Samsung just revealed its new S series flagships, and immediately people began drawing comparisons with the Note 7. Exploding battery aside, the Note 7 was a truly impressive device. But, from what we could see in our preliminary hands-on review, the Galaxy S8+ seems to have outdone it in terms of both specs and design.
Jump to a section:
- Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 7: design and build quality
- Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 7: display
- Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 7: software
- Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 7: technical specs
- Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 7: performance
- Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 7: audio
- Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 7: camera
- Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 7: battery
- Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 7: early verdict
Our first thoughts upon picking up the new Galaxy S8+ were of the Note 7. The design of the new flagship recalls its symmetrical body, thin frame and curved glass. With the S8 and S8+, everything feels even more seamless than the S7 and Note 7. Like the Note 7, the S8+ has IP68 certification for resistance to water and dust, a USB Type-C port, a headphone jack and iris scanner. The iris scanner, however, has been improved since its introduction in the Note 7.
Apart from the similarities and iterative improvements, there are some clear differences in the design, however minor. The home button has been removed from the S8+ in favor of virtual buttons, and the fingerprint scanner has moved to the back of the device next to the camera. The Note 7 comes with an S Pen stylus, and there's a holder at the bottom of the device.
The dimensions of the Note 7 are 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm, and the S8+ is a bit larger at 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm. Despite only being a bit larger on the whole, the S8+ has a much bigger screen: 6.2 inches compared to 5.7. The S8+ also weighs a tiny bit more, 173 g compared to 169 g. So, with the S8+, you get a significantly bigger screen without adding much bulk.
While we're on the topic of screen size, it's necessary to note that the S8+ has a larger display than most phablets on the market, not just the Note 7. At 6.2 inches, the Super AMOLED display was crisp in our hands-on test. This is no surprise, as it has a pixel density of 530 ppi. The aspect ratio is 18.5:9, and the resolution is 2,960 x 1,440.
The resolution and pixel density of the Note 7's 5.7-inch display is less, at 2,560 x 1,440 and 515 ppi. But, both displays are curved, have edge functionality and HDR technology. They are also both protected by Gorilla Glass 5, which should protect against 80 percent of drops from a height of up to 1.60 meters according to Corning.
The Galaxy Note 7 shipped with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Samsung has announced plans to sell refurbished devices, so I would guess that an update to Nougat is planned, given how recently the devices were originally released, despite the fact that they're currently off the market.
The Galaxy S8+ ships with Android 7.0 Nougat, and its UI is more modern, elegant and true to stock Android than previous versions. Plus, there have been adjustments to the system settings and notifications. With the removal of the physical home button as we mentioned above, Samsung has adopted virtual navigation buttons for the S8+. And the as yet untested Bixby AI assistant is sure to be a big differentiator as well.
Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 7 technical specifications
|Samsung Galaxy S8+||Samsung Galaxy Note 7|
Both the S8+ and Note 7 come with two processor variants, Exynos and Snapdragon. The S8+ has an Exynos 8895 processor, which is said to have 10 percent more processing power than the Note 7's 8890. The S8+ also has an improved processor for the US version, the Snapdragon 835, which is a jump from the Snapdragon 820 on the Note 7. When we tested both devices, it was with the Exynos processors.
In our full review of the Note 7, we were a bit let down by the performance. During a game of Nova 3, the system choked, and we noticed that the device was getting nearly the same scores as the S7 Edge on benchmark tests. With the S8+ on the other hand, there were no hiccups or slowdowns in our hands-on review. Everything ran quickly and smoothly as expected, including the home screens, apps, websites and games. We've yet to do a full test of the S8+ though, so take that with a pinch of salt.
The Galaxy S8+ and Note 7 come with 64 GB of expandable internal storage and 4 GB of RAM. I must say, 6 GB of RAM would have been a nice surprise on both of these devices, but perhaps next time Samsung will be a bit more ambitious.
We were only able to do a preliminary hands-on review of the S8+, so we weren't able to gauge the quality of the mono speaker much. For the Note 7, on the other hand, we did a full test and we found that above 75 percent volume, the quality wasn't great. Stereo speakers would have been a nice addition on both devices, given how multimedia-oriented the displays are.
The headphones are another story. Samsung acquired Harmon Kardon in Fall 2016, and the audio experts there developed the headphones supplied with the S8+. We expect these to be of very good quality, though we haven't had a chance to test them yet. The Galaxy Note 7 came with completely unremarkable headphones.
The S8+ has a better front camera than the Note 7, with 8 MP and auto focus, compared to the Note 7's more standard 5 MP.
The main cameras of both the S8+ and Note 7 are basically the same. Both have 12 MP and an aperture of f / 1.7, and the same dual pixel technology that was introduced in the S7. They shoot sharp images with great contrast.
The main difference between the Note 7 and S8+ devices' cameras is that when the S8+ snaps a photo, it is actually taking multiple shots and combining them automatically. This multi-frame processing should lead to better results without compromising speed. We'll test this out in our final review.
The S8+ and Note 7 both have 3,500 mAh batteries, which are 100 mAh less than the S7 Edge. Needless to say, we're hoping that the battery of the S8+ will distinguish itself from that of the Note 7 by not exploding, but only time will tell. Both feature fast and wireless charging, and should last about a day of use. There's no word yet on the capacity of the refurbished Note 7's battery at this stage.
One thing stands out about the Galaxy S8+ and Note 7 at first glance: the luxurious design and beautiful curved screens. The S8 and S8+ take inspiration from previous Galaxy generations, but the design is more refined and the build quality is more seamless.
While the technical prowess of the S8+ has yet to be proven, when comparing the specs to those of the Note 7, it is clearly superior: Snapdragon 835 vs 820, Nougat vs Marshmallow, 8 MP vs 5 MP front camera and so on. Plus the S8+ manages to have a significantly larger screen (6.2 vs 5.7 inches) without increasing the overall size or weight of the device by much. Overall, its clear that the S8+ has outdone the Note 7.
Let us know what you think of these devices in the comments.