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100 days with the Note 8: Impressive, but not for everyone

AndroidPIT Samsung NOTE 8 GOLD 4356
© nextpit

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is a wonderful smartphone. But after 100 days, every smartphone doesn’t just show its sweet side, it also starts revealing minor or major weaknesses. The Galaxy Note 8 is no exception.

When it was reviewed, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 was very impressive across the board and proved that it can make you forget about the Note 7. I’ve now been using the Samsung phone for quite a while to find out how it fares in everyday use in the long run. Here, I’ll to introduce my five most important pros and cons of the Galaxy Note 8 after 100 days, switching back and forth between the pros and cons.

Pro: The design

Smartphones usually look very similar, so it’s hard for a design to really stand out. Samsung was able to do this with the Galaxy Note 8 in all respects. The flowing forms of the curved glass in the front and rear, the slim aluminum frame in between, hardly any display bezels, everything perfectly finished – it’s just wonderful. I don’t particularly like the blue version, but the golden one looks really outstanding.

galaxy note 8 gold back
The golden Galaxy Note 8 looks simply elegant. / © NextPit

Con: Usability

As fancy as the Note 8 looks, its usability is a different story. The smartphone is simply huge, heavy and also relatively thick compared to others in its class. With such a large body, the small details are the determining factor when it comes to whether the phone will fit well in your hand. With the Galaxy Note 8, nobody who's held the phone in their hand thought it was a success in this regard. The corners are too pronounced and the edge of the frame is too prominent. This mixture doesn’t seem to go well together. Lastly, when the Note 8 is in a case, it’s just too big for most pockets, as well as for my daily use.

Pro: The display

I’ll lay all my cards on the table here: the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has the best display that is currently available in any smartphone. The only exception might be the Razer Phone for gamers with its 120 Hz display, but really only a select few need that high of a refresh rate. The Super AMOLED panel in the new Note has everything that makes a good screen: black level, color display, contrasts, viewing angle stability, brightness – all at the next level. I would gladly see Samsung do away with the sharp edges on the corners, but they don’t bother me in the Galaxy Note 8. The display is just such a feast for the eyes. Nice work, Samsung!

Con: The biometric unlocking

Samsung has decided to offer three biometric unlocking mechanisms for the Galaxy Note 8: a fingerprint sensor, facial recognition and iris scan. These features are great in and of themselves, but I’m not that impressed with them in everyday use. Facial recognition has too many problems with sunglasses, hats and especially in low lighting conditions. The iris scanner takes too long to unlock, and the phone always has to be held awkwardly in front of your face. In the end, I had to use a good old PIN again, and that takes two hands because of the phone’s sheer size. Doing this several times a day is bound to strike some nerves.

Pro: The camera

The Galaxy Note 8 is one of the best smartphones on the market. In everyday life, I was particularly impressed by the speed at which the smartphone focuses, triggers and saves photos. I take a lot of pictures of my energetic kids, and no other smartphone has ever led to fewer blurry pictures than the Galaxy Note 8, and the quality is also really good overall. The effect with the blurred background in portrait shots doesn't always work, but if the phone correctly recognizes all levels of depth, the pictures come out great. Though I think the double zoom is mostly useless, since I can just as easily take a step forward, if it helps me render a nice bokeh effect and that’s enough for me.

Con: The speaker

In contrast to the camera, the Galaxy Note 8’s speaker doesn't meet high demands. The small mono speaker, which sends sound downwards, isn’t suitable for listening to music or a podcast on the go. The volume is too low and the sound is too shallow. Moreover, the smartphone speaker rattles if you really want to turn it up.

Pro: The S Pen

I’ll admit it: when Samsung unveiled the pen with the first Galaxy Note, I thought it was a pretty stupid idea. But a few generations later, I’m a real fan of the S Pen. I don’t use it everyday, but more often than I thought I would. With the Galaxy Note 8, I especially appreciate the option of taking notes on the lock screen. Even for those users who aren’t constantly drawing their masterpieces on the digital canvas, the S Pen is a sensible alternative when it comes to operating the device in a controlled way. It’s a beautiful detail that nobody besides Samsung can offer.

Con: The battery

After the Galaxy Note 7 was such a disaster, batteries are now a highly sensitive issue for Samsung. This should’ve been reason enough for the Korean brand to play it safe with the new Galaxy Note, in order to avoid outcries about burned smartphones. It’s understandable, but still annoying for users that the Galaxy Note 8 doesn’t have the best battery life. This is a real disadvantage, especially since the smartphone is primarily intended for high-demand users who use their devices frequently. Although the Note 8 never let me down before the end of any given day, the battery also wasn’t able to pleasantly surprise me. Things were different with the earlier Notes.

Pro: The performance

The Samsung Exynos 8895, which is built into the Galaxy Note 8, is one of the strongest smartphone chips on the market and can easily cope with any app out there. The 6 GB of memory ensures that you’ll never get the feeling that the phone is too slow. Samsung also did a bit of work on the software. Just a few years ago, the Samsung UI acted a bit like a brake pad and many users were bothered by the expensive flagship’s jerks and delays. Those days are long gone, and Samsung’s layer on top of Android doesn’t affect the Note 8’s performance. So, you can rest assured that this phone won’t weigh you down in a few years’ time.

AndroidPIT Samsung NOTE 8 GOLD 4385
The Note 8 has perfect performance, but where's Oreo? / © NextPit

Con: Updates

It’s 2018. Android 8 Oreo is already four months old. It’s ridiculous that the Android smartphone industry leader still hasn’t been able to manage to update its most expensive flagships with the latest Google software. A Galaxy smartphone that comes with Oreo is still not in sight. But it does seem like Samsung is pushing itself to finally support Project Treble. The bottom line is that a luxury class smartphone like the Galaxy Note 8 should have reasonable software support, and Samsung still doesn’t have it.

Conclusion: A phone for everything, but not for everyone

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 hasn’t disappointed me in everyday use. I've quite enjoyed looking at the fantastic display and scribbling with the pen. The performance is also outstanding in all respects, there’s no doubt about that. Nevertheless, I didn’t have a hard time putting my SIM back into another smartphone, especially one that’s a bit smaller, more comfortable and more convenient. The bottom line is that it’s a matter of taste. If you’re into really big smartphones and don’t shy away from the disadvantages of an XXL format, you’ll be pretty happy with the Galaxy Note 8.

What do you think of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8? Are you completely satisfied with it or do you you still think there’s room for improvement?

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  • 3
    Chromium4 Jul 31, 2018 Link to comment

    Almost a year into ownership and my Samsung Note 8 remains a magnificent beast of fun and functionality. I've owned many different types and brands of smartphones and the Note is one of the best phones I've owned to date. No wonder it is on so many lists of the best phones of 2017 and 2018. The price has come down considerably since launch and may continue to fall after the Note 9 hits the market. Speaking of the Note 9, I see where a lot of people ask if Note 8 owners will "upgrade" to the Note 9. From my standpoint the Note 9 does not offer anything that would justify me digging deep into my pockets for another phone that costs more than a grand after investing into another device less than a year ago. If it hadn't have been for a Samsung Direct promo where I received $300 off for the trade in of my LG G4 and a free accessory, I would never have purchased it. I'm hoping that my 8 will last me some years to come. The only issue I have with the Note 8 is its lack of a swappable battery like my last of the last of its kind LG V20, another great phone that can be had at a fraction of its original cost.

  • 16
    nightflyer2131 Jan 24, 2018 Link to comment

    I have had mines from day one still loving it to this day slap a mophie battery charger case on it and im still happy with all my n8 capabilities !

  • BruinGuy 20
    BruinGuy Jan 23, 2018 Link to comment

    I've had the Note 8 since day one and like it a lot. I don't have tiny hands so I the size is fine for me. I've had no problems with the battery and the speaker is the loudest I've ever had in a phone. I will agree that updates are a problem, though.

  • Note8IsBoss 1
    Note8IsBoss Jan 23, 2018 Link to comment

    The #Note8 has the best display, the best performance out of any Galaxy handset and the best performance of any Samsung product ever made. Being an S8plus owner let's me know that the battery on the #Note8 isn't as good but it's exceptable. Easily the #Note8 is the best Note ever made since August 2011. Having both the S8plus and Note8 in 2017 was the best experience ever no handsets on the market tops that. Now it's S9Plus time and on March 16th I will be adding the S9Plus to my home base of products.

  • 11
    bill m Jan 23, 2018 Link to comment

    I love my Note 8 but I wish it had a replaceable battery like the Note 4. Battery life has been good on mine and my wife's Note 8, but a replaceable battery increases the longevity of the phone and is more important to me than being water proof. My wife and I would never own a phone without an S pen.

    Deactivated Account

  • Rusty H. 33
    Rusty H. Jan 23, 2018 Link to comment

    A con for me, not just samsung, but pretty much all "flagships" is the performance/price. For what 99% of smartphone users, use their phones for, they are way overpowered. A properly functioning 801 snapdragon era chipset, given a good display, can pretty much run everything most people utilize. Web browsing, youtube, instant messaging, instagram, twitter, facebook, streaming music & selfies/photos are what the bulk of people use these for, along with (at least for me) the phone. Battery life on most of these "flagships" isn't what it should be, without resorting to battery saver type application, be they downloaded or built in. A lot of users, for whatever reason, care more about how colorful & stylish these things are, than how well they work (battery).
    Hey, it's YOUR money, if you want to spend it on something, the typical smartphone user throws away in 24 months, I'm not going to stop you, but I usually buy LAST YEARS big thing at a 40-60% savings. They work AS well, not to mention the ones I buy have 4,000mAH batteries which can even with heavy use, take 2 days of battery life.


  • 1
    Karthikesu yoganathan Jan 22, 2018 Link to comment

    Mine 99 days but battery performance getting weak. Overall good device.

  • Robin C. 1
    Robin C. Jan 22, 2018 Link to comment

    Only had mine a few days and can say with all honesty I love it. The s pen is a pleasure to use. This phone is a long term keeper for me.

  • Andrew N 2
    Andrew N Jan 22, 2018 Link to comment

    You are right, the Note series has always been a matter of preference, preference over the run of android devices and and the need for a larger display footprint.
    I had the note 7 for 7 days before having to return it due to its woes and my only choice was to settle for the Xiaomi Mi Mix another behemoth of a phone, As soon as the note 8 came out my Mi Mix was gone, and i havent regretted a single day, its a gorgeous phone and with 256GB of internal storage i have no storage fears.
    Yes its feel it when holding it in bed....but for something this gorgeous i'll make the musculoskeletal compromises....So to your question do i still love it?...Hell Yes!!!

    ElfynRobin C.

    • David Martrano 29
      David Martrano Jan 23, 2018 Link to comment

      I'm an s8+ user but I purchased the note8 for my wife. She loves it. To this day she can't believe how good the display is. She enjoys the s-pen very much. I'm not a pen user so the plus is my cup of tea. Waiting for the s9+ to drop. The duel camera's, 6gb's & the 845 processer has my interest. We had two s7 edges for 15 mos & never encountered any type of lag. Ditto with my plus & her note. I will continue to purchase their line which I think offer the best premium features of any out there!

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