Silicon Angle: Samsung launches Galaxy Note8, a strong competitor for the premium smartphone marketAugust 24, 2017 | By Fluent
Publication date 8/24/2017
Following the fiery disaster of its last flagship smartphone, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has a lot riding on its newly launched handset.
Samsung unveiled the 6.3-inch Galaxy Note8 at an event Wednesday in New York City, but with a number of rumors and renders making the rounds in recent weeks, there were few surprises.
Still, the device is key to Samsung’s fortunes, and not just in its attempt to revive the Galaxy Note lineup. The Note8 also will need to outshine Apple Inc., Google Inc. and LG Corp. which all have flagships launching over the next couple of months.
The Note8’s larger near bezel-less AMOLED screen, dual-rear camera and other premium features all come at a hefty price tag of $930, placing it firmly in the top tiers of the premium smartphone market. Although this is definitely more than Apple’s iPhone 7s Plus, this will change in a few weeks with the launch of the premium iPhone 8, which is expected to retail for at least $1,000.
If rumors are to be believed, the iPhone 8 will have a vast array of new features, including facial recognition and OLED display, but will consumers part with $1,000 or more for the device? Only 18 percent of iPhone respondents would, according to a recent wireless subscriber survey by Barclays PLC, significantly lower than the 30 to 35 percent expected by investors for the iPhone 8.
In the months after the Note7 debacle, Samsung’s revenue share dropped in the premium smartphone market, falling 5.6 percentage points in the December quarter last year and 12.8 percent in the March quarter, compared to the prior-year quarters. But the reputation damage didn’t last long and the company managed to gain slightly in the June quarter, according to International Data Corp. and Barclays Research. The continued success of the Galaxy S8 and S8+, as well as the newly launched Note8, could help the company further boost its market share.
Although Samsung has played it safe with a smaller battery in the Note8, the Note7 fires and subsequents recalls didn’t have a significant impact on consumers’ willingness to stick with the brand. The recall had no impact on 63 percent of Samsung owners’ likelihood to purchase another phone from the company, according to a survey conducted by Fluent LLC.
Here’s a look at some of the Note8’s features and details on when you can get your hands on it:
Design and display
The design of the Note8 is very similar to the Galaxy S8+ with a slight increase in display size to 6.3 inches and it is slightly heavier, weighing in at 195 grams versus 173 grams. The Note8 retains the same Quad HD+ Super AMOLED (2960 x 1440) curved screen, but with less curvature to the front side edges and more squared off corners, providing a slightly larger flat surface area to write on.
The Note8 is available in four color options (black, gray, gold and blue), but only black and gray will be available in the U.S. The device also retains the rear fingerprint scanner.
The device obviously comes with the iconic feature of the Note lineup, the S Pen. While the company highlighted more levels of pressure sensitivity and the S Pen’s water resistance, these are the same features of the S Pen that shipped with the Note7.
Dual rear-facing camera
The biggest new feature for the Note8 is the inclusion of a dual rear-facing camera, similar to the one found in the iPhone 7 Plus. The Note8 is the first Samsung device to include this feature and offers two 12-megapixel cameras. The wide-angle lens has an aperture of f/1.7 and the telephoto lens is f/2.4.
A huge advantage is that both sensors offer optical image stabilization, a first for the industry, according to Samsung.
The camera includes various camera modes, including a mode that mimics bokeh and blurs the background. Users will be able to increase or decrease the effect or will be able to add or remove the effect after a photo has been taken. The Dual Capture mode stitches together photos from both cameras and saves them individually.
Under the hood
The Note8 comes with a Snapdragon 835 processor, 64GB of storage (with microSD support) and a bump in RAM to 6 gigabytes, compared to the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus’ 4GB of RAM.
Samsung has packed in a smaller 3,300mAh battery into the device, which the company claims will provide up to 16 hours of video playback or up to 22 hours of talk time. Following the Note7 battery disaster, Samsung introduced an Eight Point Battery Safety Check for batteries in all Samsung devices to avoid a repeat performance.
The Note8 ships with Android 7.1.1 (Nougat).
Price and availability
Pre-orders for the Galaxy Note8 open Aug. 24 with the device going on sale Sept. 15 in the U.S., U.K., South Korea and other select countries.
Although the Note8 does come with a hefty price tag, if you are an original Note7 owner, Samsung will provide you with an instant trade-in value of up to $425 when you upgrade your current phone for the new device. The trade-in is available on Samsung.com, but currently only for U.S. customers.
Samsung is also giving all Note8 customers some freebies when buying the new device. If you buy the Note8 between Aug. 24 and Sept. 24 you will get a fast wireless charger and a 128GB microSD card or a Gear 360.
You will be able to buy the Note8 at Samsung.com, Best Buy, Target and Walmart, as well as carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.