Samsung Galaxy Note 8 release date, news and features

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is official, and we've got everything you need to know about Samsung's brand new phablet right here.

Samsung took to the stage in New York at its latest Unpacked event to take the covers off the Galaxy Note 8 – revealing a big screen smartphone complete with dual cameras and an updated S Pen.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 launch could be seen as one of the biggest comebacks in phone history following last year's disastrous Galaxy Note 7 battery failures, and after the successful arrival of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus earlier in the year, the signs are the Note 8 is set to build on that.

  • UK: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 deals

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Samsung's new flagship phablet
  • When is it out? September 15 in the US
  • What will it cost? From £869 (around $950, AU$1,200) SIM free

The Galaxy Note 8 boasts an almost bezel-free 6.3-inch Infinity Display

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 release date

  • Pre-orders start August 23 (UK), August 24 (US)
  • On sale from September 15 (US)

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 pre-orders are now open in the UK, and will go live on August 24 in the US.

You've only got a few weeks to wait to get hold of the handset too, as the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 release date is set for September 15 in the US.

Pre-order and release date details for other regions are still unknown, but we'll update this article once we know.

In the UK, network carrier EE and high-street retailer Carphone Warehouse have confirmed they will be selling the new Galaxy device, with the latter offering a SIM free price of £869, and you can register your interest on their websites.

We're expecting one or two other carriers at least to pick up this hugely popular phone – admittedly, the Note range has never been as popular in the UK (and will command a high price on contract – expect £45 or more for the most basic of contracts initially, but that will come down fairly rapidly in price in the coming months.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 screen

  • Huge 6.3-inch Infinity Display with almost no bezel
  • QHD+ (2960 x 1440) resolution with 521ppi pixel density

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 continues the phablet tradition of boasting the biggest screen in the South Korean's handset line-up, but only just.

It comes equipped with a 6.3-inch Super AMOLED Infinity Display, which is only a touch bigger than the 6.2-inch offering on the S8 Plus.

Samsung has kept bezels to a minimum once again, giving you an almost all-screen front to the phone which is certainly impressive.

The resolution is the same as the S8 duo, with the Galaxy Note 8 coming with a QHD+ (2960 x 1440) resolution which produces a pixel density of 521ppi and a widescreen 18.5:9 aspect ratio.

While that's still eye-poppingly brilliant, it means it does pack fewer pixels per inch than the S8 Plus (529ppi) and S8 (570ppi).

With a QHD+ (2960 x 1440) resolution the Note 8 packs a pixel punch

Samsung's Always On Display technology also makes an appearance on the Galaxy Note 8 with the added bonus of being able to take handwritten notes with the S Pen when in this mode – and that's been improved to include multiple pages of information without turning the phone on.

For anyone hoping for a fingerprint scanner under the screen of the Galaxy Note 8, well, you're out of luck. Samsung has stuck with the rear mounted position it used for the S8 – but more on that later.

Check out our Samsung Galaxy Note 8 hands on video below to see the phablet in action!

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 S Pen

  • Housed inside the Galaxy Note 8's body
  • Enhancements include a finer tip and improved pressure sensitivity

Along with a large display, the S Pen has been the other key feature of the Note range, and that's no different here as the Galaxy Note 8 come with an upgraded stylus.

The S Pen still slides neatly into the body of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, with a pleasing press-and-pop ejection system releasing it from the confines of the metal and glass body.

Samsung has improved the pressure sensitivity (offering 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity to be exact) of the S Pen, and given it a new, finer tip, providing you with a more responsive and accurate stylus. 

We've also found that it has less latency than Microsoft's Surface Pro stylus during our brief time using the handset.

One of the new features Samsung has added to the S Pen is the ability to draw images and then send them as animated GIFs, while handwriting has also been improved.

The S Pen's translate function has also been given a bump, allowing you to hover over a word, price or entire sentence for a quick translation or currency conversion.

It's not all good news though, as the S Pen's inclusion means there's less space inside for everything else. That's resulted in a smaller 3,300mAh battery in the Note 8, versus the 3,500mAh power pack in the Galaxy S8 Plus. Hmm.

The S Pen lets you make handwritten notes on the Always-on Display

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 design

  • Premium curved glass front and back
  • Bixby button on the left, fingerprint scanner on rear

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 design takes its cues from the glass-and-metal sandwich that is the Galaxy S8 Plus. They're almost identical, with just a few small differences between the two.

Firstly the Galaxy Note 8 is a touch bigger than the S8 Plus thanks to the slightly larger display and requirement to house the S Pen.

This means it measures 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm, and weighs 195g making it the tallest and heaviest Note handset of all time (and the thickest since the Galaxy Note 2).

The fingerprint scanner is still annoyingly located right next to the camera on the back of the Note 8, but Samsung has done some work on making it more noticeably recessed, which makes finding it easier.

It lines up alongside one of the other major differences in design, and that's the inclusion of a second camera sensor on the back, creating an elongated black strip on the rear house the cameras, digit reader, heart rate sensor and flash and block.

Unlike some of the leaked images we saw before its launch, the Samsung Galaxy  Note 8 has no camera bump to really speak of, the whole strip is just ever so slightly raised from the rear of the phone, but it's hardly noticeable.

If the fingerprint sensor is too fiddly, the Note 8 also offers an iris scanner, allowing you to unlock the handset simply by glaring at it.

Finally, like the pair of S8 handsets, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is IP68 accredited, making it dust and water resistant and allowing it to be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes without any negative side affects.

The fingerprint scanner is easier to locate, but still annoyingly close to the camera

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 colors

  • 4 colors: Midnight Black, Maple Gold, Deep Sea Blue and Orchard Grey
  • Not all available in all regions at launch

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will be available in four colors, but which hues will actually be available to you will depend on where you live.

Samsung has officially unveiled black, gold, blue and grey for the Note 8, or to give them their full names: Midnight Black, Maple Gold, Deep Sea Blue and Orchard Grey.

We already know that the US won't get the blue Note 8 at launch, while the UK misses out on both the grey and blue finishes for now. 

Samsung tends to release more colors later down the line, so don't rule out these colors (and potentially more) from coming to a store near you just yet – but at launch you won't have the full gamut to choose from.

The four launch colors of the Note 8 are black, blue, grey and gold

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 camera

  • Samsung's first flagship dual-lens rear camera
  • Telephoto (12MP) and wide-angle (12MP) lenses with 2x optical zoom
  • 8MP front facing camera

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is the first flagship phone from the firm to boast dual cameras on its rear.

The double snapper consists of a 12MP telephoto lens and 12MP wide-angle lens, which can work together or independently of each other.

This setup can provide a 2x optical zoom, in a similar way to the OnePlus 5 and LG G6, as well as offering the background blur effect (bokeh) you get on most high-end smartphones these days, such as portrait mode on the iPhone 7 Plus.

Round the front an 8MP snapper is present for selfies and video chats.

The Note 8 is the first Samsung flagship with dual rear cameras

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 battery

  • A 3,300mAh battery, smaller than Galaxy S8 Plus
  • Fast and wireless charging enabled

Wow. Here's a touchy subject for you. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is Samsung's biggest phone, with the biggest screen… but it's not got the biggest battery.

*record scratch*

"What!?" we hear you scream.

It's true, the Galaxy Note 8 has a 3,300mAh power pack, which is smaller than the 3,500mAh offering in the Galaxy S8 Plus.

There are two very good reasons for this though. First up, Samsung has to squeeze the S Pen into the body of the Note 8, which takes up a fair chunk of internal space, leaving less room for everything else.

Secondly, there's the whole Galaxy Note 7 exploding due to a dodgy battery thing that it'll be keen to avoid a repeat of. 

Samsung has played it safe with the battery in the Note 8 then, avoiding the temptation of squeezing in a larger power pack.

The good news is that the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 battery both fast charging and wireless charging, although you'll need to purchase a wireless charging pad separately if you want to take advantage of the latter feature.

The Note 8 is wireless charging enabled, but you have to buy a charging pad separately

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 OS and power

  • Snapdragon 835 (US) or Exynos 8895 (Global) chipset
  • 6GB of RAM, choice of 64GB/128GB/256GB of storage
  • Android 7.1.1 with Samsung Experience overlay

Samsung's newest flagship phone premiers in two chipset flavors: The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 in the US and its own Exynos 8895 in the UK and other regions. 

Those chiopsets has been paired with a whopping 6GB of RAM, which is more than the 4GB you'll find in the S8 handsets.

In terms of storage the Note 8 will be available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB variants, although it's currently not clear if all storage sizes will arrive in all regions.

There's also a microSD slot on the top of the handset, allowing you to expand on the internal space.

As for software, Samsung renamed TouchWiz to 'Samsung Experience,' earlier this year, and it's present on the Note 8 running atop Android 7.1.1. 

On screen the experience will be almost identical to that of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, but the Note 8 has additional functionality baked in for the S Pen which is unique to the handset.

In terms of connectivity the Note 8 is well equipped with 4G LTE (Cat 16), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, Location (GPS, Galileo, Glonass, BeiDou), NFC and USB Type-C all on board.

There’s a handy microSD slot on top of the Note 8

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 price

  • From £869 (around $950, AU$1,200) SIM free in the UK

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 was never going to be cheap, and while its price is high, we can't say we're surprised.

At £869 (around $950, AU$1,200) SIM free it's £90 more than the Galaxy S8 Plus, and sits in between the 128GB and 256GB iPhone 7 Plus. Expensive yes, but it's not totally outrageous.

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