After the disaster that was the 2016 release of the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung rebounded in a major way earlier this year with the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. As fantastic as that handset was, though, it served a larger strategic purpose for the company as something of a table-setter.
The Galaxy Note 8, packing its larger screen and S-Pen, is the definitive, full-circle success story for the company that gives its devotees a reason to crow to their Apple-toting rivals. Packing a 6.3-inch screen that stretches across nearly the entire face of the handset, the new design is barely distinguishable from the svelte, sexy S8 models. No longer is the Note a workmanlike, bulky phablet for those who prize screen size above all else. It's now a demure, sleek unit that is deceptively large rather than overtly colossal.
The devices's look also belies its toughness. Water resistant enough to survive an inevitable dunk into a toilet and shatter-resistant enough to survive a hard faceplant on tile, the device largely negates the need for a case. Its glass back makes it easier to hold onto the phone in the first place.
The interface and guts of the Note 8 more than back up the streamlined design. The 12-megapixel dual camera setup is a game-changer that ups the ante for Apple, as well as HTC's line of competitors. Expandable Micro SD storage is back, combining with USB-C charging that lets you quickly charge up the impressive battery. If you're into wireless charging, you can eschew the USB-C in favor of inductive charging via Micro USB.
The 1080p AMOLED screen, which you can adjust to peak visuals by tinkering with the settings, blasts your video and games loudly and proudly, and the packed-in AKG earbuds help enhance the already-superb native sound that pumps out from the speakers.
Although the interface still lags behind Apple in terms of simplicity, multitasking capabilities continue to far surpass those of its rival. You can play a video in one screen and check your email in the other half, toggling one of your split screen spaces for social media updates. It's the perfect phone to live tweet while streaming.
A dynamic and almost absurdly impressive package, the Note 8 is a head-turner packed with smart upgrades geared to aid your productivity and its durability at every turn. With nagging ghosts of the past finally exorcised. Somehow, 2016 seems so far away -- just a lingering flicker in the Note 8's rear-facing camera, which is turned boldly toward the future as it slides gracefully into your pocket. Don't call it a comeback.
Manufacturer provided review unit.