We're just a few hours away from finding out what Samsung has planned for its Note 8 smartphone. And that means it's time to take one last look at what the rumor mill is planning for this super-sized smartphone.
Samsung is holding a press event today (Aug. 23) where it's going to unveil the phone it hopes to make us forget all about last year's Note 7 recall. We'll be on hand in New York to find out how this new phone improves upon last year's ill-fated model and whether it adapts the more popular features from this year's Galaxy S8.
Here's one last look at what you can expect from the Galaxy Note 8 based on the latest rumors swirling about Samsung's phablet.
Latest News and Rumors (August 23)
- Extra Storage for the Note 8?: A report out of Korea says Samsung may come out with a 256GB version of its new phone.
- Leaks Keep Coming from Samsung: At this rate, we'll know all about the Galaxy Note 8 long before the August 23 unveiling and Samsung will only have itself to blame. The company's online store briefly showed off an unlocked Galaxy Note 8 with 64GB of storage. That follows last week's leak of a Galaxy Note 8 pamphlet confirming all the phone's major features — a 6.3-inch screen, dual rear cameras and fast wireless charging.
Galaxy Note 8 Rumored Specs (So Far)
Writing at VentureBeat, serial phone leaker Evan Blass says these are the final specs for the Galaxy Note 8, according to someone briefed on the phone's final configuration.
|Screen Size||6.3 inches|
|Cameras||Dual 12-MP rear cameras; 8-MP front camera|
|OS ||Android 7.1 Nougat|
When Is the Galaxy Note 8’s Release Date?
Samsung previously announced you would see a new Galaxy Note this year. And today's the day Samsung makes good on that promise.
Samsung has scheduled an Aug. 23 press event in New York. And while the invitation for the event doesn't specifically name the Note 8 — all Samsung has said is to expect a new mobile device — images of a phone with an extended display and a S Pen-like stylus all but confirm that the Note 8 will be the star of the show.
When Samsung released the Galaxy S8 earlier this year, it introduced the phone in late March before shipping it in mid-April. If Samsung sticks to that script with the Note 8, that could mean we'll get our hands on the new phone by mid-September. Korean news outlet ET News says the phone will go on sale in the U.S. on Sept. 15, with Samsung taking preorders starting Sept. 1.
The Note 8 may hit shelves even earlier, as one Reddit user claims that a Best Buy employee told them the device will launch on August 24, the day after Samsung's media event.
Dutch site Galaxy Club claims the phone is being tested on Android 7.1.1, suggesting the phone will ship with Android Nougat, even though Android O makes its debut a couple days before the Note 8 launch.
Galaxy Note 8 Design: Similar to Gorgeous S8, with Same Flaw
Some reports, backed by leaked renders of the new phone, claim that Samsung will take cues from its Galaxy S8 and deliver a curved “Infinity Screen” with the Galaxy Note 8 that nearly eliminates the left and right bezels.
There’s also been talk on Android Headlines and elsewhere of Samsung planning to follow the Galaxy S8 and remove the physical home button in the Galaxy Note 8. That would give Samsung more room to deliver a big-screen device, but it invites questions over exactly where the handset’s fingerprint sensor might go.
Samsung made the oft-criticized decision to place the Galaxy S8’s fingerprint sensor directly next to the handset’s rear-facing camera. Those who have used the smartphone say the fingerprint reader can be difficult to reach and could cause some smudging to the rear-facing lens. In a June report on leaked Galaxy Note 8 specs, VentureBeat's Blass said the new phablet is likely to follow the S8's lead on where to place the fingerprint sensor. If it's any consolation, the sensor could be farther way from the Note 8's rear camera.
Backing up this rumor, Olixar has already started offering pre-orders for Galaxy Note 8 cases through the Mobile Fun accessories site that have a fingerprint sensor to the right of the camera. Bummer. (If you really want a fingerprint sensor to live under the screen of your phone, you may have to wait until 2018's Note 9, according to this 9to5Mac report.)
Because the Note 8's home button will now be a virtual one, look for it to feature a pressure-sensitive screen like the Galaxy S8 did. Reports out of Korea on this feature suggest that you'll be able to do a hard press on the Note 8's home button to bring up additional commands.
Given that the Galaxy S8 comes with dust and water resistance, it’s likely that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 offers water- and dust-protection when it launches later this year. We've also gotten a clue as to what colors will be featured on the new phone. Leaker Roland Quandt tweets that the Note 8 will be available in black, orchid grey and deep blue. Add a gold option to the mix, according to Blass's latest leak.
An image posted at SlashLeaks after it was posted then pulled from MyEveryDayTech confirms the Note 8's Infinity Screen as well as dual rear cameras on the new phone (which we'll talk about in a moment.)
Images of what appear to be the final dummy (a non-functional mockup for use in retail stores) of the phone were published on the Chinese microblogging network Weibo and then published by the SamMobile website.
The images show the rumored lack of home button or front-facing fingerprint scanner, as well as its horizontally-aligned dual rear cameras.
A (Slightly) Bigger Infinity Edge Display
Samsung’s Galaxy Note screens haven’t prompted many surprises over the years: since the Galaxy Note 3, the handset has shipped with a 5.7-inch display. However, there’s a good chance that Samsung could buck that trend this year.
The Galaxy S8+ has a 6.2-inch Super AMOLED screen, making it notably larger than the company’s Galaxy Note 7. Samsung was able to boost the display’s size by reducing the size of its bezels and it now comes with a narrower but wider 18.5:9 aspect ratio instead of a standard 16:9.
Since the Galaxy Note line usually features a larger screen that will let you tap around the display with the S Pen stylus, there’s a good chance that the Galaxy Note 8 will deliver a 6.2-inch screen or larger this year. A very brief leak on Slash Leaks suggests the panel could be 6.4 inches. But Evan Blass pegs the size at 6.3 inches, as do other sources.
Galaxy Note 8 Rumored Specs
Samsung dropped some hints about future flagship handsets when it unveiled the Galaxy S8 in March.
A BGR report said to expect a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor in the Galaxy Note 8. (That will be the CPU in the U.S. at least; in other markets, Samsung usually turns to its own Exynos processor for flagship phones.) The Snapdragon 835 is the highest-end processor on the market right now, so such a move would make sense. Some sources had hoped that the Note 8 would feature a Snapdragon 836 chip, which would be a modest improvement on the 835, but the latest leaked specs suggest that won't be the case.
Samsung’s decision to include 4GB of RAM in the U.S. Galaxy S8 model has been criticized by some. Look for the company to make up for that and deliver at least 6GB of onboard memory in the Galaxy Note 8, according to PhoneArena.
These specs may not add up to any giant performance gains, as benchmarks from Geekbench and AnTuTu attributed to the Note 8 suggest that the Note 8's performance will be on par with the Galaxy S8 and the iPhone 7.
Sources tell the Samsung-obsessed SamMobile site that the Note 8 will run the Experience 8.5 user interface, an updated version of the 8.1 that ships on current devices. This should make for smoother interactions, among other benefits.
Get Ready for Dual Cameras
Samsung hasn’t always followed the crowd when it comes to cameras. In the Galaxy S8, for instance, the company nixed pressure to match Apple with a dual-lens design and instead opted for a dual-pixel feature that has been generally well-received in previous models. Samsung has dominated our best camera phone list for several months.
The Korea Herald reports that the phablet will be the first Samsung phone to ship with two lenses on the rear. There's some disagreement, though, as to the resolution on the different lenses. Reports from the Korean ET News and Korea Herald claimed that the Note 8 would have a 12-megapixel wide angle lens and a 13-MP telephoto lens, but a new report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities suggests that it will be other way around. Blass's report suggests both lenses will be 12-MP sensors, with the wide-angle lens featuring a f/1.7 aperture versus a f/2.4 aperture on the telephoto lens.
MORE: Best Camera Phones
Another area of disagreement: will the Note 8 will offer 3X optical zoom? That would be an improvement over what the iPhone 7 Plus provides. Samsung's Electron-Mechanic Division touted the 3x optical zoom capability and added information on another capability for the dual rear cameras on the Note 8. They'll support a "Refocus" feature that will let you blur the background or foreground in a picture after it's taken, creating a bokeh effect. (For an example of how this feature might work, take a look at Huawei's dual-lens Honor 8.) However, Blass's report suggests the Note 8 will only match the iPhone 7 Plus's 2X optical zoom. The leaked brochure published by Ausdroid also states that the Note 8's dual rear cameras will max out at 2X optical zoom.
Blass, Kuo and Forbes all report that each Note 8 lens will have optical image stabilization, another improvement over the iPhone 7 Plus.
You can get a look at how the rear cameras might appear courtesy of a Facebook post by leaker Tung Ha that reportedly shows off the Note 8.
Will the Battery Be OK?
The Galaxy Note 8’s battery will undoubtedly be on most folks’ minds when the handset is unveiled later this year.
For its part, Samsung has said that it’s instituted a new battery safety policy, and the company believes it now has some of the world’s most reliable lithium-ion batteries. Look for Samsung to go out of its way to stress that point when the Galaxy Note 8 is unveiled. There’s also a chance, according to a SamMobile report, that Samsung will source its Galaxy Note 8 batteries from LG.
Blass expects the Note 8 to have a 3,300 mAh battery. That would be a downgrade from the 3,500 mAh power pack found in the Note 7, not that Samsung would be eager to repeat that experience.
This being a Galaxy Note handset, you can expect to find the S Pen stylus supported in the handset. Look for it to come bundled with the device and if a TechRadar report is true, deliver a bit more accuracy and additional reliability to make writing on the screen a bit more appealing. The pen was most recently pictured in a report at Android Headlines, suggesting an update is coming. Blass says that new features are coming to the pen, including the ability to translate both currencies and full sentences.
Perhaps the biggest addition, however, would be Bixby, Samsung’s virtual personal assistant that’s launching alongside the Galaxy S8. And according to a Business Korea report, it’s coming to the Galaxy Note 8.
With Bixby in tow, you’ll be able to make reminders and calendar events, of course, but it’ll also allow you to aim your camera at landmarks and get relevant information. Bixby can also translate real-world text on the fly and send photos to friends or family using just your voice.
It’s likely that Samsung will add a Bixby button to the side of the Galaxy Note 8 like it did with the Galaxy S8 to activate the service.
On the security side, the Galaxy S8 is expected to deliver a fingerprint sensor, of course, but leaked specs obtained by ValueWalk hint at the possibility of the handset featuring an iris scanner. The Note 7 was first with this feature before being added to the Galaxy S8. The iris scanner is another feature confirmed by the leaked Note 8 pamphlet.
What Will the Galaxy Note 8 Look Like?
Images that purportedly show off the Note 8 are beginning to stream in right before the August 23 unveiling, highlighted by Blass's leak of the Note 8's allegedly final design. A good look at the Note 8 comes from case maker Ghostek which shared renderings with Forbes.
Android Headlines spotted a photo posted to Weibo. Assuming that's a Note 8 image, we can see a very thin bezel, along with a front-facing camera, earpiece, and iris scanner.
A render posted at SlashLeaks provides more evidence that the the Note 8 will have a lot in common with the Galaxy S8. The phone in that render has no home button but it does sport curved edges.
Concept designers are trying their hand at imagining what Samsung is planning for the Note 8, and their ideas are pretty stunning. Take this Note 8 concept put together by designer Mushin Auckburaully, which depicts an expansive Quad HD+ display, dual rear cameras and a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone.
Likewise, a Note 8 design from ConceptCreator also goes the big-screen route with a 6.4-inch display housed in a very thin design. The ConceptCreator video also shows a phone with dual rear cameras.
What Will the Note 8 Cost?
You only have to look at the price of the Galaxy S8+ to realize that the Note 8 is not going to come cheap. Samsung's super-sized Galaxy S phone costs $850. It's widely believed that the Note 8 with even higher-end features will command a premium.
Blass pegs that figure at around $900. (Actually, his source says €1,000, but that adjusts down to $900 if you assume that Note price differences between the U.S. and Europe match those of the Galaxy S8.) Flagship phone costs are climbing upward — the rumored iPhone 8 is also expected to have a much higher price tag — but $900 would make this one of the most expensive phones Samsung has ever offered.