FIRST LOOK Sam­sung Gal­axy Note 8 bit.ly/note431

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This time last year, we were singing the praises of Sam­sung’s Gal­axy Note 7 and were it not for its world­wide re­call – fol­low­ing the emer­gence of a po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous bat­tery flaw – we’d still be rec­om­mend­ing it now. You can bet that Sam­sung has fixed the bat­tery prob­lem in the Gal­axy Note 8, but that’s not the only thing it’s up­graded.

The phone’s at­trac­tive bezel-less de­sign is cribbed from the Gal­axy S8, al­low­ing the huge 6.3in screen to dom­i­nate the en­tire front of the hand­set. It con­tin­ues to use Sam­sung’s Su­per AMOLED tech­nol­ogy which, at this scale, looks amaz­ing.

Turn the Note 8 over and an­other new fea­ture is re­vealed: dual 12-megapixel cam­eras. It’s hardly an orig­i­nal idea, but it’s a first for Sam­sung, and the com­pany has re­ally gone to town with it, com­bin­ing an f/ 1.7 widean­gle lens with an f/2.4 tele­photo lens with up to 10x op­ti­cal zoom. As well as giv­ing you a huge range of com­po­si­tion op­tions, the two cam­eras can work to­gether for cleaner, more de­tailed shots, or to cre­ate lovely soft-fo­cus back­grounds.

A less con­spic­u­ous but still use­ful im­prove­ment is that Sam­sung’s S Pen sty­lus – the handy point­ing de­vice which in­spires the Note’s name – can now be used to jot things down even with the screen off, for the ul­ti­mate in quick note-tak­ing.

There are changes inside the case, too. The pro­ces­sor has been bumped up to Sam­sung’s Exynos 8895 and mem­ory has been in­creased from 4GB to 6GB. We’ll need to spend some time test­ing the Note 8 be­fore we can de­liver a de­fin­i­tive ver­dict, but our first im­pres­sions are ex­cel­lent. Sam­sung has taken ar­guably the best plus-size smart­phone ever and made it even bet­ter. It’s avail­able to pre­order now for a whop­ping £869, so start sav­ing your pen­nies!

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