How do you recover from one of the most disastrous episodes in consumer electronics history? That’s the challenge Samsung has confronted in the months leading up to today’s announcement of the Galaxy Note 8. Undeterred by the battery catastrophe that led to a complete recall and effective cancellation of the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung just unveiled its successor today.
The Galaxy Note 8 is here, and Samsung is hopeful that consumers who appreciate the Note’s features and its signature stylus will be willing to give the brand another chance after months of hearing warnings aboard airplanes and other public transit about the dangers and potential for destruction posed by the recalled smartphone. The name hasn’t changed. It is a Galaxy Note through and through, and it’s definitely the nicest one Samsung has ever made. Preorders begin tomorrow on all the major US carriers, and an unlocked model will be available at launch for the first time. The Note 8 will be released in stores on September 15th.
Samsung’s comeback strategy hasn’t been as flippant as simply moving on and making another phone. In the aftermath of fires, customer injuries, and an avalanche of bad PR, the company has established a multi-point battery safety check, which is being used for the Note 8 just as it was for the Galaxy S8 released earlier this year. So far, the biggest complaints about the S8 have been about Bixby and some displays having a red tint. Batteries haven’t burst into flames or exploded, so the S8 can be considered a successful first half of a rebound. But to truly press on, Samsung needs the Note 8 launch to come and go smoothly — even if it doesn’t break sales records for the line.
The Note itself has seen more worthwhile upgrades, though they’re all very predictable. It’s got a Snapdragon 835 processor, 64GB of storage (with microSD support), and 6GB of RAM. The battery is 3300mAh, so clearly Samsung is playing it safe for at least the Note 7’s direct successor. That bump in RAM — the S8 and S8 Plus have 4GB — and a barely-bigger screen are the main hardware differences between the Note 8 and Galaxy S8 when you’re looking at it from the front. It’s incredibly difficult to spot the display size difference with the two phones side by side, but there’s another big differentiator around back: a dual-lens camera.
Samsung has equipped the Note 8 with two 12-megapixel cameras. The regular/wide-angle lens has an aperture of f/1.6, and the telephoto lens is f/2.4. But in what Samsung claims to be an industry first, both sensors offer optical image stabilization. That should allow the Note to utilize its telephoto camera more often instead of defaulting to the regular camera in low-light conditions, which is what the iPhone often does.
With a dual-camera comes the plethora of new software modes you’d expect. Samsung has its own take on the portrait mode, which blurs the background behind your subject to mimic bokeh. You’re able to dial the effect up and down to your liking instead of being stuck with just on / off modes, which is nice. You also have the option of adding (or removing) it after a shot has already been taken. And a “Dual Capture” mode stitches together photos from both cameras and saves them individually, too. Unfortunately, the Note 8 retains the same awkward position for the fingerprint scanner as the Galaxy S8. It’s a little easier to feel and distinguish from the camera lens, but it’s still a stretch.
Source: The Verge