Samsung Galaxy Note8 launch

High price of Samsung Galaxy Note8 unlikely to put off buyers

The Galaxy Note8 (right) comes with the latest high-end specs as befitting a 2017 flagship. It is the most expensive Samsung smartphone to date, compared with the S8 (left) and S8+ (centre) released earlier this year.
The Galaxy Note8 (right) comes with the latest high-end specs as befitting a 2017 flagship. It is the most expensive Samsung smartphone to date, compared with the S8 (left) and S8+ (centre) released earlier this year.ST PHOTO: LESTER HIO

Die-hard fans and power users won't bat an eyelid but some may still find it prohibitive

You can buy a very capable laptop like the Aftershock MX-15 for the price of Samsung's newest phone, the Galaxy Note8.

But its high price - $1,398 here without contract - is not expected to deter local buyers, especially die-hard fans and power users.

The Note8 is the much-awaited successor to the recalled Note7 phone and also Samsung's most expensive smartphone to date.

It will be released in Singapore on Sept 15 and telcos here say registration of interest in the Note8 have been quite strong.

A StarHub spokesman said the telco is seeing "strong customer interest", while M1 said response has been "encouraging". Singtel, which launched its price plans for the phone on Monday, said there has been "strong interest registered for the Note 8".

Analysts say that such a high price tag is the trend for premium flagships, which are targeted towards high-end power users, business people and hardcore fans of the branding who are willing to shell out the cash for the latest and shiniest.

"The Note8 appeals to a specific segment of the market: early adopters and tech enthusiasts," said Gartner principal research analyst Tuong Huy Nguyen.

A MATTER OF USAGE

It is quite expensive, even with contract. I don't really use the phone a lot, anyway, just to play some games and watch videos. So it'll be quite a waste to pay so much for something I won't make full use of.

MS KAREN LEE, who is now looking to get a cheaper phone after the Note8's specs and details were released.

FOR THOSE WHO WANT THE BEST

Business and enterprise users want the best and they are willing to pay the price for that if it seems within reason, which the Note8 seems to be.

MR ANSHEL SAG, an analyst at technology advisory firm Moor Insights and Strategy, noting that the S8+ sold considerably well.

"These are people who already want this device and tend not to be deterred by such increases in price, since they are already prepared to spend a lot to buy the phone," he added.

Some fans of the Note series here, though, have said that Note8's price has given them pause for upgrade. Bank officer Karen Lee, 52, who was waiting to upgrade from her Note 4 phone, said she is looking to get a cheaper phone after the Note8's specs and details were released. "It is quite expensive, even with contract. I usually pay about $700 for a new phone under contract," she said.

"I don't really use the phone a lot, anyway, just to play some games and watch videos. So it'll be quite a waste to pay so much for something I won't make full use of."

But public servant Eddeham Rahman, 30, said he doesn't mind paying for a smartphone which essentially replaces his laptop, adding that he likes the phone's upgraded camera as well.

"It seems logical to have a device that can do everything - send e-mail, messages, play games, and take almost DSLR-like photos with the camera," he said.

The Note8 comes with the latest high-end specs as befitting a 2017 flagship. It features a 6.3-inch display - the largest in a Samsung phone to date - within a comfortable form factor due to Samsung's bezel-less infinity display design.

The smartphone is also the first such device from Samsung that hops on board the dual-camera trend, with two 12-megapixel cameras at its rear that come with optical image stabilisation.

Its high price tag marks the latest in rising prices for flagship smartphones over the years.

Its predecessor, the Note7, retailed at $1,168 - $200 cheaper than the Note8.

Samsung's S8 line of smartphones, released earlier this April, were priced at $1,148 and $1,298 for the S8 and S8+ respectively.

In comparison, the iPhone 7 Plus released last September started at $1,248 for the 32GB version, with the 128GB version selling at $1,418.

But die-hard fans and power users may be more than willing to overlook the phone's price-tag in favour of the specs and features it offers.

Mr Anshel Sag, an analyst at technology advisory firm Moor Insights and Strategy, noted that the Note8 is not "wildly more expensive than the S8+, and that phone sold considerably well".

"Business and enterprise users want the best and they are willing to pay the price for that if it seems within reason, which the Note8 seems to be," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2017, with the headline 'High price unlikely to put off buyers'. Print Edition | Subscribe