Samsung Note 8 Review

The Galaxy Note 8 is a huge reimagining of Samsung’s best smartphone for productivity, and more than enough to right the wrongs of the recalled Note 7- this is a mega-sized mea culpa. A month of testing has us convinced: this is a true redesign of your average smartphone from top-to-bottom, edge-to-edge, and rear camera to, well, rear camera. There are now two cameras on the back, a first for a Samsung flagship smartphone. It takes brilliant portrait photos, and you can even edit them post-capture to adjust the depth of field. The S Pen stylus returns, and the phone has a larger 6.3-inch ‘Infinity Display’ to work with – although it doesn’t increase the dimensions of the actual phone by much. The Note 8 acts like a big, borderless glass canvas for your important handwritten notes and masterpiece doodles.

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The Note 8 is Samsung’s most powerful phone yet, but it has some drawbacks: it’s too big for some. You’re going to need a case to confidently hold this unwieldy glass beast, and two hands to operate it. The big screen on the Note 8 also comes at the cost of the expected fingerprint scanner on the front, as it’s been removed in this iteration. The on-screen home button works fine, but the fingerprint sensor is now located off-centered on the back of the phone- a flawed design, with the additional iris scanner not always working reliably. There’s also the phone’s price: if you want top-of-the-line specs, a great camera, stunning display, and streamlined multitasking on a phone, you’re really going to pay up. Why buy this instead of the 6.2-inch Galaxy S8 Plus? The extra tenth of an inch doesn’t really matter, but loyal Note fans adore the S Pen functionality, and power users are going to benefit from the 6GB of RAM. The Note 8 costs more than the S8 Plus at $929, although if you’re going to sink a lot of money into a device that you use everyday, you may as well go all in. Can your wallet, and the extent of your grip, handle the Note 8? That’s pretty much all that you – if you have faith in Samsung after the attention its Note 7 got – need to ask yourself before buying this phone.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8's biggest rival is the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. The Pixel’s camera may be better than the Note 8’s, but it suffers from screen quality issues. With the iPhone X launching on November 3 with a borderless display, facial recognition and other features, the Pixel is generally lacking many features that make it a compelling buy over its competitors. Ultimately, the Note 8 rules supreme in the big-screen, big-power, big-price arena. The Note 8’s suggested retail price starts at $929 and is commonly available in two year contracts for $40 a month, but if you prefer being free from carriers and want to purchase it outright, your wallet will seriously take a hit. The Galaxy S8 Plus, for comparison, retailed for $829 at launch, and can now often be found for about $750, making the Note 8 a tough buy until its price drops. Overall, the Note 8 is arguably the most powerful phone on the market right now, and is in league with the iPhone x, but has an outrageous price tag that makes buying an S8 a viable alternative.