First appeared on Techcrunch
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8
is nearly here, with general availability set for September 15 and pre-orders on now. The smartphone was revealed with much fanfare during an event in NYC on Thursday, and Samsung drew particular attention to its new optically stabilized dual-camera system and improved S Pen stylus as the features that set it apart from the similar Galaxy S8 and S8+.
The Note 8’s big difference, however, based on what little time I got to spend with it so far at a hands-on event, is that it’s a truly manageable big-screen smartphone. The Note line basically created the ‘phablet’ category, and though the term itself has largely fallen out of use over the years (a lot of flagship phones now classify as phablets in terms of screen size), the Note 8 seems like the first time real balance has been achieved between offering a massive display combined with a comfortably handheld device.
I was already a pretty big fan of the Samsung Galaxy S8+ and what the company was able to do with striking a balance between usability and a large display there, but the Note 8 feels like an even better balancing act in this regard. It has a 6.3-inch display, which is quite a bit larger than the 5.7-inch one on the Galaxy Note 5 (remember Samsung skipped ‘6’ and the 7… well the 7 didn’t work out
). It also manages to shave 0.4 inches off the height of the device, as well as 0.04 inches off the depth (with the same width) and though it doesn’t sound like much, it makes a big difference when the phone’s in your hand, combined with the ounce or so of weight savings.
Samsung’s Note 8 also comes with more pragmatic rectangular lines, vs. the pebble-like curves of the S8 line. It’s mostly an aesthetic difference, but it’s also something that makes the display on the Note 8 really pop. It genuinely feels like you’re holding a screen in your hand, with the thin top and bottom bezels virtually fading away during most tasks, including watching video and browsing the web. Speaking of browsing the web, this is likely going to be my favorite device for reading huge chunks of text, since that long column screen means lots of room for words, which is the only thing I love obviously as an internet blogger.