The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is a big phone with an equally gigantic price, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. It’s really true here.
It costs an absurd $929 (£869, about AU$1,499) and sure, its gorgeous 6.3-inch display doesn’t seem all that different than the 6.2-inch Galaxy S8 Plus. The Note is known for big screens, and this phone is just a smidgen bigger.
But you do get a phone with top-of-the-line specs, a cutting-edge design and a dual-lens camera. Yes, the Note 8 is big in positive-sounding hyphens, too.
And really, is there a bigger phone than the Galaxy Note 8 right now if money were no object? We’ll be the judge of that very soon in our Note 8 review.
While we’ll continue to test it to confirm if its specs live up to the hype, we’d thought we’d run through the highlights that make Note 8 worth the high price.
1. You want the best camera on a phone
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is poised to take the best photos of any smartphone to date thanks to its new dual-lens camera. It’s a first for Samsung.
Not only does it have 2x the optical zoom power (which means less distortion when zooming in vs digital zoom), both 12MP cameras have dual optical image stabilization (avoids blurry photos that occur with shaky hands).
2. You want to take multitasking to the max
Multitasking on a phone is hard, even if it truly is a first-world problem. Good news: the Note 8 is making multitasking easier in two ways.
First, the slightly bigger 6.3-inch screen does make a difference, especially when using the handy S Pen stylus; bigger canvas, smaller input than your finger.
Second, it brings “App Pair” to the slide out Edge menu. This pairs two different apps into a pre-set multitasking window. Examples include: Phone and contacts, Facebook and LinkedIn, and American Airlines and Email (for your confirmation code). Do you always use one with the other? This will save you several steps.
Reducing several S Pen strokes to setup these multitasking windows makes us a little more convinced we’ll use the Note 8 for productivity.
3. Finally gives us 6GB of RAM
The new Android benchmark is 6GB of RAM for high-end phones, and Samsung finally joins the OnePlus 5 and a few other phones from China in this feat.
It’s meant for power users who open up a lot of apps at once and who want to play the newest 3D and VR games. 6GB of RAM is ideal for both work and play.
This may not mean too much right now, but it future-proofs the Note 8 so that, by the time you’re paying off this phone, it still runs like a champ.
Combined with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset in the US (and the Exynos chipset in the UK and other parts of the world), it’s a smartphone powerhouse.
4. The S Pen, plain and simple
The S Pen is something you either love and use all of the time, or shove into the embedded holster and never use again after the first week.
What type of S Pen user you are really determines whether or not the Note 8 is for you. There’s a lot of love and loyalty for this stylus from Note fans.
What can it do? The list seems to grow a bit every year: notes, off-screen notes right on the always-on display, and screen writing on screenshots. These are the most practical for everyday use. Magnifying parts of the screen and translating words does come in handy in specific, albeit infrequent use cases.
New this year are handwritten “Live Messages” and last year’s short-lived ability to capture and create animated GIFs with the Note 7 S Pen. It’s back, thankfully.
5. No one makes a better smartphone screen
The 6.3-inch Infinity Display may be only a slightly bigger than the S8 Plus, but we’re still into big displays – and so are a lot of consumers.
The trick here is that Samsung has dramatically increased the size of its screen – not the size of its phones so much – by reducing needless bezel and getting rid of the home button.
If every tenth of an inch counts for you, then this dual-curved phone gives you the best HDR-ready smartphone screen you can get today.
Bonus? The fingerprint sensor isn’t AS bad
The fingerprint sensor off-center on the back doesn’t have us thrilled. It’s hard to blindly reach without smudging the rear cameras, unfortunately.
But it’s not as bad as the rear-facing fingerprint sensor on the S8 and S8 Plus that were even closer to their single lens cameras.
At least in this case, Samsung moved flash and the heart sensor (which is [thankfully] somehow still on a flagship phone) in between the camera and fingerprint sensor to give you some buffer room.
It’s better, but not worth of the top five.
More Note 8 coverage to come
We’ve spent several weeks talking about the Note 8 through news stories and leaks, and the launch day has finally come and gone. You can pre-order the phone through Samsung’s website.
However, we have plenty of additional Note 8 coverage, including why we think the Samsung Galaxy S8 is still a viable option if money matters.