Samsung Galaxy Note8 review

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The Note8 is here and we can’t help but feel the tension rising, especially in Europe where this is the first Note device to officially land in two years. It’s been quite some time, so a lot is riding on the Galaxy Note8.

That being said, you may have noticed that Samsung isn’t revving up the PR machine this time around, gliding at cruising speed instead.

This could very well be due to the still fresh memory of the Note7’s woes or the fact that the Note line was never really intended to be a mainstream device with the kind of mass appeal of a Galaxy S or an iPhone. It’s more of a specialized productivity tool, catering to a select group of power users.

Samsung is playing it safe with the feature set too. There are no mind-blowing innovations in the Note8. The phablet is predictably sized and equipped, sporting a familiar, if slightly tweaked design. Even the dual-camera setup is by no means revolutionary. On the contrary, perhaps it’s even slightly overdue.

Samsung Galaxy Note8 key features

  • Body: Polished aluminum frame, Gorilla Glass 5 front and back; IP68 certified for water and dust resistance. Midnight Black, Orchid Grey, Deepsea Blue, Maple Gold color schemes.
  • Display: 6.3″ Super AMOLED ‘Infinity Display’, 2,960x1440px resolution, 18.5:9 (2.06:1) aspect ratio, 522ppi; HDR 10 compliant (no Dolby Vision).
  • Rear camera: Primary 12MP, Type 1/2.55″ sensor, f/1.7 aperture, 26mm equiv. focal length; Secondary 12MP, Type 1/3.4″ sensor, f/2.4 aperture, 52mm equiv. focal length; dual pixel phase detection autofocus and OIS on both; 2x zoom. 2160p/30fps video recording.
  • Front camera: 8MP, f/1.7 aperture, autofocus; 1440p/30fps video recording.
  • OS/Software: Android 7.1.1 Nougat; Samsung Grace UX; Bixby virtual assistant; Smart Connect, Smart Connect Home
  • Chipsets: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835: octa-core CPU (4×2.35GHz Kryo 280 & 4×1.9GHz Kryo 280), Adreno 540 GPU. Exynos 8895: octa-core CPU (4x2nd-gen Mongoose 2.3GHz + 4xCortex-A53 1.7GHz), Mali-G71 GPU.
  • Memory: 6GB of RAM; 64GB of storage; microSD slot for cards up to 256GB, UFS cards support.
  • Battery: 3,300mAh Li-Po (sealed); Adaptive Fast Charging (same as S7/S8); QuickCharge 2.0 support; WPC (Qi)&PMA wireless charging.
  • Connectivity: Single-SIM, Dual-SIM available in certain markets; LTE-A, 4-Band/5-Band carrier aggregation, Cat.16/13 (1Gbps/150Mbps); USB Type-C (v3.1); Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac MU-MIMO; GPS, Beidou, Galileo; NFC; Bluetooth 5.0.
  • Misc: S-Pen stylus with 4096 pressure levels; fingerprint/iris/face recognition; single speaker on the bottom; 3.5mm jack; bundled AKG headphones; Dex dock compatibility allowing dekstop use mode on a bigger screen.

Main shortcomings

  • No stereo speakers
  • Doesn’t launch with the latest Android

Now, we’ll be the first to admit that this is a pretty strange place for the Note8 to be. We have no intention whatsoever of downplaying what is probably the most versatile smartphone today. At least on the surface though, there’s nothing to be extremely excited about. Now, it might just be a blessing in disguise, letting us evaluate it from a power-user perspective, without worrying too much about the impression it makes or fails to make to the mass-user.

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