The Galaxy Note series is getting an upgrade in the form of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, though after a gap of two years. There’s no doubt, 2016 was a rough year for the Note brand. The Galaxy Note 7, which should have ideally been called Note 6, proved unlucky.
The Galaxy Note series is getting an upgrade in the form of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, though after a gap of two years. There’s no doubt, 2016 was a rough year for the Note brand. The Galaxy Note 7, which should have ideally been called Note 6, proved unlucky. But the Korean tech major bounced back from the disaster with the S8, S8+, both of which sport a new Infinity Display. The new Galaxy Note 8 continues with a similar ‘bezel-less’ design theme and gets dual rear cameras on board as well. This phone, with its host of software and hardware features, is available in India ahead of the hallowed iPhone X, which won’t be in stores still November 3. So is Galaxy Note 8 the ultimate flagship in the market right now? Here’s our review.
Irrespective of how one feels towards a giant display smartphone, the Galaxy Note 8 is a thing of beauty. Even the Maple gold version, which some people in my house didn’t find as appealing, is bound to catch the eye. The glass metal design combined with the full Infinity Display on the Note 8 just stands out. However, the one thing in Galaxy Note 8’s design that doesn’t work for me is the bulkiness. Also, the full frontal glass display means the fingerprint scanner is now at the back and, as I discovered, completely out of reach. The problem was there with the S8, S8+ series, and it remains in the Note 8 too.
Galaxy Note 8’s display is 6.3-inches and watching YouTube, Netflix on this 2K SAMOLED display is one of the best experiences. The display is bright, the viewing angles are great and you won’t be disappointed. However, the crop to fit function doesn’t always have the most flattering results for all videos and even apps and the content can seem a bit stretched at times. Let’s hope the 18:9 aspect ratio becomes more common and apps can start taking advantage of this. Still, Samsung remains on top when it comes to the display quality with Note 8.
Performance wise, Galaxy Note 8 gives no cause for complaints. My first day usage with the Note 8 involved some serious multitasking. This included live-tweeting from an event, switching between apps, taking loads of pictures and then instantly sharing them on two different social media platforms and taking notes with the S-Pen. Galaxy Note 8 had no hiccups while I carried out all of these tasks at super fast speed. There was no noticeable heating either.
Be it gaming or multitasking, the Galaxy Note 8 is a phone that lives up to the premium price it charges. In the benchmark tests this is right on top, just below the S8 series. Other aspects, like the facial recognition scanner for unlocking the phone work very well. I didn’t really bother setting up with the Iris scanner and stuck with the face recognition. Since I wear glasses, I had to often lift them up to unlock the phone, but it worked correctly most of the time, even in areas where the room was not so well lit.
When I had used the Galaxy Note 5 as my primary phone, the camera had impressed me. The S8 camera is also something I enjoyed greatly. With the Galaxy Note 8, Samsung takes it a notch up, thanks to the dual-rear camera. Live Focus is the feature that lets this camera great a faux depth effect with a blurred background.
Galaxy Note 8 is not just about the specifications and hardware. It has a host of software features, you won’t find in the regular S8 series thanks to the S-Pen. The S-Pen is now water, dust resistant. I’ve used a fair few styluses, especially on tablets, but they have never been my favourite thing. With the Note 8, the S-Pen does manage to accurately capture handwriting and that is something I really appreciate in this phone.
For those who need to take handwritten notes on the go, Galaxy Note 8 is the device that does it best. There are also new features like pinning notes to the top of the Always-On display, send a Live message to friends, which is basically a handwritten GIF via the S-Pen, the ability to write on the screen, etc. The creative types who want to draw, doodle on their phones, the Note 8 is the only option in the market, which will let you do a good job of this.
The other software highlight of the Galaxy Note 8 is the addition of Bixby, which has its own dedicated hardware button. To be frank, the button is annoying. I would keep pressing it accidentally while trying to reduce the volume. Bixby also has the voice update feature now in India and while I did set it up, this is still far from perfect.
My verdict: if you’ve been waiting to upgrade to the Galaxy Note 5, the Note 8 is a no-brainer. It offers a host of new features, a stunning camera, though the battery life might not seem so impressive. For Note fans, the upgrade will seem worth it.