Update 8/20/17: It's confirmed: Samsung outed the Note8 a few days early with an accidental post on its website. The pic is identical to the one leaked earlier by Evan Blass. Also, Blass says preorders for the new phablet will likely start on Thursday, August 24 with a shipping date of September 15.
The late-summer launch of the Galaxy Note phablet is always a big event for Samsung, but there’s even more attention on this year’s release. In case you’ve forgotten, the Galaxy Note7 was an epic fail for Samsung, resulting in a massive recall after devices began exploding around the world. Since then, however, Samsung has been on a roll, launching the highly acclaimed Galaxy S8 and posting record profits along the way.
With the upcoming Note8 launch, Samsung is hoping to put the Note7 debacle behind it once and for all. Building on the success of the S8, the new flagship phablet is shaping up to be a beast, with a bigger screen, better camera, and, of course, the all-important S Pen. So stay tuned to this post as we keep feeding it with all the latest info we can find.
Galaxy Note8 design and display
Samsung has accidentally leaked a picture of the Note8 on its own. A post on its website late Friday night confirmed many of the rumors we've seen, showing a device that looks like a squarer Galaxy S8+ with an S Pen.
As with previous Notes, rumors suggest the design of the Note8 will closely resemble that of the Galaxy S8. Not that that’s a bad thing. For example, noted tipster Evan Blass of VentureBeat reports that we can expect the screen to be a slightly bigger (6.3 inches, versus 6.2 inches on the S8+) 3840x2160 Quad HD Infinity Display that stretches to the edges of the device, with a barely-there bezel all around. The Galaxy S8's 2:1 ratio will also make its way to the phablet, Blass says, making the device taller and easier to hold than last year’s model, despite a much bigger display.
Similarities with the S8 continue on the back, Blass claims, with a horizontal camera setup in the center and, unfortunately, a fingerprint sensor to the right of the flash. We had our share of issues with the placement of the fingerprint sensor on the S8, and we were hoping Samsung would rectify it on the Note8. Apparently that won’t be the case.
The design isn't quite identical, though. The Note8's corners appear to be slightly more boxy than on the S8, as seen in the image above posted on Twitter by Evan Blass, but the Note8’s overall aesthetic looks pretty close to the one introduced with the S8.
According to an image released on Twitter by Poyoco Tech, the bottom edge will feature the usual ports—a speaker, 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C charging port, and S-Pen slot—though the site notes they will now be "uniformly aligned." The leaked image also shows a dedicated Bixby button on the left side. Bixby is now a fully functioning digital assistant, unlike when the Galaxy S8 launched. Finally, GSM Arena reports the Note8 will be available in similar color options to the S8—black, silver, blue, and gold—all likely with black fronts, like the S8.
Galaxy Note8 specs and features
While the Note8 might look a lot like the S8, there will be some notable changes on the inside. While it will likely stick with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 in the U.S., Android Community reports that overseas users will get an updated Exynos 8995 chipset. But the real gains will come from a reported bump to 6GB of RAM (up from 4GB on the S8), reports Blass. We already saw what the extra RAM can do with the OnePlus 5, so the Note8 will likely feel quite a bit faster than the S8 despite a comparable processor.
There are also reports of a 128GB model in addition to the 64GB base model. (Samsung offered a limited 128GB variant of the S8 with 6GB of RAM in South Korea and Hong Kong, so perhaps that was a test run for the Note8.) Elsewhere, the Note7’s SD slot, IP68 water resistance, wireless charging, and iris scanner will more than likely remain.
As far as the S Pen, there haven’t been any rumors about new Note8 features for Samsung’s stylus, but last year brought new Air Command shortcuts like magnify and translate, and added off-screen memos for quick note-taking. So we’re hoping to see some new tricks that make using the S Pen even better—although we’re not holding our breath for the wild patent above that shows an integrated speaker built into the stylus.
Galaxy Note8 camera
If there’s one thing to get excited about with the Note8, it’s the camera. While the Galaxy S8’s shooter is nothing to scoff at, the Note8 will reportedly bring the biggest camera advancement on a Samsung phone in years.
Super-accurate KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo tipped the news back in April that the upcoming phablet would be the first Samsung flagship to bring a dual-camera setup, and we can’t wait to get our hands on it. According to Kuo, the system will pair a 12MP wide-angle sensor with a 13MP telephoto one, dual optical image stabilization, and 3x optical zoom. If true, it would be a massive improvement over the S8’s shooter, and that’s before we factor in Samsung’s usual processing enhancements. In short, the Note 8 could have the best camera ever in a smartphone.
And it's not just in the sensor upgrades. A report from SamMobile outlines some of the camera features that could be coming to the Galaxy Note8. As outed by Samsung Electro-Mechanics, which will reportedly be supplying the dual camera system for the Note8, the upcoming phablet may introduce a series of new shooting modes. Among the features divulged are Smart Zoom, Refocus (which will "fix" out-of-focus shots after the shutter is snapped), and Super Night Shot, for better low-light images. Additionally, fun new shooting modes that let you tweak the perspective and background effects maybe in tow.
While we have no way of verifying these features or specs just yet, case and render leaks clearly show a pair of cameras mounted on the back of the phone. However, all that power will reportedly bring back a feature no one wants: the camera bump. A series of case mock-ups rounded up by BGR clearly show the camera sticking out ever so slightly on the Note8, but if that’s the price we have to pay for all that photography goodness, we’ll deal.
Galaxy Note8 battery
Above all else, the Note8’s battery is sure to command lots of attention, and not just for its specs. After last year’s calamity, Samsung has implemented an 8-point battery safety check for all new devices, and everyone will be watching to see if the Note8 passes the test.
As far as the battery itself, rumors suggest that Samsung will be playing it very safe with the Note8. According to Venture Beat, the new phablet will have a slightly smaller battery than the S8+, 3,300mAh versus 3,500mAh. However, the extra RAM will help keep overall power consumption down, so it should still get the same stellar battery life as the S8+.
Galaxy Note8 pricing and release date
The Galaxy Note always commands a premium over its Galaxy counterpart, and Venture Beat says it could land at around $900, about $50 higher than the S8+. As far as the launch goes, Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S8 a few weeks later than usual this year, and it appears as though the Note8 will follow suit. Samsung will be unveiling the Galaxy Note8 at an event on Wednesday, August 23 in New York City, with sales starting in the second week of September.
A recent report from Blass says preorders for the new device will start on Thursday, August 24, and will come with come with a choice of either a 256GB microSD card with a wireless charging pad or a Gear 360 cam. He also says the device will begin shipping on Tuesday, September 15.