Samsung’s Note series of giant smartphones saw a massive setback with the Note 7’s tendency to explode. So there’s a lot riding on the Note 8, not just to sell itself, but to bring back as many customers as it can. Here’s what you need to know, now that the Galaxy Note 8 is officially available for preorder ahead of arriving in stores September 15th.
First, unsurprisingly, the Note 8 has a giant screen, 6.3 inches with almost no bezel. It defaults to HD, but can be switched to Quad HD if you’re looking to get the most out of that 2960 x 1440 screen. Besides the screen, Samsung’s real killer feature is photography: The Note 8 has a dual lens camera with wide-angle and telephoto lens. Both have image stabilization, as well, for clearer pictures. Beyond that, the phone has all the stuff you’d expect for photos from a high-end smartphone: High dynamic range, filters, “motion photo” functionality, and the usual stickers and bits if you’re so inclined. That said, it only has 64GB of memory onboard, so invest in a microSD card.
The other selling point is Bixby, the latest go-round for a digital assistant from Samsung. Bixby has a dedicated button on the phone that Samsung is hoping you’ll use, because, hey, they’re optimists. That’s not the only cutting-edge feature, either. Charging is now wireless, although you’ll have to buy an entirely separate wireless charger. It’s also claiming a 22 hour talk time battery life out of a 3300mAh battery. Cosmetically it comes in four colors: Black, blue, a purplish grey they’re calling “Orchid Grey” and bronze, excuse me, “Maple Gold.” Clearly, the euphemism wars to not call something ‘bronze’ will be the next fight between Apple and Samsung.
As for what it’ll cost you, that ranges from $930 at T-Mobile to $960 from Verizon, with the cost averaging out to $30 to $40 a month for two years. Keep in mind that accessories like that wireless charger come separately. Should you pick it up? As somebody who prefers the Note as a rule of thumb, this looks to be a solid across the board upgrade. But until Apple drops word of the iPhone in September, hold off on any impulse preorders to see what your options are.