Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Reviewed: Bigger, Bolder, and the ‘Most Capable Smartphone in the World’

The Galaxy Note 7 turned out to be a disaster for Samsung. The phone had major issues with its battery, that ultimately resulted in a total global recall. The Korean electronics giant, however, is still releasing its successor, the highly anticipated Galaxy Note 8. Samsung has launched the Galaxy Note 8 in August 2017.

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To make sure it reaches the consumer’s expectations, Samsung’s upcoming smartphone is bringing a couple of new things to the table. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 packs in not just improvements over the Galaxy Note 5 or the Note 7, but also adds some additional features over the company’s existing flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S8, and the S8+. It’s big, beautiful, immaculately built, and packed full of handy features. The Note 8 also marks the Samsung’s humble return to the phablet market, plus a big rival to the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

Although the smartphone is still a few days away, we already know quite a bit about it. In this post, we take a closer look at them!

Display & Design:

The big-screen flagship smartphone comes with a 6.3-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440×2960 pixels. The Samsung AMOLED display, as usual, is visible in all lighting conditions, with super colors, contrast, and brightness.

Tall and thin design with smaller bezels makes is easy to hold the Note 8 securely. With very tough Gorilla Glass 5, front and back, Note 8 can be treated casually – it’s not going to scratch or break with regular use.

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Hardware:

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. The India variant is likely to be powered by 1.7GHz octa-core Samsung Exynos 9 Octa 8895 processor.

Galaxy Note 8 has 6GB RAM and packs 64GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 256GB via a microSD card. The phone comes in three storage variants — 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. All three variants support microSD card.

The smartphone is powered by a 3300mAh nonremovable battery and the hybrid dual-SIM tray in Samsung Galaxy Note 8 can accommodate either two Nano-SIMs or a single SIM.

Connectivity features of Samsung Galaxy Note 8 include Wi-Fi, wireless charging, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC and MST for Samsung Pay, USB Type-C, 3.5mm headphone jack, and 3G & 4G (with support for Band 40 used by some LTE networks in India).

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Need your phone to be waterproof, perhaps to take party snaps pool-side? No problem. The IP68 certifications make the smartphone water and dust-resistant.

If you want to expand the Note 8’s display to a full desktop experience, there is an optional DeX too.

Software:

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 runs on Google’s Android 7.1.1 Nougat out-of-the-box. The smartphone is likely to be among the very first devices in the world to get an update to all-new Android 8.0 Oreo.

By default, according to Steven Litchfield of Android Beat, “the smartphone has the face unlock, which works instantly and quickly. And, if you don’t like this, you can switch over to iris recognition instead. This is far fiddlier but also 100% secure, like fingerprints. And it’s worth noting that either of the two optical authentication systems can be used at the same time as the fingerprint sensor, i.e. you can leave two out of three systems ‘live’ all the time.”

Camera:

The camera is definitely yet another strong point on the Note 8. At the back, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 packs a dual OIS-equipped 12-megapixel lens, one of which is a genuine 2x telephoto. On the front, there’s an 8-megapixel camera with f/1.7. There’s also a fully stabilized video at 4K, zoomed and unzoomed.

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According to Steven Litchfield, the dual 12-megapixel camera is a big deal because it’s Samsung’s first-ever phone with this feature. Both cameras have optical stabilization, which again, is quite rare. The heart-rate sensor and fingerprint sensor are placed beside the lenses.

S-Pen

Need to scribble a few notes or annotate something on-screen? That’s what the inductive S-Pen is for. The smartphone has an added functionality with S-Pen – an inductive, pressure-sensitive, and far more clever than a ‘capacitive’ stylus. It’s also IP68 certified, just like the Note 8, and supports 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity.

If the phone was nominal ‘off’ then an all dark ‘Samsung Note’ pane appears on screen, ready to be scribbled on; if the phone is already powered on then the ‘Air Command’ carousel appears on the screen, asking what you want to do with the S-Pen.

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Bixby

There’s also the dedicated Bixby button on the left, which should prove more useful now that Bixby Voice is also coming to India – A smart new assistant that can do it all.

According to Steven Litchfield, it’s not a replacement for Google Now or any other voice assistant, it’s a complete voice interface to the phone’s functions.

There’s also the Hello Bixby pane off to the left of the default home screen panorama, with schedule reminders, news, weather, and more. It does more than Google’s default ‘Now’ pane, but it does it garishly and it’s hard to love.

To activate Bixby, press and hold the left-hand side hardware button.

Price:

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 price in India starts from Rs. 67,900, which makes it a no-brainer over the 6GB Galaxy S8+.

Conclusion:

The Note 8 seems to be another winner from Samsung. If you can wait a few months (as Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, Google’s Pixel XL smartphones and LG’s V30 are coming in the next few months) and have your heart set on an Android flagship, then the Galaxy Note 8 will not disappoint. With fantastic build quality, a gorgeous display, excellent cameras, incredible 6.3-inch screen, great software and excellent stylus, there’s very little not to like here.

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