Yesterday afternoon Samsung revealed the Galaxy Note 8 to a live audience and the world via a live stream.

As part of the announcement Samsung South Africa invited to attend a gathering of media and influencers to not only watch the live stream but also get some hands on time with the handset.

What follows are my initial impressions of the Note 8 after spending about an hour playing with it, Dex and a GearVR with the handsetstrapped into it.

The size is just right

When Samsung revealed that the Note 8 would sport a 6.3 inch display I was a bit concerned because any way you slice it that is huge. At the moment I’m using a Sony XZ Premium (review coming soon) and that measures 6.14 inches on the longest side. Not to spoil too much but it’s uncomfortable to hold.

The Note 8 however feels just right in your hand because over 80% of the handset is display. There’s something rather futuristic about holding a display with half an inch of bezels in your hand.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 specifications

Chipset Samsung Exynos 8895

CPU Octa-core (2.3GHz quad core and 1.7GHz quadcore)

GPU Mali-G71 MP20

Memory 6GB

Storage 64GB, microSD card support up to 256GB

Operating system Android 7.1.1

Battery 3 300mAh

SIM Nano SIM/Dual SIM Display 6.3inch QHD+ (2 960 x 1 440)

Primary camera Dual 12 MP, f/1.7 & f/2.4, OIS, phase detection autofocus, 2x optical zoom

Secondary camera 8 MP, f/1.7, autofocus

Network Up to LTE

WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac

Extras Bluetooth 5.0, fingerprint scanner, USB Type C, Fast charge

The fingerprint scanner however is still in a really silly place (right next to the camera) but you can still reach it despite the Note 8’s large dimensions.

I’ve never fully grasped the point of an S-Pen, I mean, your finger works just as well. This time around however the S-Pen can be used to create notes which you can pin to the home screen. It’s useful and you can create up to 100 pages of handwritten notes without unlocking the handset.

Dex could change my life

Look, I love my desktop for personal things like games and consuming content but as a work tool it’s not always practical. When Microsoft announced Continuum I was excited because the prospect of using my phone as both a mobile tool and a desktop is the future I want to live in.

Sadly Continuum didn’t grab me at all mostly because Microsoft’s handsets weren’t that good.

Dex will turn your phone into a PC easily.

Dex is different. Plugging the handset into the Dex dock turns the handset into a desktop in seconds. Dex does feel like I’m using a desktop and while I couldn’t stress test it properly I’m impressed with the performance I saw while typing up a document. A Samsung representative even told me that you can play games quite handily, so long as they are supported by Dex.

Is it worth a pre-order?

At just over R18 000 the Note 8 is not a cheap smartphone and I will hold off on giving a full recommendation until I get some proper time with the handset.

My first impressions however are that it is great. In the little time we had with the device the performance felt ample, the display is gorgeous and the camera is rather good as well despite Samsung’s very low lighting in the display area.

The Note 8 launches in South Africa on 22nd September and you can make a pre-order through the Samsung website right now, provided you’re happy to part ways with R18 499.

Your move Apple.