Should you buy a Galaxy S8+ or wait for the Galaxy Note 8?

You can always wait for the next phone to come out — but should you?

For those who loved the Galaxy Note 7, there's been a void in their pocket since late 2016. Many Note fans think of the phone as more than just another big-screened device — it's a special kind of device that can only be replaced by a newer, better Note. So without a Galaxy Note available, what do you use instead?

The launch event for the Galaxy Note 8 is quickly approaching, on August 23, but it still isn't here yet. If you need to buy a phone, the next-best thing for Samsung fans right now is the Galaxy S8+. Here's what Note fans should know about choosing to go with a Galaxy S8+ today, or potentially waiting to see what the Galaxy Note 8 offers.

What the Galaxy S8+ offers that Note fans will like

Since the Galaxy Note 8 isn't out yet, we have to look at what we do have: the Galaxy S8+. Since the Galaxy S6 edge+, Samsung has offered a larger version of its leading Galaxy S device that works as a stepping stone between the mainstream Galaxy S and the all-in power-user Galaxy Note — and the Galaxy S8+ is once again just that.

The Galaxy S8+ offers a lot of what Note fans have historically liked.

Those who bought a Galaxy Note in the past for its big screen and big battery won't be disappointed with the Galaxy S8+ in many respects. The super-tall 18.5:9 aspect ratio and tiny bezels let Samsung fit a really big 6.2-inch display in the GS8+, as well as a hefty 3500mAh battery. The GS8+ also has many of the physical design elements that actually debuted on the Note 7, like the more subtly curved display glass and symmetrical feel.

Coming from a previous Galaxy Note, you'll also feel right at home in the Galaxy S8+'s software — there won't be much of a learning curve in the interface, apps or services. You don't get the S Pen-specific software, of course, but everything else is here.

More: Where to buy the Galaxy S8+ in the U.S.

What the Galaxy Note 8 could do to make you wait

The tough part about this question is that we only have a limited set of leaked information and speculation to work off of right now. But based on the lineage of the Galaxy Note name and a handful of rumors, we can start to construct what a Galaxy Note 8 could be. Looking at the Galaxy S8 and S8+ and initial leaked images, there's a great chance that the Galaxy Note 8 will have the same tall, narrow and near-bezel-free "Infinity Display" of the Galaxy S8+ — but it will be even larger and perhaps a tad wider in proportion to give Note power users even more room to work and write.

Each year the Galaxy Note launch offers Samsung a chance to iterate on its hardware design in other ways, too. We're likely to see 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage offered in the Note 8, paired with the same Exynos or Snapdragon processor as the Galaxy S8+. All rumors point to the idea that the extra room in the Note 8's body let Samsung put dual cameras on the back, opening up possibilities for lossless zooming and depth of field effects.

As the one phone a year from Samsung with an S Pen stylus, we could be in store for new capabilities there as well. There's a good shout that Samsung could reduce the latency and increase pressure sensitivity this year, as it has done several times as its technology progresses. The S Pen-focused software will likely get a facelift, too, but we haven't seen any leaks of new features on the software front. Samsung has typically used the Note release to give the whole software experience a little refresh, but those features almost always make their way back to the latest Galaxy S phones as well.

Is it worth waiting?

This is a personal question, of course. You can always wait and see a newer, more exciting phone in the future — whether you're looking for a Galaxy Note 8 or any other phone. But that comes at the cost of actually having a phone in the time you'd be waiting.

If history is any indication, the Galaxy Note 8 should offer a bigger screen, improved internal specs and a few new software features when compared to the Galaxy S8+. It will of course have an S Pen, too — something no other phone can match, even from Samsung itself.

If you're a Note fan and you don't need a phone right this minute, I'd say you should wait and at least see what the Galaxy Note 8 has to offer. The announcement of the phone is less than a month away at this point — coming on August 23 — with retail availability just a week or two later. That's not very long to hold out. If the Galaxy Note 8 doesn't do it for you at that time, the Galaxy S8+ will still be on sale, and probably at a discount as well.

Update July 2017: Updated with the latest information from leaks about the Galaxy Note 8.

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