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The bigger and mightier Galaxy Note 8 is finally launched in the Indian market. The phablet has been unveiled at a hefty price tag of Rs. 67,900 and will be available in India starting Sep 21, 2017 in Midnight Black and Maple Gold colours. The phablet will be available for pre-booking from Sept 12, 2017 across selected retail stores and will also sell online exclusively on Samsung Shop and Amazon.in.
The Korean tech giant is also offering a number of offers on the purchase of Galaxy Note 8. Consumers can avail an introductory offer comprising a one-time screen replacement and a free convertible wireless Charger. To further sweeten the deal, the company also announced 'Samsung Upgrade' program where consumers can trade in their old device for the Galaxy Note 8.
Moreover, Galaxy Note 8 users will get a 'Double Data' offer on Jio, under which they can get up to 448 GB of extra 4G data over 8 months, as well as complimentary Jio Prime Membership.
Last but not the least, consumers who purchase Galaxy Note 8 using an HDFC Credit Card will get a cashback of Rs. 4,000.
With so many bundled offers on plate, the phablet does seem like a good deal, but the question is, how good is the new Galaxy Note 8 phablet? We try to find this out with our first impressions of Galaxy Note 8.
Design: Gigantic but still manageable
This year's Galaxy Note has literally dwarfed all previous Note phablets. It's the biggest Note phablet ever came out from Samsung's factory and weighs 195 grams. While it's best suited for two-hand use, you can still use it with one hand for basic tasks such as dialing a number, clicking pictures or scrolling your Facebook and Instagram timeline. It can also slip inside your jeans pocket.
One small but significant improvement is the slight change in the placement of fingerprint scanner. While it's still positioned at the rear panel adjacent to camera module, Samsung has moved it a bit farther from the camera lenses by placing the LED flashlight in the middle of the two. This will ease up the process of unlocking the handset without troubling the lens of the camera system. However, you can still block the LED flash light and the sensor while unlocking the device.
The phablet and the stylus are IP68 certified which makes them water-dust resistant by up to 1.5 meters of fresh water for up to 30 minutes. Overall, Galaxy Note 8 is premium and durable but is best suited for two-hand usage.
Display: Massive 6.3-inch Quad HD AMOLED screen
The Galaxy Note 8 sports a 6.3-inch Quad HD+ AMOLED Infinity Display that churns out a resolution 1440x2960. The screen is taller, boasting the same 18.5:9 aspect ratio that we have seen on Galaxy S8 and S8+; however the curves on either sides of the screen are little bit less than what they are on Galaxy S8 devices. This makes the screen look more flat and workable to use S pen while creating notes or anything that S Pen is capable of.
Needless to say, the edge-to-edge screen is gorgeous and will spellbound with its vivid colors, sharpness and good reflecting angles making it just perfect to stream movies, play games or simply to stare until the battery dies.
Camera: Samsung goes dual-lens with Note 8
With Galaxy Note 8, Samsung is also stepping into the world of dual-lens camera smartphones. The company claims that Galaxy Note 8 has the best-ever true Dual-lens camera on a smartphone in the market as it comes with dual Optical Image Stabilization (OIS).
Galaxy Note 8 sports two 12MP sensors at back. One is a telephoto lens and the other is a wide-angle lens. The telephoto lens has 2x optical zoom and both cameras have optical image stabilization (OIS) to prevent blurry pictures when camera shakes.
Besides, you also get Bokeh effect which Samsung calls it Live Focus. The camera app and hardware also allows you to adjust the level of background blur during and after taking an image, giving more control to you.
The camera worked quite well in our brief usage. The pictures showed good amount of detailing and the Live Focus mode also works very well. You also get various modes and filters that were previously seen in Galaxy S8 series. We will explore Galaxy Note 8 camera's full potential in the coming week.
S Pen: Smarter than ever
S Pen has always been the talking point of Galaxy Note series and this time, Samsung has further improved the S Pen by adding a couple of new features. The new S Pen is said to have improved pressure sensitivity and even works when the phone's display is off. The phablet comes with ‘Screen off memo' that makes it possible to take up to one-hundred pages of notes, without even unlocking the phone.
The S Pen also supports ‘Live Messages' that allows you to share animated texts or drawings across platforms that support GIFs. Moreover, S Pen can also work acts as a personal translator and convertor where you just need to hover over text to quickly translate or convert units and foreign currencies. The phablet offers the translation output in up to 71 languages.
I tried the Screen off memo feature and it did work quite well with phablet's screen turned off. The S Pen is also water and dust resistant so you don't need to worry about its durability.
Software: Android 7.1.1 Nougat with several tweaks from Samsung
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 runs on Samsung's TouchWiz UI deployed on Android 7.1 Nougat. The software has been tweaked to take full advantage of big screen and S Pen for improved multitasking. One such nifty software tweak is Apps Pairing.
While Android Nougat allows you to place two apps simultaneously on single screen, Samsung has made it possible to create combos where you can pair two apps to open together with just one tap. These app packages will show in Edge Panel.
Besides, you also get Samsung Bixby virtual assistant that has now been optimized to understand English in Indian accents. Samsung also mentioned that Bixby Voice capability will be introduced in India in the next few weeks on Galaxy Note8 and Galaxy S8 & S8+ devices.
Hardware: Top of the line hardware
A flagship phone needs flagship hardware and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has got almost all of it. The phablet is backed by the octa-core Exynos 8895 chipset paired with 6GB of RAM and 64GB internal storage. There's no dedicated microSD card but the hybrid one that can be used to expand the storage by up to 256GB.
As far as security is concerned, Galaxy Note 8 has a fingerprint scanner, iris and face recognition, pin, pattern and password. The smartphone is also backed by Samsung Knox that promises to provide defense-grade security at the hardware and software layers.
Battery and Connectivity: Samsung is extra careful this time with the battery on Note 8
Samsung is very cautious this time with the battery department of the new Note phablet. The company mentioned that the engineering team has conducted 8-step test procedure to make sure something like Note 7 did not repeat with the new phablet.
The new Note 8 phablet is backed by a 3,300mAh battery unit that also supports wireless charging. We will test the battery's performance thoroughly in our detailed review of the handset.
As far as connectivity is concerned, the phablet comes with hybrid SIM card slot, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v 5.0 (LE up to 2Mbps), ANT+, USB Type-C, NFC, and GPS.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has a lot on its shoulders and its success or failure will define the company's future in the global market. While the price-point is certainly steep, the overall package is loaded with new technology and latest features which no other mobile device can offer for now in the market. We will review the handset in the coming week to find out the true potential of Samsung's most advanced phablet. Stay tuned on GIZBOT for more on Galaxy Note 8.