Galaxy Note 8: Our five favourite new features

by Haadi Bakar
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after a rocky 2016, the Galaxy Note series is back with hopefully a non-explosive 2017 model.

Despite battling a battery catastrophy last year, The Note series is still Samsung’s strongest smartphone brand, with every release making the headlines. There’s even a legion of loyal Note fans lining up for a new Note every year.

In fact, the Note 7 was actually an amazing phone and if it wasn’t for the battery issue, it could’ve taken the 2016 smartphone of the year crown.

Samsung hopes to make up for the problems with a beastly new phablet, and it’s getting a lot of early positive responses despite the hefty price tag and the awkward position of the fingerprint scanner.

A lot of praise come from the new features and improvements Samsung brings to the table. Here are just five of our favourites:

Gigantic Infinity Display

We knew from the start that Samsung would carry the Galaxy S8’s gorgeous Infinity Display to the Note 8, and it looks just as stunning.

The Note 8’s Quad-HD Super AMOLED screen is huge at 6.3-inches, but the edge-to-edge and curved panel design keeps the phone slim and easy to hold with one hand. it is noticeably taller than the Note 7 though.

This is Samsung’s largest-ever display on a Note device, and all that screen real estate means better multitasking (the Note 8 can run two apps simultaneously in split view), less scrolling and more space to write on with the S Pen.

There’s also a feature called App Pairing that lets you pair two apps together and, with a tap of the shortcut icon on the the homescreen, launch them simultaneously in MultiWindow. For example, you could pair any combination of apps, whether its Youtube and Whatsapp, or Instagram and Chrome. This really takes full advantage of the Note’s massive display.

Improved S-Pen capabilities

The S Pen is the main reason to get a Galaxy Note phone. You’d have to be a real Note fan to appreciate the S Pen’s capabilities.

All the great new S Pen features on the Note 7 (which many of us didn’t get to enjoy after the battery debacle) are brought over to the Note 8, including writing memos when the screen is off. This is useful when you need to take down phone numbers, reminders or shopping lists without having to unlocking the phone.

New to the Note 8 is “Live Message”, which lets users create animated drawings and share it over any instant messaging services.

Another new S Pen feature is the translation function. Hover the S-Pen over a foreign text and it will be translated instantly.

The S Pen supports 4,096 levels of pressure, the highest on any smartphone with a stylus.

Impressive Dual Camera

The Note 8 is Samsung’s first smartphone to use a dual lens camera system, one wide angle the other telephoto. Both pack 12-megapixel sensors.

Samsung claims the new Note’s telephoto lens is superior than the iPhone 7 Plus’ portrait lens.

Firstly, both the wide angle and telephoto cameras have optical image stabilisation baked in (the iPhone 7 Plus only has OIS on the wide angle camera), so photos look sharp even when zoomed and taken with shaky hands.

The new Note also has much better low-light performance than the already impressive iPhone 7 Plus, thanks to the wider maximum aperture at f/1.7.

And then there’s Live Focus, which lets users control depth effects i.e. how blurry you want the background to be in real time even after you take the shot. As you shoot, you can drag a slider to widen the aperture up to f/1.7 on the wide angle lens and f/2.4 on the telephoto lens.

The Note 8 can also shoot with both cameras simultaneously with Dual Capture mode, so you have two shots to choose from, a wide-angle or a close-up, after the images are processed.

Better Dex experience

Though it has been introduced with the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus earlier this year, Samsung Dex support for the Note 8 comes with some enhancements.

Dex is a docking station for Samsung’s latest flagship phones that plugs into a monitor, essentially turning the phone into a desktop PC.┬áDex is one of the reasons to get the Note 8, as no other phone apart from Windows Phone’s Continuum does this.

For the Note 8, Dex allows more apps to go full-screen when displayed on a PC monitor. Also, the main apps screen now displays 36 apps instead of 25.

Other specs:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (US) / Samsung Exynos Octa core (international)
  • 6GB RAM across all variants
  • 64GB (US) / 128GB / 256GB
  • microSD expansion
  • Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • IP68 water and dust resistant
  • Wireless charging
  • NFC and MST for Samsung Pay
  • USB Type-C
  • 3300mAh battery
  • Bluetooth 5
  • Gigabit LTE
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • Fingerprint Scanner
  • Bixby
  • 3.5mm headphone jack

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