In Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Can it shake off the Note 7 fiasco?

A dual-lens camera and Infinity Display feature on replacement for the ill-fated Note 7

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After months of rumours, Samsung has finally released its new range-topping Galaxy Note 8 smartphone. 

It replaces the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7, which was recalled shortly after going on sale last year owing to a series of battery fires that occurred while users were making a phone call or while the device was in their pocket. 

The fiasco led to a recall of all 2.5 million units sold, while an investigation found that an issue with the battery manufacturing processes caused devices to short-circuit and catch fire.

Its successor, the Note 8, comes with a completely new design taken from the company's iPhone-rivalling Galaxy S8. It also comes with a host of new features that the firm hopes will right the wrongs of the Note 7.

Here's everything we know about the range-topping smartphone: 

It comes with a dual-lens camera 

A dual-lens camera had long been rumoured in the run-up to the Note 8's launch, but it has now been confirmed that the feature will appear on the new smartphone.

It's the first Samsung phone to come with a dual-lens set-up, says The Guardian, with the Note 8 sporting a pair of 12-megapixel cameras at the rear of the device. One lens works as a "traditional wide-angle lens", while the other has "a telephoto-like two-times zoom".

The smartphone also comes with optical image stabilisation on both lenses, which the newspaper says "is designed to remove blur and camera shake". This gives it an advantage over the iPhone 7 Plus's dual-lens shooter, as only one of its cameras has image stabilisation. 

The screen is bigger and clearer 

The Note 8 adopts the bezel-free ‘Infinity Display’ from its Galaxy S8 sibling, says Wired, measuring in at 6.3in and boasting a resolution of 2960 x 1440. 

That makes it 0.6in larger than the Note 7 and it has a higher resolution screen compared to the old phone's 2560 × 1440 display. It's "water and dust-proof", too, but the website says its edge-to-edge display may be "just as fragile as the Galaxy S8".

Nevertheless, TechRadar says the screen is one of the best smartphone displays on the market, especially as it is compatible with high dynamic range (HDR) features, which improve contrast and lighting effects. 

You can now multitask  

The larger display "allows for the ability to easily and smoothly do multi-window multitasking", says Forbes

Multitasking can put a lot of strain on a device's hardware, but the site says Samsung has fitted the Note 8 with 6GB of RAM – instead of the 4GB in the Galaxy S8 – to ensure the smartphone has enough power to easily run multi-window processes. 

TechRadar says apps included in the Note 8's multitasking feature include phone and contacts, Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as flight operators and email. 

Reviews

“It was always going to take a lot for Samsung to extinguish the memory of last year's Note 7 horror,” says The Daily Telegraph, "but if anything can, it's the Note 8." 

The new phone features “all the best parts” of the ill-fated old model, plus a “spectacular new camera and a world-class screen”, the newspaper reports. This arguably makes it “the best Android phone on the market”, although there are some “software quirks” specific to Samsung phones.

Tech Radar agrees that the dual-lens camera is one of the mobile’s highlights, but says the 6.3ins screen “takes a lot of finger-stretching to reach the outer edges”.

The battery is also a little disappointing, the site says, and users may get less than a day’s worth of power from their phone. This is “probably” a result of last year’s Note 7 fiasco, where a series of device fires led Samsung to redesign its smartphone’s batteries. 

Engadget says that the Note 8’s biggest appeal is its compatibility with Samsung’s S Pen stylus, noting that the smartphone’s large screen and drawing functions are second to none. 

However, says the site, the Note 8 is a "tough sell” for “the vast majority of people” who are not interested in using their smartphone as a digital drawing device.

Price and release  

At £869, the BBC says the Note 8 will become the most expensive smartphone on the market when it goes on sale. 

While a release date has yet to be confirmed, the Daily Telegraph says it expects orders for the smartphone to open on 15 September. 

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