the main sensor has a dual pixel autofocus lens with f/1.7 aperture, OIS and phase detection, the second sensor has a smaller f/2.4 aperture, autofocus, 2x optical zoom and it also gets OIS, which should really help to improve performance in low-light conditions. The camera also gets a dual-tone LED flash, support for 4K video recording, auto-HDR and lots of other camera-related stuff – probably some of which you might never use (pun intended).
On the front of the phone you’ll have an 8MP sensor for selfies and video calls. Like the main camera, you get an aperture of f/1.7, which means superb performance in low-light conditions. The shooter also gets autofocus, auto-HDR, dual video call and support for 2K video recording.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is powered by Android 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box, but as usual, this is not pure Android, but there’s a Samsung Experience 8.5 skin on top, which adds the company’s own customizations, including those exclusive to the S Pen.
Price and release date
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 price is not a joke in the park. The phone has a price tag of $930 in the U.S., but it could hit the Kenyan stalls priced at more than Ksh 100,000. Folks in the tier one markets will start buying the Note 8 on September 15, but it could take a couple or so more weeks before the phone is available locally. Keep following and we’ll keep you updated.
Meanwhile, are you buying the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8? Share your thoughts in the comments below.