Galaxy Note 8 review: Powerful, pricey and soon-to-be-replaced

Galaxy Note 8 review

The Galaxy Note 8 proved that Samsung could once again make a secure Note phone. Nearly a year later, it’s still an excellent device that lets you take portrait photos and use the stylus to write, draw, and navigate. But Samsung is poised to unseat the Note 8 with the 2018 model. Rumors indicate August 9 as the launch date of the Galaxy Note 9 (9 out of 9, understand?), although we are still waiting for the official word.

Even when the Note 9 eventually comes out, the Note 8 will likely still be a good option, especially if you’re hoping for a stylus-equipped phone that costs a little less. Samsung and retailers will almost certainly lower the price of the Note 8 after the Note 9 goes on sale. LG is also preparing a more basic line of pens, the LG Stylus Q family of phones.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy S9 is S9 Plus, which do not have a built-in stylus, are now on sale.

Having tested it from San Francisco to Los Angeles and as far as Lake Tahoe, I can confidently say that the Galaxy Note 8 is arguably the best and most feature-rich Samsung phone.

But it is also deeply burdened. Does it take away the bad taste of last year? disastrous double recall of Note 7? Is the battery safe? Does it offer enough compared to the cheapest? Galaxy S8 is S8 Plus to make it worth the skyrocketing price? (See prices below.)

We finally have the answers. Samsung has expanded its safety tests and reduced the Note 8’s battery size to avoid repeating last year’s fatal battery error, though we won’t know if it’s truly safe until weeks have passed without an accident. reported.

Buyers of the Galaxy Note 7 – who had to give up their flame-prone phones – and 2015’s Galaxy Note 5 – until now, the “best” Note phone you could buy – will find the Note 8 to be the highest end laptop. they should have gotten last year, and then some. It largely combines the Note 7 with the S8 and S8 Plus. The result: It’s really good, but it looks reworked rather than really fresh. Samsung played it safe.

A bright star is the presence of a dual camera on the back of the Note 8. Samsung’s first dual-lens phone can create portraits with depth effects that finally fit the hottest trend in phones. There’s also the Note 8’s vibrant 6.3-inch OLED screen and a tall, slim design that rests on the bezels. Battery life here goes on and on. You’ll find a welcome repetition of the Galaxy S8’s top-of-the-line processor, water resistance, expandable memory, and wireless charging, plus fun ways to create animated GIFs that only belong to the Note 8. The S Pen stylus has some real efficiencies you don’t get. on no other phone.

Everyone who saw me pull out the note to write numerous Starbucks orders on the lock screen, create cute animated GIFs of our silly photos, and take depth effect portraits of wedding guests at their best were immediately impressed. “Take our picture with the good camera,” said a friend. “That pen looks so useful,” said another. “I think I want it instead of the iPhone.”

Despite the undeniable excellence of the Note 8 as an Android device, however, I’m divided on whether or not it’s worth the high price tag, especially when it’s so similar to the single-lens Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. Throw the stylus away and your key advantage over the S8 Plus is … portrait mode (which Samsung calls Live Focus). In itself, that’s not a very compelling reason to level up.

I must also point out the more jarring imperfection of the Note 8. The placement of the fingerprint reader beside those two rear cameras drives me crazy. It is simply uncomfortable: too high and too off-center. Even if muscle memory takes over and you get used to it, and even if you use the iris scanner randomly instead, there’s no good reason why it shouldn’t be in the center of the back of the note like it is on so many other phones. There is no excuse for the dominant Android brand in the world to waver on something the rest of the industry has already learned.

If you’re using a Note 5, feel good about taking the Note 8 plunge. If you’ve never owned a Note but can really make the S Pen a part of your daily life, you won’t find any other phone that goes this far.

The GalaxyNote 8’s S Pen stylus created this GIF. Jessica Dolcourt / CNE

If you’re contemplating the Note 8 for the second camera only, I say wait to see how LG V30 is iPhone X to execute; both also have dual cameras. And there is the dual camera iPhone 8 Plus, whose photos and video performance are quite on par with note 8. The new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL turn the tide with just one camera, but Google says it’s so good, a second lens is not needed. (We will verify that claim once we have a chance to fully examine it.)

At the end of the day, dream portraits and a pressure-sensitive pen are subtleties, not necessities. And that’s what the Note 8 is – quite a splurge for people who want to do everything they can on an Android phone, or at least have the option.

All but Note diehards should wait until we see how the next rival phones fare. The Pixel 2 is available now for pre-order and ships on October 19th. Apple will take pre-orders for iPhone X starting October 27 at 12:01 am PST and making first deliveries on November 3 (albeit supplies are said to be severely limited). And, of course, the iPhone 8 is 8 Plus are now available. After taking a closer look at them, we will review this review again.

Read on for pricing and an in-depth look at the main features of the Galaxy Note 8. At the end, you’ll find a full spec list and a comparison to other top phones.

Read also: iPhone X didn’t destroy the Galaxy Note 8

This review was originally published on September 5th and was updated on September 15th to indicate that the phone is now on sale.

Galaxy Note 8 price

Pre-orders began on August 24, and the phone went on sale on September 15 in the US, UK, South Korea and other select countries. It will be distributed globally until October.

Until September 30, Samsung will grant original Note 7 owners a discount on the Note 8 as an excuse for the hassle of returning your latest phone. The big catch? So far it’s only for US buyers and you can only get it through Samsung.com, not through your carrier. There is a lot of fine print; I summarize it here.

All US buyers who pre-order the phone will receive a fast wireless charger and 128GB microSD card or a 360 gear. This has nothing to do with being a Note 7 owner, it’s available to everyone. More details here.

You will be able to purchase the phone through couriers, Samsung.com and other retailers. Samsung is also doing something different and immediately selling the unlocked Galaxy Note 8 rather than waiting weeks or months to offer an unlocked option.

In the US, you can pick up the Note 8 from Best Buy, Target, and Walmart as well as Samsung.com, where it is sold unlocked for $ 930. As for carriers, AT&T will sell it for $ 950 and Verizon will sell it for $ 960. T-Mobile users can get it for $ 930 while Sprint offers it for $ 960. The phone will also be available on US Cellular for the full retail price of $ 963 ($ 32 with a 30-month plan) or for $ 900 prepaid. .

Is the Note 8 battery safe?

It’s too early to truly call the Note 8 a Note 7 redeemer until it survived weeks on the market without the phone overheating and catching fire. After all, CNET’s multiple Note 7 review units remained uneventful even as an unusually large number of phones around the world charred within weeks of that phone’s release.

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