The Galaxy Note 8 is now official and with every new release of the Note, Samsung brings features that aim to put its new flagship atop the smartphone pile. The Galaxy Note 8 looks a lot like the Galaxy S8 family and shares some of the DNA of the Galaxy Note range of old, but what makes it different?
Don’t miss: Our Galaxy Note 8 hands-on
One of the biggest complaints with the Galaxy Note 7 last year – aside from the fire risk and subsequent global recall – was that it didn’t add much to the Galaxy S7 Edge other than an S Pen, and Samsung is attempting to ensure this doesn’t happen again. As a result, the Galaxy Note 8 feels a lot like the older sibling of the Galaxy S8 family, while yet maintaining its own identity.
You may be wondering what the new features are and what sets the Galaxy Note 8 apart from other Samsung devices such as the Galaxy S8 Plus. On paper, they certainly look rather similar but once you dig into it, there’s a few features that make the Galaxy Note 8 shine. Here’s our top give new features of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.
The biggest change (apart from the display size) over the Galaxy S8 is the dual cameras, which is arguably the best new feature in the Galaxy Note 8. Dual cameras are very popular on flagships right now and the Galaxy Note 8 is the first Samsung device to sport dual cameras. Taking things up a notch, the Note 8 delivers a first for smartphone cameras in its stabilization.
Samsung’s dual camera array pairs two 12 megapixel sensors, with the main sensor being a wide-angle lens that is equipped with Samsung’s super-fast dual pixel autofocus and f/1.7 aperture. The secondary sensor is a telephoto lens with f/2.4 aperture that allows you to get up to 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom. The real stand out feature here is that the Galaxy Note 8 has the first dual camera system with optical image stabilisation in both lenses, which means images from either lens should be crisp and sharp in most lighting conditions.
The second sensor also allows you to use depth of field effects like other dual camera devices such as the OnePlus 5 or Moto Z2 Force. With the Live Focus feature, you’re able to adjust the depth of field either when previewing the shot or after you take it, allowing you more control over the end result. The other part to Samsung’s dual camera is super impressive, as the Dual Capture mode lets you take two images using both lenses simultaneously and this basically means you can just shoot a picture and choose which one you like after, rather than have to switch between lenses to get the picture you want.
Our next feature isn’t technically new to Samsung devices but is new for a high-volume mass-market device. With previous launches such as the Galaxy S8 and others, there have been variants sold in Asia that offered additional RAM, mainly to challenge Chinese OEMs who use 6 GB or even 8 GB of RAM in their devices.
The Galaxy Note 8 is the first mass-market Samsung device to offer 6GB of RAM in all markets and we’ve picked it as it’s great to see Samsung go back to the roots of the Galaxy Note by differentiation between the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note ranges under the hood. The addition of 6 GB of RAM will definitely help Galaxy Note 8 live up to its billing of being a multimedia and productivity powerhouse.
If there’s one criticism often leveraged at Samsung, it’s their software and, in particular, that the company often adds new features that don’t truly add anything to the software experience. With App Pairing, it seems like Samsung is listening to its users and this feature is definitely a great way to show off the multitasking capabilities of the Note 8.
App Pairing basically lets you pair two apps together and then launch them simultaneously in Multiwindow with a tap of the shortcut icon, which can be placed in the Apps Edge or on the homescreen. For example, you could pair Chrome and YouTube, Hangouts and Gmail or any other combination.
App Pairing – make full use of the display and save some time
Given the large screen real estate on the Galaxy Note 8, this is a great way to make full use of the display, and also a really simple way to save some time. On previous Note devices, I often used MultiWindow with the same combination of apps (for me YouTube and WhatsApp, and Slack and Gmail were frequent combinations), so I can see App Pairing saving me a lot of time.
From one software feature to another, and, in this case, the main new feature with the S Pen. One of the best features of the S Pen is the ability to send handwritten notes and messages. However, these can often be displayed differently on non-Samsung devices. With Live Messages, this is no longer an issue.
Live Messsages allows you to be creative and makes messaging a lot more fun.
We all have loved ones that we want to send a special message to, but currently, it can be difficult to send a truly unique message. Sure, you can download a GIF and send that, but it’s not really unique. Live Messsages allows you to be creative and makes messaging a lot more fun.
It’s essentially a GIF maker and you can draw or write anything, and when you want to send it to someone, it’ll animate the drawing or text and add effects such as sparkles. This can then be shared as a regular GIF to anyone using any app that supports GIFs, without the need for a specialised messaging app or service. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination and it’s a great way to get creative when messaging your friends, family or loved ones, as well as send a very special birthday or celebratory message.
Bluetooth 5 and Gigabit LTE
Our last feature is one that’s not immediately noticeable but helps to future proof your new phone. These features aren’t technically new as Samsung did offer both on the Galaxy S8 but the Galaxy Note 8 is the first time we’ve seen Samsung offer them on a Note device. If you want a more in-depth explanation on Bluetooth 5, be sure to check out our Gary Explains video on this, but essentially Bluetooth 5 brings several new improvements like longer range, faster speeds and eight time the broadcast message capacity.
Gigabit LTE on the other hand does what it says on the tin: it brings support for the next generation of LTE networks, with maximum speeds of 1 Gbps. Faster data speeds are always welcome, but Gigabit LTE has more to offer than that, with other possibilities such as 4K video streaming, streaming content in VR, high definition video calling, instant access to video content on demand and faster access to cloud storage all firmly within grasp.
Bonus Pick: 6.3-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED Infinity Display
Lanh didn’t pick this one out but we couldn’t talk about the Galaxy Note 8 without talking about its display. Equal in size to the largest display on a Samsung smartphone – the Galaxy Mega which was released way back in 2013 – the display on the Galaxy Note 8 is simply a thing of beauty.
Samsung is known for having some of the best displays on a smartphone and the Quad HD Super AMOLED Infinity Display on the Galaxy Note 8 is no different, bringing vibrant blacks, rich colors and a deeply immersive experience. Of course, the biggest difference to other large smartphones is the 18.5:9 aspect ratio which means Samsung has managed to pack the large display into a body that’s almost the same size as the Galaxy Note 7, despite having a screen that’s over half an inch larger.
With the display on the Galaxy Note 8, it feels like Samsung has returned to the roots of what made the Galaxy Note special. Unlike the Note 7, which had a slightly larger screen than the Galaxy S7 Edge, the Galaxy Note 8 is a lot bigger and it feels like it has the original Galaxy Note DNA.
There you have our top new features on the Galaxy Note 8, but what are you favorite? Do you plan to buy the Galaxy Note 8 or does another device take your pick? Let us know your views in the comments below and check out our other Galaxy Note 8 coverage below!