There are now two cameras on the back, a first for a Samsung flagship smartphone the new S9 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has this too. It takes brilliant portrait photos, and you can even edit the depth of field post-capture. What makes the Note 8 different is the handy S Pen stylus and larger 6. The phone acts like a big, borderless glass canvas for your important handwritten notes and masterpiece doodles. Why buy this instead of the 6. Of course, it's not quite a match for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, but given its lower price it doesn't have to be. This is still one of the most powerful Samsung phones with a stylus.
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It does, however, cost you in multiple ways. We're hoping the Galaxy Note 9 fixes this in a couple of months. While not as expensive as it once was, this is still a pricey phone. Can your wallet, and the extent of your grip, handle the Note 8? It's readily available. It's still pricey, but no longer anywhere near what it once was.
Of course, it's no longer the latest Note, as the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is now available. Stretching your fingers is well worth if you can physically manage it. Its expansive 6. That's a lot less screen for such big phones, at least until iPhone 8 arrives to change everything. Its maximum brightness, 3K resolution with Mobile HDR Premium, and wider color gamut are hard for anyone else to compete with. It's Always-On Display continues to be an appealing feature in a smartphone.
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Combined with its size, this makes for one slippery smartphone. The added grip and peace of mind let us operate it with one hand, whereas we struggled with the pure glass body at such tall and wide dimensions. There were very few Note 8 colors at launch. This vibrant blue and tempting Maple Gold colors were first launched in other regions. Samsung, annoyingly, refreshes its phones with new colors after a few months, much to the chagrin of loyal early adopters.
It's a multimedia powerhouse visually, but its bottom-firing speaker still had us cupping the bottom of the phone to get better audio. Maybe next year. In our lab tests, the Note 8's display covered The Note 8's display delivers accurate hues, too, as it registered a Delta-E score of 0.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review | TechRadar
The Z2 Force notched 1. Because the Note 8's panel supports HDR high dynamic range , you should be able to enjoy better contrast and more colors when streaming HDR content. To maximize this phone's ultrawide screen, Samsung introduced a feature called App Pair with the Note 8. When you swipe in from the right side of the screen, you can launch two apps on the screen at once — side by side or on top of each other, depending on how you hold the phone.
It's also pretty easy to create pairs. I liked being able to have the Email app open on the left and the Calendar app on the right, or the browser on one side and YouTube on the other. Samsung isn't just playing catch-up with the dual cameras on the Note 8.
It has leaped ahead of the iPhone — at least for now. That's because both megapixel cameras on this device offer optical image stabilization; the iPhone 7 Plus' telephoto lens doesn't have that feature. What can you do with these dual shooters? For starters, you get a 2x optical zoom with a simple tap on the screen. In Union Square, I could easily zoom in on a statue from afar without losing any detail. You also get a new Live Focus mode, which is similar to the Portrait mode on the iPhone 7 Plus, which blurs the background and makes your subject pop.
But only the Note 8 lets you adjust the intensity of this effect both before and after you snap the photo. I felt like a pro when I snapped an image of purple flowers in front of a fountain. The iPhone 7 Plus did a better job than the Note 8 of blurring the background more consistently through the frame, but I liked that I could control how much of the fountain I could see. I also really like the Dual Capture feature on the Note 8, which snaps both a close-up and a wide-angle photo at the same time, and then lets you toggle between both views in the gallery.
One pic I took of the New York City skyline looked so good that a woman sitting next to me on the bus asked me to text it to her. Even in a moving vehicle, the picture turned out fairly sharp, thanks to the optical image stabilization. My only complaint is that I sometimes had to tap more than once on the screen to switch between the close-up and wide-angle views. In terms of image quality, the Note 8 delivered the same type of remarkably sharp and colorful pics that made the Galaxy S8 our top camera phone.
Compared with a shot taken with the iPhone 7 Plus, a Note 8 photo of trees and a statue in Union Square had richer greens and slightly more refined details around the edges when zoomed in. However, as with most iPhone photos, its colors were warmer than the Note 8's, and the Samsung image ran a bit cooler and nearly blew out some of the highlights.
Samsung has been broadening the appeal of the S Pen for the past few years, and the Note 8 takes it to the next level. For starters, you can now take up to pages of notes using the Screen Off memo feature. You just take out the pen and start writing.
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It's easy to pin notes to the always-on display and to edit notes in place. I found this feature handy when crossing off items on my to-do list and shopping lists. For example, I wrote "Love you" on top of a photo with a fun sparkle pen tip and then tried to send it to my wife via text message. I say "tried" because I got an error message that said "Maximum total size of attachments exceeded. The other noteworthy new S Pen feature is the ability to translate full sentences into different languages just by hovering the pen above the screen.
This worked well when I visited the French site Le Monde and highlighted a few rows of text. For those so inclined, the S Pen remains a viable tool for sketching and drawing.
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I handed the Note 8 off to a colleague to create a couple of sketches, and he found the pen to be fairly accurate. However, he wished that the pen offered more nuanced control, as the Apple Pencil does on the iPad. We'll have to wait and see whether the Note 8's battery lives up to Samsung's safety claims, but I can say that the phone lasts quite a long time on a charge. On the Tom's Guide Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing over 4G on nits of screen brightness, the Note 8 lasted a very strong 11 hours and 11 minutes on T-Mobile's network. It's possible that the Note 8's extra RAM makes it slightly more efficient.
The LG G6 mustered only In everyday use, the Note 8 was very swift, whether I was jumping right into the camera from the lock screen instantly just double-press the home button or playing Injustice 2 with silky-smooth frame rates. However, there were more than a couple of times when I had to tap the screen more than once for the phone to do what I wanted.
On Geekbench, which measures overall performance, the Note 8 scored 6, on the multicore portion of the test.
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When it comes to graphics performance, the Note 8 more than holds its own. Other than the added capabilities of the S Pen and the App Pair feature for split-screen multitasking, Bixby is the highlight software feature on the Note 8, which runs Android 7. It's best not to think of Bixby as a direct Siri competitor but rather more of a personal assistant that speeds up tasks that typically take multiple taps.
For instance, I said, "Capture a screenshot, and show it to me in the gallery," and the Note 8 did both tasks in succession successfully. I also liked that I could add specific items to my to-do list by saying them aloud, such as "Add 'approve vacation day' to my task list. The other main highlight is the Apps Edge menu, which makes it easy to pull up your favorite apps without having to go back to the home screen. You can also quickly access your favorite contacts from this menu.
The Galaxy Note 8 has a new design, so you're definitely going to need a new case for this 6.