Samsung started the ‘phablet’ trend with the Galaxy Note and has set the standard for big smartphones. When it first came out, people joked about its size, but now they appreciate the larger battery, extra screen space, and the stylus.
Until the Galaxy Note 7 came along without the much-needed fire extinguisher, Samsung owned the market when it came to the smartphone-tablet combo. The positive to this is that Samsung took the time to evaluate what went wrong and how to make the Note 8 better to reestablish themselves in the tech world.
Rather than trying to go smaller with batteries (like they did with the Note 7), Samsung focused more on producing durable batteries that were less apt to degrade over time. In focusing on details like this, the Note 8 is a way better smartphone tablet than the Note 7 could have wished to be.
A high ticket price does come with the big phone, so Note fans can expect to shell out around $900 for a unit loaded with 64GB of storage. It seems Samsung has now outdone the Apple iPhone in the most expensive phone arena.
While the Galaxy Note 8 may not be for everyone, it will more than satisfy Note fans and those loving big phones loaded with plenty of features and gear. It stands head and shoulders above the competition with things like crazy fast performance, great camera, fingerprint reader, VR support, beautiful design, waterproof, pen input and easy mobile payments, just to name a few things before we dig in deep.
Size Still Matters
Samsung has always been about size when it comes to their Note series, and with a 6.3-inch Infinity Display, they have taken it even further. The display stretches all the way to the very edge of the smartphone much like the Galaxy S8, which allows you as much display room as possible. The display is strikingly vibrant, crisp, and bright which allows you to see it even in the brightest sunlight. Many times, sunlight would make it difficult to see the screen without squinting.
The 6.3-inch display will completely pull you in when watching videos as the OLED display makes you feel like you’re watching an LG 4K OLED television. The 18.5.9 aspect ratio allows you to run two apps simultaneously in a split-screen multitasking mode. As if we needed more things to keep us in ADHD land!
It’s a huge phone, but Samsung has made the giant screen of the Note 8 to look like one by doing the most simplistic of things: bringing more curvature to the sides, making the phone longer, and shrinking the bezels. While it may look huge to some, the iPhone 7 Plus is only slightly smaller than the Galaxy Note 8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus is the exact same size. As many have heard, it’s not the size of the instrument, but what you do with it that counts.
Now with larger things, there are a few inconveniences such as having a phone that people with smaller hands will struggle with not to mention trying to fit something this large into your skinny jeans. Knowing that people would have this complaint, we took it out for a weeklong trial run to see how we could adjust to its size.
I forgot how big our pockets are, especially those of us still wearing cargo pants, but it took no time getting used to having the Note 8 clanging around knocking into my keys and loose coins while I rode around on my bike, the subway, bus or just sitting watching television. It even survived having a full cup of coffee and soda spill on it with no problem. I even gave it the ultimate challenge. Surviving the inevitable toilet fall, and it performed like a champ.
Sharing Some Specs With Galaxy S8
Samsung is smart to know what to share across its smartphone units, and they’ve done the same by adding the best parts of the Galaxy S8 to the Galaxy Note 8. While the screen size is basically the same with the S8 Plus, they’ve moved the fingerprint scanner to the back of the smartphone. This is a little frustrating for some as you have to get used to putting your fingers into a new yoga pose, but that’s a very small inconvenience as it only takes a day or two to adjust.
The iris scanner has been improved upon, but you will still find yourself having to hold the phone close to your face while also opening your eyes wider than you’re used to. This is basically just having a more secure phone which I personally don’t mind, especially after shelling out nearly $1K.
The Note 8 also shares those beautiful glass panels that meld into the metal frame along with a pressure-sensitive home button still located at the bottom of the phone. It comes with a headphone jack which Samsung put in the perfect place; directly at the very bottom of the phone. It’s right next to the charging port, but remember, with Samsung, you can also just get a wireless charger which charges your S8 or Note 8 in about ten minutes flat.
Samsung has also included the best of the Galaxy S8 inside of the Note 8 like a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, a microSD card slot, and 64GB of storage space. You can be sure that with such a robust smartphone like this, users will be wanting more space like 128GB and 256GB which will come in the next year.
The Note 8 differs from the S8 in that it comes with 6GB of RAM which users will easily notice when it comes to this smartphone’s fluid performance. This extra RAM also works wonderfully with the DeX desktop docking system also sold by Samsung, of course.
Samsung did shrink the battery capacity for the Note 8 after the Note 7 mess. The new unit has a 3,300mAh battery which supports wireless and wired charging. Thankfully, with the fast chargers, heavy users won’t mind the shorter battery life. Hey, it’s better than having to lug around that trusty fire extinguisher!
Dual Camera Fun
While other companies like Apple have been using a dual camera system (iPhone 7 Plus), Samsung is taking the first step with the Note 8 having two 12-megapixel sensors working both together and independently. One of the cameras comes with a wide-angle lens, the other has a ‘telephoto’ option that allows you to shoot even closer to the subject.
The camera app is flawless with taking well-focused shots, and its image stabilization will save you many frustrating moments when the subject moves ever so slightly. This also works great when you’re shooting video.
Bixby Vision will let you identify objects in the shot along with adding stickers on your pictures.
The only complaint, and it’s a very small one is with the Live Focus mode. This feels like Samsung came up with a great idea but didn’t have enough time to perfect it. This app allows you to create one of those soft background portrait shots, but it’s hit or miss. Sometimes it works perfectly, and other times, it just gives a very blurry background. You can be sure the company will realize it has something special with this app and continue perfecting it.
Is It For You?
If you love a larger smartphone that is robust and functions as a tablet, then the Galaxy Note 8 is for you. Personally, I’ve never understood why people will watch an amazing action film on a 5.5-inch display when they’ve got a 64-inch 4k television at home, so I’m always on the side of bigger is better.
Just a few advantages are bigger screens allow for a larger keyboard (and for those of us with bigger hands, it’s a blessing), games are way more immersive, getting the same work done that you would on your laptop, and if you are a vlogger the Note 8 will be your best friend.
The S Pen stylus is beloved by hardcore Note users as it does so many things like writing notes on the display without having to turn on the screen, grabbing a screenshot solely by drawing a box around the object, easily creating GIFS, to just fiddling around with it unlocking even more possibilities.
While the Galaxy Note 8 does come with a steep price, it’s loaded with enough features to last you several years.
While the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 may not be for everyone, those that want it will be very happy.