You might not think it from the stories at the start of the year, but 2017 has been a good year for Samsung. The launch of the Galaxy S8 turned out to be Samsung Australia’s most successful product launch ever, and the return of the Galaxy Note to store shelves has seen a huge surge of pre-orders. There’s a lot of love for Samsung’s flagship products out there, and the company understandably is going to great lengths to ensure that the Galaxy Note 8 gets a chance to shine.
This morning saw the official local launch of the Galaxy Note 8 (despite some already-shipped orders, which Samsung says happened with their blessing), which you’ll be able to walk into stores and purchase for yourself on September 22 in black and gold, for a cool $1499. If you’re on the fence about that pre-order, maybe a free wireless fast-charger will tip you over the edge (RRP $119).
We’ve covered the Note 8 launch in detail before, but some of the features and specs of the phone are worth repeating. The phone features a 6.3-inch display at Samsung’s new standard 18:9 ratio. It’s Samsung’s normal gorgeous Super AMOLED display technology running at QHD+ resolution (2960×1440), so like the Galaxy S8 the phone is a little narrower than you’d expect for the screen size.
Samsung’s making a big deal of their first dual camera setup on the rear of the phone, with both dual 12MP sensors behind wide-angle and standard lenses and data from both sensors able to be combined and manipulated in realtime (for example, blurring the background of a portrait photo) — and in post-processing (which is a pretty neat trick).
The Note isn’t a Note without an S Pen, and this one allows you to interact with your phone like using a pen. The software interface for the S Pen is now quite mature, and with the horsepower afforded by modern smartphone hardware the Air Command overlay offers some useful options and features in an unobtrusive interface. One of the Samsung staff doing the demo this morning told us how much she’d missed using the S Pen, and it has been a while since you were able to do so on a mobile device, so this is sure to be a welcome return for many Note users.
Behind the screen is an Exynos 8895 processor with 4x 2.35 and 4x 1.7 Ghz cores, 6GB of RAM and a 3,300mAh battery. It’s waterproof and dustproof with an IP68 rating, supports wireless charging standards and uses USB-C. We heard that Samsung would offer the device with 64/128/256GB storage, but the version up for pre-order on Samsung’s website is only 64GB. That’s pretty normal for Australian releases these days, and you can add up to 256GB storage via Micro SD.
New today was the announcement that the Note 8 has Telstra’s “Blue Tick” and Optus’ Regional certification, meaning the device is recommended for use in regional areas where network coverage might affect your service. We’re talking about the ability of the phone to grab and hold a connection in these areas, and we keep hearing from readers who don’t live in the urban jungle of our capital cities that those certifications are pretty important for them.
We also got s demo of Samsung’s Dex desktop interface, introduced earlier this year on the Galaxy S8. I hadn’t actually seen Dex run in person before, and I came away pretty impressed. When you place the Note 8 into its Dex dock, a desktop interface appears on the connected monitor. The phone requires that you “log in” with your standard security (fingerprint, face recognition or iris scan) and runs Android apps in windows that you can move around the screen. During our demo we saw the Android versions of Microsoft Word and Excel, and when serious time was over the Samsung rep running the demo picked up a game controller and set about playing a racing game in full screen on his desktop.
Samsung’s also bringing a new suite of wearables – the products recently announced at IFA to Australia now, and later in the year.
The Gear Fit 2 Pro is already available, having hit shelves around the country last Friday. It’s an upgrade from the company’s Gear Fit 2, with a 1.5-inch curved Super AMOLED display and a choice of Small or Large wrist bands. The Gear Fit 2 Pro is on sale now for $329.
The Gear Sport, the more traditional watch style that’s similar to previous Gear S watches but with a sport focus, will be coming to Australia on November 1 for $499.
Finally, the company’s updated Icon X wireless earbuds will also go on sale on November 1 for $299. The Icon X earbuds have built-in memory for bluetooth playback and include Bixby support.
Will you be picking up a Galaxy Note 8 on pre-order, or at launch? How about one of the new wearable devices? Tell us in the comments!