Is this the dawning of the age of the $900 smartphone? If a new report from a generally reliable leaker is accurate, it certainly will be.
Writing at VentureBeat, Evan Blass may have the goods on what Samsung has in store with its Galaxy Note 8 smartphone. Citing an individual briefed on Samsung's plans, Blass says the phablet will cost €1,000 — that'll translate to around $900 in the U.S., Blass figures, citing the differences between pricing for the U.S. and European versions of the Galaxy S8. That would give the Note 8 one of the most expensive starting prices for a phone in Samsung's history.
By comparison, the Galaxy S8 costs $750 and the S8+ $850. According to the report, the Galaxy Note 8 will feature a 6.3-inch AMOLED screen with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio. It'll run on a Snapdragon 835 processor and make its debut after mid-September.
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That screen size detail is noteworthy, because it's not that much bigger than the 6.2-inch display found on the Galaxy S8+. Historically, screen size has been one of the big differences between the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note devices, but this new report indicates Samsung is taking a different tack. Instead, Bass claims, the phone maker will turn to the camera and the internal specs to make the Note stand out from the S8.
There's plenty to like about the rumored specs for the Galaxy Note 8 — and a few eyebrow-raising details as well.
What We Like About the Rumors
• The Note 8 is almost certain to have dual rear cameras. The addition of a second camera lens to the back of the phone has been rumored elsewhere, but it's good to hear another confident report that this is a done deal. Dual-rear cameras are noticeably missing from the Galaxy S8, and adding them here would make the Note 8 stand out.
• The Note 8 will have lots of RAM. As in 6GB of memory, which will help bolster the phone's performance. Again, that's another way for Samsung to separate the Note 8 from the S8, since this report claims the Note will have the same Snapdragon 835 processor that powers its currently Galaxy S phones.
• The Note 8 will work with the DeX accessory. Introduced along with the Galaxy S8, the puck-shaped DeX lets you plug in your phone to a monitor, turning that device into a desktop. Given the Note 8's power user target audience, DeX compatibility is a natural fit. Now if only more apps would be supported and Samsung could do something to improve Android multitasking.
That's the welcome news. That and the fact that the Note 8 will once again include the very handy S Pen, which is reportedly gaining new features like the ability to convert currencies and translate complete sentences. So what has us concerned about this latest Note 8 rumor?
What We Don't Like
• The fingerprint sensor's staying on the back. Even worse, Blass reports that it's on the same plane as the rear camera lenses. That's one of the worst things about the Galaxy S8, as you can sometimes put your finger over that phone's camera when you're simply trying to reach the fingerprint sensor. Reportedly, there will be more distance between the sensor and the cameras on the Note 8.
• The Note 8 won't arrive until later in September. That's quite a departure from previous rumors about the Note 8's release date, as some reports suggested Samsung might take the wraps off its next phone in mid-August. Another more popular rumor had the phone debut at the IFA trade show in Berlin; that event starts Sept. 1. But this new report points to the second half of the month.
About That Battery...
A lot of attention will likely land on the Note 8's battery, given the problems that lead to the Note 7's recall. This report claims the Note 8 will be powered by a 3,300 mAh battery — a downgrade from 3,500 mAh power pack in the Note 7. Given how things turned out for that phone, however, users are unlikely to complain about a smaller battery in the new Note.