Your First In-Hand Look at the Samsung Galaxy Note8

On a hot summer day in New York City, Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung took to the Park Avenue Armory to unveil the all-new Galaxy Note8. With a presentation that not only debuted the new product but also apologized for the let down of the previous generation, Samsung was eager to move on and once again provide its loyal fanbase with a multi-tasking beast of a smartphone. Immediately following the presentation where all the new functions and hardware was explained by Samsung gurus, the audience was given the chance to get hands-on with the new phone.

At first glance, it’s hard not to notice the vibrant 6.3-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity Display and four colors that dress the device — Midnight Black, Orchid Grey, Maple Gold and Deep Sea Blue, of which the latter two won’t make it stateside. When you pick up the phone, it’s light and thin but feels comfortable in your fingers and palm, making a transition into the S Pen seamless. Writing and drawing with the pen is simple and straight forward as a menu for different modes like Live Messages allow you to write out a text message or draw your own emoji. On-screen highlighting and writing is made simple with a menu that let’s you change the size, color and type of utensil you’re using. The best part about the S Pen is that you use it to highlight words or phrases in another language via a screenshot and it will translate it for you.

Sliding the S Pen back into its slot, the other major piece of hardware we needed to test out for ourselves was the camera. Billed as the first smartphone with two 12MP rear cameras featuring Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), the Galaxy Note8 set a high image expectation for itself. But both the wide-angle and telephoto lenses pass the test once you open up Live Focus mode within the camera app and experience for yourself the professional level of bokeh at your disposal. In Live Focus, you’re given the ability to control depth of field both before and after you take a photo and on not only a close-up shot, but also a wide-angle shot — because both cameras will capture a photo simultaneously. Even in low light, the Dual Pixel sensor on the wide-angle lens takes sharper photos than the Apple iPhone 7.

Finally, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 and its S Pen is water and dust resistant, which is important for any user constantly on the move. Its rapid wireless charging capability ensures that you are able to multitask at will throughout the day. Also, adidas cases were spotted at the event, possibly throwing shade at Apple’s partnership with Nike. Preorders start tomorrow, August 24 for the unlocked version of the phone with a price tag of $929 USD. In the U.S., former Note7 owners can receive an instant trade-in value of up to $425 USD when they upgrade to the Galaxy Note8 on samsung.com.

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