After Samsung decommissioned the Galaxy Note 7, fans have been eagerly awaiting a replacement from the company, and the launch of the new Galaxy S8 Plus looks to be the solution that many have been waiting for. It’s a super-sized flagship handset packing in the latest bells and whistles. However, some may be wondering if there’s any merit in waiting a little longer Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8?
The immediate problem with considering the Galaxy S8 Plus as a replacement to the Note series is that doesn’t come with a S Pen, one of the ranges’ most beloved extras. If you’re a big fan of the series’ note taking, doodling, magnification, translation, and other super handy features, then you’re not going to be appeased by the S8 Plus. Of course, if you’re only interested in some additional screen real estate and cutting edge performance and features, then the Galaxy S8 Plus meets those criteria handily.
The Galaxy S8 Plus boasts hardware specs and a 6.2-inch display size that will certainly keep Note fans happy. But they'll have to make do without S Pen features.
The S8 Plus’ huge 6.2-inch display is sure to rival the size of the Galaxy Note 8, and it seems like a safe bet that the Note 8 will end up adopting Samsung’s new bezel-less design too. The cutting edge Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895 processing package is again unlikely to change between now and then, save for perhaps a small mid-year update, so the Note 8 and S8 Plus may be tougher to tell apart than previous generations.
There is the possibility that Samsung may use the Note 8 to make the switch to a dual rear camera technology, or hop on over to 6GB RAM and 128GB internal memory as the norm. Samsung’s Note range has often been used to showcase the company’s latest technologies, and if the S8’s features haven’t sparked much excitement in you, the Note series may pack in something more interesting. Of course speculating on specs is a big gamble at this point, and there could end up being little in terms of hardware to tell the two apart come September.
Bixby's voice feature won't arrive in the US until later this spring and Europe will have to wait until Q4. By the time the Note 8 launches, Bixby may actually be in a useful state.
Another point worth considering is the state of Samsung’s new virtual assistant – Bixby. At launch, the voice control part of the service will only be switched on in South Korea, leaving US customers to wait until “later this spring”. Furthermore, European Galaxy S8 owners will have to cling on until the fourth quarter before the full Bixby experience lands in their hands. Given that the Bixby button can no longer be remapped to another function, this part of the handset is going to be deadweight for anything between a few weeks to many months, depending on your region.
Not releasing Bixby at launch is a slap in the face to Galaxy S8 users
If making the most of a virtual assistant is one of the main reasons that you’re looking to upgrade, then waiting for the Galaxy Note 8 makes more sense than leaping in early during Samsung’s experiments with Bixby. By the time the Note 8 hits store shelves, Samsung should have the system up and running in the US at the very least, with plenty of testing time and bug fixing under its belt too. Furthermore, we will hopefully see wider support for third party apps by this time, so there appears little to gain by being an early Bixby adopter.
Samsung Dex can also probably be considered in a similar light. While the system looks fairly decent right now, a few months of refinement and a broader range of dedicated software could make it a more standout feature for the Note 8, which has always had slightly more appeal to enterprise customers anyway.
The new Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are powerful, feature rich handsets in their own right that are certainly worth a look at for those in the market for a super-sized smartphone with plenty of screen real estate. The bezel-less design lends itself particularly well to the phablet form factor. However, those keen for fan favorite Note features might not find what they’re looking for here.
Perhaps most importantly, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plue are already on sale, boasting top of the line specs, a sleek new look, and numerous software improvements that make for a top notch flagship from the company. The Galaxy Note 8 is around 6 months away and remains an unknown quantity in terms of hardware. The best handset is one that’s actually available to purchase, and by the time the Note 8 rolls around we could face a similar conundrum – asking ourselves if it’s just worth waiting for the Galaxy S9.
Will you be waiting for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8, or do the latest flagships from Samsung offer everything that you’re after?