Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 is the latest addition to the Galaxy series, capable of performing bigger things. The Galaxy Note 8 is also the first dual camera device from Samsung. This was officially unveiled last month during its Unpacked event in New York and London. It looks similar to the Galaxy S8, but this bigger phablet is for a specific category of users. The device is currently available for pre-order from Amazon India and Samsung India stores.
We got a chance to experience this new piece of art from Samsung engineers. The unit we received was the Maple Gold edition and it looked stunning and comfortable. Here is what we felt after checking out the device.
Note 8 is a beasty beauty by design. Even though it looks similar to Galaxy S8, it’s design is tweaked to fit in the S Pen, Dual Camera and slightly bigger display. The seamless front panel is occupied up to 83.4% by 6.2-inch infinity curved display, some sensors and 8MP selfie camera. Then there is the pressure sensitive home button and soft nav keys which replaces old physical ones. On the glossy back is the new dual 12-megapixel rear camera with the flash and fingerprint sensor. The left-hand side has the volume rocker and the dedicated Bixby button, the power key is on the right-hand side. The SIM card slot is located on the top side, whereas the bottom side features the USB type-c port, 3.5mm jack, loudspeaker grills, and S Pen slot.
It weighs about 195 g and measures 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm, which is big enough for a phablet but small enough for comfort. However, locating the fingerprint sensor is still a blindfold game. But the glassy back is a real fingerprint magnet. Another quality worth stating is the IP68-rated water and dust resistance. As a whole, the phablet is just perfectly engineered to meet the demands of Note fans.
It’s the largest bezel-less display ever to find in on a Note device. Like S8, Note 8 also supports super sharp native resolution of WQHD+ (2960 x 1440). However you can alter it between HD+ (1480 x 730), FHD+ (2220 x 1080) or WQHD+ (2960 x 1440) from phone settings. We suggest you set a lower resolution for improved battery performance, even if the AMOLED is power efficient. It’s a 521 ppi display, slightly less than that of S8, but still providing 24-bit colour depth. Samsung retains the Always On Display, which allows you to view the clock, battery and missed phone call/message notifications when the screen is turned off. The infinity curved design won’t trouble you with accidental edge touches as per our observation.
- Infinity Curved Display: a bezel-less, full-frontal, edge-to-edge screen.
- Soft nav keys and pressure sensitive capacitive home button.
- With Always On Display, you’ll never miss a notification.
Samsung has boosted their device security with defense-grade biometrics including iris scanner. Here a picture of your eye’s coloured part (iris) is taken and the pattern is compared for authentication by the system. Other security measures include the usual facial recognition, fingerprint, pattern, password and PIN. For protecting data and privacy, Samsung has integrated Knox system.
- Iris Scanner for authentication.
- Other Safety measures – Facial recognition, fingerprint, pattern, password and PIN.
- Data is now more secure with Knox System.
User Interface and Apps
We now have the all modish Samsung Experience UI. It’s clean providing better accessibility to apps with almost fewer touches and swipes. Samsung also introduces you to their proprietary digital assistant, the Bixby. She can be activated by voice commands or with the dedicated h/w button. In the app section, you will find Samsung Pay, new S Pen apps, camera app with enhanced features for dual camera setup. Samsung also has a built-in advanced blue light filter which reduces eyestrain, and they won’t take your sleep away.
With new S Pen you can screen write, glance, magnify and translate with ease. Live messaging is now more fun with drawing our own emojis, GIFs, and handwritten messages on photos. The tip is so precise and pressures sensitive that you can sketch or take note with comfort. In addition to inbuilt features like screen off memo, you can find tons of writing and drawing tools. The S Pen is also IP68-rated dust and water resistant.
- All new Samsung Experience UI.
- Samsung’s proprietary Bixby Digital Assistant.
- Built-in blue light filter.
- With S Pen, communicate in new ways.
Samsung Note 8 is a performance monster in Note series, where the SD 835/Exynos 8895 tops most charts. Latest 10nm LPE FinFET technology offers better performance without any efficiency compromise. However, like Galaxy S8, in India, we only have the Exynos 8895 octa-core processor variant available for purchase. Gaming is taken to whole new level with Vulkan API supporting GPU’s – Adreno 540 and Mali G71. The faster 6GB LPDDR4 RAM prevents apps from tombstoning to a great extent. As of the charts, Note 8 scored over 6000 in Geekbench, above 200000 in Antutu. In fact, Note 8 is on par with the iPhone X but not better, since A11 bionic chip with the inbuilt neural engine is way better.
- Industry’s first 10 nm SoCs – SD 835, Exynos 8895.
- Vulkan API supported GPU’s – Adreno 540 & Mali G71.
A notable upgrade comes in the camera department with the addition of dual camera setup. It comes with two 12-megapixel rear cameras featuring dual OIS with 2x optical zoom. A 12MP wide-angle lens packing Dual Pixel autofocus and f/1.7 aperture, and another 12MP telephoto lens with autofocus and f/2.4 aperture. The new camera system lets you capture pictures with Bokeh effect, ie live focus on the subject and blurred background. While in live focus, the system also lets you capture background subjects with dual capture feature. The wide-angle f 1.7 lense with a dual sensor can take crisp pictures even in low light conditions. In addition, we have the usual camera modes like Food, Pro(manual), Panorama, Slow motion, Selective focus and Hyperlapse. Shooting 4K videos side-by-side with capturing 9MP photos is a cakewalk with smoother shutter performance. It also comes with integrated Bixby vision.
- 8MP front-facing camera with autofocus, Sony Exmor or ISOCELL f/1.7 wide angle lens.
- Dual 12MP primary camera with Sony Exmor or ISOCELL lenses having f1.7, f2.4.
- Live focus with Bokeh effect, Dual capture, & Low light features.
- Integrated Bixby Vision to make your life easier.
Samsung Note 8 is also capable of achieving Gigabit LTE speeds with integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem and is future proof with Gigabit WiFi. The device also supports 2G and 3G networks. A hybrid dual SIM and single SIM variants are available. Other connectivity specs include Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, NFC, ANT+ and USB v3.1 Type-C 1.0. The Samsung Dex docking station’s connectivity includes 2 USB ports, 1 USB Type-C port, Ethernet port, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and an HDMI port. In addition, the Dex gives you a desktop experience by coupling with a big screen, a full-sized keyboard and a mouse. But you need to purchase the Dex and supported accessories separately.
- Futureproof integrated Gigabit LTE modem.
- Latest Bluetooth 5.0 and USB v3.1 connectivity.
- ANT+ allows you to link with health and fitness sensors like Garmin.
- Samsung Dex offering a bigger screen desktop experience.
Even though the battery was trimmed down to 3300mAh capacity, it turned out to provide enough juice for a day. Charging is quicker with fast charging and wireless charging facilities. Playback of a 90 min length high definition video consumed only 10-12% under various display resolutions and looks really promising for daily chores.
- Battery optimised mode won’t effect the performance much.
- Faster charging and wireless charging features.
Inbox Components and Extra Accessories
In the package you will find the handset(midnight black or maple gold) with S-Pen, S-Pen accessories (tweezer and pen nibs), clear case, earphones tuned by AKG, USB Type-C Cable, Travel Adapter, USB Connector (C to A), micro USB Connector (C to B), ejection pin, ear tips, quick start guide & smart switch leaflet. Other accessories include covers which provide style and functionality, wireless charger and battery pack. You need to buy the Phone+ accessories like Gear VR, Gear 360, Dex and Gear Fit separately.
I was really impressed with Note 8’s performance and features, compared to my new OnePlus 5. It’s viewing experience is way bigger, better and vivid with the infinity display. My favourite part was the new dual camera system, which can take stunning pics with bokeh-effect. The battery capacity is enough to handle the requirements for daily usage. Finally, the AKG tuned earphones were really a feast and I could listen to it all day long. Overall Note 8 is neither too big nor too small, but about the right size.
Samsung is too careful after the Note 7 dilemma by implementing an 8-point battery safety check. So you don’t need to think twice if your budget permits. Other alternatives you can consider are the Samsung S8/S8 Plus, LG G6, LG V30, and Pixel XL. Security-minded individuals can consider Apple iPhone X with FaceID feature. To wrap up, this is the perfect “big thing” by Samsung for Note fans.