Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review: High notes, high marks for Note 8

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By Paisal Chuenprasaeng
The Nation

Samsung’s newest Galaxy phone looks great, acts great and doesn’t appear likely to blow up

Here it is, the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8, a perfect mix of beauty and power, plus great usability and really good cameras. The Note 8 comes with a large and gorgeous display of almost-bezelless design and curved edges, making it a Galaxy S8 lookalike, but with a larger display.

The power comes from Samsung’s latest and fastest octacore processor in 10nm design, meaning it uses less energy. There are more functions with the new S Pen stylus. And Samsung has learned its lesson when it comes to batteries. Your Note 8 isn’t going to explode, as certain editions of the predecessor Note 7 did.

The Note 8 will not let you down. The fast processor, generous memory and fast storage guarantee that.

Note 8

The Samsung Exynos Octa 8895 64bit processor has four cores running at 2.3GHz and four others at 1.7GHz. You get six gigabytes of LPDDR4 working memory (RAM) to speed up animations and other operations, and 64GB of UFS 2.1 storage, expandable to two terabytes. The menus and touchscreen are responsive and games and the builtin app for creating animations run fast.

HD video clips play smoothly. The AnTuTu Benchmark ranked the phone’s performance at an impressive 175,679 points. As of September 8, the Note 8 ranked fourth on the dynamic database of AnTuTu scores. Since it supports LTE Cat 16 protocol, the Note 8 also has very fast data connection.

I was on TrueMove H’s 4G LTE and connected in an instant, downloading apps and putting pictures in cloud storage very quickly. Online streaming HD video services like TrueVisions Anywhere worked very well.

Note 8

The fast 802.11ac 5GHz MUMIMO connection tested quite well with Linksys EA8500 wireless router with MUMIMO to access files stored on Synology DiskStation DS418J. Bluetooth v 5.0 connection is also appreciable at up to 2Mbps.

The phone’s beautiful design extends to the Infinity Display with slanted edges and an edge-to-edge screen, so there’s more room for using the S Pen, watching videos and reading long documents with less scrolling.

The always-on screensaver resembles a dark sky with twinkling stars, the time, date, battery status and alert icons displayed in glowing white in the centre. The large 6.3inch Quad HD Super Amoled display boasts 2,960×1,440 pixels at 521ppi pixel depth.

It’s great for watching high-definition videos, whether in 18:5:9 or 21:9 ratios. Content in the latter ratio appears 14 per cent larger than it did on the Note 5.

Note 8

The display is certified by the UHD Alliance for enjoying videos just as the filmmakers intended, with vibrant colours and contrast. HDR 4K clips look fabulous.

The S Pen stylus has a handwriting recognition function. You can use the Live Message app to create and share animated text and emojis and different pen effects to personalise photos to share via supporting apps.

The Live Message feature can be used within Samsung Messenger or a third-party social networking site app.

Tap on the textinput field to open the keyboard and you can use the S Pen to access Live Message from the options panel. Screen Off memo has been enhanced for better notetaking capabilities.

Now you can write up to 100 pages of notes and pin them to the Always On Display for quick and easy editing.

The pen’s Translate function both interprets words and sentences and coverts units and foreign currencies. Just hover the S Pen over the text to translate or convert.

Inherited from the S8 is the Edge Panel, but it’s now better with an App Pair feature, with which you can open two frequently used apps at the same time, create pairs of apps by swiping right to left to open the Edge Panel.

For example, you can pair Google Maps to Play Music to regularly open both at once with one tap. They’re displayed as separate screens. The good-quality duallens camera has dual optical image stabilisation and 2X optical zoom. One lens is wide angle, the other telephoto.

Based on the zoom level, Note 8 will automatically select the best lens to use. The wideangle lens has a bright f/1.7 aperture and the telephoto is f/2.4. The wideangle uses Dual Pixel technology for fast and sharp focusing.

This camera’s Live Focus feature lets you blur the background by simply dragging a bar to adjust the depth of field. You can tap the background-blur button either in preview mode or after the photo is taken. With the duallens system, you can switch from Landscape to Portrait modes by tapping on the wide/closeup button, which is displayed as 1x/2x. I found the Note 8 captured sharp and clean photos with vibrant colours in Auto mode.

There is also a Pro mode that lets you adjust several shooting parameters on your own. Like the S8, the Note 8 has biometric security, allowing you to use either eye’s iris or a fingerprint to unlock your phone. You also need to set up a PIN or pattern lock just in case, but I had no trouble at all.

The Note 8 is water and dust-resistant. It will play High-Resolution Audio in several formats, including FLAC 24bit/192kHz and DSD64/128.

I played the former using Sony’s MDR1ABT and was duly impressed by the sound.

Thanks to the energy-saving processor, the 3,300mAh battery will last a full day on a single full charge.

Samsung says the Note 8 has passed rigorous safety tests, and I sensed no overheating during recharging.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has a suggested retail price of Bt33,900.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 KEY SPECS

– Operating system: Android 7.1.1
– Network: LTE Cat 16
– CPU: Octacore (2.3GHz Quad + 1.7GHz Quad), 64bit, 10nm processor
– Memory: 6GB RAM (LPDDR4)
– Storage: 64GB UFS 2.1, expandable with microSD by up to 256GB
– Display: 6.3inch Quad HD+ Super Amoled, 2960/1440 (521ppi)
– Rear camera: Dual with dual OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) – wideangle, 12MP Dual Pixel AF, F1.7, OIS, telephoto – 12MP AF, F2.4, OIS 2x optical
– Front camera: 8MP AF, F1.7 – SIM card: Single nano SIM
– Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), VHT80 MUMIMO, 1024QAM, Bluetooth v 5.0 (LE up to 2Mbps), ANT+, USB TypeC, NFC Location (GPS, Galileo, Glonass, BeiDou)
– Water resistance: IP68 – Sensors: Accelerometer, barometer, fingerprint, gyro, geomagnetic, hall, heart rate, proximity, RGB light, iris, pressure
– Battery: 3,300mAh, wireless charging compatible with WPC and PMAFast Charging compatible with QC 2.0
– Dimensions: 162.5×74.8×8.6mm, S Pen 5.8×4.2×108.3mm – Weight: 195g, S Pen 2.8g

The Nation
Republished with permission from The Nation
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