As the world prepares for Apple to unveil the next line-up of iPhones, electronics juggernaut Samsung has announced the latest in its line of phablets (smartphone + tablet), the Galaxy Note8, which packs a 6.3-inch ‘Infinity Display’, improved S Pen stylus, and dual cameras with optical image stabilisation.
Along with a number of features that Samsung smartphones users have become accustomed to, like wireless charging and additional storage capabilities, the Note8 introduces a number of innovations to enterprise features: being multi-tasking and desktop docking.
A predecessor to the infamous Galaxy Note7, which was recalled and discontinued after numerous handsets spontaneously self-combusted and caused personal and property damage, Samsung is looking to the Galaxy Note8 to recover users who may have jumped ship to another manufacturer or delayed updating their existing handset.
Here are the hottest features the Galaxy Note8 has to offer:
• A desktop in your pocket
While slim and svelte, the Galaxy Note8 is actually a desktop PC in disguise, thanks to Samsung’s powerful new Exynos 8895 quad-core processor and 6GB of built-in RAM.
Using Samsung’s DeX Dock, the Galaxy Note8 can be ‘docked’ and connected to a full-size monitor, keyboard and mouse, giving users a desktop version of Android OS and apps. The option to increase on-board storage from the built-in 64GB with a microSDXC card up to 256GB, puts the Galaxy Note8 on par with many lightweight laptop computers for storage and power.
• Shoot straight
Smartphone photographers will like this one. On the rear of the Galaxy Note8 you will find two 12MP cameras: one with a wide angle, 1.4-stop lens, the other a 2.4-stop telephoto lens. What makes these cameras special is that both, yes BOTH, come with optical image stabilisation (OIS).
By employing floating lenses positioned in front of the camera sensor that shift as the smartphone moves, the Galaxy Note8 is able to capture a sharper image. Many smartphone manufacturers cut costs in the camera department by using digital (software) image stabilisation instead, which is cheaper, but inferior.
Samsung also claim the Galaxy Note8 OIS is superior to that found in Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus. While many consider the latter as the gold standard for smartphone cameras, only one camera in the dual-lens iPhone uses OIS. This dual camera system has also allowed Samsung to introduce an adjustable focus feature in the camera’s Portrait mode, either while shooting or afterwards.
• One-handed multi-tasking
A first for the phablet market, the Galaxy Note8 gives users control of two apps at once, and will even let users combine two apps to launch at the same time with one press. No other device this small can make this boast. The Galaxy Note8’s wide-screen AMOLED display, is sized at 18.5:9 aspect ratio – the same as the company’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus smartphones – and yields enough screen to comfortably run two apps, side-by-side. What exactly Samsung means by running two ‘compatible apps’ at the same time is yet to be determined.
A voice-controlled virtual personal assistant, Bixby can now be found in the Galaxy Note8. Samsung claims Bixby can perform standard duties, like opening and controlling stock apps, or searching for address details and offering navigation.
However, its more complex features could be remarkable. Using the camera, users can photograph an item, such as a hat, and Bixby will search the web for the item and offer shopping options. Bixby can also make recommendations based on factors like location or time of day. So, restaurant recommendations may pop up if there is an anniversary reminder in your calendar for an upcoming day.
The easiest comparison to Bixby is Apple’s Siri. While the latter is found in numerous places around the home – Apple TV, iPad, Apple Watch and soon, HomePod – Bixby is found only in your Samsung smartphone, for now. It’s a fair bet that Samsung is positioning Bixby to take up assistance duties over Google’s default Android assistant, ‘OK Google’, which is also available in the recently released Google Home smart speaker. Stay tuned for more Bixby products on the horizon.
• The Pen is mightier
The new S Pen is a great step up for those who love adding a little personal touch to their messages. Edit and mark-up features are available within a number of apps, allowing users to generate unique content – like animated gifs – respond quickly to message threads, or simply create handwritten do-to lists as you would with a notepad and pencil; plus a whole lot more.
The S Pen has always been a popular feature of the Note line, and this new iteration appears not to disappoint. The Galaxy Note8 will be available in Australia from September 22, in Midnight Black or Maple Gold colours.
Will you update your smartphone to the new Galaxy Note8? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.