Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review

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After the crisis of last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note 7, Samsung is looking to redeem itself, and the verdict to proceed with the Note brand is a quite brave one. Will the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 be capable of rebuild the Note brand in a positive light and regain the belief of Samsung’s shoppers? And are there sufficient enhancements to make it the best contender in the 2nd half of 2017’s smartphone onslaught? Get all your questions answered in our article of Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review – Design

At the exterior, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 delivers a very acquainted design that we’ve gotten used to from Samsung over the past couple of years. Glass is the primary subject material of choice filling up all of the front and back and a sturdy metal frame wrapping around the fringe holds all of it together. Something that you’ll realize this is somewhat different from last yr’s Note 7 or the more current Samsung Galaxy S8 is that the frame is way more square and angular. Even the dual curved display is less pronounced this time around.

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As an alternative of an entirely comfortable taper between the glass and metal all of the way around, the Galaxy Note 8 has a much more distinct separation between the glass and metal and the edges are a lot flatter, giving a phone that’s slippery a lot more grip. After all, the biggest problem with any phone made predominantly of glass or any glossy materials is how vulnerable it’s to fingerprints. Relying on the color, it can be more or less visible. However, you’ll still wish to keep a cleaning material handy if you need your phone looking pristine all the time.

The only other significant beauty design change is that the camera housing at the back is black instead of color matched with the body of the phone. On the black model it blends in seamlessly, however on every other color, you’ll get a visor-like look which appears cool to my eyes. However, it’s a design choice that no longer everyone is going to love.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review – Display

The infinity display that was once first introduced with the Galaxy S8 has made its way over to the Note 8. This implies super skinny bezels on either side and a screen that takes up nearly the entire front. The thinner bezels allow Samsung to fit on the biggest screen we’ve ever seen on a Galaxy Note.

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Measuring in at 6.3 inches however with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio, the screen is way taller than it’s wide and in comparison to last yr’s Note 7 or the Fan Edition, the dimensions difference is most noticeable in height while the alternate in width is nearly undetectable by feel. The added height does make the phone fairly tall. However, it doesn’t feel any less manageable or harder to operate than any other giant screen Android phone currently available.

The screen is the standard Samsung Super AMOLED technology that brings all of the typical traits that we’ve observed on previous Samsung phones akin to vibrant colors, extreme contrast, and dark blacks. With a QHD+ (2,960 x 1,440) resolution, it’s incredibly sharp, however, to benefit from the display to its fullest possible, you’ll have to modify the screen resolution in the settings because of the phone defaults to 1080p the same way the Galaxy S8 does.

The Note 8’s display overall is lovely, and the massive size is implausible for a wide variety of use cases such as watching YouTube videos, playing games, casual internet surfing, and productivity. It’s also vibrant enough that viewing the screen conveniently outdoors is a non-issue.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review – Software

The Galaxy Note line has at all times introduced a rather tweaked version of the software discovered in the Galaxy S flagship, and with the Galaxy Note 8, the experience is largely the same as that of the Galaxy S8 with a few elementary changes. The ultimate productivity device brings the now-familiar S Pen menu that pops up every time you detach the pen (or when you click on the button while hovering over the screen). With it comes a refinement in the features of Samsung’s stylus.

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There’s no longer a lot new with the S Pen this yr, with Samsung as an alternative choosing to listen to user feedback and only tweak a few features. The helpful translate feature just got a lot more useful with the ability to now translate complete sentences, while you could only translate individual words before. The Galaxy Note 8 also comes with the Pen Up coloring-in app preloaded, which provides access to a group of millions of Galaxy Note users around the world and lots of useful presets so that you can color in and create with.

The S Pen also has some handy productivity features, and last yr’s Display Off Memo has been improved so that you’re now able to jot down up to 100 pages of notes. You’ll be able to edit them and pin them to the Always On Display, which is, without doubt, one of the fastest ways to write down something when you’re in a hurry.

The most important new feature is Live Message, which helps you to record the pen strokes of noting a short message, and then turning it into an animated GIF. Added results like flickers and neon lighting upload more flair and the effect are enjoyable GIFs that you’ll be able to send to friends and anyone else. It’s no longer exactly productive. However, it’s fun and sensible and lets you add character to your day-to-day communication.

Samsung is hoping the Galaxy Note 8 is the very best multitasking tool and the new App Pairing function allows you to take complete benefit of the massive screen. This permits you to pair two apps in combination and saves the shortcut on your Apps Edge or the home screen; when pressed, each app opens together in Multi Window. Imagine a shortcut to let you open the calendar and Gmail together for increased productivity or Facebook and WhatsApp messenger for constant conversation. App Pairing is superb for those who regularly find your self-switching between apps and is a refined but clever addition.

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Bixby works splendidly for doing phone-related tasks corresponding to converting the screen brightness or having the phone download an app from the Play Store for you, however for factual or Web-related questions the experience can still be hit and miss. Most occasions it’s purely due to Bixby suffering to understand your every word to formulate a reaction appropriately.

When it works, Bixby is incredible, and Samsung has it going in the fitting course. However, it still wishes some sharpening. The bright side is that you’ve Google Assistant to fill in the place Bixby falls short, permitting you to get the most efficient of both worlds.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review – Hardware And Performance

The Galaxy Note 8 checks all the right boxes relating to 2017 flagship specifications. There’s a Snapdragon 835 operating the show. However, this yr Samsung has bumped up the RAM to 6 GB. It’s not the first time we’ve observed Samsung put 6 GB of RAM on the phone however it’s the first time that it isn’t on a regional exclusive. The rise in RAM is a welcome change particularly for a device that’s intended to be a productivity/multimedia powerhouse, and it without a doubt is helping the multitasking experience feel a lot smoother.

The standard everyday experience akin to swiping and scrolling thru menus, internet surfing and jumping in and out of apps is also fairly smooth, and the Snapdragon 835 does an excellent task of dealing with more serious duties such as playing high-end games with very smooth frame rates.

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We can’t talk concerning the Note 8 without citing the S Pen, after all, this is the hallmark function that defines the Galaxy Note line. The actual of the S Pen itself stays almost similar to last year. It features the similar clickable top, a 0.7 mm ballpoint-sized tip, and over 4,000 levels of pressure sensitivity. The numerous adjustments to the S Pen are really within the accompanying software features which we will be able to dive into in the software portion of the review.

Other at the Note 8 contains just about the whole thing that you’d need except for the kitchen sink. There’s a microSD card slot for added storage should you wish to have more than what the smartphone offers internally.

Fast wireless charging feature, Bluetooth 5 and Gigabit LTE support are all on board, and an IP68 certification approaches its dust and water-resistant and will withstand submersion in as much as 1.5 meters for 30 minutes.

For external audio, the Note 8 doesn’t be offering anything special, and this has been a weak point of a lot of Samsung smartphones through the years. The Note 8 comes with a single bottom-firing speaker that is briefly muffled by your palm when holding the phone in landscape position and the sound quality can sound distorted at max volume. It’s without a doubt a serviceable speaker. However audio is an area that Samsung doesn’t put an excessive amount of emphasis on making improvements to. For those who require more out of their smartphone audio, consider the LG V30 or the HTC U11.

The other disappointing part of the Samsung Galaxy Note s is the position of the fingerprint sensor. It nonetheless sits at the back to the side of the camera which isn’t probably the most ergonomic location, however, at least Samsung did make some enhancements to it that makes this one unusually better to use than the one discovered on the S8.

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The fingerprint sensor is now rather more recessed making it more straightforward to search out by feel, and Samsung readjusted the camera flash and heart rate sensor to sit in between the cameras and fingerprint sensor providing you with more room for error when reaching for the fingerprint sensor.

Those minor adjustments make a large difference as smudging the camera lenses is a much rarer incidence. However while Samsung’s modifications to the fingerprint sensor are favored, its location still desperately needs to modify to a friendlier position.

In case you’re still no longer a fan of the fingerprint sensor, Samsung’s alternative unlocking strategies such as facial identification and the iris scanner unlock are available. While I favor the fingerprint sensor as my primary method of unlocking the Galaxy Note 8, the iris scanner unlock and facial identification is just as reliable relating to accuracy.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review – Camera

One of the most more drastic changes to the Note 8 this yr is the addition of dual cameras at the back, a function that is becoming more and more popular on phones.

It was only a hinge of time before the Samsung jumped on the bandwagon and so they couldn’t have picked a perfect phone on which to do it. The Galaxy Note 8 camera makes use of a wide angle, and telephoto lens setup very similar to the Apple iPhone 7 Plus or the OnePlus 5 and the secondary telephoto lens permits the Galaxy Note 8 to achieve 2X optical zoom.

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Each sensor is 12 MP with a f/1.7 aperture on the primary sensor and f/2.4 on the secondary. However, Samsung’s super fast dual pixel autofocus is only available with the primary camera. Each sensor feature optical image stabilization, which is a first for any smartphone using dual cameras and promises that all your pictures and videos are optically stabilized regardless of which lens you decide to use.

While the facility to instantly zoom in by 2X is available in the viewfinder all the time, the caveat is it isn’t always optimal. If the camera detects that the lighting scenario isn’t optimal, the camera won’t switch lenses. This behavior is intentional though because the camera software decides that sometimes better effects can also be accomplished thru the primary sensor. Different phones just like the iPhone 7 Plus and OnePlus 5 react the similar manner.

Apart from optical zoom, the secondary sensor is being leveraged to create a depth effect or bokeh that we’ve observed from many smartphones using dual cameras. Samsung is calling their tackle it “Live Focus” because it lets you modify the background blur before you take the shot and changes can also be made after the fact as smartly.

The best part of the Live Focus mode is the facility to dual capture. Which means that an image is simultaneously obtained from both the wide and telephoto lens by a single press of the click button, thus, saving you the trouble of switching back and forth between lenses when you need to capture two focal lengths of the same subject.

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The optical image stabilization together with the fast dual pixel autofocus makes it simple to capture pictures with tack sharp focus in a reliable fashion. This also allows for pictures in low light to deal with plenty of detail and the camera’s dynamic range prevents highlights in night time surroundings from being overblown. It’s only in the worst of low light situations that noise starts to be noticeable, however, for the most part, Samsung’s image processing assists in keeping the pictures relatively clean.

At the front of the Note 8, there’s an 8 MP front-facing shooter that gives Samsung’s smart autofocus for sharper and clearer selfies. However, Samsung’s softening at times can also be aggressive causing an excessive amount of detail in the face to be lost.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review – Battery Life

My biggest concern and most probably a primary concern of many during the Galaxy Note 8’s official announcement was how long will this phone last on a single charge. It has a 3,300 mAh cell which using 2017 standards is certainly not small however is lower than what we’d have anticipated for a phone with such powerful specifications and large 6.3-inch QHD+ display.

In my experience, battery life on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has been far better than expected. Display-on time is typically around the five-hour mark with anywhere between 15 to 18 hours off the charger allowing me to get thru a complete day very easily.

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By no means am I a light user regarding smartphones either. Together with the usual social media, emails, and internet surfing, I play video games and watch YouTube videos for several hours per day, and the Note 8 has managed to fulfill my needs satisfactorily. This used to be also all while working the screen at QHD+ resolution which didn’t seem to make as much of an impact on the battery life as I might’ve thought.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review – Specifications

Samsung Galaxy Note 8
  • Display: 6.3-inch Quad-HD Super AMOLED display with 1440 x 2960 pixels resolution at 521 ppi (pixels per inch)
  • Processor: Exynos 8895 Octa – EMEA/ Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835 – USA & China
  • RAM: 6 GB RAM
  • Storage Options: 64/128/256 GB internal storage
  • Read Camera: 12 MP wide-angle AF Dual Pixel sensor with ƒ/1.7 aperture, OIS + 12 MP telephoto AF sensor with ƒ/2.4 aperture, OIS
  • Front Camera: 8 MP AF sensor with ƒ/1.7 aperture
  • Battery Type: Non-removable 3300 mAh battery/ Fast charging on wired and wireless/ WPC and PMA wireless charging
  • OS: Android Nougat 7.1.1 OS
  • Water Resistant: IP68 dust and water resistance
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5 GHz), Bluetooth v5.0, ANT+, USB Type-C, NFC, MST
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Heart Rate Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor, Iris Sensor, Pressure Sensor
  • Dimensions: 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm, 195 g

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review – Conclusion

There isn’t a whole lot essentially wrong with the Galaxy Note 8 and save for a few minor issues just like the fingerprint sensor placement; the Note 8 provides enough firepower to meet Note users old and new. The experience that the Note 8 provides is implausible, however, despite how good the Note 8 is, most of the people including the most die-hard of Note fans will most likely find the price this yr to be incredibly hard to stomach. It’s the costliest Galaxy Note we’ve seen up to now with a starting price of $930 for the unlocked base model and can run as high as $960 via U.S. carriers and €999 in Europe.

The Galaxy Note is always probably the most exciting smartphone releases every year and even more so this yr just because we were undecided if there would even be another Galaxy Note after last yr’s disaster. The Note 8 is as exciting of a phone as many of us, including me, anticipated it to be but Samsung would possibly have fizzled some of that excitement with its hefty price tag. In case you buy one will you regret it? Perhaps not, but you’ll have to consider carefully about shedding that amount of money before you do.

Read More: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus Review

9.5 Total Score
What Compsmag Says

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 takes everything that was great about last year's Note7 and simply improves upon it in all the right ways but with a bigger Galaxy Note came a bigger price and consumers may have to contemplate even harder before pulling the trigger this time around.

Design
9
Display
10
Software
9.5
Hardware and Performance
9.5
Camera
9.5
Battery Life
9
Price
9
PROS
  • Premium glass and metal build
  • Gorgeous and large display
  • Improved S Pen features
  • Excellent camera quality
  • microSD expansion
  • IP68 certified
  • Fluid performance
CONS
  • Most expensive Galaxy Note to date
  • Phone is very tall
  • Fingerprint sensor still awkwardly located
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