There are two minimum obligations for Samsung on the Galaxy Note 8. The first is not to bury a bomb again. The second is to develop a smartphone as good or better than the highly rated Galaxy S8, becoming an upgrade option for those who were stuck in the Galaxy Note 5, released two years ago.
Galaxy Note 8 takes advantage the solid base of the Galaxy S8 and brings refinements, placing a dual camera with zoom, a huge 6.3-inch screen and an additional gigabytes of memory, in addition to the S Pen, which has always been the line's differentiator. Can he recover Samsung from the 2016 debacle? The answer is yes, and I'll tell you the reasons in the next few minutes.
In short, the Galaxy Note 8 is a boxier Galaxy S8+ with a space for the S Pen. This means the design has all the pluses and minuses of the brand's other 2017 flagship.
On the positive side, we have the excellent use of space and the excellent quality of construction. Nothing feels cheap, ill-fitting, or misaligned in the Galaxy Note 8's glass and metal body, as you'd expect from a smartphone paying many minimum wages. And the curves on the sides, both front and back, make the device slimmer, highlighting what really matters: screen, not edges.
In addition, the Galaxy Note 8 has a virtual home button, which is pressure sensitive and helps to save screen space: it is always available, but the button bar can be completely hidden from the display. And the entry for two carrier chips, which returned in the Galaxy S8, continues here. As I said earlier:
I am a big supporter of dual SIM devices. In the past, people used the feature to save on promotions for calls to the same operator. Today, with messaging apps in full swing and changes in the operators themselves, this makes little sense — even more so for the public that buys a Galaxy
S8 Note 8, an expensive smartphone that will likely be stocked with a cell phone plan that already includes free minutes.
But there is still the public that has two lines (one for work and the other for personal) and, in my case, who often travel abroad. It is not advantageous to pay 100 reais or more to be entitled to a measly 300 MB of data in international roaming: I prefer to buy a chip from the local operator, spend 10 dollars (or euros) and have a franchise of at least 1 GB. Meanwhile, my Brazil SIM remains active, and I continue to receive SMS and know who is calling me. It makes sense, therefore, for an expensive device to support two chips.
And the cons remain the same. First, we have a fingerprint reader with a positioning that doesn't make any sense: in addition to being on the back, it's in a location that no homo sapiens hand naturally reaches. Second, the glass back, which attracts attention for its beauty, is an attraction only for the first few minutes, before it becomes infested with fingerprints.
The dual camera system made Samsung slightly change the design of the rear, placing a “little window” with a black background in the region. It goes almost unnoticed on the Galaxy Note 8 of the same color, but it's a little unappealing in the silver, gold, or bluish version — definitely not something that matches the squeaky clean look of the front. At least there aren't any bumps here.
Samsung has been putting incredibly good displays on its tops of the line for some time. It's no different with the Galaxy Note 8: the 6.3-inch Super AMOLED panel has the same 2960×1440 pixel resolution as the Galaxy S8, which offers impeccable definition (521 pixels per inch), perfect blacks, an excellent viewing angle and a saturation that pleases, showing colors vvivid, but not blown out.
In relation to the Galaxy S8, it is visible that the Galaxy Note 8 has a slightly higher brightness, but in practice, as the Galaxy S8 was already above average, the upgrade ends up making little difference. What's important is that you'll be able to view the screen information in any lighting condition, even with the sun shining directly on the display.
The 18.5:9 aspect ratio still causes some inconvenience: not all applications take up the entire display space, leaving a blank area at the bottom. There is a way to manually force the software to occupy the entire panel, which does not cause compatibility problems in common applications, but can cut off parts of the screen in games. It's only a matter of time before developers adapt their creations.
As usual, the resolution is not set to the maximum resolution (default is 2220×1080 pixels), which helps to save battery without causing differences to naked eye, and you can adjust the display colors. The Adaptive Display mode should appeal to most people, but it's nice to know that I can make whites more neutral and hues according to DCI-P3 (Cinema AMOLED) or Adobe RGB (Photo AMOLED).
It is a fact that Samsung has drastically improved its software since at least the Galaxy S6. The interface is clean, bloatware has been eliminated and the extra functionality adds to the experience, especially in the case of the Note line.
The feature that allows you to write with the S Pen at any time is quite useful: just remove it it out of the compartment and start doodling, even with the screen off. Not everyone will benefit as much from this function, but some groups, such as journalists, know that having a pad and pen always at hand (or rather, in your pocket) makes life easier.
Samsung continues to invest in useful functions and also perfumeries to justify the existence of the S Pen. The menu that opens when the pen is removed shows buttons for creating a quick note (in Samsung Notes), writing on the screen (for pointing or taking notes on a web page or app, for example), translating entire sentences, and converting currencies with the pen or create animated GIF messages (because yes).
The interesting thing is that the S Pen, because it has a thin tip (0.7 mm thick), can also serve as a method of more precise input for using your smartphone — which can be useful in some applications, such as image or video editors, that would benefit from better control than your finger.
The Bixby personal assistant has been updated to support English voice commands. Although language may be a limiting factor in Brazil, the fact is that Samsung built something more integrated into the system. Unlike Google Assistant, Bixby didn't complain about responding to simple commands (call someone or activate silent mode), it has the advantage of being well integrated with third-party apps (notably WhatsApp and Facebook) and it allows you to automate tasks.
Otherwise, you can expect the same software that comes with the Galaxy S8: a visually pleasing interface, animations that don't show any signs of stuttering, and additional features that generally improve the user experience.>
For the first time a Samsung smartphone has a dual camera on the back. In the case of the Galaxy Note 8, we are talking about a set that is capable of giving 2x optical zoom and performing some photography tricks, such as blurring the background in portraits. Before starting the analysis of the camera, it might be worth detailing the two sensors, since they are not the same.
- The wide-angle camera has a 12 megapixel Dual Pixel sensor (1/2 .55 inch) and comes with a lens with an aperture of f/1.7 and a field of view of 77 degrees (that is, it is not a big angle).
- The telephoto camera has a 12 megapixel sensor (1 /3.6 inch) and accompanyingThere is a lens with an aperture of f/2.4 and a field of view of 45 degrees.
- Both lenses have optical image stabilization.
Unlike the Galaxy S8, I had a mixed feeling with the Galaxy Note 8's camera.
The wide-angle camera is spectacular in every way: the dynamic range is quite wide, which can be easily noticed in night shots; the post-processing is efficient in making the scenes more beautiful without making them too artificial (everyone likes a good gradient in the sky, but not the blue grass as it happens on some devices); and the definition is impeccable.
The images speak for themselves:
In other words, when taking normal photos, you will have the same experience as you would on the Galaxy S8: a fast camera that takes good pictures on the first click and doesn't need additional workarounds to correct sensor or lens failures.
My negative feeling came from the fact that the telephoto camera is not as good as the main. Yes, it still captures excellent images in good lighting conditions, like basically any smartphone over R$1,500. But the fact that the sensor is physically smaller and the lens has a smaller aperture ends up harming night photos. So much so that the software often chooses to stretch a photo taken with the main sensor instead of using the telephoto camera when I zoom 2x.
So, in photos with good lighting, you shouldn't notice any issues with the Galaxy Note 8 camera applying a 2x optical zoom:
But if the software decides that it is better to stretch the image, through digital “zoom” , defects appear. The definition drops, post-processing leaves a hard outline around detailed objects quite visible, and unpleasant noise appears in certain areas:
On the other hand, the fact that there are two lenses with different focal lengths makes it possible to better calculate the depth of an object and, by software, generate a background blur (bokeh) effect, which Samsung calls Live Focus — as the intensity of the effect can be adjusted after taking the picture. And the results are very good, leading to more professional results for ordinary users:
The summary is that, despite of the telephoto not being as good as the wide angle in night shots, I don't have much to criticize about the Galaxy Note 8's camera. It's one of the best smartphone cameras on the market, and it's certainly the best you can buy in Brazil at as I write this paragraph.
Hardware and battery
Galaxy Note 8 gained two gigabytes of RAM compared to the base models of the Galaxy S8, but this did not result in noticeable day-to-day performance improvements, not least because the latter no longer showed any signs of choking in multitasking. Here, we have the same Exynos 8895 octa-core processor, Mali-G71 MP20 GPU, 6 GB of RAM and between 64 and 256 GB of storage, including a microSD slot.
How the chipset is the same and no relevant aspect has changed, like the screen resolution, you can expect the same great performance of the Galaxy S8 on the Galaxy Note 8. At no time did I notice that the smartphone thought more than usual to perform a task or suffered to process game graphics like Breakneck and Unkilled.
All the news in connectivity are on the Galaxy Note 8, so you can say it's prepared for the future: it has USB-C, Bluetooth 5.0 with support for simultaneous playback on two speakers, NFC, MST (for Samsung Pay), LTE from 1 Gb/s and 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO. The iris scanner, which was born on the Galaxy Note 7, has been transplantedto the successor and is still quick to unlock the device when you don't have a fingerprint reader positioned in the right place.
My criticism is on account of the battery, of 3,300 mAh, which is even smaller than the 3,500 mAh of the Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy Note 7. I understand that the S Pen takes up some of the space that a larger battery could, and also that a scalded cat is afraid of cold water. On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 8 is considerably thicker, at 8.6mm (Galaxy S8+ is 8.1mm; Galaxy Note 7, 7.9mm).
The result is that the autonomy of the Galaxy Note 8 is just ok. It's not noticeably worse than the Galaxy S8's, but as a new generation arrives, the least we can expect is that it will be better than the previous one. And that's not what's happening on the high-end.
In my tests, unplugging the device at 9 am, listening to two hours of streaming music on 4G, and surfing the web for 1h40min. at 2 am, also on the mobile network, I always got home at 11 pm with somewhere between 15% and 25% battery.
The conclusion is the same as for the Galaxy S8:
The battery will last a whole day for most people, but don't expect anything else. Anyway, if the battery runs out, at least you won't be stuck in an outlet. In my tests, it didn't take me more than 1h40min to get the battery from zero to 100% in the cable. On the wireless charger, the full recharge time was approximately 2h30min, which is also a very good mark.
More courage (without leaving safety aside, please) on the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung .
There are two ways to say how “new” the Galaxy Note 8 is.
For those who don't want a pen, the Galaxy Note 8 is nothing more than a Galaxy S8+ with a dual camera and slightly larger screen. Right now, if you want a good device for taking pictures, a great screen and great performance, it would make more sense to buy the smartphone launched in May, which has already plummeted in retail price and is therefore better value for money.
For those who already used a Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Note 8 is almost a revolution, because you necessarily have a device from at least two years ago, since the 2016 model did not exist. Relative to the Galaxy Note 5, the performance is better, especially for new games; the S Pen became more accurate; the camera is superior; and I don't even need to mention the design, which is now resistant against water and dust.
You can say that this is a device for Note line fans. They did without the Galaxy Note 7, but now they have a smartphone with the best screen on the market, a fantastic camera, sensational performance and the most polished software. Samsung has put together the best on the market and put everything inside a glass and metal casing — of course, charging very well for it.
There are two versions of the Galaxy Note 8 in Brazil: you can choose between 64 GB of storage for BRL 4,399, or 128 GB for BRL 4,799. The pre-sale starts this Friday (6); the device hits stores on October 21, only in black.
- Battery: 3,300 mAh;
- Camera: 12 megapixels (back) and 8 megapixels (front);
- Connectivity: 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, GPS, GLONASS, BDS, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, NFC, MST;
- Dimensions: 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm;
- GPU: Mali-G71 MP20;
- External memory: microSD card support up to 256 GB;
- Internal memory: 64, 128 or 256 GB;
- RAM: 6 GB;
- Weight: 195 grams;
- Platform: Android 7.1.1 Nougat;
- Processor: octa-core Exynos 8895 2.3 GHz;
- Sensors: accelerometer, proximity, gyroscope, compass, barometer, fingerprints , iris, heartbeat;
- Screen: 6.3-inch Super AMOLED with a resolution of 2960×1440 pixels.