Everything Samsung fans could wish for and so much more with Galaxy Note 8
This time last year we were singing the praises of the fantastic, larger-than-life Galaxy Note 7. We awarded it top honours and, were it not for the small matter of a worldwide recall – following the emergence of a potentially dangerous battery flaw – we’d probably still be recommending it now. The good news for phablet fans is that its successor, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is finally here. You can bet that Samsung has fixed the battery problem, but that’s not the only thing that’s been upgraded.
(Expandeble upto 256GB)
12MP+12 MP Dual lens Primary Camera, 8 MP Front Camera
6.3 inches 1440 x 2960 pixels
Octa Core (Quad Core x 2.3 GHz + Quad Core x 1.7 GHz)
Non-removable Li-Ion 3300 mAh Battery
3G /4G Finger print sensor Wireless charging
Dual SIM /Nano SIM GPRS WIFI
Bluetooth VoLTE Secondary Camera
AMOLED Display Gorilla Glass 5 OTG Supported
Expected Price: 64,990
Taking its design blueprint from Samsung’s beautiful S8, the Note 8 is a simply stunning smartphone.
With a display that curves subtly around both sides of the device, and with almost invisible bezels, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything that looks quite this good.
The rear of the Note 8 is also covered in glass and Samsung has even managed to rid the device of a camera bump which all adds to its premium look and feel.
Due to Samsung’s incredibly clever design the Note 8 fits its immense 6.3-inch display into a device that’s only marginally bigger than Apple’s 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus.
It’s intelligent stuff from Samsung but you should still be warned that, despite this space-saving design, the Note 8 is still a very big phone and it’s certainly noticeable when squeezed inside your pocket.
Although there’s plenty to love about the Note 8’s design it does come with one irritating issue.
This latest device has followed the S8 with its frustrating placement of the fingerprint scanner.
And, because the Note 8 is so much bigger, attempting to reach it on the rear case becomes even more tricky.
Samsung has also popped this vital sensor right next to the camera which often leaves a mucky mess all over the lens.
However, even with the fingerprint niggles there’s no doubting that the Note 8 is a truly glorious phone and there’s very little, if anything, out there that comes anywhere close for sheer style.
At 2960 x 1440 pixels (‘WQHD+’, 522ppi), the 6.3-inch panel certainly isn’t left wanting when it comes to resolution. Trouble is, you’ll rarely see that many pixels being put to good use. In its default ‘optimised’ power state, the Galaxy Note 8 only renders apps and photos at 2220 x 1080 pixels (‘FHD+’, 392ppi), and 1480 x 720 pixels (‘HD+’, 261ppi) when in power-saving mode. It’s only when you switch on Performance mode, to the detriment of battery life, that the Note 8 actually fires on all cylinders and pixels.
As always, this year’s Note takes major inspiration from the Galaxy S8s that launched earlier in the year. What’s interesting is how subtly different they feel despite all those similarities. The physical differences between the Galaxy Note 8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus are minute; the former is just a hair larger than the latter in every dimension. Still, Samsung’s new Note feels denser, and a little more… masculine. It’s slightly heavier, and the Note 8’s curved glass front and back come together in a way that makes the metal frame separating them feel more prominent. They’re subtle changes, to be sure, but they’re enough to make the Note 8 feel a little sturdier. These tweaks won’t mean much for some of you, though. While the Note 8 is surprisingly narrow and manageable for its size, it’s still a big phone that some smaller-handed people will struggle with.
The Galaxy Note 8 runs a highly tweaked version of Android 7.1.1, but that’s no surprise. Aside from a handful of new add-ons, the software here is a dead ringer for what we got on the Galaxy S8 line. I’d argue that’s a good thing: Samsung polished up its custom interface dramatically this year, and it finally feels mature and well thought out. It will still be way, way too much for Android purists, but I’ve surprised myself by sometimes missing Samsung’s tweaks when I test other devices. (File that under: “Sentences I never thought I’d write.”)
I won’t call out every feature carried over from the S8 family, but it’s worth going over the highlights. Since there’s just no room for it, Samsung ditched the physical home button for a virtual one that you press on the screen; you’ll get a little jolt of haptic feedback to let you know you’ve done it right. Right of the box, the virtual home key takes just a little too much pressure to actuate, but it’s easy to fix this in settings. The old-school launcher button is gone too, so you’ll have to swipe up or down on a home screen to see all of your installed apps. More important, actually managing those apps is a lot easier. Long-pressing an app brings up a menu with options to quickly clear its notification badges, disable it or uninstall it entirely. It’s a minor touch, sure, but it makes wrangling ornery apps radically simpler.
The Note 8 also packs a few relatively new interface tricks that S8 owners got in a software update over the summer. See that little dot near the on-screen navigation keys? A quick double tap on that forces the navigation bar to hide off-screen; it takes a swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring it back. It’s been handy for moments when I really wanted my apps to use every pixel of this enormous screen, but in general, I like my nav keys where I can see them. And since some apps don’t natively play nice with this long screen, the Note 8 will sometimes display a button you can “tap to fill the entire screen” to force things to fit.
Samsung’s Edge UX is back too, and as usual, it offers access to app shortcuts, favorite contacts, device maintenance tools and more. This is where you’ll find one of the few new additions to the mix: App Pair. The concept is simple: You can create a shortcut to two apps, and with a tap they’ll both launch in split-screen windows. There’s a little fun to be had in finding neat combinations of apps that work well together — I’m a fan of Spotify and Genius for lyrics running side by side — but it’s a moot point for people who never do any multi-window multitasking. Nice try, though.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – S Pen
The third big improvement is less conspicuous, but still potentially useful. Samsung’s S Pen stylus – the handy pointing device which inspires the Note’s name – can now be used to jot things down even with the screen off, for the ultimate in quick-and-dirty note-taking.
Handwriting and doodles can also now be automatically converted into text and emoji, and you can hover the S Pen over online text for translation and currency conversions, but the note-taking app still lacks the facility to record audio at the same time as your jottings.
BATTERY AND PERFORMANCE
Under the glass casing you’ll find some pretty tasty specs with the Note 8 featuring a very quick octa-core 10nm processor.
This is the same set of brains that power the S8 and they certainly offer a slick experience.
During our time with the Galaxy Note 8 we’ve not found any performance issues although a recent test by Everything ApplePro did show Samsung’s latest phone still struggles against Apple’s iPhone in a straight app speed test.
Along with its excellent processor the Note 8 also features a huge 3,300mAh battery that can be charged wirelessly – although sadly there’s no charging dock in the box and buying one will set you back an extra £30.
Luckily, battery performance is good with the Note 8 surviving our gruelling Star Wars trilogy test with 68 per cent still in the tank after the six hour movie marathon.
During our general usage test the Note managed to get through an average day without needing a charge but don’t expect to head away for weekend without it needing a refill.
Samsung is also boasting the the new Note 8 is Gigabit LTE ready which will allow it to download files at ultra-fast speeds – this is dependent, however, on your mobile operator having the ability to supply those speeds in the first place.
Finally the Note 8 is water resistant and includes a pair of ear-pleasing AKG headphones in the box and, unlike Apple’s iPhone, Samsung hasn’t ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – Camera
The Note 8 gets a second rear-facing camera, presumably to differentiate it more from the Galaxy S8+. The main camera is a 12MP sensor behind a wide-angle, f/1.7 lens. The second is another 12MP sensor behind a zoomed lens that provides 2x optical zoom behind a f/2.4 aperture.
The main camera is excellent, producing clear, detailed and colourful shots that are beyond Instagram-worthy. There are loads of modes to choose from, and there’s even a Pro mode for adjusting settings such as shutter speed to your exact liking. It has optical image stabilisation (OIS) and it’s exceptionally rare for any photo to be unusable because of motion blur.
The front-facing camera is another success, producing natural shots with plenty of detail and a lens wide enough comfortably fit more than three people in the frame.
There’s no question the Note 8 is one of the best phones Samsung has ever created.
It’s fast, powerful and has one of the best screens we’ve ever seen on a smartphone.
Samsung’s clever bezel-free design also means that, despite its giant 6.3-inch screen, the overall dimensions aren’t that much larger than the iPhone 7 Plus.
Along with its design and stunning screen the camera is incredible and could easily take the crown of the best smartphone snapper of 2017.
The S Pen improvements also make this digital stylus even more useful and accurate to use.