Will Note fans come back to Samsung for the Note 8?
By Jeremy Say
Samsung has decided to “do bigger things” – an ethos quite obvious at their Unpacked event in New York with the rather large 6.3’ Note 8. If you’re a fan of phones and are interested in how Samsung is handling things after last year’s debacle, here are some highlights in mostly chronological order. PS the video starts at 32:00 and all photos are screenshots from Samsung Mobile’s live stream.
- Samsung’s DJ Koh gave a short history presentation on the Note line and showed us a short video of all the Note fans. With key phrases like, “Even when we are disappointed you”, the intro video basically highlights all those fans of Samsung who stuck with the company after the Note 7 whole battery issues. He then thanked the Note community for being dedicated to Samsung.
- It’s nice for a large company/brand to admit their faults. DJ Koh said, “Of course, none of us will ever forget what happened last year. I know I won’t.” With millions of recalled units, no one ever will.
- DJ Koh says that big phones are the way to go, as the market has proven that people like big screens. With DJ Koh highlighting that the Note line was always a product of innovation, it sounds like a measuring contest. To be fair I do like having a big screen phone/phablet that can still fit in my jeans pocket.
- So the Samsung Note 8 finally gets revealed and is oddly reminiscent of the S8+, but just a bit more square. Well, that and it has both a S pen and DUAL CAMERAS. All I can say at this point is the stage and presentation is awesome, with the projections on three screens (one of which is the floor). Take that Apple.
- Justin Denison, senior VP of product strategy, then comes on stage to hype up the product itself. Not only is it a great multitasking tool with ton of features, the Note is special because of its “large immersive screen”. Here come the “mine is the biggest” talks. Oh did we forget mention we did the first edge display in the Note series?
- I’m not surprised that they reintroduced the infinity display from the S8 on the Note 8, the screen is just gorgeous for such a smallish package. 6.3 inches is even bigger than the S8+ and certainly bigger than any of the old Notes. It still comes with that funky 18.5:9 aspect ratio though, but who cares with Quad HD+ 2560x1440 resolution.
- A new feature for multitaskers is their App Pair system. With a shortcut, you can tap once to launch two programs in multiple windows. So calender mode and emails; maps and Spotify; or Youtube plus anything. When you have 6GB of RAM, it makes sense. Also, it’s about damn time flagships up the RAM of their phones.
- Suzanne De Silva, Samsung’s director of product strategy, now takes the stage. They finally get to talking about the dual cameras. To improve low light shots, the company has introduced dual pixel sensors. Aided by Quick Launch, you can take images quicker and the IP68 water resistances allows you take pictures in “all conditions”. This not only marks the first dual camera for Samsung, this might actually make me forgive the whole Note 7 issue.
- The Note 8’s camera is being compared to another “smartphone”, which while not vocally acknowledged, was clearly labeled on screen as the Iphone 7 Plus. They pitted the dual camera OIS, and yes, both of the cameras each have OIS on the Note 8, with some obviously shaky scenes. The photos and the recorded videos look pretty darn steady and good if you ask me.
- The two cameras will allow you to bokeh all you want. There is a wide angle lens and a telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom. You also not only get to choose how much to blur the background with the software, but also keep the original photos in crisp detail with Dual Capture.
- Gotta love that flexibility. Now to wait for Apple’s response, the new kid is on the block and it ain’t pulling punches with its own version of “Portrait Mode” called Live Focus.
- Now, if only they didn’t go ruin it with the so called perfectly executed grab an assistant from the audience bit to test out their Live Focus feature.
- Moving on to the S Pen, it has a finer tip and more pressure sensitivity.
- Some extra things you can now do with your S Pen is write/draw Live Messages. It records your actions and turn them into gifs, so now you can bug your friends with animated sketches.
- You will get to jot down notes in a hurry with a Screen Off Memo feature. Then you can also use the pen to help translate full sentences for you. She then hints there might be more news to come when you see her in Berlin next week.
- Jon Wong now takes the stage and talks about how Samsung’s assistant Bixby has grown. He then tries to prove its usefulness by photographing a pizza. Yes, there was a slice of pizza at Samsung’s Unpacked on stage just to demonstrate Wong asking the phone “Food Photo” to take a photo and save it in his food folder. If this becomes a thing, I will stop going out to eat at restaurants. Though, it admittedly does make for interesting concepts of stacking actions for a digital assistant.
- Wong then moves on to DEX, their docking station. His highlight is playing Vainglory on a full sized monitor, mouse and keyboard. He also demonstrates calling his colleagues for work and not being interrupted when he docks the phone. Plus he can show the other person his work screen to ask for opinions. Seems very nifty for work, plus not carrying a laptop around everywhere is very appealing. Let’s just hope the software won’t be plagued with poor performances or optimization, but so far it looks smooth on the on stage demo. Though, if they matched the Zenfone AR or OnePlus 5’s 8 gigs, then we are talking power.
- As for the other phone specs, you have 64GB/128GB/256GB models with the ability add more storage with a MicroSD slot. 10nm processors (ie Snapdragon 835 or equivalent), iris scanner, fingerprint scanner (still on the back), comes in many colours, 3,300mAh battery, yada yada yada.
- Note 8 will begin hitting stores on September 15th and will come with Harman AKG earphones. Which as every phone company has to mention, you can plug these in your standard headphone jack. Please stop beating the horse, it’s not cool.
- As for local news about Samsung’s Note 8, it was teased that special preorders will start 5th to 10th September for Note fans.