Samsung’s Note line has been all about catering towards the power users, with a powerful processor, more RAM than necessary and some experimentation (like making the screen curved) mixed in-between.
This year, with the Note8, Samsung has made the device more in-line with the Galaxy S8 & S8+. In fact, the Note8 looks and feels very similar to the latest entry in the Galaxy S lineup.
The Note8 has the same metal and glass design as the S8 and even the fingerprint sensor is located on the back. As said in my S8 review, I was never a big fan of where the fingerprint sensor was situated on the back, it was just awkward to use.
The Galaxy Note8 is being powered by the Snapdragon 835 (same as the S8) with 6GB of RAM. There’s 64GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot, the screen is a 6.3-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity Display, which is only 0.1 inches bigger than the screen on the S8+. Bixby is also on the Note8 with its own dedicated button like on the S8.
Because of that slightly larger display, Samsung has added a new feature called App Pair, which will allow you to launch two apps at the same time in multi-window mode. The feature seemed to work well and could be useful for some.
The device still retains the 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C and is IP68 water and dust resistant and the battery is 3,300 mAh, which has gone through Samsung’s eight point inspection, to help avoid the overheating issues with the Note7.
The Note8 has a slightly refined S Pen and is capable of over 4,967 pressure points and is IP68 water resistant (so you can write on the screen underwater). The S Pen worked well in my hands-on time and you can still take screen off memos, which are activated when you take out the S Pen.
Samsung introduced the Note lineup back in 2011 and it introduced the mobile world to the idea of a phablet. And now nearly every phone on the market today has at least a 5-inch display (which used to seem gigantic a few years ago).
The Note8 also has a dual-lens setup (one wide-angle lens and one telephoto lens), both are 12-megapixels and have optical image stabilization. From my initial hands-on with the Note8, the camera seemed almost on par as the one on the S8. I did get to try the Live Focus view which helps you take a photo with a bokeh effect but I had a bit of trouble with it (keep in mind, I was using a pre-production unit).
I’ll have to do further testing of the Note8’s camera to see if will actually persuade me from my Google Pixel XL’s camera.
Overall, the Note8 seems like an iterative update to the Note line and is more of a Note7S than a proper iteration. Don’t get me wrong, it feels like a nice premium device but I can’t get over how similar it is to the Galaxy S8 & S8+ (which can be considered a good or bad thing).
The Galaxy Note8 is available now for pre-order in Canada for $1,299 CAD off-contract. It will be released on September 15th and come in Midnight Black and Deepsea Blue and if you pre-order between now and September 14th, you’ll get a 128GB Samsung MicroSD card and a Samsung Wireless Charger.
The device will be available from Bell, Eastlink, Freedom Mobile, MTS, Rogers, SaskTel, Telus, Videotron and Samsung Experience Stores.