Samsung Galaxy Note8 In-Depth Review

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Author Ishan Bathla

Reviewed by Ishan Bathla

September 22, 2017

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What We Love About Samsung Galaxy Note8

  • 6.3 inch quad-HD infinity display
  • S-Pen functionality
  • 12MP Dual camera with dual OIS
  • Memory and CPU supported performance (6GB RAM, Snapdragon Octa-Core Processor)
  • Connectivity: Bixby, Samsung DeX, Gear VR and Gear 360 support
  • 6 GB RAM
  • 64/128/256 GB internal memory
  • 8MP front camera
  • Corning Gorilla Glass build

Samsung Galaxy Note8 Overview

The Galaxy Note8 is Samsung’s comeback to the game as well as a worthy rival to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. The Samsung Galaxy Note8 is big, powerful and beautiful to say the least. Packed with handy features, illuminated with a quad-HD 6.3-inch display, and driven by the best Snapdragon processor currently in the market, this is a flagship in every way. It is run by Android Nougat Operating system with an embedded Samsung TouchWiz skin on, ensuring all those cool functions and features are present. As a strength of the Note series, the S-pen continues to impress. It features new tricks and support for additional apps. The Note8 is also compatible with DeX, and Gear 360 among other accessories. Multi-tasking has yet been pushed further, making work and play an equal opportunity.

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Samsung Galaxy Note8 Unboxing

As it has been tradition now, Samsung’s flagships come packed as premium products. The Galaxy Note8 is no exception to this. It comes in a glossy box (color based on options) compact enough to fit all accessories sold alongside it. The device is packed on top of the inner holster with its paperwork and accessories beneath it. With its glossy, glassy build, it’s quite subtle to note the details. It is covered in standard paper wrappings, particularly to protect the phone from accidental scratches. Underneath the device, there are the standard booklets and paperwork, some specific to the carrier chosen.

Among the accessories are a SIM ejection tool, a fast charging adapter, 2 USB adapters, a charging cable, AKG headphones, a set of ear rubber earpieces, end tips and pen removal tool.  The Note is available in Midnight Black, Maple Gold, Orchid Grey, Deep Sea Blue, and Star Pink (Taiwan only). Driven by my love for black, I went for the Midnight Black version. After a long impressive interaction with this powerhouse, I have subsequent findings to share.

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Samsung Galaxy Note8 Design

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 is pretty much an iteration of the Galaxy S8, with some significant variations, mostly found on the latter. To just highlight a few; the S-pen, dual-cameras, a larger build, additional cool software features among others.

A smooth, glassy feel, gorgeous sharpness on the surface, and excellent looks are my opening remarks for introducing the Galaxy Note8. Rounded on the edges, with minor bezels like the Galaxy S8, the phone rocks a premium look. Also available in a broad range of colors, Samsung had a choice in mind creating the Note.

It weighs a total of 195g with dimensions of 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6mm. Slightly different from the Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 is not as curvaceous, but still gives off a business image with a far more refined squarer look and slightly sharper edges. The camera module is equally as inspired to feature a rectangular shape on the back. What mirrors the latest S series is the iconic infinity-edge display design. The top and bottom are ultra-thin. This is a design more pronounced in my preference, to that of the Galaxy S-series.

Almost the whole phone is covered in vibrant Corning Gorilla Glass 5.0. My variant definitely lives up to its name, Midnight Black, with its color density. A major observation after a few minutes of use is its affinity towards touch-marks and fingerprints. However, it is one of the smoothest smartphones to clean I have had yet.

Narrowing down to features, the front has most of what blows away clarity enthusiasts. A 6.3-inch, 1440 x 2960 pixel (WQHD+, 522ppi) quad-HD capacitive, infinity-edge display covers almost the entire front face. There is a front-facing camera and an iris scanner inside the top bezel, coupled with an earpiece and an LED notification light. The bottom is more intriguing. Nothing is physically visible despite a pressure-sensitive home button being present. The right edge has the power buttons while the left edge gives a home to the volume rockers and virtual assistant –Bixby button. Towards the bottom of the device, a USB-C port, 3.5mm headphone jack, single side-facing speaker and on the far corner, very well integrated, the S-pen are present. Finally, on the top, you will find the Micro SD / SIM card slot. Under the camera module, an optic heart-rate monitor, LED flash, and fingerprint scanner find homage.

The design makes it comfortable in the hands, however, a proper grip may be necessary when the S-pen is in use as we as all-screen navigation is required.

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Samsung Galaxy Note8 Camera

As a significant difference from the S8, Samsung Galaxy Note8 has a second rear-facing camera. With a huge angle of f/1.7, the primary camera is a 12MP sensor. With the duty of providing 2x optical zoom behind the f/2.4 aperture, the gadget is fitted with a second sensor of 12 MP.

The main camera is fantastic; its output is remarkable and quite lovely to the eye. The sensor is also feature packed. You can easily shift from default mode to pro mode, my favorite being the pro mode. With this mode, settings are freely adjustable. Cutting to the chase, with this lens in your hands, worrying about the pictures shouldn’t be any of your business. It is fast, has terrific exposure assessment and impressive low-light performance. The dual lenses will get you what exactly? Well, a remarkable improvement on artifacting, texture, sharpness, and clarity.

Moving on to video quality, if you bring the Galaxy Note8 to a video shooting spree, be assured of 4K video at 2x zoom. Powered by Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), even at this quality, recording is steady and fluid. Other features tied to video capability are Bixby-vision visual search, panorama, slow motion and a pro manual mode. How immersive the huge screen can get blew me away. These are just some of the features packed in the Samsung Galaxy Note8 cameras. You will find much more after getting your own handset.

The secondary camera is an 8 MP, an as impressively good shooter as the primary. With f/1.7 autofocus and 1440p @30fps, video calling and selfie-taking fits right in. It also features auto HDR. Combined, the primary and secondary cameras on this device will be handy tools to documenting the world around you.

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Samsung Galaxy Note8 Battery

The Galaxy Note8 comes with a 3300mAh battery which Samsung estimates can last for 22 hours of mixed use, running on maximum settings. For those who go way back with the Note series, unlike the early Notes, The Galaxy Note 8 has a non-removal battery. With standard usage, the battery will last you long enough. Additionally, fast and wireless charging will always have you covered.

With the Note8, you can enjoy an all-day battery life, and with the right tricks this could be pushed up to 24 hours. Samsung has also included a few practical ways of managing power, which you will find quite helpful.

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Samsung Galaxy Note8 Storage

With the Note8, you will have plenty of space to hold all your content, be it music, games or videos. Internal memory variations of 64, 128 and 256 GB are available. This massive ROM is backed by an expandable storage of up to 265GB. 6GB RAM drives flash memory needs of the device, a common trend with latest Samsung devices. For a heavy memory user, you will feel right at home. Multi-tasking, a major function of the Note series, is also highly dependent on these high numbers in memory score.

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Samsung Galaxy Note8 Display

From 5.7 to 6.3 inches, Samsung has succumbed to the current trend of large panel smartphones while designing the Galaxy Note 8. This increase in display size has also contributed to the phone’s height increasing, creating room to hold the extra camera and the stylus.

Powered by a super-high-resolution Quad-HD AMOLED display, its ability to bring forth colors is phenomenal. It is very well lit, the maximum brightness is 1200 nits, which guarantees anti-glaring and comfortable visibility in all conditions. Like the S series, the display is still an infinity edge display, meticulously curved on the edges. Its maximum output is 2960 x 1440 pixels. This means that your video playback time, games and camera experiences will be cool and naturally colorful. Streaming on YouTube and Netflix in the highest possible resolution is my thrill with this phone. It is not easy on the juice, but the experience is worth it.

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Samsung Galaxy Note8 Performance

Powered by a Snapdragon 835, an octa-core CPU, the Adreno 540 GPU, and 6 GB of RAM, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 is a productivity/multimedia powerhouse. Typical usage such as scrolling through menus and running standard apps such as browsing or playing videos are quite even. The processor is capable of playing high-end apps and games with quite fluid frame rates. I tried Real Racing 3, a 3D game, at its best possible settings and the performance was awesome.

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 supports Samsung DeX, offering an experience closer to a desktop computer. In my experience, with a DeX station, the Note8 was most impressive. If you are a fan of the Note series mostly for the stylus, you won’t be disappointed. With its on-screen app support, the stylus experience has just been elevated by the Note8. The accuracy of the S-pen and its functions are an experience to look out for. More apps have begun supporting the S-pen, making sketching and scribbling a very digital and fulfilling task. Live texting and GIF generation are incredibly functional with this flagship too.

Running Android 7.1.1 (upgradable to 8.0 Oreo) with the standard Samsung skin, app performance on this massive screen is equally exciting. A feature that caught my heart particularly is app pairing, dual launching of apps alongside each other, each occupying half the display. This maximizes multitasking and boosts the utilization of the S-pen.

To boost security, the Galaxy Note8 features two biometric measures to unlock the phone, the iris and fingerprint scanners. Both performed optimally. They could also be used interchangeably. Other sensors were also great in my experience, especially the dual-cameras. Videos are clear and sound output is also impressive. WI-FI speeds are surprisingly fast, Bluetooth 5.0 capability is also a standout, allowing multiple devices to be paired simultaneously.

To aid the phone in responding to the stimuli, several sensors are present in the device too. This includes the biometrics mentioned earlier, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a proximity sensor, a heart rate monitor, a barometer, and a compass. Network technologies supported include GSM, HSPA, and LTE. Single or dual-SIMs are supported.

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Samsung Galaxy Note8 Specifications

  • Network: HSPA/GSM/4G LTE
  • Operating System: Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • Display: 6.3-inches. Super AMOLED 16M colors touchscreen.
  • Resolution: 1440×2960 pixels, 18.5.9 ratio
  • Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Camera: Back; Dual 12mp (26mm, f/1.7, PDAF & 52mm, f/2.4, AF). Front: 8mp (1.22 µm pixel size, 1440p@30fps, dual video call, Auto HDR).
  • Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3300mAh battery
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. Octa-core (4×2.35 GHz Kryo & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo)
  • GPU: Adreno 540
  • Storage: 64/128/265 GB. Expandable up to 265GB with a microSD.
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Connections: Wlan (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band), Bluetooth: 5.0, NFC, USB 3.1 type-C 1.0 reversible
  • Sensors: Iris scanner, fingerprint (rear-mounted), gyro, proximity, accelerometer, compass, heart rate, SpO2, barometer.
  • Dimension: 6.40 x 2.94 x 0.34 in
  • Stylus
  • IP68 Certified waterproof

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Frequently Asked Questions About Samsung Galaxy Note8

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 was released on September 15, 2017.


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