Last year, Samsung released the Note 7– a device we believed was the sexiest smartphone we’d ever seen. Then some “bad things” started happening and all the Note 7s were all recalled. A lot of people started cracking jokes about the explosive release of the Note 7, but the truth is that we had seen firsthand what the Note 7 could have been. The good news is that with the release of the Note 8, Samsung has made one very important safety improvement and lots of other nice tweaks and changes to the smartphone. Is it enough to warrant a price of $900+? Read on to find out.
DESIGN + FEEL
The first thing that you’ll notice when you take a look at the Note 8 is the fact that it’s gorgeous. This device is very well designed. The next thing that you’ll notice is that it’s probably bigger than your phone. I mean, the screen is a whopping 6.3-inches of Super AMOLED, which looks flat-out amazing. The Note 8 has slightly sharper angles than the Galaxy S8 or S8+, which give it a more “adult” look.
Like the most recent Samsung Galaxy devices, the Note 8 also shares in a curved screen and is nearly bezel-free. Similarly, it has also removed the physical home button, plus the “back” and “apps” button that previous Galaxy owners might have grown accustomed to. These features are still available, but because of the lack of dedicated space on the phone, sometimes apps are a little hard to navigate at first.
The Note 8 device is made of polished aluminum, encased in Gorilla Glass 5.0, which has some good and some bad. The good is that it looks really great when it’s clean. The bad is that it gets finger prints on it fairly easily.
The Note 8 is available in Midnight Black, Orchid Grey, Deepsea Blue, Maple Gold color schemes (above).
As we mentioned before, the Galaxy Note 8 uses a Super AMOLED display and Samsung has packed a whopping 2,960 x 1,440 pixels into the device. The resolution comes through at 3K QHD+ and it’s one of the few devices that can actually watch HDR content. The truth, though, is that (at the moment) you’ll rarely ever get to see the full potential of the phone’s display because there is so little HDR content available to watch.
One thing that you’ll love to know is that viewing the phone in direct sunlight is no problem at all. I did some research for some comparison and I came across the photo below. On the left, you see a Samsung Galaxy S6. It’s hard to see. On the right, the Note 8 which is bright and very easy to navigate.
You may have heard some news about Apple announcing Super AMOLED for their new line of iPhones. The funny thing is that Samsung has been rocking these since the Galaxy S8 and S8+. In fact, the Apple OLED screens can only max out to about 65% of what the Samsung screens can do. So just take that into consideration when you’re looking to get a new phone. *Again, you’re not really ever going to see Samsung’s max brightness unless you mess with the settings, but it’s just food for thought.
Probably one of the most important features for a smartphone or handheld device is the camera. To be completely fair and upfront, I am a longtime Samsung user and prefer their devices over the competition, but around a year ago I started believing that Apple’s new “Portrait Mode” is a gift from heaven. Apple was able to to accomplish this by placing two cameras on the back of their phone. One wide lens and one telephoto lens.
Like the Apple iPhone 7, the Samsung Note 8 now also has to cameras on the back. And like the iPhone 7, Samsung also has a new feature that allows for professional type photos. By using one camera to blur the background, and another to focus in on the subject, Samsung has their own version of “Portrait Mode” called “Live Shot.” I couldn’t get anyone in the office to pose for an example, so we used a subject that’s a lot more consistent and spicy.
Note 8 Live Shot Example (no editing)
In addition to the “Live Shot” mode, Samsung is also giving camera users the option to zoom in 2x with a lot of ease. One camera shoots 1x, and the other is used to shoot 2x.
There are a lot of things that we love about the Note 8, but among our readers, the thing you’re probably not going to use enough is the Stylus. It’s really great. Obviously there are a lot of things and operations you can do with your hands, but once you start getting the hang of the stylus–you’re really rocking. One of the things you can do is “live messaging” essentially drawing cool stuff onto photos (or a blank canvas) and sending it in text messages.
Check out the new “live messaging” promo that Samsung’s done with Dez Bryant and Josh Norman.
If you’ve done any reading on the Note 8, or even the Galaxy S8 or S8+, you’ll probably have heard of Bixby–Samsung’s virtual assistant. There’s a dedicated Bixby button under the volume rocker, which caused some initial grumbles, but not only has Bixby improved significantly since the launch of the S8, Samsung has now even allowed users to disable the button entirely.
Do we use Bixby? Truthfully, no, not yet. But we haven’t disabled the button so that means the assistant still has a shot.
Arguably the most important part of your decision making process (should I buy this phone) is going to be price. The retail cost of the phone runs from $930-$960, which is the most expensive Samsung Galaxy Note phone to date. Is it worth it? If you’re a power user who enjoys some serious productivity, perks, and benefits in your phone, the answer is 100% yes. This is the nicest, sexiest, best phone we’ve ever used.
That being said, if you’re the adventurous type or a college student who’s going out at night, we suggest you invest in a solid, safe case for your phone. While it’s a shame to cover up something so aesthetically pleasing, it’s even worse to have a cracked screen or busted phone.
|Display||6.3-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity
2960 x 1440 resolution
18.5:9 aspect ratio
|Processor||US: 64-bit octa-core (2.35 GHz Quad + 1.9 GHz Quad) Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 10 nm processor
Global: 64-bit octa-core (2.3 GHz Quad + 1.7 GHz Quad) Samsung Exynos 8895, 10 nm processor
MicroSD expansion up to 256 GB
– Main: 12 MP wide-angle AF Dual Pixel sensor with ƒ/1.7 aperture, OIS
– 12 MP telephoto AF sensor with ƒ/2.4 aperture, OISFront camera
– 8 MP AF sensor with ƒ/1.7 aperture
Fast charging on wired and wireless
WPC and PMA wireless charging
|Water resistance||IP68 dust and water resistance|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5 GHz)
Bluetooth v5.0 (LE up to 2 Mbps)
Location: GPS, Galileo, Glonass, BeiDou
Heart Rate Sensor
RGB Light Sensor
|Software||Android 7.1.1 Nougat|
|Dimensions and weight||162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm