Samsung’s Galaxy line has been my go-to choice for smartphones since I started using the S5. Once I was able to upgrade, I switched to the Note 5. The Note 5 was a fantastic phone in many ways, which is why I was so excited for the newest edition to the Note series. With that, we’ll look at some general specs before I dive into this review.
Dimensions: 6.40″ x 2.94″ x 0.34″ (Height x Width x Thickness)
Weight: 6.88 oz
Camera: Front – 8MP | Back – 12MP dual camera
Processor: Octa-core (2.35GHz Quad + 1.9GHz Quad), 64-bit, 10nm processor
Memory: 6GB (LPDDR4)
Storage: 64GB (expandable w/microSD card)
OS: Android 7.1.1 (Nougat)
Durability 2 / 5
I’m very disappointed with how fragile the Note 8 is. Over the course of almost four years, I dropped my Note 5 numerous times onto asphalt, concrete, hardwood, etc. (without a case or screen protector.) After all that abuse, the device barely had a few scratches!
The Note 8 is a different story. About 2 weeks into using this phone, it slid off of my pants, falling roughly 2 feet and landing screen down on a concrete driveway. A 1 inch crack from the bottom to the right edge formed. The crack hasn’t hindered usage of the device, but I would bet any water resistance it once had is now gone. I think the curved screen compromises the overall integrity of the screen, making it much less durable.
Design 3 / 5
I really enjoy the “edge-to-edge” infinity display. The curved edges make swiping to the next screen or opening new windows easy and intuitive, which is pretty great for productivity. Visually, this device is great and provides a massive screen to enjoy just about anything.
That said, there is one major flaw: the Bixby button (and Bixby in general.) I understand that Samsung wanted to provide a competitor to the rising smart assistant market by adding their own to their flagship smartphone. However, I really don’t understand why they added a physical button right underneath the volume buttons. Before the most recent update, I constantly hit the Bixby button, accidentally triggering the assistant in the process. The button also makes it a little bit more difficult to put the device in a car mount without it holding it right on aforementioned button. Samsung really should have found another way to summon Bixby.
Features 4 / 5
I’ll start with where I left off: Bixby. Of all the features offered on this phone, Bixby is the worst of them. Even so, the assistant does offer some useful ways to search things. By using the stylus with Bixby Vision, you can hover over any picture, text, or content on a webpage. Bixby delivers surprisingly accurate results based on your selection!
The main feature in the Note line has always been the S-pen. This year’s version does not disappoint. It adds extra sensitivity, which makes writing notes significantly easier. If you’re an artist or just a doodler, it allows you to add fine detail to your sketches and drawings!
The last feature I want to touch on is the multitasking windows. While this isn’t a new feature, I think it has been greatly improved on this device. The ability to split the screen and actually use both windows is handy. I believe that one of the big reasons it works so well with this device is its large screen. Regardless of my criticisms, I am very happy with everything this phone has to offer.
Camera 4 / 5
Coming from the Note 5, the camera is a massive upgrade. I’m very impressed with both the quality of pictures and videos I take, as well as its performance all sorts of situations! The camera takes great photos in low-light and high-light conditions. When my hands are shaking while taking a shot, the image stabilization works quite nicely. I take a lot of photos with my mobile device, so having a reliable and high quality camera at the ready (without having to buy a high end DSL) is great. I have yet to miss a shot that I needed to capture.
Overall, I am pretty happy with my Note 8. I think I would rather have a flat screen instead of a curved screen for better durability. Also, I could absolutely live without the Bixby button. That said, all the great things this phone can do definitely make up for it. I really love the Note line and my advice to anyone looking at picking one up would be this: if you think that you will utilize the features of the S-pen and take lots of notes, then this phone is a no-brainer. If you want the it just for its specs and features, then I recommend getting the S8+.
Bonus: Note 8 Gallery