Samsung Galaxy Note8: A new frontier in smartphone pricing
Introduction, Design and Features
With the soaring prices of flagship smartphones, you’d think there's a limit to the number that can be pegged to these devices. While there is one that has been announced to cost US$999, we’ll first take a look at the one that’s topped the local market with its RM3,999 price tag, the Samsung Galaxy Note8.
Design and features
There’s no denying that the Galaxy Note8 is a beautiful piece of modern phone design. Two pieces of glass sandwiching a piece of aluminum is still one of the best ways to make a beautiful phone, so it’s no surprise that Samsung stuck to this tried-and-true recipe. If you’re a fan of the Galaxy S8 and S8+, then there’s a lot that’s familiar here, key among which is the Infinity Display that leaves only minimal bezels on the vertical sides, and the absence of physical buttons on the front.
The physical buttons that you do get are on the side. The power button is on the right, while the volume rocker and dedicated Bixby button sit on the left. In terms of water and dust resistance, the Galaxy Note8 does come with an IP68 rating to shield it from the elements.
There are some small differences – aside from the series-defining ones like the S Pen. For example, the edges of the display are less rounded compared to what you’ll find on the Galaxy S8. In the same vein, the curved edges are steeper here than the S8. The Note8 also comes with a 6.3-inch display, compared to the S8+’s 6.2-inch.
On the back, you’ll see one of the few elements that differentiate the Note8 from the S8 – Samsung’s first twin 12MP camera setup. While one is a telephoto f/2.4 lens, the other is a wide-angle f/1.7 lens. Both are armed with optical image stabilization (OIS), the first in the smartphone world to do so. Both are placed in a rectangular cage of sorts, sharing space with the LED flash and fingerprint sensor. That last one is a bit unfortunate, because it is simply not ergonomic, to say the least. It takes a lot of maneuvering to get a finger placed there, and it can be especially difficult for those with smaller hands.
The Infinity Display comes with an always-on WQHD+ (2,960 x 1,440) Super AMOLED screen, as well as the still novel 18.5:9 aspect ratio. You can choose to not enable 'always on', and you can also scale the display resolution down to HD+ (1,480 x 720), or the default Full HD + (2,220 x 1,080). The presence of these options are great, because some users may not always have the phone in view to enjoy the always-on display, or large number of apps to have your display on WQHD+ mode. Battery life is also another major concern, but we’ll get to that later.
With the wide display aspect ratio, though, it makes a lot of sense to let you have two apps on display simultaneously, and thus the Multi-Window mode makes an appearance here. If you have pairs of apps that you always use together this way, then the new feature found on the Galaxy Note8, called App Pair, will come in handy.
At the bottom of the display, Samsung has given this spot pressure sensitivity (where other Android phones would have their on-screen home buttons), so that you can return to the home screen with a hard press, even when you’re running an app that hides the home button.