Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review: Did Samsung Get All the Notes Proper This Time?
Strictly for Stylus lovers only.
Review of Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is an excellent flagship smartphone with top-end Hardware specification available in the market, with some flaws in design. Larger Infinity DIsplay won't feel much gigantic due to less-bezels.
With the larger Infinity DIsplay, Samsung Bixby, and S-Pen you can explore the infinite possibilities with the Galaxy Note 8.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review
Korean electronics manufacturer giant Samsung has been the final choice for premium smartphone buyers despite Apple’s iPhone until the previous Samsung Galaxy Note 7 units had reportedly faced battery explosion fiasco with several sold out units. Later the company had fixed the issue, but it was merely doubted about the company’s reputation in coming years, especially for the significant Note series.
Several weeks ago, Samsung had amazed us all by launching the company’s latest device in Note series, which was undergone probe by the company’s internal team itself regarding the note 7 issue. But the Samsung had evidently done a glorious return to the premium smartphone industry by launching Galaxy Note 8 model, targeting the well-to-do consumers. Unlike everyone anticipated, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 units have sold out much faster and gained the popularity in a short time, which led holding company’s name flawlessly.
About this review
This is a review based on the Indian variant of Samsung Galaxy Note 8. We’ve been using this device for the last three weeks. Now we think, this is the best time to make a review of this smartphone. As always, this is an unbiased review. We are not getting paid by Samsung or any companies for this review. So keep that mind while reading this honest review. This is our Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review:
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review: Specifications
Specifications of Galaxy Note 8
|Display||6.3-inch Super AMOLED panel, Gorilla Glass 5, 1440x 2960 resolution, 18.5:9 aspect ratio, ~521ppi|
|Chipsets||Exynos 8895 Octa: Octa-core (4×2.3 GHz & 4×1.7 GHz)|
Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835: Octa-core (4×2.35 GHz Kryo & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo) – USA & China
|RAM||4GB RAM/ 6GB RAM|
|Storage||64GB/128GB/256GB storage ~ Expandable via microSD slot|
|Rear Camera||Dual 12 MP (26mm, f/1.7, PDAF & 52mm, f/2.4, AF), OIS, autofocus, 2x optical zoom, dual-LED (dual tone) flash, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], HDR, dual-video recording|
|Front Camera||8 MP, f/1.7, autofocus, 1/3.6″ sensor size, 1.22 µm pixel size, [email protected], dual video call, Auto HDR|
|Battery||3,300 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0|
|Connectivity||Single or Dual SIM; LTE-A (4CA) Cat 16: 1024/150 Mbps, USB Type-C 3.1, Hybrid slot|
|Software||Android 7.1.1 with HTC Sense – HTC Sense Companion app, Alexa available in UK, US, and Germany|
|Dimensions||162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm, 195 g|
|Colours||Midnight Black, Maple Gold, Orchid Grey, Deep Sea Blue, Star Pink|
Unboxing & Design
Inside the Box
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 comes in a conventional type of box by Samsung, looks similar to the Galaxy S8 and preceding models. Opening the box, the Galaxy Note 8 smartphone lays on top, and underneath the rest of components stay. There is a transparent plastic back case provided along with the device inside the box. Samsung also offers a bunch of adapters aside the standard Charger Adapter, like Normal USB to USB Type-C, OTG Adapter for USB Type-C, etc. A pair of conventional in-ear earbuds earphones can be found in the box which is quite ubiquitous with almost every Samsung devices. Of course, a SIM Tray eject pin has also been added.
At a very first glance, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 shows a significant resemblance towards the Galaxy S8+ flagship. The corners have gone much squared, and the size of the device has been stretched – compared with the S8+. On the front, the infinity display with 18.5:9 aspect ratio and thinner bezels make the device much immersive. While using, we can feel the fewer borders as merely border-less, that we are holding just the display panel only on hands. But the metal frames on the sides are slightly thicker than S8 and S8+, so it may feel little unsettled while holding for a long time. Personally, I have thought for a moment that whether the bezel-less design is a curse or boon, because we do not actually have a little enough extent for holding the device sometimes.
Concerning the rear panel, the back glass panel too made of Gorilla Glass 5, which is same as the display panel on front. The 3D Glass on the rear fluent to the edges makes the holding smoother. Like with the Galaxy S8 and S8+, the South Korean giant has placed the fingerprint scanner aside the primary camera modules. While using the device in one-hand mode, it is literally impossible to stretch your finger to the fingerprint scanner located at the top of the rear panel of this gigantic phablet. Samsung’s new design pattern failed utterly in bringing the Primary Camera and fingerprint scanner in the right spot on the rear. The Hybrid SIM tray is on the top, which can support either One SIM One SD or Two SIM and No SD Card.
Coming to the bottom edge, the USB Type-C, a 3.5mm Headphone jack, microphone and the smaller antenna bands seen traditionally on Samsun flagships since Galaxy S6.
The Super AMOLED display on Samsung Galsy Note 8 feels sharp and crispy and has an optimum level of brightness. As the devices having an unusual 18.5:9 aspect ratio in display size, you will experience a little lag, frame skip and stuck while running the Big game on the device. The Full HD+ Resolution mode id in display resolution is much helpful in watching movies, games, etc.
By default, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 ships with Android Nougat 7.1.1 onboard Operating System, with Samsung’s own user interface. The top skin of the device may look much familiar if you have used Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+. Even though the Android Operating SYstem has its own Google Assistant, Samsung had added Bixy AI into with their flagship smartphones. Being honest, Bixby is much better in device controls and command execution in device settings level. There is no overwhelming amount of bloatware, but indeed there are some useful apps pre-installed with the smartphone.
While considering the voice capabilities of Bixby, it can only clearly detect the US accent. All other common international English accents (USK, India, Australia, etc.) would be misheard by the Bixby. However, you need to use dedicated Bixby button on the side panel of the device to speak with the AI Bot.
The icons, graphics elements and other visual features of the User Interface looks same old childish, which are still customizable and support app alignment grid layout up to 6×6 (36 Apps on a single page).
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review: S- Pen
Samsung’s S-Pen has been the signature feature for the Samsung Galaxy Note series smartphones from a very long back. The company tries to make at least a little changes to the pen each year, so this time too. The S-Pen comes along with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is almost the size same as previous versions, with k design and a trigger button on the top. This passive stylus pen does not need a battery to power. Still, it can perform various operations with the device. The functions and touch sensitivity of the S-Pen remind us of the Microsoft’s Surface pen, but not that much great.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8’s S-Pen can sense almost 4,000 kinds of pressure points, where each of the pressure variances changes the appearance style of doodle/dash of S-Pen on the screen. The button can be used to do some quick actions, while you can even use the pen to draw some notes or elements to be added on to Always-On Display.
Hardware, Features & Performance
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 with most top Hardware specs in the market manages very well in delivering a flabbergasting performance to the user, with the company’s own 10nm Exynos 8895 SoC and 6GB RAM. Performance wise, the device oud does not feel as lagging or stuck on some screen. The humongous amount of RAM helps the device to retain its stability in heavy multitasking usage. While there is too much of Data, WI-Fi/Hotspot or GPS, the device gets slightly warm but not that much heating.
The fingerprint scanner of the Galaxy Note 8 is much faster, but not easier to access. There is this iris scanner available if you are not going to use fingerprint much. But the Iris SCanner too fails to depict the user’s iris when glasses are used. (I literally have hated it as I have to wear glasses full-time).
As we have mentioned earlier, some of the games may feel little sick while the device is on FHD+ resolution due to the resolution compatibility issues. No other performance related issues can be found with this flagship phablet. Have a look at some of the benchmarking platform result from below:
Considering the Galaxy Note 8 as one of the first Samsung devices with Dual-camera on the rear, I have expected jaw-dropping camera outputs, especially in case of Bokeh effects. Let us dive deeper after discussing several points.
Samsung had added a Wide-angle 12MP sensor along with a 2x Telephoto Zoom lens of 12MP, having apertures of f/1.7 and f/2.4 respectively. Oe must be used to get wide angle shots, while other zooms to a more precise snap. Plus, the front-facing selfie snapper is also performing very well with wide-angle, suitable for ‘groupfies’.
There is a Live Focus Tool which is entirely about software tweak; it can be used to take portrait images with Bokeh effect (Blurred background), by adjusting the amount of bokeh. However, like every software works, the pic took with this configuration will let remain at least a trace of artificially build-up effect. Lighting distribution/ISO for the images taken in different camera modes (Wide/Zoom) seem to be different due to their aperture size difference. Also, the rear camera can shoot slow-motion video with the resolution of 720p at 240fps.
In normal mode, the autofocus speed is much faster than any of the competence in the market. No captured images did show any glitches in zooming, and that’s good news for shutterbugs out there.
Detailed camera comparison and review is coming soon. We will update this review after publishing the camera comparison.
It is with the battery life this time Samsung had disappointed me severely. The ‘larger’ 3,300mAh battery sounds enough for a flagship, but in reality, the Galaxy Note 8 drains a lot of juice from the battery pack. Considering my typical usage statistics, I have been expecting at least 7-8 hours of screen-on-time backup, but it did not last long more than 4-5 hours. Comparing with the HTC U11, the Galaxy Note 8 battery life till lags a lot behind it.
Boosting up the battery takes less than 1 hour 20 minutes from 0% to 100%, which is considerably little faster. The power saving mode optimizes the apps running in the background, but it is out of control in normal conditions.
Audio & Connectivity
Samsung has still regained the regular 3.5mm headphone jack for audiophiles, but Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is not that much an epic story regarding Audio/Music. The sound delivering through the speaker has just above average volume, but crystal clear quality. The sound delivering through the earphones are kind of much impressive and appreciable.
On the connectivity side, the device packs a USB Type-C port at the bottom for wired communications apart from the headphone jack. Coming to radio connectivity features, the Galaxy Note 8 packs Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Dual Band, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO and 4G LTE Connectivity.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is an astounding flagship phablet by the targets Android OEM, but still, there are rooms for much improvement. The device has managed to win the people’s heart, except in case of the battery life and design, especially the fingerprint scanner placement. The Iris scanner too needs to get improved.
You can definitely go for the Galaxy Note 8 if you are seeking for a premium, expensive, large smartphone with a good camera and not care about the battery and fingerprint placement. Spending one grand for your favourite smartphone is not a bad thing, but think twice about the flaws too. The smartphone price listing starts from INR 67,900 in India or $950 in the USA.