Here it is then, the long-awaited Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the Korean company's come-back prestige device backed up by an extensive battery safety check programme, to make up for the fiery fiasco that was the Note 7 last year.
I had a pre-release sample of the Note 8 for a couple of days for an early look. This is not a full and complete review, but I'm nevertheless impressed by the Note 8 that tries to be best-in-class in every single area.
The Note 8 has a 6.3-inch curved Infinity display that's just a few millimetres bigger than the Galaxy S8 Plus screen, and has the same very high 2960 by 1440 pixel resolution.
You probably don't need the 521 pixels per inch density the display provides, but it's a fantastic screen with great colour, high contrast and very visible outdoors, even in sunlight, with AMOLED technology.
Pictures and video look quite amazing on it.
Size-wise, I like big smartphones and can't lie. Why would you not get a device with a big screen that's easier to work on and to view? Get bigger pockets if you need to.
There's a new, enhanced S-Pen tucked into a slot at the bottom; again, this isn't a totally necessary feature, but just like with the Apple Pencil that makes the iPad Pro a more complete device, having the S-Pen for scribbling (handwriting recognition is great) and sketching soon becomes second nature. You'll miss not having it once you start using a stylus on a device: it stops greasy screens and extends your fingers (so to speak) on a big device.
As this is a pre-production device with early software that still has debugging code, I didn't run benchmarks on the Note 8; nevertheless, the device has a fast system on a chip with octocore processor and six gigabytes of RAM, and it never hesitated, and was very responsive.
My favourite new bit on the Note 8 is the dual camera: there's a wide-angle imager with an f/1.7 aperture lens, and a telephoto one. While both have optical image stabilisation, the wide-angle features a 1/2.55-inch sensor and 1.4 µm photodiode size, and 26mm focal length.
The telephoto one has a 1/3.6" sensor, 1.0 µm photodiodes and 52mm focal length - like on the iPhone 7 Plus, the longer lens is more like 50mm standard glass in 35mm film terms.
Either way, you get two times optical zoom thanks to the dual lenses, features such as background blurring (sort of like bokeh on DSLR lenses) to isolate the foreground, and very good image quality considering the small sensors in both cameras.
The optical image stabilisation worked well during nighttime shots, and I was able to get a clear image with no hand shake visible at 1/10th shutter speed which is impressive.
Having image stabilisation helps when you use the 10 times digital zoom to get close to objects, taking care of wobbles and shakes as you hold the Note 8 in your hands in front of you.
There wasn't enough time to shoot video properly, but the short clips I took look as good as stills; you can shoot at up to 4K resolution, but once you go over 1080p and 30 frames per second features such as high dynamic range and image stabilisation are disabled which is annoying.
As the Note 8 offers a good deal more features than what you get in the Galaxy S8 plus for just a hundred dollars more, I wouldn't be surprised if the newcomer doesn't cannibalise sales of the latter device.
Sadly, Samsung did not figure out how to embed a fingerprint sensor in the display. It's still at the back, next to the flash this time and not the cameras.
That's not the right place for a device that's operated from the screen, and to a lesser extent, by the button's on the side of the Note 8. Having the fingerprint scanner at the back means you can't use it when the Note 8 is on the wireless charging pad, or in the Dex dock.
That, and as some of the people I showed the device to said, the $1599 price, are pretty much the only major flaws with the Note 8: Samsung's focused on making the existing features work well, and toned down the exuberance of the past that saw it add all sorts of oddities that weren't exactly usable.
For now, the Galaxy Note 8 is arguably the best Android device available, besting even Samsung's Galaxy S8 Plus handset. The design and features give Apple's top end iPhone 7 Plus a run for its money even. Comparing iOS and Android devices is difficult thanks to their different app and accessory ecosystems that people get tied into, but the Galaxy Note 8 is good enough to lure people over from the Apple camp, depending on how well the upcoming iPhone 8 lives up to very high user expectations.