Samsung Galaxy Note 8 boasts a 6.3-inch display, and a smaller, safer battery

Super Slow Motion and AR Emojis come to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8

After the disaster that was the Galaxy Note 7, a phone that was recalled due to its tendency to catch fire and explode, there was speculation Samsung would end the tarnished Note brand. That speculation was then killed with the announcement of the next Note-branded smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.

The phone represented the latest and greatest in Samsung’s arsenal and could prove to be one of its best-sellers — provided we don’t run into any issues with the phone’s battery. Check out our Galaxy Note 8 hands-on review to learn more.

A dual-camera setup

samsung galaxy note 8 review hands on
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Note 8 is was the first Samsung smartphone to feature a dual-camera setup, and now that setup has gotten a few new features thanks to an update. The update actually brings a few great features from the newer Samsung Galaxy Note 9, including Super Slow Motion, which allows for the recording of video at 960 frames per second for 0.2 seconds, and AR Emojis, Samsung’s answer to Apple’s Animoji. The update is currently rolling out to France and will likely come to other users, according to XDA-Developers.

Both lenses pack 12-megapixels each, and they support a new mode called Live Focus. This is like the iPhone 7 Plus’ Portrait Mode, which lets you use a blur-effect, or bokeh, around a primary subject. Live Focus is a little different because you can change how much blur you want in your shot before and after you take a picture.

There’s also Dual Capture mode, which takes a photo with both lenses at the same time, so you get to choose between a wide and a zoomed-in photo. What makes Samsung’s dual-camera setup unique is how both lenses have optical image stabilization, meaning your shots won’t be blurry if you zoom in even more than the 2x optical zoom.

The front-facing camera on the phone sits in at 8-megapixel with an aperture of f/1.7.

Infinity Display

samsung galaxy note 8 review hands on
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The display on the phone is one of the main reasons to get it, and it’s pretty beautiful. It sits at a massive 6.3-inches, with a spectacular resolution of 2,960 x 1,440. The Infinity Display stretches the screen to the edges of the phone, meaning you get more screen real estate in a similar frame as a traditional 5.5-inch phone.

On the back, you’ll find the camera, which is one of the distinctive qualities of the Note 8 against the Galaxy S8. Otherwise, the Note 8’s layout is fairly similar to the Galaxy S8 Plus. There’s the fingerprint sensor in the same awkward placement next to the camera; the power button is on the right edge, and the volume rocker is on the left above the dedicated Bixby button. The headphone jack sits on the bottom of the phone, next to a USB Type-C charging port and speaker grill.

Flagship specifications for 2017

galaxy note 8 vs. galaxy s8 plus
Julian Chokkatu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkatu/Digital Trends

The first thing you’ll notice about the phone is that it features Qualcomm’s 2017 flagship chip, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. That’s the chip that was found in most 2017 flagships, and while a new one has been released since, the 835 is still a top performer. That’s especially true given the fact that it’s coupled with a hefty 6GB of RAM, which should help make the Note 8 with multitasking.

The phone comes with 64GB of internal storage, though there are larger options available internationally. Thankfully, there’s a MicroSD card slot, so you can add storage as you see fit. The Note 8 is equipped with a pretty huge range of sensors too, including the standard accelerometer, barometer, gyro, and fingerprint sensor. You’ll also get the iris scanner found on the Galaxy S8, and a heart rate sensor. It’s IP68 water-resistant, so it’ll survive submerged underwater for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1.5 meters.

There’s also the S Pen, a standout feature of the Note series. It’s tucked away on the bottom edge of the phone, and it carries many of the same features as the S Pen on the ill-fated Note 7. You can make notes right as you take it out, on the screen’s always-on display. You can edit and add more notes, and even pin them to the always-on display so you don’t forget about them. The S Pen has more pressure sensitivity, meaning it knows when you want to make a line bold or thin, and there’s a new feature called Live Messages that lets you sketch an animated message and send it to friends as a GIF.

As was the case with the Galaxy S8, the Galaxy Note 8 is compatible with Samsung’s DeX Station desktop experience, so if you’re looking for a phone that can work like a computer too, this might be the device for you. In case you ever need tech support, Samsung has selected HelloTech to be the provider of in-home tech support and training for using the phone.

How can you get your hands on the phone? The Galaxy Note 9 has quashed some availability of the device, but it is still available through the Samsung website, and it may be available from some carriers too.

Updated on September 14: The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 receives Super Slow Motion and AR Emojis. 

Product Review

With the S10e and S10 Plus, do we really need the Samsung Galaxy S10?

The Galaxy S10 is the middle child in this year’s Galaxy S10 range, between the Galaxy S10e, and the Galaxy S10 Plus. There’s no striking reason to buy it, but it’s still an excellent phone you’ll be happy with.
Mobile

Protect your titan with the best Samsung Galaxy Note 9 screen protectors

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is one of 2018's best phones. But what if you break the screen? Thankfully, we've got all the best Samsung Galaxy Note 9 screen protectors designed to keep that 6.4-inch screen safe.
Mobile

Check out our favorite Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus accessories

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are two of the most talked about smartphones of 2018. If you've managed to get your hands on one, you're no doubt looking to score some new accessories. Here are a few of our favorites.
Mobile

Samsung commits to improving the Galaxy S10’s ultrasonic fingerprint sensor

The Galaxy S10 has a new ultrasonic fingerprint sensor under the screen, and while it's better than other examples, people have experienced problems. Samsung has committed to making further accuracy improvements over time.
Deals

Get your hands (and ears) on Apple’s new AirPods — here’s where to find them

Apple's new AirPods with wireless charging are the latest version of the much-loved wireless earbuds. Unfortunately, they aren't widely available yet. Here's where you can find them right now, and where they will show up soon.
Mobile

You can now use the innovative Red Hydrogen One on Google Fi

The Red Hydrogen One was first announced in 2017 and has been delayed a few times since then. Now, the Red Hydrogen One is finally available, featuring a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.
Product Review

There’s almost nothing bad to say about the Mi Mix 3, but you still shouldn’t buy it

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is good-looking, really well made, packed with features, and is a powerful, modern, desirable smartphone. But you probably shouldn’t buy it. Why? Nothing wrong with the device itself, but Xiaomi itself is mostly to…
Mobile

Apple’s AirPower wireless charging mat may be coming soon

At its September event in 2017, Apple unveiled the AirPower, a new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.
Deals

The best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods might be new and improved, but they aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, with attractive features. These are the best AirPod alternatives on the market today.
Deals

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.
Mobile

The latest Google Doodle lets you create Bach-like music of your own

Google is celebrating the life of German composer Johann Sebastian Bach, and to that end the company has released a new Google Doodle that allows you to create Bach-like melodies and harmonies of your own.
Mobile

Amazon’s new Kindle has an adjustable light and costs less than $100

Amazon has taken the wraps off of a new Kindle model, which boasts a number of great features and comes at a very affordable price. Perhaps the best thing about the new Kindle is that the device has an adjustable.
Mobile

Apple iPad Air vs. iPad (2018): Which Apple tablet is right for you?

The new iPad Air replaces the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, but it doesn't pack quite the same punch. It is a fair bit cheaper, starting at $500, but it's a lot more expensive than Apple's 9.7-inch iPad which starts at $330. If you're shopping for…
Social Media

Facebook Messenger adds quoted replies to better organize group chats

Facebook is rolling out a feature that should help make group chats a whole lot more organized. The feature allows you to reply to specific messages within a group chat, so others will be able to tell what you're replying to.