Galaxy Note 8 review: Samsung throws down the gauntlet to Apple in style

Galaxy Note 8 review: Samsung throws down the gauntlet to Apple in style

An explosive return to form? Back with a bang? A blisteringly good phone? 12 months after the doomed launch of the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7, Samsung is still the butt of plenty of jokes.

Last year, after the company was forced to recall millions of hazardous Note 7s, many people thought the Note brand was finished. But Samsung has bounced back recently (and put a lot of work into making its batteries safe).

First it released the excellent Galaxy S8 and has not skipped a beat in bringing out the Galaxy Note 8, the S8’s bigger, squarer and stylus-packing cousin.

With Apple’s iPhone 8 just around the corner, Samsung has to impress with this one. So thankfully for them, the Note 8 doesn’t disappoint.

What’s new

In truth, the Note 8 has little that is revolutionary. It looks like a cross between last year’s Note 7, with its boxy glass design, and the Galaxy S8’s edge-to-edge infinity screen design, which dominates the front of the phone and leaves no room for a physical home button or Samsung logo.

Instead there’s a touch-sensitive virtual home button and the fingerprint scanner sits at the back of the phone, to the left of the camera. This is a slightly irritating placement (especially for the left-handed) but the Note boasts alternatives in the form of facial recognition and iris scanning.

It has a dedicated button for Bixby, Samsung’s virtual assistant, below the volume buttons on the left hand side, and mod-cons like wireless charging, water resistance and fast charging that are now standard on high-end Samsung phones.

iPhone 8: Release date, price, news and everything you need to know

iPhone 8: Release date, price, news and everything you need to know

Apple is preparing for the launch of the iPhone 8 in September. The upcoming smartphone is anticipated to be a radical change for the company, which will seek to wow users for the 10th anniversary of the device.

The iPhone 8 has been rumoured to include wireless charging, facial recognition, an edge-to-edge display and – for the first time – no home button. Apple is expected to release it alongside two other phones, the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, which will be upgrades on its current offering. 

When will it be released?

Tim Cook is expected to unveil the iPhone 8 at an event in California on September 12. In August the company sent invitations out to journalists inviting them to an event at its new Apple Park headquarters at 10am Eastern Time (6pm UK time).

Tradition dictates the devices will go on sale a week after their announcement, making it likely the iPhone 8 will hit stores on Friday September 22.

Apple has dismissed rumours that production delays could affect the release of the phone, predicting strong sales in the coming months – above expectations and presumably driven by an iPhone launch.

There could be a limited supply of the iPhone 8 for the first few months of sales. 

What will Apple unveil in September?

Apple is planning to break with tradition and release three phones in September: the iPhone 8, iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus.

The company normally releases a new design one year and follows with a slight upgrade the year after. Following this logic, the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus are anticipated to feature minor upgrades to the iPhone 7, such as a faster chip and longer battery life.

The iPhone 8, as it will probably called, will feature a radical redesign in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone. It could give the device a new name in honour of the splash,

The company is also expected to unveil a third generation of the Apple Watch and a 4K Apple TV.

How much will it cost?

The iPhone 8 will probably be Apple’s most expensive handset year, with estimates suggesting it could cost $1,000 in the US and £800 in the UK.

An executive at Apple manufacturer Foxconn has suggested the device will “not be cheap”.

What colours will it come in?

Analysts and leaks suggest the iPhone 8 will come in at least three colours: white, black and copper or gold. The white and black colours are fairly standard, but a third colour is thought to be coming in either a copper or a champagne gold hue.

Reports from iPhone leaker Benjamin Geskin have also indicated the iPhone 8 will come in what is being called “Blush Gold”, while it is rumoured to only come in three colours, dropping the pinkish “rose gold” that had come on previous models.