After the controversial battery burning issue shut the production of the Galaxy Note 7 down, Samsung promised to bring a more reliable and a much better successor in 2017. The company has kept its promise in an outstanding way with the new Galaxy Note 8. It is the most powerful smartphone that Samsung has ever produced. It has come with several new features, including two rear cameras, which is first for a Samsung flagship device. The design and display look gorgeous. But is the awesome specification being justified by the incredibly high price tag? You will find all the details in this Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review: Design
Samsung continues to amaze everyone with the incredibly stylish look. You can find a lot of visually stunning phones on the market. But having a bezel-less design, a screen-to-body ratio of 83 percent and an aspect ratio of 18:5:9, the Galaxy Note 8 has got into a completely different league.
The gorgeous curves on both of the sides of the display panel go right to the frame edge. As a result, only a minimal amount of bezel is left on the top and the bottom. It is a way better design concept than the Xiaomi Mi Mix, which is the very first bezel-less smartphone. The device of the Chinese manufacturer has bezel only on the bottom, which forces you to turn it upside down to use the camera. You will never face such a bizarre issue with the Galaxy Note 8.
To make the Galaxy Note 8 bezel-less, Samsung has removed the iconic physical home button. Instead, an on-screen home button has been used, which has been incorporated with the pressure sensitive technology. The company is also forced to shift the fingerprint scanner beside the rear shooter.
Galaxy Note 8 comes with a few color options, including Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Maple Gold and Deep Sea Blue. If you are unsure about which color you should pick, you should go for the Midnight Black edition. It is sleek, simple and surprisingly shiny. Orchid Gray edition doesn’t have the same color as the name suggests. It is far more of the blue spectrum and relatively lighter. Maple Gold edition can be a great option if you prefer a flashy color option. But if your preference is different and want a deep, strong color, Deep Sea Blue will be the best option for you.
The device has been coated with the Corning Gorilla Glass 5. It is not unbreakable, as we have seen in the Galaxy S8. However, it makes the smartphone absolutely stunning. But it is a magnet to fingerprints, which might be less visible depending on the color you choose. So, you will have to clean the device regularly to help it retaining its new look for a long time.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review: Display
Earlier this year, Samsung introduced the Infinity display on the Galaxy S8. And now, it has come to the Galaxy Note 8, which means that the display has occupied the entire front. Almost no bezel is visible there. It enables Samsung to use a massive 6.3-inch display, which is the largest that we have ever seen on a Note phone. The “always-on” AMOLED screen supports a resolution of 2960 x 1440 pixels, which translates into a high pixel density of 521 ppi. It shows a superb performance in making everything look crystal clear.
The display is very bright. Its brightness can rise up to 1200 nits, which is incredible, as a decent laptop screen offers a maximum brightness of 300 nits. Even a high-end HDR TV (1000 nits) cannot be as bright as the display of the Galaxy Note 8. However, you will only get 1200 nits while watching HDR compatible YouTube and Netflix videos. Do not expect it to be that bright in normal condition.
The AMOLED panel has shown a fabulous performance in producing rich and vibrant colors. The whites look very neat and clean. The contrast level is very high. Browsing the internet through it is a real pleasure. While watching HDR videos, it seems that everything will come out of the display. It is that real!
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review: Camera
Samsung always uses the best camera in its flagship phones. The Galaxy Note 8 is no different. It captures clear and colorful photos. But more interestingly, it has not one, but two rear shooters!
The 12-MP dual back cameras have taken the photo capturing ability of the Note 8 to a new level. It can take bokeh-rich “Live Focus” shots, a system for blurring background objects and enabling the significant subject to stand out. It also decreases photo bombing reactions. Moreover, you can change the depth of field blur by using the Bokeh slide bar, which is a unique and a welcome addition.
The telephoto lens works brilliantly. The optical image stabilization feature enables the lens to move to compensate for the user’s unintentional shaking of hands. It has played a huge part in leveraging the use of 2x optical zoom of the second rear camera.
All these features have enabled the shooter of the Note 8 to take absolutely stunning shots. It is capable of taking super crisp photos in most of the lighting conditions. The performance in the low light condition is also incredible. We found almost no noise in the photos in the relatively darker environment.
The video recording capability is equally impressive. The shooter can record slow-mo videos at 240 fps with a resolution of 720p. We really had a great fun with it. You can record regular videos not only in Full HD but also in 4K resolution. The 4K videos look incredibly smooth. However, in terms of more manual and cinematic features, the camera has been outsmarted by the LG V30 shooter. But that doesn’t mean that it is not awesome in terms of recording super sharp videos.
The performance of the front shooter is really good. It can take natural shots brilliantly. We have noticed plenty of details in the captured selfies. Its lens is wide enough to enable you to bring more people into the frame. Its performance in making video call is also very impressive.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review: Battery and Charging
The battery is definitely one of those things that everyone seriously considers while purchasing a smartphone. We are happy to say that the battery life on Note 8 is surprisingly good. The 3300 mAh battery is powerful enough to keep the device running all day long with a heavy usage. After watching several hours of YouTube video, playing games, checking emails and browsing online throughout the day, we have found that it still has enough juices left in its tank! During the launch, we were really anxious about the fact of inadequate battery capacity in terms of the massive QHD display. But now, we are really blown away by the superb performance.
In GSMArena’s endurance rating test, the 3300 mAh battery lasted 89 hours, which is one of the highest rated performances of this year. Even the battery of the new iPhone 8 Plus (lasted 81 hours) cannot match its awesome performance. It also comfortably beats the batteries of the leading Android smartphones, including LG V30 and OnePlus 5.
The Note 8 comes with the fast charging technology. Samsung says that you can get the battery fully charged in 90 minutes. But in our test, it took more than 110 minutes. Considering the fact that the device has a smaller battery in terms of display size, the charging should have been much faster. Due to the controversial battery burning issue with the predecessor, Samsung clearly doesn’t want to take any risk with enhancing the fast charging technology. Instead, it decides to play safe.
The battery also supports wireless charging technology. But it’s really slow. It takes more than 2 hours and 30 minutes to charge the battery fully. So, you should keep this fact in mind while buying the charging pad.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review: Hardware and Performance
The Note 8 has been packed with the super-fast Snapdragon 835 processor and the massive 6 GB RAM. As a result, it’s quite impossible to slow its pace down while running all the apps and games. The powerful hardware has enabled the device to score 6,590 points in the Geekbench 4 (multicore test) while leaving behind LG V30 (6151 points) and HTC U11 (6393 points). We tried to slow the device down by downloading a lot of games and apps simultaneously during the test. We also launched Google Maps and keep the music running in the background at the same time. But the device never scored under 6,000 points, which is really amazing.
Gaming performance is outstanding. Thanks to the inclusion of Adreno 540 GPU. It produces absolutely stunning graphics while running all the latest games. The awesome performance has been reflected in the Basemark X gaming benchmark test. It scores 37,211 points, which is significantly higher than LG V30 (33,719 points). However, it fails to beat HTC U11, which has scored 38,399 points.
The Note 8 comes with three different storage options, including 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB. You can expand the storage through the microSD card and get up to 256 GB of additional space. So, you have a huge space to keep all of your favorite games and movies comfortably.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review: Interface
TouchWiz, the touch interface of the previous model, was amazing. However, it was really complex and had app bloatware, which frustrated a lot of users. This time, Samsung decides to use a completely new user interface with a new software, called “Samsung Experience.” It offers a finely balanced interface while eliminating all the complexities. The menus are laid out nicely and logically. If you can’t find something, several hints will be displayed to help you. But more importantly, it offers more features than the stock Android 7.0. Overall, it’s the best user interface that Samsung has ever produced.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review: Safety
Safety had been a real concern for Samsung, as the battery burning issue forced the company to shut the entire production of Galaxy Note 7 down. But this time, it has launched the Note 8 after performing extensive safety tests. According to UL Consumer, an independent review organization, “Note 8 has successfully completed a rigorous series of device and battery safety compatible test protocols.” The battery has undergone the eight point safety check, which involves analyzing different aspects, including charging and discharging. It also involves X-Rays and various durability tests. As a result, the device has become incredibly reliable.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review: Bixby
Samsung introduced its new AI assistant app, Bixby, earlier this year with the Galaxy S8. The voice assistant has also made its way over to the Note 8. You can get its access by pressing the physical dedicated button, which is located below the volume rocker. It performs brilliantly in performing phone related tasks, like changing the display brightness. However, it struggles in performing tasks related to online queries. The AI assistant fails to understand what you are saying for most of the time. As a result, it cannot formulate a proper response.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review: S Pen
The new S Pen looks quite similar to its predecessor. However, it has come with several new features, which are really amazing. For instance, a new option, called Live Messages, allows you to write a message or draw a picture on the background using the stylus and transform it into an animated GIF. You can share them on messaging apps and have a lot of fun with your friends. Another cool feature of the S Pen is its ability to write directly on the always-on screen. If you need to take quick notes without opening any app, it can be very effective for you.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review: The Verdict
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is a complete package. From capturing colorful, bokeh-rich photos to running all the latest apps and games with a stunning pace, it excels in all the areas. The display is unbelievably sharp and blindingly bright. The battery performance is absolutely fantastic. It’s quite impossible to find such a flawless smartphone. Our only problem is with the high price tag. You have to pay over $900 to get it. Yes, it has been packed with tons of features and a powerful hardware. But the price tag is very expensive in the sense that the $686.94 Galaxy S8 boasts almost the same specification, except the stylus, larger display and a higher battery capacity. But if you are looking for a flawless smartphone, it’s literally impossible to find a better device than the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.