Shiny Galaxy Note 8 gets dual cameras, but plays it safe There's a lot riding on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8's glossy, curved shoulders, two rear cameras and digital S Pen stylus. The $950 Galaxy Note 8 has to wash away the bad taste of last year's battery-burning Note 7 double-recall. It has to outshoot every other phone with a set of dual cameras that's already out there. And finally, Samsung's highest-end phone needs to outshine the LG V30, Google Pixel 2 and iPhone 8, while also convincing buyers to choose it over the cheaper Galaxy S8 ($649.88 at Amazon Marketplace) and Galaxy S8 Plus ($699.95 at Amazon Marketplace). See what I mean? Tough work. From what I've seen of the Note 8 so far, it stands a fighting chance at doing all three. The phone itself satisfies all the requirements of today's modern, high-powered handset, with its bright, 6.3-inch screen, twin rear cameras with portrait mode, a top-of-the-line-processor, wireless charging and water resistance. There's also external storage and its S Pen stylus has a handful of new tricks you can use to write, draw and navigate the screen. And did I mention the headset jack? There's one of those, too. (Nudge, nudge, iPhone 7.) As the first new, (hopefully) safe Note since the Note 5 in 2015 -- remember, Samsung skipped the Note 6 name in favor of the Note 7 -- you'd expect the Note 8 to go big, silencing the naysayers and rewarding the fans. After all, Note buyers are the Samsung's biggest mobile cheerleaders, "the most energetic, engaged, loyal consumers," according to Justin Denison, a senior VP of product marketing and strategy at Samsung. Instead of splashing out, though, Samsung played it safe. The Note 8's battery is smaller than 2016's model, in part to keep from repeating last year's fatal mistake. There are also a lot of carry-overs from the Galaxy Note 7 and Galaxy S8 that keep the Note 8 from feeling truly fresh. For example, the S Pen stylus only adds a few more tricks, none of which will set off industry shockwaves. (They're still fun, though. More on that below.) And then there's the awkward placement of that fingerprint sensor. Sorry, rumor junkies, it hasn't moved under the screen after all. Why Samsung chose to replicate the worst design shortfall of its earlier phone is beyond me; the Note 8 is a large phone that'll have you stretching for the sensor. Or else you'll give up and use a different way to unlock the phone and green-light Samsung Pay. The twin rear cameras are the only major feature that's truly new, and they're a first for any Samsung phone. But dual cameras are now so common in high-end handsets that they've quickly become the norm. Samsung's implementation, however, is really promising, and it takes Apple's Portrait Mode to the next level. That's tentatively a notch in Samsung's belt. (And again, much more on this below.) I can't wait to fully test the Galaxy Note 8's new twin cameras, battery life and hidden tricks. At first glance, it's an attractive, fully featured device for power users who are looking for the ultimate in handheld computing. In a lot of ways, the Note 8 is the Galaxy Note 7 we should have had, but with a modern camera experience that promises something extra. There's just one final sticking point, and that's price. The Note series is typically Samsung's costliest phone, an expense that Samsung justifies with the most cutting-edge features and a heap of stylus tricks. This could work in Samsung's favor if the iPhone 8, Google Pixel 2 and LG V30 also cost a bundle. Or, the relatively high price could backfire if more buyers go for the Galaxy S8 Plus ($699.95 at Amazon Marketplace) instead. Sure, the S8 Plus has only one rear camera and no stylus, but it's otherwise about the same, for a little less cash. Read on for a breakdown of the Galaxy Note 8's specs, and photo-taking capabilities and S Pen features. For a full comparison with today's top phones, skip to the end. And remember, our final verdict on whether the Note 8 is worth the price will come after we've received a review unit and had a chance to fully test the phone. Link: https://www.cnet.com/products/samsung-galaxy-note-8-phone-first-look/ The full article includes several videos, too; thankfully, they do not auto play for me on my tablet.