Pre-orders of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd’s (SSNLF) new flagship Galaxy Note 8 premium smartphone have hit record levels, exceeding those for its predecessor, the Note 7, over five days by about 2.5 times.

At a media event, reported on by Reuters, DJ Koh, president of Samsung Electronics’ mobile communications business, told journalists that pre-orders of Note 8 handsets had already reached about 650,000 across 40 countries since it went on sale five days ago. Those impressive figures, described by Koh as “very encouraging,” represent the highest pre-order numbers yet for the Note Series.

“The 395,000 units sold on the first day of pre-orders is a higher-than-expected figure,” Koh told a media event on Tuesday, according to the Financial Times. “The figures for the first five days show that pre-orders [for the Note 8] are about 2.5 times those of the Note 7 last year.”

The Note 8 officially goes on sale in the United States, South Korea and elsewhere on Friday, days after Samsung’s fierce rival Apple Inc. (AAPL) rolls out its new flagship iPhone. The two high-end handsets are set to battle it out for smartphone supremacy — the Note 8 costs between $930 to $960 while the new iPhone is expected to retail from $1,000. (See also: Major iPhone 8 Leak Confirms 11 New Features.)

High early demand for the Note 8 will please Samsung investors, some of whom had grown concerned about competition from Apple and a potential backlash following last year’s safety debacle. The South Korean giant’s last major offering, the Note 7, was quickly pulled off the market after it emerged that batteries in the devices were self-combusting.

Despite this major hurdle, Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone maker by market share, opted to retain the "Note" brand name. Koh claims that this decision was made after company executives ran a survey showing that 85 percent of 5,000 Galaxy Note users expressed brand loyalty. (See also: Samsung and Apple: Closer Than You Think.)

Kim Young-woo, analyst at SK Securities, predicts that Samsung will sell about 10 million of its new smartphones this year, according to the Financial Times. “There is some pent-up demand for the Note 8 with the stylus and larger screen,” he said. “It is important for Samsung to satisfy Note 8 customers, who are the company’s most loyal fans.”

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