The year 2016 is something that the smartphone industry won’t forget. We saw some of the best Android smartphones in the form of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge. The Galaxy Note 7 too was destined to be crowned the best Android smartphone of 2016. But things quickly changed when reports of the Galaxy Note 7 overheating and bursting into flames started emerging. Following the battery fiasco, many were of the opinion that Samsung should discontinue the Galaxy Note-series altogether, and there were rumors hinting that the South Korean giant might actually do it. A year later, the Galaxy Note 7 seems almost forgotten, and all eyes are on its successor – the Galaxy Note 8.
Yes, the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco did dent Samsung’s image, and it had to recall all units, resulting in losses of millions of dollars. Dumping these units will result in a lot of e-waste, which will also be hazardous to the environment. To avoid that, Samsung replaced the faulty batteries and relaunched the smartphone calling it Galaxy Note Fan Edition. Released only in its home country, all units have been sold out, which proves that customers haven’t lost faith and trust in Samsung’s Note-series.
Ahead of India launch, Samsung conducted a survey (via IPSOS) of Galaxy Note users in India. The pan India survey involved telephonic conversations with Galaxy Note users. The key findings from the survey are pretty interesting. 9 out of 10 users said that they are happy with their Galaxy Note phablet, with 8 out of 10 users recommending the Galaxy Note series to their family, friends and colleagues. ALSO READ: As a Galaxy S8 user, here’s what I feel about the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8
And lastly, 2 out of 3 people said that they would consider buying a new Galaxy Note device. With so much of interest from consumers, Samsung went ahead with the Galaxy Note 8, and it has turned out to be a pretty interesting upgrade. The phablet is priced at Rs 67,900. At the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 India launch event, I got to spend some time with the phablet, and here are my first impressions.
The Galaxy Note 8 continues with the same design trend as the Galaxy S8 smartphones. You get the same metal fame with curved edges and front and back curved glass. Even the ports and buttons placement are the same. However, there are a couple of changes. Firstly, the bottom right has a slot for the S Pen stylus, and second is the placement of the fingerprint sensor.
In case of the Galaxy S8 duo, the camera lens was flanked by the LED flash on one side and the fingerprint sensor on the other side. But one’s fingers would accidentally reach the lens, resulting in blurry shots. So, with the Galaxy Note 8, Samsung has moved the fingerprint sensor to the corner to avoid accidentally touching the camera lens. ALSO READ: Samsung Bixby Voice: Here’s the list of voice commands, so you can master the newest AI assistant around
Flaunting a 6.3-inch Super AMOLED QHD+ display with aspect ratio of 18.5:9, the phablet is powered by a 64-bit Exynos 8895 octa-core SoC, paired with 6GB of RAM and 64GB internal storage. There is a hybrid SIM card slot too, which will allow you to further expand the storage.
Keeping in line with the latest trend, the Galaxy Note 8 comes with a dual-camera setup. It includes a pair of 12-megapixel sensors – one is a wide-angle lens of aperture f/1.7, whereas the other is a telephoto lens of aperture f/2.4. Both feature optical image stabilization (OIS) for blur-free photos.
The camera offers 2X optical zoom, without losing picture quality, and there is ‘Live Focus’ mode as well, which lets you add DSLR-like blur background effects to your portrait photos. What’s more, the camera also comes with dual-capture mode, which clicks two photos at a time – one with wide angle and other with portrait mode effects. Out of the few photos I clicked during the event, the quality is impressive. But, I will reserve my judgments until I review the phablet.
Next, we talk about the S Pen stylus, which has always been the highlight of Samsung’s Galaxy Note-series. The S Pen is now water resistant, and can sense up to 4,096 levels of pressure. The sensitivity is good, and the overall experience is quite close to writing on a sheet of paper with a pen. Simply by ejecting the S Pen, you can start doodling or jot down quick notes. You can then save them to notes, or you can pin it to ‘always on’ display – all this without unlocking your smartphone.
The air command also gets new tricks in the form of live messaging, where doodles can be converted into GIFs. There is also a Translate feature where you can simply hover on a word or sentence on the browser, and it will translate it from one language to the other. There is also magnify feature which works as a magnifying glass, and glance, which lets you have a window open in a picture-in-picture (PIP) form, so you can continue working while keeping a tab on the other window.
Overall, the Galaxy Note 8 seems to be a worthy upgrade over the Galaxy Note 7 which had a sad demise even before it officially went on sale in several countries. We will soon be bringing our full review of the Galaxy Note 8, so stay tuned.