After that embarrassing misstep last year, Samsung resurrected its Galaxy Note line Wednesday with the new Galaxy Note 8.
In many ways, the Galaxy Note 8 is an incremental improvement over the Galaxy S8, which launched in April. The Note 8 has a slightly larger screen, a boost in RAM, the S Pen stylus, a dual-lens camera system, and some software tricks unique to the larger form factor.
It’s a phone for those who want the best performance and features from Samsung, and Samsung promises it won’t suffer the same fate as the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7.
The Note 8, which starts at $US960, will be available to preorder on Thursday. It will be in stores on September 15.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Note 8:
The cameras appear to be an improvement over the iPhone. Both lenses have optical image stabilisation, which reduces blur caused by movement. The dual lenses also let you use 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom. Both cameras shoot at 12 megapixels.
The dual lenses take two photos at once, which allows you to take portrait-style photos with blurred backgrounds, an effect called bokeh.
You can even adjust the blur effect after you take the photo.
Live Message records your doodles as a GIF that you can send to any device. You can also build a library of Live Message GIFs for quick responses.
You can run two apps at once in split-screen mode, just like you can with older Note phones. But there's a new trick in the Note 8 ...
Bixby made its delayed debut on the Galaxy S8 this summer. It's not as good as Siri, Google Assistant, or Amazon's Alexa, but luckily, the Note 8 also comes with Google Assistant. You're better off using that instead.
You can also unlock the phone with a selfie, but it's not as secure as a fingerprint or iris scan. (Recommendation: Don't use this feature.)
Like the Galaxy S8, you can dock the Note 8 with Samsung's DeX, which lets you power a desktop operating system using just your phone.
DeX is a special version of Android that works with a standard computer monitor, mouse, and keyboard.
If you don't want the Gear 360, you can get a free wireless charger and 128 GB memory card. (This is a better deal, by the way.)
• A 6.3-inch screen.
• Wireless charging.
• Water resistance.
• A fingerprint sensor (on the back).
• A 3,330-mAh battery.
• 6 GB of RAM.
• 64 GB of internal storage, which is expandable with a memory card.
This will be a big year for premium smartphones, and you'll have a tough decision if you're ready to upgrade. This week, the startup Essential starts shipping its attractive new phone. Now there's the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 8 in a few weeks. And Google will have the sequel to its excellent Pixel phone in October.