Hold the phone: the Samsung Note8 is coming

11 September 2017 - 10:01 By CRAIG WILSON
The Samsung Note8.
The Samsung Note8.
Image: Supplied

It's every manufacturer's nightmare: a product that gets to market only for a dangerous flaw to emerge, prompting a costly and reputation-damaging recall.

Replacements are rushed into production to salvage the line and meet orders, only for it to happen a second time.

That's precisely what happened to Samsung last year when some of its Galaxy Note 7 handsets caught fire due to a battery fault.

Between that crisis and the launch of the follow-up Note8 last month, the company has been mired in political controversy at home. But one wonders whether consumers care?

Consumers certainly cared about the Note7, and even non-Samsung users were made aware of it because of the enormous press the recall received, including announcements on airlines that forbade carrying the devices on board.

But Samsung's mea culpa has come across as sincere - it shouldered the blame instead of shifting it to battery manufacturers - and has repeatedly sought to atone from its misstep.

More importantly, perhaps, its subsequent devices have been outstanding. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ make the current iPhones (due to be updated mid-September) look antiquated. 

The Note 8 is a marvel of industrial design packed with leading-edge hardware and equally impressive software. And that's ultimately what matters to users.

Despite a price tag of R18,500, the Note 8 is likely to sell extremely well when it goes on sale in South Africa later this month.

Why? Because with its large 16cm display - the Note series pioneered the large-screen phones common today - and stylus-like S Pen, there's simply nothing quite like it on the market, and Note users are staggeringly loyal. They've held out for two years for an update in a notoriously fickle market segment. Why should some unrest in the company put them off a device that's no less excellent for it?

• Craig Wilson is the editor of consumer technology publication Stuff magazine and a speaker and industry commentator.

This article was originally published in The Times.