Hands-On With The Samsung Galaxy Note 8

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Earlier today Samsung introduced its latest major flagship device, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Following the main event, we were able to take a closer look at the device to see what has changed. Which is actually quite a lot compared to the previous Galaxy Note device, although not quite as much when compared to the Galaxy S8.

The reason for this, is the design of the Galaxy Note 8 has been changed to match the design of the Galaxy S8. Essentially, creating a device that is a Galaxy S8, but with an S-Pen. This is somewhat different to previous models as the Galaxy Note line has always had a bit more of a Note-look about it, compared to the Galaxy line. While this has now changed, in keeping with the Note line in general, the Galaxy Note 8 is larger than its S8 counterpart, and even larger than the Galaxy S8 Plus, albeit only just. As the Galaxy Note 8 features a 6.3-inch display in contrast to the 6.2-inch display on offer with the Galaxy S8 Plus. Likewise, due to the Galaxy Note 8 now employing the same 'Infinity Display,' the Note 8 not only looks a lot like, but also feels a lot like the Galaxy S8 Plus, although not quite as smooth.

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One of the clear differentiators between the two models however, is the Galaxy Note 8's S Pen stylus. Due to the frame of the Galaxy Note 8 being thinner than previous models, this has resulted in the S Pen also now having been redesigned to equally be thinner. As with the Galaxy Note 7, the S Pen on this model slots into the device from the bottom and once again comes with a push release system where once the pen is pressed in, the S Pen immediately pops out. Samsung is claiming various under the hood improvements with the S Pen, although from the visual perspective, besides being thinner, it does feel much the same as the previous S Pen version.

The back of the device is where the Galaxy Note 8 really starts to differentiate itself though, and not only from previous Note devices, but also from the Galaxy S line. As here, and for the first time on a Samsung flagship device, you will find a dual camera configuration consisting of two 12-megapixel cameras. Which besides looks, has had a knock-on effect with other rear-positioned aspects. For instance, while the fingerprint sensor is positioned on the back of the device (like the Galaxy S8), and once again is in line with the camera module, there should be no issues this time with people accidentally pressing the camera module instead of the fingerprint reader. The first reason for this is the sheer size of the module compared to the Galaxy S8's module. It is much wider now, and significantly so compared to the fingerprint reader. So without looking at the back, it is obvious by feel which is which. Furthermore, it seems Samsung has now moved the flash to the other side of the camera module (compared to the Galaxy S8) and this results in the flash now acting as an additional buffer between the fingerprint reader and the camera module. So while there are clear improvements here to the design of the rear panel, those who were not keen on the positioning of the Galaxy S8 fingerprint sensor, are likely to also dislike this placement. While it is now easier to find by touch, it still is very high up on the back of the device and likely in an awkward position for some users.

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In some respects, this is a completely new device from Samsung and one which breaks away from the previous Galaxy Note mold, as well as the Galaxy S mold. However, in other respects, the Galaxy Note 8 does look and feel a lot like the Galaxy S8 Plus. Especially when viewed and held from the front. Which is unlikely to be a bad thing as the design of the Galaxy S8 and Plus has been generally well-received by consumers. If anything, the Galaxy Note 8 takes all that was good about the design of the Galaxy S8, fixes some aspects that were less good, and throws in a stylus and dual rear cameras for good measure. Those interested in taking a closer look at the Galaxy Note 8, should check out our hands-on gallery below. While those who are interested in winning a Galaxy Note 8 for free – enter the contest.