Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Impressions

I know what you're thinking - its a phone. As long as you can call/text, what else do you need? In that case, you're in the wrong place.

Not posted in ages - i've run out of things to moan about! Back to basics, however - lets get nerdy!

I've written at length previously about how i'm an Apple Fanboy. Between Macs, iPhone, iPad and refusing to admit Spotify is better than Apple Music, the Cupertino firm has me firmly in their grasp. Its a combination of my own complacency, ease of use and the fact that i'm now firmly embedded in their ecosystem.

Last year, however, I decided to see if the grass was greener on the other side. Intrigued by the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, I jumped to Android.

We all know how that turned out...

Credit: Android Authority (NOT MY PHONE, thankfully)

What was most unfortunate was that the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was and still is the most feature-rich and fun phone i've ever used. After it was re-called and replaced once, the same issues popped up with it's explosive battery and the phone was taken out back and put out of it's misery, "Old Yeller"-style. After the S8 and S8+ finding success this year, I assumed the Note product line was retired.

Like a phoenix (get it, because of the flames?), the Note 8 was announced last week at a Samsung event and I was lucky enough to get my hands on one over the weekend.

The first thing (as with most Samsung devices) is that the screen is the most vibrant out there. Quite frankly, it puts Apple to shame. In terms of how crisp icons are on the display, it almost feels as though there is a sticker on the screen. Upon closer inspection, you'll notice that there are almost no bezels:



Credit: AndroidCentral

The 6.3 inch screen wraps around each side and the home button is now part of the software. The screen size gives a new aspect ratio of 18.5:9 - supposedly this makes it perfect for movies, although I didn't get a chance to check this out. Given the aforementioned brightness of the screen though, I can believe it'll make quite the cinematic experience. If you're wondering about unlocking the phone without a home button, the fingerprint scanner is now located on the rear (frustratingly located next to the camera), although facial recognition and good ol' passcodes are still an option.

Speaking of the camera, it uses a similar setup to the iPhone 7 Plus I currently own in that it has two cameras to allow for more detailed zoom. The Note 8 can also blur the background of a photo to ensure focus on the subject in a similar way to portrait mode on iPhone. What I found most impressive, however, was the way in which this can be dialled up and down based on the photo and the phone also saves the original for tweaking and re-setting. Samsung are also claiming that the Note 8 is the first phone to use optical image stabilisation on the go but this isn't something I was able to check out in my limited time with the phone.

Credit: Samsung
Aside from the camera, the key feature of the Note range has always been the S-Pen. The stylus pops out from the bottom of the device and this time around is capable of on-the-fly translation and conversion with a simple hover over text/figures. As with the Note 7, its also great fun to use for creating gifs and very helpful for signing documents.

In terms of the tech specs, the device reads like a wish-list. Expandable memory (up to 256GB), wireless charging and fast-charging (the battery is slightly smaller than the Note 7's combustible bad boy), IP68 water and dust resistant (including using the stylus underwater, if thats your thing) and perhaps most impressive of all - 6GB of RAM. More than some computers!

You'll want all the RAM you can get for multitasking which has been revamped. Be it Youtube and WhatsApp or any other combination of applications, the Note 8 is snappy enough to handle multiple applications on the same screen and the huge screen means nothing feels too cramped or limited.

In terms of audio, it features a 3.5mm headphone jack (I almost forgot about those!) but unlike my iPhone 7 Plus, the integrated speakers are a little disappointing. Everything sounds a little thin, but perhaps Samsung including some "premium" AKG earphones in the box is their way of attempting to make up for this.

So there you have it, a brief overview of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Apple's next event is due on 12th September so be sure to check back here for some highlights. Depending on the iPhone's latest iteration, maybe I'll be heading back to Samsung, who knows.

Thanks!

L


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