In what is arguably the most predictable and anti-climatic consumer electronics device announcement ever, Samsung today unveiled the Note 8, which it describes as a “super phablet.”
That positioning is important: Though the original Note was (literally) a big deal when it was first introduced in 2011, smartphone sizes have grown overall since then. And the differences between a smartphone and what we call a phablet have shrunk.
So with the Note 8, Samsung is doing what it did first with the innovative Galaxy S8 and S8+: It has stretched the screen size ever upwards, but in a way that now allows for one-handed usage, with a super-tall but still thin display. In this case, one that is 6.3-inches diagonally, compared to 5.8-inches for the Galaxy S8 and 6.2-inches for the Galaxy S8+. It’s a Quad HD+ (2960 x 1440) display, with the same resolution as the S8+ (but only a slightly smaller pixel density).
The Note 8 includes other notable innovations, including dual 12 MP cameras (where the S8/S8+ have a single 12 MP camera). It’s not the first to have dual rear cameras, of course, but the Note 8 is the first to have OIS (optical image stabilization) in both.
And of course, Note 8 continues to differentiate itself from its Samsung smartphone siblings by offering an S Pen stylus. Samsung says it has enhanced the S Pen in this release with “a finer tip and improved pressure sensitivity.” And there are more places in the system where you can use handwriting now, including messaging.
The Note 8 also offers some interesting software innovations. A new feature called App Pair that lets you configure sets of apps that will launch together side-by-side in the device’s multi-window mode. App Pair is available from the Edge panel that is unique to Samsung’s curved-edge devices.
As you should expect of a 2017 flagship, the Galaxy Note 8 includes top-shelf internals, including 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of expandable storage. It is compatible with the DeX desktop accessory, wireless and fast charging, and offers water and dust resistance.
You can preorder the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 in the US starting tomorrow, August 24. It will be available in Midnight Black and Orchid Gray at most wireless carriers and unlocked via Samsung. And it will be available for purchase starting September 15. Those who pre-order by September 24 will also receive their choice of a free Samsung Gear 360 camera (worth $229.99) or a free Galaxy Foundation kit with Samsung 128 GB EVO+ memory card and Fast Wireless Charging Convertible (worth $189.98).
Samsung, um, notes that the Note 8 will also be compatible with the new Gear VR with Controller, which will be available for pre-order starting August 24 and for sale on September 15. The cost is $129.99.