What does the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 need to be?

Samsung has released the Galaxy S8 and S8+ into the world and it is a gorgeous, if slightly delicate phone. But with the flagship to rule them all out and about now, we can turn our attention to the next big thing from Samsung – the Galaxy Note 8. Given the absolute failure that the Note 7 turned out to be, there are some questions surrounding the Galaxy Note 8 that need to be answered.

Most importantly – what does this phone have to do or be to be a success? Aside from not exploding of course. The Note series of phones is at a very delicate place right now. So, we turn to our editors to help guide Samsung on the next leg of this journey.

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Bday-Hat

Adam Doud

Senior Editor

“This phone needs to tell a story that says, ‘I’m safe and indestructible.'”

The Note 7 started off so strong and then…literally…fizzled. But battery concerns aside, the Note 7 was widely regarded as the best phone of 2016. That is why it has been so difficult getting people to give them up. The Note 7 looked a lot like a larger Galaxy S7, so if that’s the standard we’re building on, then put an S-Pen into the S8 and call it a day. But that’s not the whole story.

Because the Note 8 needs to help tell the story of a reliable phone that won’t let you down. So the Note 8 needs to be durable and powerful. It needs to be the powerhouse the original Notes were. It also needs that extra layer of build safety that the S8 simply doesn’t offer. I’m not saying it needs to be “Active” level rugged, but I’m not sure the glass sandwich approach and Infinity Display is right for the Note.

I would like to see a Note 8 that has a flat screen (for the S-Pen) and minimal bezels – much like the LG G6. Build it with a rugged, non-glass back plate and removable battery. I know removable batteries are overrated, but there is a core group on Note fanboys who want to see that. Plus, it would reassure audiences that this phone will not blow up, which is a stupid thing to have to reassure people of, but there you go.

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Adrian Diaconescu

News Editor

“Big, chunky, and a little bit risky.”

Go big or go home. With the Note brand badly harmed by last year’s infamous double recall, but the beautiful Galaxy S8 putting Samsung right back on track for new sales records, the world’s top smartphone manufacturer doesn’t stand to lose much if the Note 8 flops. So why not have some fun and take a bunch of (calculated) risks?

A big, nay, huge battery, this time fitted into an appropriately large, even chunky body. All the sensors and crazy advanced cameras in the world. An extra-durable screen that won’t crack on impact if you just drop your phone on the sidewalk that one time. By the way, a bit of bezel never killed anyone, so if you’d be so kind to leave that in there, thank you very much.

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tony-nAnton D. Nagy

Editor-In-Chief

“Nothing, simply nothing. Just exist.”

I was among the unlucky few who never got the chance to lay his hands on the Note 7. However, knowing what the Note 5 was, and what the S8 is, there’s no doubt the Note 8 will be a success.

What does it have to do to be successful? Nothing, simply nothing. Just exist.

Equipping a Galaxy S8+ with an S-Pen is all it needs to be. Sure, we could hope for a flat screen for ease of S-Pen use, and an additional gig of RAM, but that’s pretty much it. Rumor has it there will be dual cameras. The Galaxies are doing a great job with a single camera already, so unless Samsung will put it to good use (not just a gimmick or a me-too thing), just stick to what works.

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jaime-rJaime Rivera

Multimedia Manager

“A geek magnet that shows what is possible”

Well I was one of the lucky few to use the Galaxy Note 7 most. With the launch of the Galaxy S8, this would be the first time that I find an S to be better than the Note that preceeded it. In the past, and up until the Galaxy Note 4, the Note was always the showcase of what was possible, and the S was the miniaturization of it that came later. How about if we go back to that? I was actually not a fan of the Note 5 being a larger S6, and the same was true of the Note 7.

Yes, the S8 is a good lead to follow, but the S Pen is not a good enough selling point for a Note. It needs to return to being the power user phone. The geek magnet that’s chosen, rather than just another iteration of a mainstream solution.

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 LG G6 review

Juan Carlos Bagnell

Senior Editor

“Improve the small things…and the camera.”

I don’t think the phone needs to be any bigger than the S8+. No big surprise that the “stumpy thumb” guy would feel that way, but S-Pen will go a LONG way towards rectifying some of the philosophical issues I have with the S8+. I kind of need a phone to give me a good reason why I should occupy both hands in using it, and the Note is one of the few which has a dedicated (and expertly executed) hardware distinction for two hand use.

As for the rest of the phone, I hope we see those small touches addressed. Fingerprint sensor location, if it’s under the front glass or centered under the camera sensor, would help ergonomically. It might be nice to hear Samsung move up to stereo speakers, but this design is already pretty jam packed. A battery bump would be appreciated, but Samsung will likely continue to deliver a more conservative power pack for the next phone model or three. If we can’t get a 4K display, it would be nice to return to an RGB stripe over the current pentile arrangement. And of course, the RAM junkie in our audience would appreciate moving up to 6GB or more.

For me personally, I hope Samsung can continue the conversation with lifestyle durability. Water resistance is great, but I’ve become a fan of phones that also address drop resistance. Maybe a tough improvement to make with curved glass front and back. I also hope we see some kind of camera improvement. My dream would be a larger sensor, something akin to the Lumia 1020, and with Samsung’s shallow trench tech for minimizing the depth of the housing, maybe it wouldn’t need that Oreo disc on the back (though that could be appropriate if the next flavor of Android is Oreo). If we can’t get a larger sensor, then I’d like to see the dual sensor strategy employed by Huawei, where two cameras work in tandem to improve jpeg processing. Zoom is fun, wide angle is nifty, but two camera improving every shot is pretty compelling.

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“We know what the Note has to be…”

So that’s what we think. What about you? Do you think the Note has to exist and not blow up to be a success? Should Samsung push the envelope with this release or stay conservative? Sound off with your thoughts down below.

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About The Author
Adam Doud
Adam joined the tech world after watching Jon Rubenstein demo the most epic phone ever at CES 2009. He is webOS enthusiast, Windows Phone fan, and Android skeptic. He loves the outdoors, is an avid Geocacher, Cubs/Blackhawks fan, and family man living in Sweet Home Chicago, where he STILL hosts monthly webOS meetups (Don’t call it a comeback!). He can be found tweeting all things tech as @DeadTechnology, or chi-town sports at @oneminutecubs. Read more about Adam Doud!