Tech Transformers

Samsung Note 8: Hands on with the 5 key features you need to know about

Key Points
  • Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 8 on Wednesday with many new features
  • The S Pen stylus, camera, and Dex all have boosted capabilities
  • CNBC runs through the top features of the Note 8
Samsung launches huge 6.3-inch Note 8 smartphone

Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 was unveiled on Wednesday and the company has packed the smartphone with its latest technology, much of which was seen in the Galaxy S8 flagship.

CNBC had a chance to get hands on with the device ahead of the launch. Here are the top features of the Note 8.

Huge 6.3-inch 'infinity display'

This is Samsung's largest-ever screen on a Note device. The company calls it an "infinity display" because it runs edge to edge and almost completely takes up the front of the device.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 has a 6.3-inch infinity display which was first introduced on the Galaxy S8. It almost covers the entire front of the phone.
Arjun Kharpal | CNBC

Samsung has employed the bigger display so users can make the most of features such as a split screen and writing with the S Pen stylus.

The phone is comfortable in the hand despite the bigger screen as the display has stretched to cover more of the actual device.

Dual camera with 'Live Focus'

Samsung claims that its Note 8 has the world's first dual camera with optical image stabilization on both cameras. That means that the camera is able to take clear pictures of moving shots and take still images if the photographer's hand is shaky.

In addition, a new feature called "Live Focus" has been introduced. This allows users to take pictures with a "bokeh" effect, which is when the background is blurred and the subject in the foreground is in focus. The amount of blur can be adjusted before or after the picture is taken.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 "Live Focus" feature allows users to take pictures with a "bokeh" effect, which is when the background is blurred and the subject in the foreground is in focus.
Arjun Kharpal | CNBC

The camera also takes two pictures during Live Focus mode. One is of the zoomed in bokeh effect image, and the second is a wide angle photo that allows the user to get two different shots at once.

S Pen and 'Live Message'

The S Pen stylus is one of the key differentiators of the Note 8 versus other devices on the market and Samsung has been keen to boost its functionality.

With the S Pen, you can write memos on the phone's lock screen, which is useful for quick reminders or even a shopping list.

Another useful feature is the translate function. You can hover the S Pen over a piece of text and translate it on the fly.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 comes with an S Pen stylus. Samsung has added new features to the Note 8 using the S Pen such as "Live Message".
Arjun Kharpal | CNBC

A new feature called "Live Message" has also been introduced with the Note 8. It lets a user draw with the S Pen and create an animated drawing, which can then be sent in an instant message, for example.

Dex can do more

Dex is a docking station for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8 which plugs into a monitor, essentially turning it into a PC.

When Dex was launched earlier this year, there were only a handful of apps which were able to scale to a larger screen. Samsung has fixed that with Dex Labs, a program that allows the majority of apps to go full-screen when Samsung's Note 8 is connected to the dock.

Samsung's Dex is a docking station that allows users to turn a monitor into a PC when the Galaxy Note 8 is attached. Samsung has boosted the capabilities of Dex with the Note 8.
Arjun Kharpal | CNBC

In addition, the main apps screen now displays 36 apps instead of 25.

Bixby expanding

Bixby is Samsung's virtual digital assistant introduced earlier this year. Since then, it has been launched in Korea and the U.S. on the Galaxy S8, and now on the Note 8 too. The company also said that a U.K. launch is imminent.

Samsung has slowly been adding new features to Bixby and earlier this week rolled out the feature to make it available in over 200 countries and territories globally.

The Note 8 has a button on the side to activate Bixby.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 unveiled