1. Samsung’s first dual-camera ever is a success
The all-new 12MP telephoto lens at the rear of the Note 8 is a successful foray into the oh-so-trendy world of dual cameras, and as we’ve come to expect from Samsung;s cameras in recent years, the results are astounding. If anything, the Note 8 easily stands up to all the rest of high-end flagship phones out there and pushes the bar further with its image quality performance. Furthermore, it’s the first ever dual-camera phone to employ optical image stabilization for both the regular and the telephoto snappers, which comes in particularly useful in shooting video, but is also beneficial to low-light picture snapping as well.
2. The design is a logical evolution step
What can easily be described as the lovechild of the Note 7 and the Galaxy S8 but taller, is actually the logical step in Samsung’s advances in terms of design. Retaining the business-like sharper edges of the Note lineup, the Note 8 successfully molds the futuristic Infinity Display and the ever-so premium metal-glass sandwich to fit within the aesthetics of the Note lineup. Good job, Samsung!
3. It’s a bit unwieldy, though
Taking all the good with the bad, the Note 8’s stunning design leads to an unforeseen drawback – the phone is simply too tall to operate with a single hand by a regular person. Although you will likely get used to it, we doubt that the transition will be anything but a painful one. For example, it’s rather hard to adjust the volume with a single hand without tipping the phone to the side, and believe us, you wouldn’t want to drop that exact phone on the ground.
4. Overwhelming performance
Be it the US version with a Snapdragon 835 or the international one with Exynos 8895 keeping things operational, the Note 8 is outfitted with a rather good hardware package that lives up to its performance and productivity aspirations. True, you can get similar performance from more affordable devices, but there’s nothing similar to the Note 8 when it comes to transferring that power to real-life benefit. Given that you’re almost certainly going to multi-task a lot and quickly change between apps, the hardware on the Note 8 will only benefit the overall user experience.
5. Battery life is good, not great
Pretty much this – the Note 8 simply doesn’t last as much as the Galaxy S8+ used to, at least in our custom battery test, where it clocked in for 7 houts and 50 minutes. True, it’s unlikely to leave you without power mid-day (unless you push it really hard), but the Note 8’s exceptional hardware really takes its toll on that 3,300mAh battery and the handset will hardly last you over a day with anything more tasking than frugal usage here and there. And that’s not what the Note 8 was intended for in the first place.
6. The interface has probably evolved the most
The Samsung Experience on the Note 8 is the proof that things have gone a long way in the past two years or so. The ugly duckling that was known as TouchWiz has successfully evolved into that handsome swan that is now known as Samsung Experience, and we can easily see why Samsung would put its name on that software – it’s as polished and functional as it gets. Of course, there is no endgame and a ton of things will likely be improved in the future, but at the moment, Samsung Experience is up there with the very best custom Android distributions.
7. Gorgeous super-accurate AMOLED display that’s not very bright
With the Note 8, Samsung once again proves that it knows how to make an excellent AMOLED display. We expected nothing less, though the Note 8 introduces an unexpected drawback – the maximum brightness of the display is really not as high as many other phones out there, including Samsung’s Galaxy S8, S8+, and even the ill-fated Note 7. The Note 8 hits 518 buts of peak brightness, and that’s not even in manual mode. However, it’s one of the most accurate and stunning displays we’ve tested, period.
8. All of that goodness comes with a steep price tag
With a starting price of $950 or more, the Note 8 is dangerously close to that psychological barrier of $1000 that we are slated to inevitably cross one day. While it’s true that this particular handset is an exceptionally crafted gadget that is extremely unlikely to let you down in any way and truly comes with anything you might possibly want from a phone, it’s also true that potential adopters should really consider whether the $200 atop the regular Galaxy S8+ are worth it. If the larger display, the S Pen, and the dual-camera are not in your alley, then you can’t go wrong with the Galaxy S8+ or even the S8. Otherwise, if you’re a die-hard fan of the Note series, there’s nothing stopping you from getting that phone.
Except if you’re broke.