The successor of the Note 7 is here! Against all perceived odds, Samsung unveiled the Note 8 in its own Unpacked event in New York on August 23.
It was quite the emotional introduction as Samsung confronted the memories of the Note 7 debacle head-on with a montage of the triumphs and disappointments of last year's ill-fated smartphone. It almost felt like a eulogy of sorts - again, Samsung burying the past while ushering in hope and faith with the new.
And fans with unfulfilled love for the late great Note 7 will no doubt embrace what is yet to come - its successor is a bigger, more refined and, dare I say it, safer beast of a phone.
People, meet your new Samsung Galaxy Note 8.
So how is Samsung engineering this, hopefully, great comeback for the Galaxy Note line? With great hardware and software improvements, of course.
To regain the public's trust, assurance is not enough, Samsung needs to wow us yet again.
Samsung's biggest Infinity Display
As confirmed by early leaks, the Note 8 boasts a massive 6.3-inch Super AMOLED curved edge-to-edge display with Quad HD (2960 x 1440) resolution. Dubbed by Samsung as the Infinity Display, it follows the screen design aesthetic of the Galaxy S8 line, particularly the Galaxy S8+.
The stunning display easily trumps the Note 7's 5.7-inch display by half an inch, making it the largest smartphone display ever released by Samsung.
It doesn't have the Note 7 display's aspect ratio, though, rather it will follow the S8 and S8 Plus displays' 18.5 to 9 width-to-length ratio.
Samsung stated that the larger edge-to-edge screen will allow users to multitask efficiently and be more productive with the S Pen stylus and multiwindow apps
New features for the S Pen including Live Message
Aside from the "phablet" sized screen, what sets the Note line apart from other Galaxy phones is the included S Pen stylus. And now with the Note 8, Samsung has introduced more features to the S Pen, making it better than ever.
First off, there's a new function called Live Messages and this allows users to doodle GIFs and send them as animated messages across social media services and apps. Think of it as Samsung's version of Apple's iMessage Digital Touch.
There's also a feature called Screen Off Memo, which lets users write up to 100 pages of notes even on the lock screen itself. This feature automatically activates when the S Pen stylus is pulled from its slot, skipping the need for a button press, making it perfect for quick notes and reminders.
The Translate feature that automatically translates any foreign language text into your language of choice just by hovering the S Pen over it has been expanded to 71 languages this time around.
Dual lens rear camera, both with OIS
As suggested by early leaks, the Galaxy Note 8 has a dual-lens rear camera system, a trend popularized by the iPhone 7 Plus.
The Note 8 will sport both a 12MP wide-angle lens and a 12MP telephoto lens, each equipped with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), a first in dual-lens smartphones (the iPhone 7 Plus telephoto lens doesn't have OIS).
New camera features for the Note 8 include "Live Focus" (a bokeh blurred background effect similar to the iPhone 7 Plus' Portrait Mode) and a "Dual Capture" setting that lets users take photos from both rear cameras and stitch them together.
Beefed up hardware
Compared to the Note 7, the Note 8 packs substantial hardware upgrades. The U.S. version is now powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with 6GB of RAM (2GB more than the S8 line) and 64GB of internal storage (expandable via its microSD card slot).
The international version will have Samsung's own Exynos Octa-core processor and options for 128GB and 256GB storage.
Paired multiwindow apps
Mobile multitaskers, the Note 8's primary user base, will appreciate this new feature called App Pairing. Once two apps are paired in App Edge or on the home screen, users can automatically launch them together in multi-window split screen mode.
Bixby is finally here
After months of delays, Samsung's Bixby digital assistant is now finally rolling out support for around 200 countries. Similar to the Galaxy S8 line, Bixby can be activated via a dedicated side button on the Note 8.
Expanded DeX apps
Samsung's phone-as-desktop solution, which made its debut on the Galaxy S8 line also made its way to the Note 8. This new feature allows the phone to be docked via a separate peripheral called the DeX.
The DeX will have HDMI out, USB and Ethernet ports for connecting external monitors, keyboards and mice so users can run a desktop version of Android.
With the Note 8's release, Samsung has expanded the number of apps that can go full-screen when the phone is connected to a DeX dock.
More S8+ similarities
Aside from the camera and screen differences, the Note 8 looks to be just a bigger version of the Galaxy S8 with similar features like the facial recognition and iris support, no physical home button and rear fingerprint scanner.
It will likewise have built-in NFC for services like Samsung Pay, wireless charging, the same IP68 water and dust proofing of the Galaxy S7, USB-C, a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack and support for the faster and newer Bluetooth 5.0 protocol.
Due to its predecessor's woes, Samsung decided to play it safe with the Note 8's battery and scaled it back from 3500 mAh to 3300 mAh. The company also issued an 8-point battery check and it partnered with certification company UL to assure us that the Note 8's battery is safer than ever.
Pricing and release: Is it worth the price tag?
The Note 8 will be released on September 15 and is now available for preorder from select markets worldwide including on all major U.S. carriers. And for the first time, an unlocked model will be available at launch.
Pricing-wise, well, it might cost a pretty penny, the starting price for the Note 8 is set at $930 at T-Mobile, $960 at Verizon and Sprint and $950 at AT&T. The unlocked version will start at $929.
Additionally, as a token of Samsung's appreciation, Note 7 owners can trade in their current phone for a discount of up to $425 off the Note 8's price tag.
With all the whiz-bang features and wow factor sensibilities it brings, is it worth the price tag? For avid Note fans and mobile multi taskers who demand more from their phones, maybe it is. For the rest, time will tell.
Keep in mind that next month, the new iPhones will also be unveiled and at least one model is rumored to be close to $1,000 as well. I'm just hoping this won't be the start of a premium pricing trend for flagship phones.
What do you think? Do you like what you're seeing with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8? Drop us a comment!