Samsung Galaxy Note 8: what we want to see

1. Don't explode

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will go down in smartphone history for all the wrong reasons, which is a shame, because when it wasn’t causing property damage and injuries it was a very good phone.

Fortunately, it looks as though the brand might live on, with rumors of a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 already beginning to emerge.

Other than its possible existence almost nothing is known about it so far, but we’re sure to start hearing more soon, and when we do you’ll be the first to know (as long as you regularly check this article).

In the meantime, you’ll find all our hopes and dreams for the phone below, along with a healthy dose of educated guesses at what form it might take.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Samsung's next flagship phablet
  • When is it out? Probably late 2017
  • What will it cost? A lot, the Note 7 cost $850/£749/AU$1,349 

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 release date

Samsung tends to stick to a rough schedule with its flagship phones, and that schedule suggests that the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will arrive a few months before the end of 2017, but at this point we can’t get any more specific than that.

The Galaxy Note 7 launched in September, but the Note 5 arrived in August, and the Note 4 landed in October.

Then again, Samsung might break with its usual release date schedule, given that it had to kill the Note 7. It could make sense for the company to push the Note 8’s release forward, to avoid going two full years without a new phablet flagship on the market.

And this all assumes the phone exists at all, as there was some suggestion that Samsung might kill at least the name given the bad press now associated with it, but two things suggest it’s in the works.

First, there’s the presence of a Note 8 listing on Samsung’s ‘Galaxy Upgrade Program’ page, and second, there’s a claim by reliable leaker Evan Blass that a phone with the model number SM-N950 is in the works – that’s the number we’d expect the Galaxy Note 8 to have.

TechRadar’s take: Although an early release is possible, there’s been no suggestion yet that there will be one, so for now we wouldn’t expect to see the Note 8 before August 2017.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 screen

Hottest leaks:

  • A foldable screen
  • No home button

As a phablet, we know that the Galaxy Note 8 will have a big screen. From the Note 3 onwards they’ve all had 5.7-inch screens, so it seems Samsung has settled on that being the optimal size.

As such, that’s our best guess for the Note 8’s size, but it’s possible that it could get bigger, especially as it’s rumored that even the Samsung Galaxy S8 could grow to 6.2 inches.

And the physical dimensions wouldn’t necessarily need to change to accommodate that growth, as it’s also rumored that the Galaxy S8 could ditch the home button and be almost all screen on the front – potentially with the fingerprint scanner built into the display.

Another, albeit less likely possibility, is that the Galaxy Note 8 could have a foldable screen. Samsung has been working on this tech for years, and it’s rumored that the company will launch two foldable phones in 2017.

We’d take that rumor with a huge pinch of salt, and even if it does pan out the company might not want to risk folds on a mainstream handset - we have been hearing word of a new phone called the Samsung Galaxy X. But it could test the waters with a foldable Note 8 variant, much like it tested curved screens with the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge.

As well as the size and form, the resolution of the screen could also change. The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – and various other recent Samsung flagships – have QHD screens, which are plenty for most uses, but don’t quite cut it for VR, which Samsung is pushing with Gear VR.

In order to give that a boost, and to add a bullet point to the box, it’s possible that the Note 8 will get a 4K screen.

TechRadar’s take: Don’t count on folds, but less bezel and even the removal of the home button are distinct possibilities. If so the screen could grow, otherwise we’d expect a 5.7-inch screen again, but a 4K resolution isn’t out of the question.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 design

Nothing is yet known about the design of the Note 8, or even the Galaxy S8, which is arriving sooner and could sport a similar design.

For now, our best guess is that it won’t stray too far from the metal and glass sandwich that’s proved so popular for the company, but refinements are sure to be made.

TechRadar’s take: A similar look, but perhaps slightly slimmer, or with less bezel.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 camera and battery

Hottest leaks:

  • A dual-lens camera

As with so many things, we can look at the Galaxy S8 for clues at what to expect from the Note 8’s camera. Currently there are various rumors attached to the S8, ranging from a dual-lens 12MP and 13MP pairing all the way to a 30MP single-lens camera.

But, given the current trend for dual-lens cameras, and the fact that there seems to be an unspoken agreement among phone manufacturers that more pixels does not equal better, a dual-lens camera is our best guess right now. The dual-lens rumor has also popped up more times than any other, albeit in reference to the Galaxy S8.

We’d also imagine that whatever camera it gets will have optical image stabilization, given that the Note 7 does.

The battery is likely to be big, and support fast charging. The juice pack in the Note 7 is 3500mAh and we’d expect at least that much from the Galaxy Note 8.

TechRadar’s take: A dual-lens camera and a big, long-lasting battery are both likely inclusions.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 OS and power

Hottest leaks:

  • A powerful 3GHz+ octa-core processor
  • Android Nougat or Android O

Samsung tends to either use its own Exynos chips, or Snapdragon chips, or a combination of the two, with different regions getting different processors.

But in the Note range it always uses one of the best available chips, which by the Note 8 is likely to mean at least the Snapdragon 830, which is rumored to be a 3.2GHz octa-core processor, or the Exynos 8895, which is supposedly a 3GHz octa-core chip.

But the Note 8 may have something even faster. It’s also sure to have a lot of RAM – 4GB is the absolute minimum, since that would be a match for current flagships, but 6GB or even 8GB isn’t out of the question.

The operating system will of course be Android, either Nougat or Android O, and it’s sure to be overlaid with the latest version of Samsung’s TouchWiz interface.

TechRadar’s take: The fastest mobile chip around and 6GB of RAM are our best guesses, but whatever the Note 8 uses it’s sure to be a real powerhouse.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 other features

Hottest leaks:

  • A stylus with a speaker
  • An iris scanner
  • An AI assistant

The S Pen is one of the standout features of the Note range, and it’s sure to return for the next model, but it’s likely to get better, and a patent points to a stylus with a built-in speaker.

What the speaker would do isn’t clear, but it could potentially read notes back to you, or work in combination with the phone’s speakers for louder audio.

An iris scanner is a likely Note 8 inclusion, given that the Note 7 had one, though the fingerprint scanner is sure to return too. The phone is also likely to be dust and water resistant, have a microSD card slot and charge via USB Type-C, given that its predecessor did.

An AI assistant, built by some of Siri’s creators, and likely to be called Bixby, is also an obvious addition, since Samsung has already confirmed it for the Galaxy S8.

Other possible features include a mini projector – which has been rumored for the S8.

TechRadar’s take: The S Pen will likely improve, but we’re not sold on the speaker idea. Most of the Note 7’s features will also probably return – including the iris scanner.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 price

All we have to go on for now is the price that the Galaxy Note 7 launched at, but it’s likely that the Note 8 will have a similar price tag. In which case, you can expect to pay around $850/£749/AU$1,349 for it.

TechRadar’s take: The Galaxy Note 8 is sure to be expensive, but probably won’t be much if any more than the Note 7.