The Samsung Note 8 will be launched this Wednesday August 23 11am EDT at Samsung Unpacked 2017. There had been intriguing rumors that it will have a 4K screen for an unparalleled VR experience. However, leaks appear to confirm that this is not the case.
There is no practical reason to have a 4K screen on the phone, except for one use case: VR. When a phone is used for a VR headset, the screen is magnified, so much so that the pixels and the spaces between them become visible, making it look as though you’re looking through a screen door. The screen door effect (SDE) isn’t unique to smartphones btw — in fact, Samsung’s Gear VR has less of it compared to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive due to the higher pixel density of its smartphone screens compared to the displays on the Rift and Vive.
It would be great to have a 4K screen on a phone, which would have double the resolution of Samsung’s current 2960 x 1440 QHD+ display and reduce the SDE. That’s what many Gear VR fans are hoping for. (Me? I would be ambivalent about that — one one hand it would be great to have it. On the other hand, I just got an S8+ a few months ago and couldn’t possibly justify an upgrade so soon. 🙂 )
Well, Android Police found a leak of the Note 8 specs, accidentally posted by Samsung itself. The specs show a QHD+ resolution of 2560 x 1440, the same as flagship Samsung Galaxy phones since the S6. It will also feature a dual lens rear cameras for wide angle and telephoto shots (12mp each) and an 8mp front-facing camera. The processor will be an Exynos 8895 SoC processor, except in the US, where it will use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835.
BENEFITS FOR VR
If you’re wondering how the Note 8 will look on the Gear VR with its extra large screen, the answer is… it’s probably no different. The Note 8 will have a 6.3-inch infinity display, just barely larger than the S8 plus’ 6.2-inch infinity display. I compared my Samsung S8 plus with my S6, and honestly, I could not find any difference in field of view. If anything, the S6 (and by extension, the S7 or S8) looked like it had less SDE than the S8 plus because of its higher pixel density. Rather, if you’re wondering whether to upgrade from an S6 or S7 for a better VR experience, the benefit will be primarily with the processing speed (fewer dropped frames) and better resistance to overheating. It might also be compatible with Google Daydream, just as the Samsung S8 and S8 plus.
Meanwhile, another leak about the Note 8 is that there’s a preorder promo package that will include a Samsung Gear 360. If history is any indicator, a portion of the users who get a Gear 360 will just flip them on eBay, which should keep the price of the Gear 360 as low as it is now (around $129), or possibly lower.