Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 8
It's here at last. The sequel to the smartphone that wouldn't stop exploding. The Galaxy Note 7 was one of the highest-rated smartphones of 2017, the only problem was that Samsung couldn't find a way to stop them from blowing up. The Galaxy Note 8 promises to solve all that, and I'm pleased to report that it hasn't exploded in my time with the phone… so far.
Samsung's Note range has always been large, and the new Note 8 is no exception. The 6.3-inch AMOLED panel makes it the biggest screen of the entire Galaxy range, but thanks to a skinny 18:9 aspect ratio you won't need giant hands to get a grip of this phone. Typing with one hand is still a bit of a struggle, but otherwise browsing the web and social media is relatively easy to do.
Tech Talk: Samsung Galaxy Note 8
The most noticeable thing about the design is that screen. Samsung has been sticking class-leading screens on its smartphones for ages, and this is no different. The Galaxy Note 8 has a super-high 2960 by 1440 resolution AMOLED panel, that's stretched out along the front of the phone. There's pretty much zero bezels here, and the phone really makes the most of its extended screen real estate. Just like the S8, the Note 8 is capable of crazy good brightness levels. Even in bright sunlight, you won't have a problem see what's onscreen.
Camera-wise, this is the first Samsung to rock dual cameras around the back. The Note 8 has two 12-megapixel snappers, a regular version and a telephoto camera for zoomed-in shots. The dual lenses also let you take dreamy bokeh-blurring portraits too. Samsung calls this Live Focus, because you can tweak the amount of blur you want before you hit the shutter button.
Of course, the Note 8's largest feature is its stylus. Now, we're not too bothered about the S Pen over at Esquire, so we really didn't use it very much during the review, but that's not to say it's pointless. It's a well-designed tool, that offers plenty of customisation.
There are a few must-have Note apps for 2017. Live Message is a cute way to draw doodles and annotate images, and PENUP is a social hub for sharing your sketches.
The whole thing is water-resistant, keeps a 3.5-milimetre headphone jack and gives you USB-C charging at the bottom. There's also a button for Samsung's Bixby voice assistant, if that's your thing…
Performance wise, you get an octa-core Exynos CPU (the same as the Galaxy S8. You also get 6 gigabytes of RAM that makes multi-tasking a doddle, along with a 3300 miliamp battery. That's a tad on the small side for a phone with a screen this big, but the new Note 8 will just about manage a full day of use.
As a smartphone, the Galaxy Note 8 is probably the best phone Samsung makes right now. It takes fantastic images, has a huge 6.3 inch screen with almost zero bezels, and boasts top-notch tech under the hood. In fact, the only reason someone might not pick up the Note 8 is purely down to size.
Those with small hands need not apply, but for anyone who admires larger format phones – this is probably the Samsung to get.