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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 announced with dual camera and Bixby voice assistant

Matthew Field
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 in Orchid Grey - Samsung

Samsung has unveiled its Galaxy Note 8 in a return for the high-end smartphone brand, which was recalled last year in a worldwide debacle that cost billions of dollars. 

The new 6.3-inch device has an "infinity display" that wraps around the edges of the phone and Samsung's Bixby voice assistant, the virtual aide that launched in the UK yesterday. The Note 8 comes with the S-pen stylus, which can be used even when the phone's screen is off, such as to take notes or make a shopping list.

The Korean electronics giant will be hoping to recover the reputation of the Note model with the release of the Note 8. Samsung was forced to globally recall its Note 7 phone last year after a battery fault led to devices overheating and caused a handful to burst into flames.

Note 8 best features

The Note 8 is Samsung's first smartphone to come with a dual camera lens, technology employed in the iPhone 7 Plus and Android challengers such as the Nokia 8 and OnePlus 5. It has two 12MP cameras on the back, which let users create depth effects and zoom further.

The Note 8 also showcases Samsung's Bixby voice assistant, its challenger to Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant. 

Key specs | Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs S8

Bixby is activated through voice control, responding both to the wake phrase "Hi, Bixby" and when the button dedicated to Bixby is held down.

"Because it is controlled through the phone it is secure to the user," said Conor Pierce, head of Samsung UK, "it is not just sitting in the corner of the room listening to you."

Pierce added the Samsung brand has "never been in better shape" in the UK, where the company launched its Bixby voice control on Tuesday.

Rising from the Note 7 ashes

In spite of challenges to the Note brand and the arrest of Samsung's de facto head in Korea earlier this year, the Note 8 has been buoyed by the recent success of the Galaxy S8, which has sold around 20 million units according to analysts.

"Last year was very tough for us, so with the new Note 8 we have been re-engaging with our audience," said Pierce.

The launch comes a few weeks before Apple is due to unveil the much-anticipated iPhone 8, another phone aimed at the premium end of the smartphone market. 

6:01PM

That's it from us

We'll have more on the Note 8, including a review, in the coming weeks. Thanks for tuning in. 

5:28PM

Samsung to offer discount to Galaxy Note 7 owners

To try and right some of last year's wrongs, Samsung will offer customers who had bought one of the recalled Galaxy Note 7 phones a discount on the Note 8. Samsung apologised for the Note 7 debacle and said owners could trade their current device in for up to $425 (£332) off the Note 8. 

5:18PM

Virtual reality: Note 8 will be compatible with a new version of Gear VR

The Note 8 is larger than the current Samsung Galaxy S8, but Samsung will be offering an updated version of its Gear VR headset that is compatible with the new Note, although no word just yet on when that device will be coming to the UK.

5:06PM

Presentation over...

That's the end of the official presentation - some of the other features Samsung touched on that included "app pair", which allows you to create shortcuts for two apps to open in split screen, using the S-pen for screenshots and using Bixby as a camera to translate signs and pictures.

Samsung has also opened its pre-order site for the Galaxy Note 8. In the UK it has confirmed it will be initially available in Maple Gold and Midnight Black.

We have also been told it will be available on the Three network, although no prices just yet.

5:01PM

Samsung's official trailer for the Note 8

4:53PM

Note 8: Expert analysis

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 could be a real contender for the upcoming iPhone 8, according to Ben Wood, research chief at CCS Insight. 

By launching the Note 8 now, Samsung gets the oxygen of publicity ahead of Apple’s highly anticipated iPhone 8. Samsung will be hoping that a trio of competitive high end products will appeal to anyone looking for a new Android phone. Furthermore, these devices are certainly good enough to turn the heads of a few iPhone owners who fancy a trying a different device.

4:49PM

Samsung Note 8 release date

Samsung has confirmed the Note 8 will hit stores on September 15, while pre-orders will be available "in a few days".

Pre-orders will also come with a pair of Harmon earphones, that can be plugged into the headphone jack.

4:40PM

S-pen in detail

Samsung's director of product strategy, Suzanne De Silva, has been demonstrating the capabilities of the S-pen, a signature feature of the Note 8.

The S-pen allows users to take up to 100 pages of notes on the phone, even when the screen is off. It allows users to create art, and Samsung will be offering a colouring app with the Note 8 for users of the pen. 

The pen will also be able to highlight and translate text into different languages.

Finally, it will be available for use in messaging apps, where users can create pictures and gifs to send to their friends.

Samsung's Susan De Silva

4:31PM

Dual camera compared

Samsung is taking users through the features of its dual camera. It starts by comparing it to the iPhone 7, suggesting the phone will offer superior image stablisation than its Apple rival.

The Note 8 will also offer "Dual Capture", taking depth effects even further. Note 8 users will be able to live focus pictures, fading out the background in real time. 

Samsung image comparison

 

4:26PM

Note 8 prices revealed

Samsung providers have been quick to reveal the prices and tariffs that will be available for the Note 8.

The phone will be available from £869, according to Carphone Warehouse. These are some of the tariffs that will be on offer. You can find all the latest price details here.

  • O2 - £59.99 upfront cost, £56 per month with 20GB of data
  • EE - £49.99 upfront cost, £57 per month with 16GB of data
  • Vodafone - £50 upfront cost, £56 per month with 16GB of data
  • O2 - £59.99 upfront cost, £49 per month with 5GB of data

4:22PM

Note 8 infinity display

Samsung VP  of product strategy Justin Denison has taken to the stage to talk users through the style of the QHD infinity display. Safe to say, it looks beautiful.

Samsung  Note 8 infinity display

 

4:20PM

Samsung Note 8 colours revealed

Samsung has confirmed the colours of the new Note 8. It will come in Deep Sea Blue, Orchid Grey, Midnight Black and Maple Gold.

Note 8 in Maple Gold Credit: Samsung
Note 8 in Midnight Black Credit: Samsung

4:07PM

"You stuck with us"

Samsung begins its presentation with a tribute to fans of the Note smartphone, thanking them for remaining faithful even through the major technical issues with the Note 7. "You stuck with us," Samsung said.

Samsung head of mobile DJ Koh has taken to the stage for the Note 8. "We are here to celebrate everyone who has helped make the Galaxy Note such as success," he said.

4:03PM

And we're off!

Samsung's bosses are live on stage to announce the best features of the Galaxy Note 8.

3:50PM

Ten minutes to go...

Samsung executives will take to the stage in New York in ten minutes to unveil the Galaxy Note 8 - it's latest premium smartphone.

The venue is filling up and you can watch the presentation live here, and keep following the Telegraph's live coverage for all the highlights.

3:33PM

Bixby voice assistant on the Note 8?

Samsung has been pushing the capabilities of its voice assistant Bixby this week, launching the virtual aide to 200 countries including the UK ahead of the launch of the Note 8.

Bixby will almost certainly be available on the Note 8. The rival to Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant arrived on the Samsung Galaxy S8 in March, but was only available in Korean on its launch.

Users can engage the voice assistant to help them by saying "Hi, Bixby", or by holding down a dedicated Bixby button on the side of the phone.

3:13PM

Live in New York: Fans prepare for Samsung's Unpacked event

Samsung fans have been queuing for the Note 8's launch event in New York, taking to Twitter under the #unpacked hashtag.

2:52PM

Can the Galaxy Note 8 rise from the ashes?

Today's Galaxy Note 8 launch is a big deal for Samsung. It comes weeks before Apple is due to unveil the 10-year anniversary iPhone 8. And it marks the return to the market of the Note brand a year after the disastrous Galaxy Note 7.

The Note 7 suffered from serious battery problems that led to dozens of devices overheating and, in some instances, bursting into flames. The company was forced to halt production and recall the 2.5m purchased Note 7 phones in October 2016. The debacle cost Samsung an estimated $17bn.

The Korean firm has since seen success with the smaller and cheaper Galaxy S8 phone, launched in March, which has been hailed as one of the best phones of 2017. Millions of S8 phones have been sold in months. 

Samsung will be hoping for the right kind of fireworks with the Note 8. It will want to revive the luxury range with new features and a stable battery, to make it this year's must-have Android phone.

2:15PM

What to expect

Here's everything you need to know ahead of the launch. 

When will it be unveiled? 

Samsung will launch the Note 8 at 4pm UK time on Wednesday August 23 from an event in New York. 

How do I watch it? 

Samsung will be livestreaming the event on its website, which will be available here. You can also follow live coverage on the Telegraph website.

What can we expect? 

The Galaxy Note 8 is expected to feature: 

  • A 6.3-inch edge-to-edge display 
  • Dual lens camera, making it Samsung's first device with the technology
  • Bixby, Samsung's intelligent voice assistant and a rival to Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri
  • A smaller but more reliable battery than the Note 7
  • A headphone jack
  • Four colours, including blue, gold, black and silver

When will it go on sale and how much will it cost? 

Samsung hasn't confirmed a release date for the phone but leaks suggest it could go on sale on September 15 and cost £869 in the UK. Pre-orders are open from today at a number of retailers. 

1:43PM

Samsung gets ready to launch the Galaxy Note 8 

Afternoon! We'll be following the Samsung action as it happens today, bringing you the latest news about the Galaxy Note 8 phone when it is unveiled at 4pm GMT.