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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review

James Shisiah

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What we love

  • 6.3 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
  • 8 MP front camera
  • Corning Gorilla Glass build

Overview

We all may have thought Samsung’s participation in the phablet game would not happen again. Majorly because of the famous incident with their Note 7 series, which gets namechecked in some airlines as a banned object yet. Notwithstanding this, meant for two significant moves, the Galaxy Note 8 is a Samsung’s come back to the game as well as a worthy rival to the iPhone 8 and 8-plus.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is big, powerful and beautiful to say the least. Packed with handy features, illuminated with a quad-HD 6.3 inches display, and driven by the best SnapDragon processor currently in the market, this is a flagship with every reason to think of it. It is run by Nougat Android Operating system with an embed Samsung TouchWiz skin on, ensuring all those cool functions and features are present. As a strength of the Note series, S-pen persists to impress. It features additional tricks and tools, finding support from additional apps. It is also compatible with the DeX, Gear 360 among other accessories. Multi-tasking has yet been pushed further, making work and play an equal opportunity.

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Unboxing

As it has been a tradition now, Samsung’s flagships come packed as premium products for so they are. The Galaxy Note 8 is no exception to this tradition. It comes in a glossy boxing (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 maintain the sleek. Underneath the device, there are the standard paperwork, some specific to the carrier chosen.

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

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Design

Being an upgrade of the unsuccessful Galaxy Note 7, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is pretty much an iteration of the Galaxy S 8, with very significant variations from each other, mostly found on the latter.  To just highlight a few; the s-pen, dual-camera, a larger build, additional cool software features among others.

A smooth, glassy and pact feel, gorgeous sharpness on the surface engineering and excellent looks are my opening remarks in introducing the Galaxy Note 8. Rounded on the edges, with minor bezels as the Galaxy S 8, the phone rocks a premium look. Also available in a broad range of colors, Samsung had a choice in mind creating it.

It weighs a total of 195g only with a dimension of 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm. Slightly different from the Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is not as curvaceous else still drives the business image with 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.

Almost the whole piece is covered in the vibrant Corning Gorilla Glass 5.0 Glass, for my variant, it 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. This makes its attention to touch all stale.

Narrowing down to features, the front has most of what blows away clarity enthusiasts. A 6.3-inch, 1440 x 2960 pixels (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 LED notifications light. The bottom is more intriguing. Nothing is physically visible despite a pressure-variant home button being fitted. The right edge has the power buttons while the left gives a home to the volume rockers and virtual assistant –Bixby button. Towards the bottom of the device, a USB-C port and 3.5mm headphone jacks are placed, (good thing this is still here) single side-facing speaker and on the far corner, very well integrated, is the S-pen. Finally, on the top, you will find the Micro SD/SIM card slot. Under the cams module, an optic heart-rate monitor LED flash and fingerprints 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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Camera

As a significant difference to its comparison, the S 8, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 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 first-hand 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 basis 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 Note 8 to a video shooting spree, be assured of 4k video at 2x zoom. Powered by the 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 but part of the features fitted in the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 cameras. You will find much more after getting your own handset.

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

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Battery

Owing to the disastrous outcome of the Note 7’s battery defects, Samsung was quite conservative with what they fitted in the Galaxy Note 8. The battery and its longevity is particularly not what Samsung is known for. Owing to the size of the device, it was impractical to fit a bigger battery in it, according to Samsung’s defense.

This Galaxy Note 8 is fitted with a 3300mAh battery which Samsung estimates to 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 usages, the battery will last you long enough. Additionally, fast and wireless charging will always get you covered.

Regardless of a reduced battery capacity, you will still enjoy an all-day battery life and with the right tricks this could be pushed up to 24hours.  Samsung equally has fitted quite practical ways of managing power, which you will find quite helpful.

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Storage

With the Note 8, you will have plenty of space to hold all your man-cave contents, 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’s devices. For a heavy memory user, you are right 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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Display

From 5.7 to 6.3 inches, Samsung was succumbing to the current trend of large panel smartphones while designing the Galaxy Note 8’s. This increase in display size has also contributed to the phone height’s 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-glare effect 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, giving out 4k resolution. This means that your video playback time, games and camera experiences will be cool and naturally colorful. Streaming on YouTube and Netflix in full supported resolution is my thrill with this one. It is not easy on the juice, but the experience is worth it.

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Performance

Powered by a Snapdragon 835 and Exynos 8895, Octa-core 2.3 GHz and a GPU Mali-G71 MP20 and a 6 GB RAM, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is a productivity/multimedia powerhouse capable of giving multi-tasking experience in an extremely smooth feel. Typical usage such as scrolling through menus and running standard apps such as browsing or playing videos are quite even. The processor is capable however of playing high-end apps and games with quite fluid frame rates. I tried the Real Racing 3, a 3D game, at its best possible settings and the performance was awesome.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 supports Samsung DeX, offering an experience closer to the desktop’s than not. In my experience with a DeX station, the Note 8’s was most impressive. If you are a fan of the Note series mostly for the stylus, you won’t find any disappointment. With its on-screen app support, the stylus experience has just been pronounced by the Note 8. The accuracy of the pen and functions is equally an experience to look out for. More apps have supported the S-pen comparing with the time of the Note 8 predecessors, making sketching and scribbling a very digital and fulfilling task. Live texting and GIF generation is incredibly functional with this flagship too.

Running Android 7.1.1 (upgradable to 8.0 (Oreo) with the standard Samsung skin, apps 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, occupying half the display. This maximises multitasking and boosts the utilization of the S-pen.

To boost security, the Galaxy Note 8 features two biometric measures to unlocking the phone, the iris and fingerprints scanners. Both performed optimally. They could also be used interchangeably. Other sensors were also great in my experience especially the dual-camera, its imagery output beats Instagram grade, videos done are worth the keep and sound output is also impressive.  WIFI speeds are surprisingly fast, Bluetooth 5.0 capability is also a standout. Multiple devices can be paired simultaneously.

To aid the phone in responding to the stimuli, several sensors are fitted in the device too. They include the biometrics, mentioned earlier, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, heart rate, barometer, sp02 and a compass. Network technologies supported include GSM, HSPA, and LTE. Single or dual-SIMs are supported.

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Specifications

  • Network: HSPA/GSM/4G LTE
  • Operating System: Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • Display: 6.3-inches. Super AMOLED 16M colors touchscreen.
  • Resolution: 1440x2960 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 3300 mAh battery
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (USA & China). Octa-core (4x2.35 GHz Kryo & 4x1.9 GHz Kryo)
  • Processor: Exynos (Worldwide) Octa-core (4x2.3 GHz & 4x1.7 GHz)
  • GPU: Adreno 540 (USA & China).  Mali-G71 MP20 (Worldwide)
  • 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
  • GPS: A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO
  • 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                                                     

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Accessories