Samsung is getting ready to take another crack at the Galaxy Note. Last year’s phablet launch didn’t turn out so well, with battery issues forcing Samsung to recall the Galaxy Note 7. But Samsung is hoping to learn from both the mistakes it made with that phone and the lessons from its successful rollout of the Galaxy S8 when it unveils a new big-screen phone later this year.
The Galaxy Note 8 could sport a similar look to the S8+. Credit: Slash Leaks
Samsung has already confirmed that you’ll see a Galaxy Note 8 at some point this year. But it’s kept a pretty tight lid on what features you can expect and how the phablet might differ from both the Galaxy S8 and S8+. The rumor mill, however, has stepped up with speculation about the specs, design and feature set for the Galaxy Note 8. Here’s what you can expect from Samsung’s upcoming phablet.
Latest News and Rumors (June 8)
• An Early Ship Date: Rumors suggest that Samsung is testing the Galaxy Note 8 with Android Nougat and not a beta of Android O. That’s leading some people to conclude the phone will debut in late August or early September, prior to Android O’s arrival.
• The Same Look as the Galaxy S8: It’s widely expected that the Note 8 will adopt the same extended display that Samsung introduced with the Galaxy S8, and a recent leaked photo suggests that’s the case. Unfortunately, the Note 8 may follow the S8’s lead in another respect: Samsung may not be able to fit the fingerprint sensor under the phablet’s display.
• A Dual Lens Camera: The S8 stuck with a single rear camera, but the Note 8 could differentiate itself by featuring two cameras on its back. That feature’s already available on phones like the iPhone 7 Plus and LG G6.
When Is the Galaxy Note 8’s Release Date?
In an interview with CNET in January, Samsung mobile chief D.J. Koh said that Samsung will deliver a Galaxy Note 8 sometime this year.
While Koh didn’t offer a date or timeframe on when the Galaxy Note 8 might find its way to store shelves, Samsung has traditionally kept a summer cadence to the Galaxy Note launches. The move is in part a response to the iPhone, which typically launches its flagship phone in the early fall.
Given the the iPhone 8 is expected to be announced in September, It’s possible that Samsung will take the same tack this year. The most popular rumor has the Galaxy Note 8 debuting at the IFA trade show in Berlin, which kicks off Sept. 1. Dutch site Galaxy Club claims the phone is being tested on Android 7.1.1, which suggests a release date before Android O’s debut later this year.
What Design Might the Galaxy Note 8 Offer?
Some reports are suggesting 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.
A supposed Galaxy Note 8 design schematic. Credit: Slash Leaks
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, which a Twitter user named Ice Universe said is internally codenamed “Baikal.” 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. Hopefully, Samsung learns its lesson and moves the sensor to the center of the rear plate on the Galaxy Note 8.
There’s always a chance that Samsung could try to deliver a virtual fingerprint sensor baked into the smartphone’s screen, though the company is rumored to have had trouble with that feature. Andsubsequent reports out of South Korea say that the in-screen fingerprint reader is a no-go for the Galaxy S8. Another report from Korea’s Investor said that the handset might come with a pressure-sensitive screen in a nod to Apple’s 3D Touch in the iPhone 7.
A leaked image of a Galaxy Note 8 posted to Weibo seems to confirm a lot of the rumored features slated for the Note 8, specifically the dual-curved Infinity Display and minimal bezels. That said, it’s unclear if that leak shows an actual Note 8.
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.
What’s Up With the Screen?
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 Note 8’s screen could grow to 6.4 inches. Credit: Jeremy Lips/Tom’s Guide
The Galaxy S8+ ha sa 6.2-inch Super AMOLED screen, making it notably larger than the company’s Galaxy Note 7 screen. 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 requires 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.
Beyond that, look for the screen to come with 4K resolution, according to a rumor from SamMobile. And, of course, it’ll work with the company’s S Pen stylus.
What Are the Rumored Specs?
Samsung dropped some hints about future flagship handsets when it unveiled the Galaxy S8 in March.
For one, you can expect to find the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor in the Galaxy Note 8, according to a recent BGR report. It’s the highest-end processor on the market right now, so such a move would make sense.
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.
Beyond that, you can probably expect at least 64GB of storage, which is the minimum for the Galaxy S8. One leak says to expect up to 256GB.
Will a Big Camera Update Be Next?
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.
That’s about to change with the Note 8, apparently. The Korea Herald reports that the phablet will be the first Samsung phone to ship with two lenses on the rear. According to the report, the Note 8 will feature a 12-megapixel wide angle lens and a 13-MP telephoto lens; the cameras will be able to support a 3X optical zoom. That follows an earlier report in ValueWalk on a Korean patent that points to Samsung working on a dual-camera system.
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 aSamMobile report, that Samsung will source its Galaxy Note 8 batteries from LG.
If you can get past the safety concerns, it’s possible Samsung could bundle a battery with a capacity meeting or exceeding 3,500mAh — the same you’d find in the Galaxy S8+. The Note 7 also had a 3,500 mAh battery.
Any Special Features to Know About?
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.
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.
Last but not least, the Galaxy Note 8 will likely be compatible with the latest version of the Gear VRvirtual reality headset, which offers a new touch controller.
What Will the Galaxy Note 8 Look Like?
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.
Galaxy Note 8 Concept
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.
Galaxy Note 8 Concept
As we get closer to the Note 8’s rumored launch, expect to see more leaked renders of the phone.