The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is finally, officially here. With top-of-the-range specs, Samsung's best camera yet, a huge (and gorgeous-looking) 6.3-inch screen, plus the usual Note S Pen stylus, it's designed to take on the best that Apple and Google will have to offer in the coming months.

If you're new to the Note series, these "phablets" are usually oversized versions of the Galaxy phones that Samsung launches each year – with bigger screens and a stylus, the idea is the Note devices are more serious and more professional, though the gap between the Notes and the normal Galaxy phones isn't as big as it used to be.

Last year was a major disaster, with the Galaxy Note 7 eventually recalled after going up in flames one too many times, which means the level of interest around the Note 8 is even greater than normal. It looks like Samsung has delivered on the hype, and there are a lot of functions and features packed into this handset, many relying on the S Pen: Instantly translating a page, for example, or making handwritten notes on the lock screen.

That 6.3-inch screen follows the same "Infinity Display" template as the Galaxy phones launched earlier this year, with minimal bezels, a stretched 18.5:9 aspect ratio, and a resolution of 1,440 x 2,960 pixels (522 ppi).

The Snapdragon 835 CPU (or the Exynos 8895 outside the US and China) matches the other flagships we've seen this year, though 6 GB of RAM is notably generous. The phone comes with 64 GB, 128GB, or 256 GB of internal storage, depending on where in the world you are, and as usual with Samsung devices, you can expand that with a microSD card if you need to.

The camera is a key component of any smartphone and Samsung says the camera inside the Note 8 is its best yet. The 2017 Galaxy phones didn't get much of a camera upgrade, but the Note 8 does. Two 12 MP lenses offer 2x optical zoom, 4K video recording, and optical image stabilization in both cameras. Samsung is again promising exceptional low-light performance, something it has a strong record in.

At 8.5 mm (0.33 inches), it's not the thinnest handset out there, but it does boast IP68 waterproofing and dustproofing, as well as a 3.5 mm headphone jack (something of a rarity these days). A 3,300 mAh battery is packed inside, but just how long that keeps this monster of a phone running for remains to be seen.

The phone comes in up to four colors, depending on your region: Midnight Black, Maple Gold, Orchid Gray, and Deep Sea Blue. As for the all-important price, we're still waiting on confirmation from Samsung, but pre-orders begin tomorrow on all carriers in the US, with the S8 also available in other international markets.

Product page: Samsung

UPDATE (Aug. 23/17): US pricing for the Note 8 has now been announced. Via T-Mobile it can be purchased for $930, or for a $210 down payment and $30 monthly instalments with T-Mobile's Equipment Instalment Plan, or for 0 down and $39 a month for Jump on Demand customers. Verizon has it for $960 or for $40 a month for 24 months, while AT&T offers it for $950 or $31.67 for 30 months.

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