Samsung’s latest fall flagship arrived last month with surprisingly little mention of the Note 7 debacle from last year. That’s what you get when you put out an excellent phone like the Galaxy S8, making the mistakes of the past forgotten. The 6.3 inch Samsung Galaxy Note 8 should be in stores on September 15th, but we had the privilege to play with it early. Let’s see what’s inside the box of the device priced at $950.


We have the black, 64 GB, dual SIM Exynos version of the smartphone, just in case you were wondering. Inside the box we find the AKG tuned headphones, special plugs for them, an Adaptive Fast Charging charger and USB Type-C cable. There’s also a manual, metal key and S-Pen nibs, plus a special mechanism to replace them. Finally Samsung throws in special USB Type-C to full USB and one to microUSB adapters, used to transfer data from your old device.

Once again, we are using the Exynos 8895 model and it’s a pretty hefty machine, at 195 grams in weight, which is 22 grams more than the Galaxy S8. At the same time it’s very narrow, which makes it easy to use with a single hand, a spectacular feat for a 6.3 incher. It measures 8.6 mm in thickness and our black unit immediately sucked all the prints and grease from my palms.

The handset is dust and water resilient, within the IP68 standards, meaning it can take a dunk at up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes. The screen upfront is of the Infinity Display variety, a Super AMOLED with HDR10 support and a 2960 x 1440 pixel resolution. Inside the phone there’s 6 GB of RAM, 64, 128 or 256 GB of storage, plus a microSD card slot.

The back portion of the handset features a dual camera with two 12 megapixel sensors, OIS, F/1.7 aperture and 2X optical zoom. There’s also an LED flash, fingerprint scanner and pulse sensor. The camera does Bokeh (Live Focus) and the front camera also has a similar refocusing feature. By the way it has an 8 megapixel resolution. The handset’s curves make it feel like a Batmobile of sorts, all black and brooding, but luxurious too.

The S-Pen has a clickable end, that makes it easier to pull out and it’s waterproof now. It opens up an Air Command palette with some new options, like Live Message (writing on top of pics and animating the writing with glitter and effects), Translate (in 30 languages) and Bixby Vision. You can also take notes on the standby screen and use the stylus’ 4096 levels of pressure.

Note 8 has a 3300 mAh battery and brings on an iris scanner and face recognition, for extra security. It’s available in black, gold or blue and has a Bixby button on the side, plus Bixby itself should be fully available this time around. If you compare it to the Note 7, the only big upgrade is the design, but compared to the Note 5 it’s a whole different beast.

Is it worth almost $1000? We have a week to find out. You can get the device here.

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