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Galaxy Note 8 – Hands-on and First Impressions

The Shining Elegance with a Pen but a Huge Price Tag

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Galaxy Note 8 S-Pen

Bet, you won’t have forgotten last year’s Galaxy Note 7. Even though it had been the worst nightmare for the Korean tech-giant, which lead the company to bear all the losses when it started getting fires. The company had to halt its production and recall all the devices globally.

What’s appreciable is that the company did overcome the bad spot, announced publicly the reasons of the issues, took better approaches and launched the all new Galaxy S8 earlier this year. But what’s more important is that the company didn’t give up with its most famous Note series as many thought. Galaxy Note 8 was launched later in August with even more attention globally. Now at the Pakistan launch when I had my hands-on with it, I must say it was Samsung did really well to make this new Galaxy Note 8.

I haven’t been a big fan of Samsung for most of its early products. Specially I hated those S-series smartphones when the whole world loved to carry it, until Galaxy S7 of last year. Sure the S8 had even more improvements but the Note-series is what I liked since Note 3. Through all the iterations, we didn’t get a chance to experience the Note 7 last year as it was officially abandoned before most of regional launches, we have got our hands-on with Galaxy Note 8.

Galaxy Note 8 Launched Pakistan

Galaxy Note 8 is now here for those who have been waiting for their next Galaxy Note smartphone after Note 5 — Note 6 was skipped in favour of the ill-fated Note 7. You might get impressed with the quick looks, grip and handling of the new Note 8. it’s all thinner, slimmer, compact but with large screen having narrowed-down bezels.

We hadn’t got a chance to play with the Note 8 at some extent so this quick overview is more about its design, look and feel, handling and experience. Just like previous iterations, Note 8 follows on with the design language of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ with more squared-off corners and a stylus (S-Pen) of course.

Galaxy Note 8 sports same Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform for US and China but other regions including Pakistan have the proprietary chipset version with Exynos 8895, octa-core processor clocked at 2.3 GHz and 1.7 GHz. The Note 8 boasts 6GB of RAM while the model we have in subject features 64 GB internal storage. You may expand memory via microSD card in a hybrid dual-SIM slot.

Galaxy Note 8 Slim Bezels

With the curved edges on metal frame, Galaxy Note 8 features the same curved glass on front and rear side as on Galaxy S8. Boasting 6.3-inch Super AMOLED QHD+ display with 18.5:9 aspect ratio, the front has only a minimal bezels on top and bottom with even narrowed bezel-lines on left and right.

Design, Features and Components

Back of the phone is still more similar to the S8 design but the camera module and other components including the fingerprint scanner are arrayed into a boxed boundary. The arrangement of the components is a little bit different with the fingerprint scanner on the side flash and the sensors in the middle while the dual-cameras on the other side.

Galaxy Note 8 Rear View

If you are wondering about other components and ports, or slots may be. Like Galaxy S8, Samsung has placed everything on the bottom including the 3.5mm audio jack, USB Type-C port, and a speaker. The Power button rests on the right hand side while the right side of the phone has the volume buttons along with a dedicated Bixby button.

The top-side of the phone has hybrid dual-SIM slot that allows to use a microSD card in place of a SIM card.

S-Pen, with dust and water resistance

Galaxy Note 8 S-Pen Drawing

The S Pen stylus has always been an integral part of Samsung’s Galaxy Note-series smartphone. With the IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, which is briefed after the break, also applies to the S Pen. New S-Pen can sense up to 4,096 levels of pressure. The sensitivity enough to give experience pretty much like writing on a paper with a regular pen.

As always, when you eject the S-Pen, Note 8 gives you the relevant user interface to use with the S-Pen. you can instantly start taking notes. You can pin those notes to “always on” display. In fact, if the phone is locked, you can use the S-Pen to take note right on the lock-screen.

Galaxy Note 8 S-Pen

The air command offers new features including live messaging, doodles can be converted into animated GIFs, a translation feature which is useful and easy to use — simply hover with S-Pen on a word or a phrase in the browser to see translations. Magnify feature is pretty much straight forward, to magnify on-screen elements to take a close look on high-resolution screen.

Dual-Camera

Galaxy Note 8 Dual-Camera

So following the latest trend, Samsung also gets into the bandwagon of dual-camera configuration with the latest Galaxy Note 8 smartphone. It has a pair of 12-megapixel cameras on the back. One has a 12MP Dual Pixel AF sensor with a wide-angle f/1.7 aperture lens and optical image stabilization. The other camera module has a standard 12MP sensor, a telephoto f/2.4 aperture lens, also with optical image stabilization.

This dual-camera module in Galaxy Note8 supports 2x optical zoom (thanks to the telephoto lens) and up to 10x digital zoom. On the front there is an 8MP front-facing camera with autofocus capability and has a larger f/1.7 lens aperture.

As it was a quick hands-on session so we couldn’t test the image quality of this new camera system. But you can checkout some official camera samples from Note 8 released by Samsung earlier

You can read more detail about Galaxy Note 8 camera and even more samples images from its dual-camera system.

IP68-Rating

Galaxy Note 8 - IP68 Water Resistance

Ingress Protection (IP) is a universally accepted measure of varying degrees of dust and liquid resistance. Galaxy Note 8 has a rating of IP68 which many of the flagships till now have been rated including the recent LG V30 and HTC U11.

If you ever wondered about the number “68”, you might want to know that it’s the important part in rating. First digit refers to the level of dust where “6” denotes “fully protection against dust ingress”. Second digit refers to the level of water resistance and “8” is currently the maximum we have seen in any smartphone that means it can survive in fresh water under 1.5 meter for 30 minutes.

There’s worth mentioning here that the recently launched iPhone 8 and iPhone X have IP67 rating. They can also withstand immersion in water for 30 minutes but can only go down to 1 meter.

Liquid damage is not covered within warranty

Well, wait here. IP68 certification indeed means that the device can survive in severe watery conditions but any liquid damage is not covered within warranty unless stated otherwise. Galaxy Note 8 is no exception and it will not be covered within Samsung’s one-year limited warranty.

Well for all that, you got an expensive deal

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Always-on Display

This flagship from Samsung is of course the most expensive smartphone from the company. It has all the best technologies and features, the company has to offer. For the price tag of PKR 109,000/- this phone is currently as expensive in Pakistan as you’d have paid for an iPhone previously. Samsung, however, offered 20% upfront discount for customers who pre-ordered, but you have to pay in full if you didn’t.

We will be bringing a detailed review of the Galaxy Note 8, so stay tuned and follow us on facebook and twitter for more news.

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