Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 is out in the wild, but so is the fearsome new iPhone X
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is OFFICIAL and, as the rumours suggested, it is something of a beast. Pretty much everything you’ve read prior to launch was true; the specs and hardware tally up nicely with what leakers were reporting since around April.
“Samsung’s launch of the Note 8 underlines its current confidence. It’s a testament to Samsung’s stubbornness and determination that the launch of the Note 8 cements its position as the leading Android smartphone maker drawing a clear line under the Note 7 problems," said Ben Wood, Chief of Research, CCS Insight.
He added: “The Note 8 joins the well-received S8 and S8+ arguably giving Samsung the best high-tier Android line-up of any manufacturer. The fact Samsung was prepared to continue using the Note brand shows its belief that there is significant pent up demand for another top-of-the-line flagship device alongside the rest of its smartphone portfolio.”
Apple has now also launched its 2017 iPhone line-up; three phones, as expected. What wasn't expected was the naming convention, instead of the iPhone 8, iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, we got the iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus - the iPhone X being the lead model and 10th anniversary edition which was previously rumoured as the iPhone 8.
There is a ton of competition in the smartphone space right now though, for both Samsung and Apple to contend with. The OnePlus 5 and HTC U11 are still relatively recently launched, but on top of that we have Andy Rubin's Essential Phone PH-1 as a newcomer with something of an Android pedigree and some very competetive specs. Then there's the imminent arrival of the Google Pixel 2 series in October AND Nokia's triumphant return to the smartphone space with the Android-based Nokia 8 flagship that has only just been launched. Huawei will also release the Mate 10 in mid-October.
For some people, however, the contest between Samsung and Apple as the two leaders (number one and number two spot in global sales, respectively) is the only one that matters. Some analysts believe that's going to change though, and that the lead of these two is slowing as the market diversifies!
Apple's actual arrival on the market proper might be quite slow though; pre-launch rumours suggested the firm might find it difficult to keep up with demand and that now appears to be true. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who previously predicted Apple's supply issues, now believes the firm will indeed have problems meeting demand due to component bottlenecks for parts used in the new 3D Face ID scanning technology. He says Apple will see unprecedented pre-order demand in the region of 40-50 million units, but may struggle to meet demand until inside 2018.
His allegations are now supported by a new report from the WSJ, which cites two independent industry sources with insider knowledge. The sources appear to confirm that the 3D scanner is the problem, which requires two key components to function. One of these, dubbed Romeo, is only being produced in the tens of thousands at Apple's manufacturing partners, while everything else is being produced in much larger quantities. Until this bottleneck is resolved, which the WSJ also believes would be inside 2018, then expect a lot of consumers who can't get their hands on the iPhone X.
In the meantime though, let's take a look at how two of 2017's biggest and most hotly rumoured phones stack up...
Rear Camera: 12MP dual-lens, dual-OIS, 4K video recording
Extras: Face ID, wireless charging
The iPhone X has a new A11 processor and M11 motion-coprocessor. But until the phone actually ships, there’s no way to tell for sure how that compares against the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Samsung Exynos 8895 processor found in the Galaxy Note 8. The A11 CPU is a six core processor, which is made up for four, high-performance “Minstrel” cores and two low power “Monsoon” cores, which take care of lower-order tasks. This new CPU is joined by 3GB of RAM on the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus and 2GB of RAM for the standard iPhone 8 model.
It also has an edge-to-edge OLED display provided by Samsung. The iPhone X features a 5.8in 2436 x 1125 OLED HDR "Super Retina" display and it looks simply stunning.
TouchID has been dropped in favour of a 3D face scanning technology; a somewhat controversial move. However, wireless charging is now standard.
How Face ID is simple: you look at the iPhone and it unlocks. That’s literally it, and Apple promises that it works seamlessly every time.
“Face ID projects more than 30,000 invisible IR dots. The IR image and dot pattern are pushed through neural networks to create a mathematical model of your face and send the data to the secure enclave to confirm a match,” said Apple, “while adapting to physical changes in appearance over time.”
“All saved facial information is protected by the secure enclave to keep data extremely secure, while all of the processing is done on-device and not in the cloud to protect user privacy. Face ID only unlocks iPhone X when customers look at it and is designed to prevent spoofing by photos or masks.”
Like TouchID, Face ID is what you will use to securely unlock your iPhone X. The sensor that powers Face ID can capture your mug from a variety of angles and distances.
“We appreciate the relentless passion of the Note community. They’ve been a constant inspiration to us and we designed the new Note for them,” said DJ Koh, president of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. “From the Infinity Display to the enhanced S Pen and a powerful Dual Camera, the Galaxy Note8 lets people do things they never thought were possible.”
And the Galaxy Note 8's main selling points:
Water and Dust Resistance: Four years ago, Samsung introduced the first Galaxy device with water resistance. And today, you can take your Note almost anywhere you want with water and dust resistance (IP685) on the device and the S Pen. You can write even when the display is wet.
Fast Wireless Charging: Two years ago, Samsung introduced the first Galaxy device with wireless charging. The Galaxy Note8 supports the most advanced wireless charging capabilities yet, so you can get a quick, convenient charge6 without having to mess around with ports or wires.
Security: The Galaxy Note8 offers a choice of biometric authentication options—including iris and fingerprint scanning. Samsung Knox7 provides defence-grade security at the hardware and software layers and with Secure Folder, keeps your personal and professional data separate.
Powerful Performance: With 6GB RAM, a 10nm processor, and expandable memory (up to 256GB), you have the power you need to browse, stream, play games, and multitask.
Innovative Mobile Experiences: Samsung DeX enables a desktop experience, powered by your phone. You can keep your files on your device, conduct work on the go, and use Samsung DeX when you need an even bigger screen. The Galaxy Note8 includes Bixby8, a smarter way to use your phone; it learns from you, improves over time, and helps you get more done.