Commentary

My wish list for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Features like a dual-lens camera system, 4K display, an enhanced S Pen would be great

The Samsung Unpacked event will be held in New York City next week. And, although Samsung has not officially confirmed it, it is no secret that the Korean chaebol will be unveiling the Galaxy Note 8 phablet then.

There are plenty of rumours as to what it will look like and what its new functionalities are. But they remain rumours.

I have my own wish list for the Note 8, having used a Note 5 for testing purposes for nearly two years.

DUAL-LENS CAMERA SYSTEM

It was a surprise when Samsung's other flagship Galaxy S8 did not come with a dual-lens camera system - especially when its competitors, from Apple to LG, have done so in their flagship smartphones.

I hope the Note 8 finally gets a rear dual-lens camera system, and that it goes one better than the iPhone 7 Plus' scheme of having a wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens.

Maybe it can even up the competition by having a front-facing dual-camera system. Not only can it be used for taking beautiful selfies, but it can also be used for security features such as iris-recognition or face-recognition.

But, most importantly, the resulting images taken by the Note 8 must blow us away with sharpness, clarity and colour fidelity.

4K DISPLAY

It is quite amazing that so many smartphones are able to record 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) videos. Yet, most of these smartphones do not have a 4K display.

The iPhone 7 Plus' display is just 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, while even the Samsung Galaxy S8 has a maximum screen resolution of 2,960 x 1,440 pixels. This is still not quite 4K.

Of course, there will be arguments that a true 4K display on a 5-inch or 6-inch screen is an overkill and might drain the phone's battery.

But wouldn't it be great to be able to watch recorded 4K footage in its full glory? Not everyone has a 4K TV set sitting at home and having a 4K display on your palm will certainly make a huge difference.

MICROSD CARD SLOT

The Note 5 does not have a microSD card slot, which the Note 7 has. So I hope the Note 8 will retain the feature.

With most people using their smartphones as their primary camera, having the ability to insert a 256GB microSD card in the Note 8 will be of paramount importance. This is especially so, if Samsung decides to increase the megapixel count of the Note 8's image sensors.

NO CURVED-EDGE DISPLAY

I would love to see a Note 8 display with no (or really thin) bezel. However, please retain Note 5's straight edges.

By all means, make the smartphone edges chamfered or curved. But please do not make the touchscreen display curved to the edges like in the case of the S7 and the S8.

Don't get me wrong - those displays look beautiful and sharp. But my fat palm tends to touch the edge of the smartphone and, with smartphones that have a curved-edge display, I am always accidentally waking up the display or moving icons around. It is just irritating for me.

S PEN

The S Pen stylus is something that I wish I would use more on my Note 5.

And Samsung could persuade me to do so with a re-designed S Pen.

For example, the new S Pen could be so sensitive that it reacts like a real pencil, whether you are shading or sketching.

And can the S Pen be round instead of flat, even though it is hard to design such a shape when the S Pen has to be stored in the phone itself? A flat pencil just does not have the kind of handling a round pencil provides. It is like trying to use a ruler to draw.

Or, if round is impossible, maybe hexagonal like a Staedtler pencil?

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2017, with the headline 'My wish list for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8'. Print Edition | Subscribe