The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is a no-brainer. It takes the Galaxy S8, the best phone of the year to date, and adds two cameras, a better screen and the popular S Pen Pen. It elegantly fills the shoes of note 7 that are very missing and is certainly the best phone for creative types – but only those for whom the price is not an object. That’s because, at $ 930 for the T-Mobile model we’ve been looking at, the Galaxy Note 8 is currently the most expensive flagship phone in the United States.
Prices and design
According to your operator, the Galaxy Note 8 is about $ 100 more than the Galaxy S8 +. That’s $ 31.67 per month over 30 months on AT & T ($ 950), $ 40 per month over 24 months on Sprint ($ 960), $ 930 on T-Mobile, or $ 40 per month over 24 months on Verizon ($ 960). An unlocked model is $ 929.
Physically, the Galaxy Note 8 looks and feels like a larger Galaxy S8 (or, more precisely, an S8 +). His body is smooth, strong and round. The screen has a very narrow glass Galaxy S8, with a slight slope on the back that recalls the note 5. The phone feels absolutely premium, and it comes in black and gray in the United States. I’m a bit worried about sustainability, but not more than with the S8 or current iPhones.
Note 8 has both a USB-C port and a headphone jack. It is compatible with the Samsung Dex desktop dock that turns the phone into a desktop computer. But it is too big to work with the current Gear VR headset if you want to do virtual reality. Samsung has a compatible model available from September 15 for $ 129.99.
The 6,3-inch screen of 2,960 x 1,440 has an area of 15.63 square inches, larger than with other competing screens. The Galaxy S8 + a 15.12, the LG V30 was 14.4, the Galaxy Note 5 was 13.88, and the iPhone 7 Plus has only 12.92. And yet, the tone 8 does not seem big, because it is big, narrow and almost without glasses. At 6.38 of 2.95 by 0.34 inches (HBD) and 6.88 ounces, it is narrower, though larger and heavier than the Note 5, and this width helps in your hand.
Ray Soneira from DisplayMate Technologies tested the screen of note 8 and found it even better than the S8. It is 22% brighter, with peak brightness of more than 1,200 nits and a very wide range of colors. Although I can not see these improvements with the naked eye, the screen is positively beautiful.
In the box, you get a lot of accessories: AKG headphones, two different USB adapters and different S Pen springs.
Samsung is very conservative on the battery of note 8. Neither the battery nor the battery life are particularly large. We understand why Samsung does this: it was known that Note 7 exploded.
With the display settings fully mounted, streaming from a video on LTE, we managed six hours of usage time. This is not great, and it will be better if you lower the screen resolution or brightness. With a reduced screen of 1080p we had 10 hours of use, a much better result.
Samsung estimates at about 22 hours mixed usage at the maximum settings, rising to 27 hours with a lower screen resolution and the permanent display setting enabled. That said, without the removable battery that the Note-line had, we would have liked a cell larger than 3300 mAh, but of course of course. At least fast charging and wireless charging are both supported.
Samsung has also introduced new battery testing procedures to ensure that Note 8 batteries are safe. We have seen some of them during a trip to Korea for the launch of the Galaxy S8, but I think the best proof of these procedures is the success of the S8 and S8 +. Both phones have been popular; nobody had problems in this respect. We believe that Samsung can safely transfer the Note 7 situation.
Did you come to Note 8 for the S Pen? You will not be disappointed. The pin comes from a slot in the lower right corner of the phone and has a new thinner point of 0.7 mm. As soon as you go out, you can start writing on the screen, a Samsung mode calls up Screen Off Memo. If you no longer have a screen, drag your text. it makes more virtual space for scribbling. I found the pen extremely accurate; when I tapped a grid of small dots, he did not miss one.
The S Pen is sufficiently developed to be supported by various classic drawing applications, such as Autodesk Sketchbook. It has also been supported for years by Microsoft Office applications so that you can scribble Office documents and send them to your colleagues. It’s really nice to be able to sign and send things without printing them, something that Apple has also promoted with the Pencil on its iPad Pro.
Live message is a fun new feature that can work around the lack of an email platform similar to iMessage. You can scribble things in a shimmering or sparkling script and they become GIF (widely visible) you can texter. On the basis of open standards, it is much better than the closed iMessage system, because everyone can see the resulting messages. Now Samsung has to add stickers and emoji to the live message.
Two other minor improvements: the PEN UP included application now contains coloring books, and you can use the S Pen to drag the text to create translations.
The company says that the Live Message app matching and other non-dependent software functionality of the pen is coming to the S8 and S8 + on the road, but is not tied to a schedule.
Processor and Android
The phone has 64 GB of storage capacity, of which 52.8 GB is free. You can insert a 256 GB microSD card with the SIM card. There is also 6 GB of RAM.
The basic processor platform in note 8 is the same as in the S8. It is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, with no new features, so it was compared to other Snapdragon devices 835. This is as good as Android phones are becoming at the time, of course, but it is sure to have been overtaken by the new iPhone at pure processing speed. One thing to note is that changing the screen resolution, which makes Samsung easy, changes the frame rates of the game. The transition from WQHD + to FHD + has pushed the frame rate to the screen of the game. GFXBench panning test from 13 to 23, while the frame renewal rate remained stable at 25.
The phone performs Android 7.1.1 with the usual Samsung skin. Eventually, there will be an Android Oreo update, but Samsung does not promise a specific date.
With a new feature in the Android skin from Samsung, you can enjoy the big screen. App Pairing is a collection of two apps that you can preset to start together by dragging from the edge of the screen. These applications are then started in the double window mode, one on each half of the screen. This way, for example, you can simultaneously connect your phone and calendar with a conference code. Other Samsung phones that support dual scanning and scanning on board can get this function in the future, according to the company.
The Bixby voice assistant from Samsung is getting better. Note 8 can activate Bixby if you say “Hello Bixby” and press a button on the left side of the phone. His problem is mind-disparaging: while I was using the phone, I kept asking “Ok Google” things by reflex, not Bixby. But Bixby can do just about anything that can do OK, as well as manage local settings and applications on the phone.
However, there are some quirks in Bixby. When I said “comment for myself,” he went to my notification settings instead of saving a note; I had to say ‘jot down’ instead. In addition, requesting a route to Google Maps has generated an error message. These problems will certainly be cleared up.
Radio and call quality
The Galaxy Note 8, like the Galaxy S8 +, has an excellent radio that receives a spectacular reception and call quality. One thing is missing: the new T-Mobile Band 71, which offers users extra national coverage (currently only in the next LG V30). That said, note 8 showed a much stronger signal on the T-Mobile network than an iPhone 7 that was used in the same location. The phone supports all gigabit LTE technologies to expand coverage and speed; he shares this now, only with the Moto Z2 Force and other new Samsung devices. As we have seen in our survey Fastest mobile networks, it makes a clear difference in speed.
The call quality is also excellent. It is crystal clear in the earmould and there is a powerful speaker with an extra volume option that sounds loud enough to be heard even on traffic noise. With Bluetooth 5.0, the phone can be paired with multiple headsets at the same time, or with headsets and speakers, while the standard headphone jack accepts wired headsets.
With the dual window function of the phone, you can make a tip if you spend a lot of time on conference calls: you can simultaneously view the calendar and the dialer so that you can see the meeting code you need.
You do not have to worry about the basics here. The camera of the Note 8, like the Galaxy S8 camera on which it is based, is fast, with good exposure and excellent performance in low light. The question is: what brings you the 2x optical zoom lens? Compared to the S8, it offers a clear improvement in sharpness, clarity and texture, and significantly reduces artefacts.
Both cameras have optical image stabilization, so the performance of the S8 in low light is so much better than, for example, that of the Essential Phone. The telephoto lens collects less light than the main target – is f / 2.4 as opposed to the main target ‘f / 1.7 – and you can see a little less sharpness in low light conditions. But it is a wash with the digital zoom loans of other phones.
If you have doubts about the double OIS, start the phone in video mode. By recording a 4K video with 2x zoom, there is a funny little delay in moving the camera, almost as if you were using a Steadicam – is the OIS in action. The video remains synchronized. there is no delay in registration.
You get the bokeh, which Samsung Live Focus calls, with stickers and a somewhat dubious visual search app called Bixby Vision. There is also panorama, slow motion and a manual pro mode. You can extend the viewfinder to fill the entire screen and turn the camera button into a floating button. This gives a real compelling feeling and a big screen.
The phone switches very quickly between 1x and 2x modes. The bokeh effects are excellent and you can even adjust the bokeh focus afterwards to create new JPG versions of the image with a different depth of focus.
I recently used the Galaxy S8, the Note 8 and the LG V30 and it is interesting to compare different approaches to a dual camera. Taking pictures of the children on a Morris dance, for example, I found that the wide-angle V30 encouraged me to see the entire scene in groups, while the cameras zoomed me to encourage me to focus on my own child. It is worth thinking about. In any case, I would choose the optional dual-angle wide-angle or telephoto compared to a dual purpose in black and white and color Essential (and Huawei), which does not seem to take advantage of recording.
Comparisons and conclusions
Note 8 is now the ultimate smartphone technology. There is no better processor, no better screen, no better sound quality, no better reception and no better camera. It costs a lot of money, but you get what you pay for.
Will the new iPhone improve our recommendation Note 8? This is where we have to make assumptions, because we do not have the information as with this writing. The S8 is the only phone with the S Pen. If you are a pen user, or maybe, then Note 8 is the phone for you. If you are a longtime and loyal Samsung owner who loves the design and services of the company, this device is great. If you have a rating of 5, you get faster performance, a brighter screen and two cameras. Go for it. If you’re a Note 4 Dead-Ender, obsessed with your interchangeable battery, we have nothing for you.
If you are looking for a phone with a big screen, there are many options that ensure you do not pay close to $ 1000. The V30 is certainly cheaper (as LG launches it), and it has the extra coverage of T-Mobile, created by the 600 MHz support. In the meantime, we can not rule out the possibility that the new iPhone or Pixel has incredible camera technology. If you are wondering, it does not matter to wait until mid-October, when all these phones are almost certainly on the market. But I suspect that the differences are progressive. There will be no feature (other than iOS, which is another story) that blows away Note 8.
However, I will still recommend the Galaxy S8 for most people for two reasons: it is $ 200 cheaper and I have a notorious tendency to smaller phones with one hand. But if you are looking for a reason to get the grade 8, get it. You will be happy that you did it.