What’s new with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8

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What’s new with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8

Samsung promised to “Do Bigger Things” with the Note 8, but the company’s new phablet isn’t exactly earth shattering. Instead, the phone is more of a refinement of the line, perhaps hampered by an abundance of caution following last year’s Note 7 debacle.

Many of the updates present are adapted directly from the S8/S8+ — though the company has taken some steps to distinguish the device from its Galaxy brethren. Chief among those distinctions are a slightly larger screen and, of course, the tried and true S Pen.

Pre-orders for the phone open tomorrow, and it’s set to start shipping on September 15. Here’s what you can expect with the new phone.

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Display

As expected, the Infinity Display has been brought over from the Galaxy S8, virtually ridding the phone of side bezels. What is a bit more surprising, however, is that the company has again pushed the limits of screen size. The Note 8 sports a giant 6.3-inch display (at 2960×1440) — a big jump over the Note 7’s 5.7. That’s also a full inch larger than the original Note, which seemed ridiculously oversized when it was introduced way back in 2011.

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Camera

Display size aside, the biggest update to the Note line is the addition of a second rear-facing camera. The feature brings the company up to speed with other flagships and adds a few cool things to boot. The phone saves two copies of every photo by default — one zoomed in and one wide angle. That way users can continue to fiddle with settings like depth of field well after the photo has been taken.

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S Pen

The new S Pen features a finer tip and more pressure sensitivity than its predecessors, making it possible to draw more nuanced lines. Off screen memo is back, letting users write notes up to 100 pages long without waking the phone up from sleep. And the new Live Messages feature turns handwriting into a shareable animated GIF.

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Bixby

Bixby’s back. Things look a bit better this time out, however — unlike the S8, the new Note ships with voice functionality out of the box. Has Samsung truly made its smart assistant indispensable? Not hardly, but the pieces are starting to converge into what could truly be a useful experience. According to Samsung, around 30-percent of S8 owners have enabled the voice functionality so far, which means Bixby’s still got a ways to go in terms of winning people over.

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Internals

Interestingly, the battery has actually shrunk this time out. The Note 8 sports 3,300 mAh, vs. the 7 and S8+’s 3,500. Why? Samsung says it was an attempt to keep the phone slim while still making room for the S Pen — and besides, the new 10nm octa-core processor uses less power, so the company is still promising a full day’s use on a charge. But it’s hard not to see this as the product of an abundance of caution following last year’s battery kerfuffle. 

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DeX Compatibility

Samsung’s plug and play desktop workstation works with the big new phablet. The company has also taught it some new tricks and enhanced the experience and a slew of apps customized for the full screen experience.

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Probably Won't Explode

Samsung’s instituted a new eight-point battery safety check, stronger insulation around the battery and outside testing from ubiquitous safety inspectors, UL (United Laboratories).

So, you know, fingers crossed…

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