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May 17, 2017

Samsung Galaxy Note 8: What’s the story so far?

by John_A

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 was a fantastic phone, until the battery issues destroyed its reputation and left it with a legacy of being the only phone to be singled out before boarding a flight.

We expected the Note family to die with the Note 7, but there’s murmurs that it lives on, reborn like a phoenix from the ashes of its forebear. Here is everything we know so far about the Note 8, based on the rumours.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Release date

  • Note 8 pretty much confirmed
  • Likely to be latter half of 2017
  • Codenamed “Great”

Samsung has pretty much confirmed the release of a Note 8 after it announced an upgrade scheme in South Korea following the Note 7 debacle. The scheme allowed anyone who bought a Note 7 to get a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge for half price, after which they would be able to upgrade to the Galaxy S8, now available, or Note 8 when it is released in 2017.

The device is apparently codenamed “Great” and SamMobile has claimed its model number is SM-N950F so that’s worth looking out for in any future leaks.

As to specifically when the Note 8 will be released, that’s anyone’s guess at the moment. Traditional patterns would suggest the end of the year, around August or September time, but Samsung might do it earlier in order to ensure it has a flagship phablet in the market that isn’t two years old and doesn’t explode.

  • Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus: What’s the story so far?

Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Design

  • Metal and glass sandwich design probable
  • Reduced bezels and no home button likely
  • S Pen and dedicated slot also a safe bet

Currently, rumours are few and far between when it comes to the Note 8’s design. We wouldn’t expect it to stray too much from what the Note 7 delivered, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see the bezels reduce like the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, which debuted on 29 March, ditch the physical home button in favour of an almost all-screen front, with the fingerprint sensor repositioning to the rear, next to the camera lens. We’d therefore expect the Note 8 to do similar, sticking with a curved display like the Note 7 and two new Galaxy S devices.

Slashleaks

A leak on Slashleaks shows off what it claims to be the Galaxy Note 8, featuring a very similar design to the S8 and S8 Plus but with a seemingly wider stance, which would be likely given the S Pen would need to slot in somewhere.

It is pictured with the S Pen next to it and Bixby on the screen, as well as the same on-screen controls as the recent S8 and S8 Plus devices, making a good case for its legitimacy. You can never be sure though, so grab that salt just in case.

In terms of materials, we’d be surprised to see a move away from the metal and glass combo that has served Samsung so well over the last couple of years. We can also assume USB Type-C will be on board, along with the S Pen.

  • Samsung Galaxy S8 preview

Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Display

  • Big screen is a given, claimed to be 6.3-inches
  • Dual-edge display is likely again
  • 4K resolution for VR rumoured

The Samsung Galaxy Note series is known for its large display so it’s a given that the Note 8 will also have a big screen. Traditionally, this has been 5.7-inches, at least since the Note 3, though the S8 Plus offers 6.2-inches with only a slight change in its body dimensions so it is likely the Note 8 will do similar.

It has been claimed the Note 8 will offer a 6.3-inch screen with the same 18.5:9 ratio as the S8 and S8 Plus, making it only slightly larger than the S8 Plus. Super AMOLED technology and Mobile HDR are safe bets for the new device, the latter of which launched on the Note 7 and has since been introduced on the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus and the LG G6. 

The Note 7 featured a dual-edge display with a Quad HD resolution, and while the dual-edge is likely the remain, especially given both the S8 and S8 Plus have it, leaks suggest the Note 8 might increase the resolution to 4K in order to be better equipped for a new Gear VR.

This is plausible as there is now more 4K content becoming available and VR is becoming more prominent so the benefits of having a 4K display are more apparent than they were when Sony launched the original Xperia Z5 Premium, which has since been succeeded by the XZ Premium.

  • Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review

Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Camera

  • Possibility of dual-rear cameras 
  • Likely to offer same features as S8 and S8 Plus, with advancements

When it comes to smartphone cameras, more megapixels doesn’t always mean better, as Samsung and Apple have both proved, with both companies’ flagships producing great results despite not offering the highest resolution sensors.

The Note 8 is therefore likely to continue this legacy and offer brilliant snappers, though how many megapixels will appear and what other features will be on board remains to be seen for now. We’d expect the same functionality as the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, including optical image stabilisation, along with some advancements.  

The Galaxy S8 launched with same Duo Pixel rear camera as the S7 and S7 edge but with the addition of multi-frame image processing. There were talks of a dual-camera setup but those rumours never came to light.

That’s not to say Samsung might not change things up for the Note 8 though. Dual-cameras are a big trend in smartphone cameras at the moment, with Apple, LG and Huawei all offering their own takes and even though Samsung and Sony have both steered clear for now, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the Note 8 will take the leap.

According to Kuo, the new camera will be “the most important upgrade” for the Galaxy Note 8 and will feature a 12-megapixel CIS support dual photodiode (2PD), 13-megapixel telephoto CIS, dual 6P lenses, dual optical image stabilisation and three times optical zoom. He also said it would be superior to the dual camera on the iPhone 7 Plus.

A dual-camera on the Note 8 has also been suggested by the same tipster who claimed the 6.3-inch screen size so rumours are certainly pointing in this direction.

  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus review

Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Hardware

  • Qualcomm or/and Exynos chips likely
  • 6GB of RAM plausible expectation
  • Large battery capacity expected

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will come with the latest hardware under its hood, as is typically the case with the Note series. The latest and greatest Exynos or Qualcomm chips will no doubt be running the show, depending on region, and there’s a good chance of 6GB of RAM.

The S8 arrived with 4GB of RAM though so it might be the Note 8 offers the same. We’d also expect a minimum of 32GB internal storage and microSD support for further storage expansion.

In terms of battery, the Note 8 will hopefully have one that doesn’t blow up. That would definitely be a good start anyway. The Note 7 offered a 3500mAh capacity, which is the same as the S8 Plus, so we would expect a similar capacity from the Note 8.

A report from The Korea Herald suggests Samsung will source batteries from LG Chem, along with its own Samsung SDI battery conglomerate and China ATL. 

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review

Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Software

  • Android Nougat with TouchWiz
  • Bixby voice assistant
  • Improved S Pen features rumoured

The Galaxy Note 8 will no doubt arrive on Android Nougat with Samsung’s TouchWiz software over the top. TouchWiz was refined for the Note 7, S8 and S8 Plus offering less duplication and a more streamlined design so we would expect this to be the case for the Note 8 too.

There will no doubt be some new features for the Note 8 specifically, along with the S Pen features of course. Rumour has it the Note 8 will offer improved stylus features over the Note 7, along with the Bixby voice assistant, which debuted on the S8.

  • What is Bixby? Samsung’s smart AI explained

Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Conclusion

The main focus has been on the Galaxy S8 and the S8 Plus, so at the moment there isn’t a great deal to go on when it comes to the Note 8.

This is likely to change over the next few months and rumours and leaks will no doubt increase now the other two flagships are available.

The only thing we can be almost certain of is that a new Note will launch and it will hopefully bring all the brilliant elements of the Note 7, S8 and S8 Plus and more. As always, we will update this feature as more information appears.

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