Samsung Galaxy Note8 ReviewSeptember 18, 2017
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The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Review will tell you today if this is the correct successor to the fatal, the explosive Galaxy Note 7, it’s The Galaxy Note 8. Samsung’s latest note looks to right all the wrongs made the previous Note phone. Bixby is here as well as the S Pen.
It’s here folks, the successor to the fatal, the explosive Galaxy Note 7, it’s The Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Samsung’s latest note looks to right all the wrongs made the previous Note phone. How does it fair, let’s find out.
First off, let’s address the biggest issue, exploding phones. Samsung has remediated that with S8 and S8+ and continued that with then Note 8. Samsung has overhauled the battery process and no more phones should explode, in theory. We shall see how that goes. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get into the specs quickly. The Note 8 is an impressive phone with equally impressive specs.
Starting with the beautiful 6.3 Quad HD+ Super AMOLED ‘Infinity Display’ . This screen is absolutely big, beautiful and bright. The best screen I’ve seen on a device. CPU Wise, it has the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor for North America, for the rest of the world, its uses the Exynos 8895. It comes loaded with 6GB of RAM. The base model is 64 GB of internal storage which can be expanded of course via the SD card slot. The battery is 3300mAh, which if smaller than the note 7 and understandably so. Samsung has taken every precaution not to replicate the failures of the note 7. Dual 12MP camera on the rear and 8mp front facing camera. More on the camera a little later. Of course the phone and S pen are IP68, water and dust resistant. It comes loaded with a tweaked version of Android 7.1.1 OS.
Build and Body
First off, let’s talk about the build and body of the phone. The Note8 definitely rocks a sexy frame and has some curves to boot. Of course I’m talking about the dual curves screens which are definitely not as dramatic as previous generation galaxy phones, and that’s a good thing. The All glass body looks and feels great in your hands; although it does feel very slippery and delicate in your hands forcing you to be very careful handling the device. The phone is a little heavy weighing in at 195 grams or 6.9 oz. Quick tour around the phone. On the top you have the slot for SD card. On the right side is the power, which if double tapped, launches the camera. On the bottom, you have the S Pen slot, the single speaker, microphone, USB Type C port, and the headphone jack. On the left side you have the volume rocker and Bixby button. On the back of the phone, we have the dual 12 MP cameras. One is the wide angle with F1.7 aperture, the other is Telephoto camera with F2.4 aperture. Both have Optical Image Stabilization to help eliminate blurry pictures and video. Next to that is the LED flash and the pulse oximeter, for measuring how much oxygen is in your blood. And last but not least is the fingerprint sensor. Now the fingerprint sensor is of course in an awkward place and it definitely takes some getting used to. But surprisingly, it is very responsive and works really well once you get used to the placement, I do miss having the sensor on the front of the phone. That way I don’t have to pick up the phone to unlock it. Speaking of the front, it’s equipped with an 8 MP camera with a F1.7 aperture. And there are a bevy of sensors located at top of screen which I won’t go into.
As mentioned before, the phone runs a customized version of Android 7.1.1. Without going over every feature, there are a few things to note. The physical home button is gone and replaced with a virtual button. Long pressing the button, which give you haptic feedback, will take you to the home screen. Also removed are the physical recent apps and back buttons, replaced by their virtual counterparts. While in an application, the navigation bar is present at the bottom of the screen which includes all the previous mentioned buttons as well as a little black dot. Double clicking the dot will remove the navigation bar. But don’t worry; swiping up from the bottom of screen will magically make it re-appear. Double tapping the little back dot will make the navigation bar permanently visible again. While the navigation bar is hidden or have an application active, long pressing on the screen where the home button would be will take you the home screen.
Samsung Edge UX is back and it has learned a new trick, App Pair. This allows you to create a shortcut to two apps, pair them together, and when clicked, it launches both apps in split screen view. This is excellent for multitasking and is sure to provide some useful and interesting app pairs.
Bixby Bixby Bixby – You know, Samsung’s supposed answer to Google Assistant and Siri? Well, she’s of course included with the Note 8. Just right off top, Bixby has a lot of learning to do to become a replacement for those assistants. I found Bixby to be very temperamental and she just flat out ignored me often, sounds familiar? Even when she was awakened by my voice, she didn’t understand my commands. When she finally understood me, she was able to do things that other assistants couldn’t do. For example, I could tell Bixby to install Uber App and she will launch the Play store, find the app and proceed to install it, very cool indeed.
Now let’s talk about what makes the Note special, the S Pen. Spec wise, its carries the same specs as the Note 7’s pen. 4096 level pressure sensor. The nib, the tip of the pen, is also 0.7 mm thick. What’s special about the S Pen are the things it can do. The best feature by far is Screen off memo. When your phone is locked, simply eject the S pen from the phone and the mode is activated; allowing you to take notes right on the screen without ever having to unlock the phone. You now can save up to 100 pages of notes in this mode.
A completely new S Pen feature is Live Messages. Live messages aims to add more fun to boring text messages by allowing you to create little animated messages and send them to anyone in gif format. The new feature works very well and is a welcomed addition. I noticed that Live Messages work well with the stock messaging app and not so well with third party apps. It tends to get stuck when trying to send a live message while trying to composing a text message. And when it does attach, the recipient is sent a link to the gif. It’s a little weird and off-putting and hopefully Samsung can fix this.
This is Samsung’s first phone that features a dual camera setup. It has a 12 megapixel telephoto sensor and another 12 megapixel wide angle sensor. The Note 8 will switch between both cameras automatically adjusting for the best shot possible. Now this takes the flexibility out of your hands, unlike the LG V30 which gives you control to switch between the cameras. So that’s a factor you need to take into consideration for your photography exploits. Another new feature for Samsung phones is Live Focus, which basically allows you to add bokeh effect to your photos. Live Focus will works best in bright light and it easy to use. Simply stand about 4 feet away from the foreground target, point camera, select Live focus and shoot. You can either adjust the bokeh effect pre or post taking the picture. And it works as planned. Pictures taken on the device look phenomenal. Thanks to the duel cameras, even photos taken in low light situations have amazing detail.
Samsung has packed the Note with the latest hardware and it shows when handling the device. The Snapdragon 835 and the 6 GB of RAM definitely makes the device snappy and responsive. Scrolling through webpages, pinching to zoom in and out, switching applications, all felt very responsive. 6.3 inches, yes, that’s the size of the screen and it is very big and beautiful. This is the best screen I have ever seen on a device. Colors and images pop on the screen making it very pleasant for viewing. By default, the resolution is set to 2220 x1080 (FHD+). The resolution can be maxed out at 2960×1440 (WQHD+). Ironically, Netflix’s streaming service will stream 4K HDR to the Galaxy Note 8. Yes folks, you can get 4K HDR streaming on your mobile device. That should make for some enjoyable viewing on the go.
Last but certainly not least, let’s address the battery. Samsung has gone out of its way to completely overhaul the battery process this time around by improving the QA process and implementing an 8 point battery safety check test to remedy the debacle that was the Galaxy Note 7. The battery in the Note 8 is even smaller than the battery in the Note 7. So far in my testing, the phone has not blown up. Now that we have taken care of the elephant in the room, let’s see how this battery handles. During my testing, I was able to get a full days use once the battery is fully charged in the morning. Despite having a smaller battery, bigger brighter screen and more sensors, the battery holds up very well. Thankfully Samsung was able to address the battery issue and not sacrifice battery life.
The Galaxy Note 8 is truly a great phone, but who is it for? It is true that the Note 8 is for a niche market but there is no denying that if you want one of the best devices on the market, then this should be a strong contender if you’re in the market for new device. One obvious question is how does it compare to the S8+. Both have the Snapdragon 835 and 64 GB of internal storage. But what separates the note 8 is more RAM (6Gb vs 4Gb), slightly larger screen and of course the S Pen is the X factor. The addition of the S Pen is a huge deal if you take full advantage of it, giving you the ability to take notes on your phone without unlocking it. If money is not a concern for you and you enjoy having the latest and greatest tech, then the Note 8 is for you. At $200 cheaper, it’s hard to argue against settling for the S8+ if the S Pen doesn’t tickle your fancy. Either way, Samsung has a device that will compete against any of the top handsets on the market.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Photos