Explosions aside, the consensus about a year ago was that Samsung had come up with something that would trouble Apple’s incoming iPhone. And here we are a year later, one day before the unveil of the iPhone 8 and global shipments of the Galaxy Note 8, we are still having this conversation. The Note 8 which was announced a couple of weeks ago is probably going to be one of the biggest rivals of the iPhone 8, however, what it is dealing with isn’t competition but its own demons as its predecessor embarrassed a conglomerate of Samsung’s stature by being plagued by a crippling manufacturing defect that made sure that the South Korean company had to cancel the phone. I had the privilege of trying out the phone at the recently concluded IFA trade show. The big takeaway for me was that Samsung has worked to death to refine the bezel-less concept it started work with on the Galaxy S8 and now it has reached a point where it has almost perfected it.

Looks good, but feels less like a Note, more like a S8

1/6Looks good, but feels less like a Note, more like a S8
Looks good, but feels less like a Note, more like a S8
Samsung has worked overtime to refine the bezel-less concept. The 6.3-inch infinity display on the phone means that it actually looks a lot like the S8. But that is more because Samsung actually has been making the S8 in two sizes than the Galaxy Note 8 borrowing something from its younger sibling. Compared to the S8, the Note 8 has a more rectangular design, but even by Note standards the screen feels narrower, but also could be due to the 18:9 aspect ratio of the phone. With its metal frame in place and glass back, this phone feels very well built, though a tad slippery. The only big snafu on the phone is the positioning of the fingerprint scanner on the back.

Best smartphone display?

2/6Best smartphone display?
Best smartphone display?
The Note 8 is a shining example of Samsung’s strengths coming together. With its 6.3-inch OLED screen, the Note 8 doesn’t only boast a quad HD HDR ready screen. It possibly has the best smartphone screen of all time, which is unlikely to be trumped by even the incoming iPhone 8. It is also possibly better than the one on the S8, which itself is a bit of a miracle.

Samsung’s first dual camera phone could be its best camera

3/6Samsung’s first dual camera phone could be its best camera
Samsung’s first dual camera phone could be its best camera
With its twin 12-megapixel cameras on the back which both boast optically stabilised lens systems and a f/1.7 aperture, this phone has a great camera. The Galaxy S8 already had a great camera, this ups the ante. It gets an iPhone like bokeh mode but it also allows the user to control the level of the blur manually. The end result is a phone which can take great photos, the best out of Samsung’s stable, possibly it will be good enough to take on the Pixel or Huawei P10, but the bigger deal would be if it’s better than the incoming iPhones.

A much better S-Pen

4/6A much better S-Pen
A much better S-Pen
The S-pen can now detect upto 4000 different pressure points which provides a superb penning experience. Samsung has seemingly outdone itself in this regard. The S-Pen is hallmark feature of the Note 8 and those who swear by it will certainly enjoy this phone.

Samsung’s best hardware and software package

5/6Samsung’s best hardware and software package
Samsung’s best hardware and software package
Running an attractive Android skin based on Nougat and the power-packed package of Qualcomm’s most powerful processor and 6GB RAM, this phone showed no signs of perceptible lag in performance for the 30 odd minutes I tried the phone. In India, the processor will likely change to an Samsung made Exynos, however, there’s no doubt that this phone offers the best combination of hardware and software a Samsung ever has. In addition, the phone has 64GB of storage, a microSD card slot, a fingerprint scanner, iris scanning and fast LTE.

Bright future in India

6/6Bright future in India
Bright future in India
On paper, it looks damn good, tomorrow we will also know how good it will be in India and we will have a better handle on things knowing the pricing and availability of the phone. The bigger deal would perhaps be what Apple does as it will dictate the level of competitiveness the Note 8 has in India or anywhere else in the world. If there’s a good news for Samsung, then it has to be the 2.5 lakh plus pre registrations for the device in India which to me is an indicator that people love the Note and they will line up to buy em’.