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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review, 3 months later: A polarizing powerhouse

Our Verdict

Original review score: 4Price: $949Bottom line: Samsung's Note line continues to be the company's dominant phone in terms of mind share, if not market share. Excellent hardware is filled with top-end specs and all sorts of hardware features that you desire, and the icing on the cake is the super-powerful S Pen stylus. There are a few quirks in the software and with the fingerprint sensor, but you can look past those to get an amazingly capable phone.

For

  • Best screen available today
  • Very good camera
  • S Pen is a truly unique feature
  • Great set hardware features
  • Top-end specs

Against

  • Software can be overwhelming
  • Battery life not good enough for the size
  • Fingerprint sensor is tough to reach
  • Basic speaker

Samsung retains a massive influence in the smartphone world, holding an outsized mind share even relative to its legitimately massive market share. The Galaxy Note 8 is a perfect example of this — it doesn't sell nearly as well as the Galaxy S line, yet it's held up as the pinnacle of what Samsung is capable of on account of its bigger size, extra features and super-high price.

We published our Galaxy Note 8 review over three months ago, back on September 5. In that time we've continued to use other phones, watch the industry evolve and let the "new phone" honeymoon phase fully wear out on the Note 8. Now that we have more time under our belt with the phone, it's time for a revisit and a fresh review. Here's our new take on the Galaxy Note 8 after over three months of use.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Just gorgeous

Galaxy Note 8 What I still love

My interest in the latest Samsung phones primarily centers around their hardware. All aspects of it. And the Note 8 has a whole lot of room to show off Samsung's quality. Yes this is a somewhat derivative design from all the way back to the Galaxy S6 edge, but that shouldn't take away from the fact that Samsung has continued to refine its processes to make something wonderful. The huge panes of curved glass just fit so perfectly with the metal sides, and everything has a great feel to it. Though the Note 8 is a bit bulbous and kind of bursting at the seams compared to the Galaxy S8+, I still can't find an angle where it doesn't look great.

The Note 8 is beautiful from every angle, and concerns over fragility are overblown.

I continually hear complaints about the fragility of the last few generations of Samsung phones, but I have yet to experience any such issues. Yes the back is glass, and yes glass will pick up scratches over time. That's just the tradeoff we have to deal with in order to get this striking design and wireless charging. I feel like I could easily enjoy a Note 8 with a flat display rather than a curved one, but once again it's just a tradeoff in terms of making the phone a bit narrower and more striking. Both decisions are worth it in my view.

And it all wraps around this ridiculously great display. It's massive. It's bright. It's just beautiful in every aspect. When you crank it all the way up this display can reach eye-searing brightness levels, which you immediately miss when using any other phone. Viewing angles are great, colors are punchy and everything is super crisp. Samsung has its displays locked in, and this is one of the Note 8's strongest features. You just can't complain about anything here.

Pixel 2 hype aside, the Note 8 has a great pair of cameras.

It turns out that even though the Pixel and Pixel 2 have taken over the largest portion of camera hype in the last year, Samsung still knows how to do great things with its cameras. The "Live Focus" portrait mode may have been a bit of a gimmick (I still forget about it regularly), but the core fundamentals and shots you can get from the Note 8 are still top-notch.

Samsung knows how to produce eye-pleasing images with just a little bit of extra punch and without a bunch of unnatural over-sharpening. It was tough to take a bad photo, and leaving HDR set to automatic mode and snapping quick shots so often yielded great results. The 2x lens, while hardly ever used for Live Focus, still found its place for more dramatic shots with a tighter field of view.

As ever, the one area where I missed my Pixel 2's camera was in some low light shots, where things get a little grainy and blotchy as the camera tries to process things and you really notice the lack of fine detail. It's particularly apparent in scenes that require a very wide dynamic range, as the dark parts of the scene seem smooth or out of focus as lighter areas are tack-sharp. This is where Google's HDR+ processing absolutely leads the industry.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Size and software

Galaxy Note 8 What I don't like

On the opposite side of things, my biggest issues with the Galaxy Note 8 come from the practicality of using it every day. Once I get past the lust of the hardware and "potential" it exudes, I run into a couple usability issues that significantly reduce my positivity. I just can't get around the size of this thing, and how frustrating it is to try and operate with one hand. Reaching the top of the screen is impossible without using the one-handed mode (triple tap the home button!), and the overall width and screen curves make it near-impossible to do edge swipe-in gestures. This is a two-handed phone. That may be fine for you, but it doesn't work for me in any way.

I need to use my phone in one hand, and the Note 8 just isn't compatible with that.

And yes, I still can't stand the fingerprint sensor placement. It's not personal preference of front vs. back vs. side ... I legitimately can't reach it. I've learned to deal with its location on the much smaller Galaxy S8, but it just isn't possible to gracefully reach and use the fingerprint sensor on the larger phone. I use a good half-dozen apps multiple times a day that require fingerprint authentication, and every single time I open one I start that awkward shuffle of the phone in my hand to reach the fingerprint sensor. And in doing so, I regularly gunk up my camera lens. It sucks. It will never not suck. And no matter how good iris scanning works for the lock screen (which is perhaps 85% of the time), it can't be used for these apps that only work with a fingerprint sensor.

Since the Note 8 came out I've spent considerable time using phones like the Google Pixel 2, OnePlus 5T and Android One Moto X4. I easily slot Samsung's take on Nougat underneath this group. There isn't anything functionally wrong with "Samsung Experience" version 8.5, but the company is still fighting a battle against bloat and a lack of overall design direction. Too much of the way you interact with the interface feels tied back to the time of KitKat and Lollipop. So even though the software looks more modern now it sure doesn't act accordingly.

The light colors, subtle shadows and use of transparency is great, but the function isn't — the lock screen is a calamitous combination of ideas, the launcher is clunky (those folders ...), the settings go down into deep rabbit holes of untold depths, some buttons just aren't intuitive, and there are features tucked away in every little corner. On one hand this has certainly made the Note 8 a lot easier to pick up and use its basic functions without all of the extras getting in the way, but when all of that legacy cruft is still there to find and simply hidden from initial view it's frustrating. Samsung is selling tons of phones, has a massive user base that's used to how it does things, and has software that's super-powerful. But I don't see how you can use a Note 8 and say it's more delightful and pleasing to interact with than a Pixel 2 XL. Sorry, not sorry.

Design is one thing, but this $940 phone shouldn't be stuttering or dropping frames after three months.

The styling and features not jiving with my personal tastes are one thing, but I've been seriously underwhelmed once again with how the Note 8's speed has held up after a few months of installing apps and loading it up with data. Precisely as I experienced after three months with my Galaxy S8, the Note 8's daily performance has started to slow. Most things I do are quick and smooth, but there are still far too many instances now where apps hang up just a few beats before launching or scrolling, or animations stutter and drop frames.

If the script from my Galaxy S8 plays out the same way here, a factory reset should be the cure. But why am I factory resetting my $940 phone to get it to perform after three months like it did after three days? I'm growing even less tolerant of this behavior. It just shouldn't be a thing now, particularly in a company's super-high-end phone. (For what it's worth, our own Alex Dobie's Exynos-powered UK Galaxy Note 8 doesn't exhibit such sluggishness. Annoying, to say the least.)

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Polarizing powerhouse

Galaxy Note 8 Three months on

Time has only generated more respect for the quality of the Note 8's hardware — in the materials, design and build quality all around. It's gorgeous from every angle, feels great when you pick it up and has aged as well as you can expect from a phone with this much exposed curved glass. I'm still in awe over how wonderful the display is and suspect I'll feel the same another three, six or nine months from now. Battery life is still good, and wireless charging is a treat. And oh yeah, it has a headphone jack!

The old saying of 'time heals all wounds' doesn't apply here. The Note 8 has shortcomings.

And yet, the old saying of "time heals all wounds" doesn't apply here. Samsung's fingerprint sensor placement is just as bad today as it was on day one — my finger hasn't gotten any longer in three months. Its iris scanning has proven to be adequate, but far from a quality fingerprint sensor. The phone is also just way too big for me to use in one hand — and it just doesn't offer much of a unique experience, aside from the S Pen, to show for these poor ergonomics.

Samsung's software is indeed an acquired taste, and three months on I do have a better understanding of how to get around its quirks and make it work how I want. Turning off Bixby is a great start, as is replacing the launcher and clearing out some default apps. But since the Note 8 came out I have also spent weeks using Android 8.0 Oreo on a Pixel 2 — and Samsung's software experience just doesn't come close to Google's in terms of speed, fluidity, ease of use, consistency and overall delight. And the way the phone now exhibits inconsistent performance stutters is disheartening.

The biggest issue with the Note 8 may be that you can get a Galaxy S8 for over $200 less.

My complaints about the unwieldy size and extreme price are pretty well mitigated by the fact that Samsung sells the Galaxy S8 and S8+. Just going down to the Galaxy S8+ you instantly save over $100 (opens in new tab), improve ergonomics just a bit, and get a larger battery while only losing the fringe features of dual cameras and the S Pen. Save another $100 and you get the Galaxy S8 (opens in new tab), which offers the same core experience as the Note 8 in a size you can actually manage in one hand while retaining most of the features and hardware quality. Samsung's own great Galaxy S8 and S8+ make the Note 8 feel a bit less ... valuable.

For someone who has to have the absolute best phone a company offers, and doesn't care about the sheer impracticality of what that entails, the Note 8 is a great phone today just as it was three months ago. It does just about everything anyone could ask for. But three months after first reviewing the Note 8, it's even clearer that in pursuit of being the biggest and baddest, it doesn't offer a well-rounded smartphone experience that other phones — including those from Samsung — can. It's just a bit too big, a bit too expensive and overall a bit too compromised to be a go-to recommendation.

4 out of 5

It's a flagship. A halo device. But not the best phone Samsung sells today.

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

196 Comments
  • Tell me again why the **** Samsung uses two different chipsets? Why can't we have the Exynos in the US instead of the Qualcom trash?
  • The Exynos doesn't support all the radio bands used by North American Carriers.
  • Ahmad
  • Because there are dinosaurs like Verizon still in the mix.
  • I keep seeing this as the reason that we don't have the Exynos processor in the USA, but everyone seems to forget that the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge were only available with the Exynos and I certainly had the edge on Sprint.
  • The main reason is that Qualcomm ****** Samsung over - QC has all the CDMA patents, and can do whatever they want. At the end it was cheaper for Samsung to just use Qualcomm chipsets in their US models (and because two carriers require CDMA, for feature parity Samsung decided to use Snapdragon for all US models). Hopefully the current lawsuits against QC will settle this CDMA bullshit they're playing. Hopefully.
  • I believe Qualcom has something to do with that.
  • It's purely a cost and licensing thing. Qualcomm makes its radio and technology licensing deals in a way that it's more cost effective for Samsung to ship U.S. (and some other) models with Qualcomm processors since it has to license some Qualcomm tech anyway.
  • "Cost effective" Doesn't Qualcomm outright prevent anyone from coming into the NA market?
  • No, it's just cheaper for Samsung to buy the whole SoC from Qaulcomm than it is to licence the modem tech.
    In other words they charge more for a modem licence than they do for a full 835 SoC, hence forcing OEM's releasing in the US to use Qualcomm's SD's.
  • There's no explicit prevention. That's why you sometimes see non-Qualcomm CPUs in the U.S. — Samsung did it itself with Exynos in the Galaxy S6 series. But Qualcomm does effectively do this with the way it prices its chips vs. licensing its technology. In many cases it makes it cheaper to buy the whole SoC rather than license specific parts to use with another SoC.
  • Thank Qualcomm and CDMA.
  • Yeah I really hate that we can't have the Exynos processors in the US. My S6 never slowed down in the year I used it. My S7 seems to be slower than my S6 in less than 2 months. It honestly never actually seemed faster. The better battery, better low light camera, and SD card slot are the only improvements.
  • The most incredible Note yet. I've had mine for almost 2 months. Zero issues.
  • Agreed. Best phone I have ever owned and easily justified the +1000 spent for it. Looking forward to the Note9
  • Note 8 is pure beast
  • And the streak continues...
  • I find it interesting to hear about the "bit rot" getting talked about. the GS8+ is my first Samsung phone since the first Galaxy S, and 6 months on it's as responsive as the first day I took it out of the box. That's not to say that it doesn't happen, I just haven't experienced it, and I'd self identify as a power user. It just must be related to use case of the devices.
  • My S8 definitely feels slower after about three months, but I largely assume that's due to me installing/uninstalling apps and monkeying with settings and all that jazz. Basically, I'm assuming that the user (me) is the weak link.
  • Wow, just wow, that is some extreme justification for poor software and money spent right there. 😆
  • PEBPAU (problem exists between phone and user). That's usually the case.
  • Maybe it's a qualcomm thing. My exynos note 8 hasn't degraded like described.
  • You are correct Coyote. I'm still looking forward to seeing the S9+. With 6Gb of RAM, very good dual cameras, and a much better positioned FPS, I'll probably just begrudgingly accept the Qualcomm penalty when the unlocked models become available, hopefully within about a month of the carrier models going on sale. Oh yeah, and FFS Samsung, use your earpiece speaker for media consumption.
  • Other Qualcomm-based phones haven't either. So it's probably more accurately described as a "Samsung not optimising as well for the Qualcomm" thing.
  • Never experienced it either with my S8+. I will say that a few years down the line as apps and the OS all get updated targeting newer/more powerful phones, there definitely can be a slowdown. But that's much different. People are quick to cry "planned obsolescence" at that, but that's nonsense. The fact is optimization will only ever get you so far as the tech progresses. Eventually, no matter what, old hardware will simply struggle to keep up. I'm also a "power user." I got an S8+ when they launched. Just recently tried out a Note 8 for about two weeks. The Note is certainly a little smoother thanks to that extra RAM, but the gap between that performance and my significantly older S8+ isn't that wide. Ultimately it wasn't enough for me to justify the cost. Unrelated note, i also tried an iPhone X for about a week before that. They sure are smooth, but you pretty quickly learn exactly what you're giving up for that smoothness. No thanks. Back on topic, I also deal with brand new S8/S8+ from all carriers, unlocked units, and demo units all day. And you know what? They never feel faster than my S8+. About the only thing they tend to have on my old phone is much MUCH lighter battery usage, of course. Then again, loading a phone up with well over a hundred apps and a handful of constantly syncing accounts including our work chat service and two work email accounts will do that. But even with all that crap running performance isn't taking too much of a hit. And that's pretty impressive. It helps that I'm running Nova and I actually keep the background apps to a minimum. That's honestly what it really comes down to. Like Windows, Android gives users more than enough rope to hang themselves with, so to speak. The freedom granted by the OS is always a double-edged sword. You can have the smoothest, purest version of Android from the jump but the wrong apps/background services can bring it to a crawl. But if you keep an eye on it, aside from the aforementioned widening hardware gap, you'd be surprised how long these phones can keep up. The thing is many users don't want to bother. Manufacturers and Google are both trying to help out but that can be a tall order given the sheer number/variety of apps and services available. Samsung's "device maintenance" feature actually does a pretty respectable job of it. Probably the only worthwhile thing Cheetah has ever had a hand in.
  • I think it's absolutely the best device that Samsung makes today, but it's true that it's not for everyone. If price is a factor, then you're also correct that the value isn't what the S8 models offer, but I don't think that anyone can objectively argue that this isn't the best device from Samsung today.
  • Agreed. I dislike when people say, "[x] is the best and that's that." You can objectively say that this is Samsung's best phone to date from a technology standpoint, but the best phone for an individual is highly subjective. That goes for almost any product where we have choices. Except for maybe the instant Pot. That thing is awesome.
  • I had one but returned it. Security updates are slow and it was too big.
  • My sister can relate. She held my Note8 and kept remarking on how tall it was.
  • My U.S. unlocked model has been OK with security patches. Currently on Nov 1.
  • Am I the only one who doesn’t have a significant slowdown? I have the SM-N950F variant and it performed almost as well as it did on Day 1. I say almost because there are some weirdness but it’s not as apparent as when I tried past Galaxy devices. I’m perhaps a different one to the field but I actually find this more pleasant to use than my previous phones which mostly ran stock Android. Stock Android is fluid and snappy, but I’ve lately come to enjoy using everything the Note8 has and then some. If you recall, I recently redid my desk setup. The S Pen was wonderful in order to visualize how it would end up being when it arrived. Taking notes of measurements was also a breeze and the little stuff they added like the native theming engine and other things just make it more fun for me to use. And at least in my case, that hasn’t come at the cost of performance. As mentioned earlier, I have not experienced a significant slowdown and to add insult to injury, it performs faster than my old Moto Z, of which the Nougat OS upgrade has absolutely destroyed. It’s not flawless. While I have huge hands and using the phone one-handed and even using the finger scanner was no issue for my mammoth hands, this isn’t the case for those with smaller ones. Samsung has only JUST started to release security updates in a timely manner (good fricking riddance too because mine was stuck on August for an eternity until recently) and the speaker is way too soft. But after spending months with it as my daily, I’m confident in crowning it my favorite phone of 2017. There are other great options out there, but for my specific purposes, very little come close to what this is capable of. It is far from perfect but for my needs at least, it’s not that far of. In all manners of honesty however, the Note8 is the best phone Samsung sells today in an objective metric. That doesn’t mean it’s the best for everyone but in terms of objectivity, it IS the best they’ve ever made.
  • You aren't the only one. Like most Google Pixel fans, Andrew seems to see lag where there is little or none in order to justify his clear bias towards the almighty "stock Android". Its probably not something that he's doing concioiusly, so nothing against him. I have both phones and the difference is negotiable, and you only notice it at all if you look at them side by side (which no one in the real world does). So don't worry about it. The phone is a beast. Continue to enjoy your phone and take the reviews with a grain of salt.
  • Exactly right. And no slow down here. I pre-ordered my Note8 and it is still incredibly smooth and fast.
  • Nailed it
  • Didn't even run Device Maintenance. I just let the phone do its own thing. I don't know what else to say other than I've been consistently very happy with my experience. I'd still love to have a Pixel, don't get me wrong, but it'll likely play as a sidekick based on my usage pattern. They each have their pros and cons but the Note edges it out for me mainly due to my preference for having more features since I do use them quite frequently.
  • Same here. My Note8 feels the same as before I popped in the 64gig microSD and loaded my apps and music. Still very happy with it my Netflix and drawing monster. :-) I am also looking forward to the Galaxy Note 10 that will replace it unless Google brings out a pixel 4 with a S(g) Pen. Or Mate12 pro
  • exactly this. my phone hasn't slowed down 1 bit. The Note does SO MUCH more than other phones, that it's Really unfair to expect it to be as fast as a phone with Zero features, The Note 8 is big, but I knew that before I bought it. I didn't have to purchase and return like retinella to know that. .....
    Software updates, and security updates are the same as they have been on Every Samsung phone ever. I didn't have to buy the phone & return it to know that either.....
    I love the note 8. best android phone out, in MY opinion. don't care if has a different opinion, mine is the Only one that matters to me.
  • Actually, it's only a tad slower than the stock Android/lightweight UX devices I've been using prior to this. It's significantly snappier than the Note7 and even the S8, which exhibited performance issues for me. That's what made me chuffed, because it's the first Samsung that feels that I'm not giving up a huge chunk in exchange for features. Of course, I'm still giving up other stuff, but aside from security patches, I can live with some of those (Samsung really should buck up their release schedule. They've been alright until recently). I do care about the opinions of others but as an owner, I also feel that I'm obliged to share mine as well
  • I am interested in the opinion of others, but at the end of the day, I do as Jerry suggests, and vote with my wallet. So far, I am a Note gal..that may change, but this phone does what I want it to do, so I am happy.
    As the Orange one is fond of saying, 'we'll see' 😄
  • Isn't that the Exynos version? If so, just as the review states with an editor who has it, it doesn't seem to bog down as much as Snapdragon ones do. I saw that as well between the Canadian Galaxy S7 (Exynos) and the Note 7 (Snapdragon). The difference was extremely noticeable!
  • Yep, Exynos 8895. It just seems like a predictable cycle. Exynos version ages more gracefully than a Snapdragon. No idea why they didn't bother putting more polish for the SD variants. It reminds me of the XDA article on how the Note7's UX performance was embarrassing, although they remarked the Note8's as significantly improved.
  • no problems with my note 8 too
  • I even found myself several times itching to run Device Maintenance only to find out it's already at 100/100. I guess it runs some sort of maintenance in the background keeping my note 8's performance smooth with the multiple games I play (sometimes even in split screen) and nasty LWPs and launchers I put on it.
  • I totally agree with all you've said. I have not experienced any slow down despite the mind blowing amount of 'Stuff' I have filled mine up with these past few months. And as for the size of the phone, I love it. The criticism in this article because of that is unfair. The very reason I go for the Note every time is because I want a big phone.
  • "Am I the only one who doesn’t have a significant slowdown?" No. I haven't had a single problem with lag, stuttering, or any other of the many complaints that the reviewers seem to have that don't seem to get into the phones of the common users. And I'm completely fine with the placement of the fingerprint sensor.
    Completely.
  • Still wish it would update its came "life focus" to a better portrait mode. My wifes Pixel 2 XL puts this camera to shame. Other than that, yeah the finger sensor is out of place, and its tall...but a bright beautiful display.
  • In blind taste tests by Android Pit and Phone Arena, the Pixel 2 camera came in dead last. The Note8 wasn't first, but it was above the Pixel. The iPhone X always seems to rank first. I think this is a classic case of Google and Android sites say it's the best, so everyone assumes it is. But when put to the actual test, it's not the best at all.
  • Android authority, Pixel came in first, so there. Android Pit? Good god
  • Haha I know right!?
  • The Android Authority comparison wasn't a blind taste test. Big difference.
  • Yes it was , you need to get out more.
  • The problem with blind camera polls is that they're very subjective. Sure, you don't know which phone shot the photo, so you can't pick based on bias, but it's also highly dependent on the personal preference on how a photo looks like. The iPhone 8 and X have punched up saturation from last year, which may have helped it in its favor along with the Note. That's fine but I never take blind tests seriously because there's very little element of objectivity. I'm more interested in reviews like the Pocketnow Real Camera Reviews because there's elements of objectivity with pictures and a very detailed analysis and explanation. I love my Note8's camera, but I still have to call the Pixel 2 camera a stunner mainly due to its software processing. I've been using HDR+ for a long while and how it manages to significantly extend dynamic range and also reduce noise without resorting to destruction conventional NR really appeals to me as a photography nerd. Sure, it's fully auto, which I typically don't like but it's such a consistently good performer that I can probably call it the killer point and shoot type of phone camera.
  • Try the Google Camera HDR+ (modded version, from celsoazevedo.com/files/android/google-camera/ . It works great on the Note 8, and IMHO, it's a lot better than the stock camera in most situations, esp. low-light scenes (except of course that it does not know about the dual lens).
  • Another issue I have with Blind tests are the screen used to view those photos. if people are picking those favorites using a cheap best buy TN panel that was $99 on sale, those pictures look Terrible to begin with. Not everyone is going to use something like a 5K iMac screen that has been calibrated from the factory to be as close to "correct" as possible.
    If a screen isn't calibrated to be 100% correct, those colors will be off and could affect the outcome / bias.
  • It could also go the other way around. They could be looking at the photos on a phone display that’s oversaturated to heck.
  • So glad the fingerprint reader is on the back where it is on the Note 8. It works so well for me. On my S7 the front fingerprint reader as so annoying I just use the PIN or whatever for security.
  • I've used my note 8 since launch and it's just as fast now. My main gripe is still being on the August security patch, it annoys me that Samsung are happy to take this risk.
  • My cheap (£320) Nokia 8 got the Oreo beta at the end of October and then the final build three weeks ago. It is downloading an update with the December security patch as I type. All phones should be like this, particularly if you are paying £900 for it.
  • Mine is on the November security patch.
  • December here. Just received it. SM-N950F variant.
  • AT&T version, November 1 patch for me.
  • Why keep on blaming Samsung? Blame your carrier. I have the sim free note 8 and i'm on the November security patch
  • While I don't have the Note 8, I do have the S8+, and had it since late Spring. Really haven't noticed any slow down, nor do I doubt it happens, I do run the Device Maintenance App about every few weeks, that maybe helping, nor is my phone cluttered with tons of apps that could be causing problems. I do have Bixby shut off, which while improved to me is un-needed. The finger print placement is beyond doubt the worst feature of these phones and seems it was a rush to get the phones out. While I don't have a Pixel, I do have an Essential phone, screen being smaller, it does have far less bloat, out of the box less then half a page of apps in the draw. Basically what Google requires and nothing else. I fond myself gravitating towards the Essential, I don't take a lot of photo's while improved the camera isn't near as good as Samsung, more so in lower light, less so in good light. The Essential seems faster in everyday use. I do know there are issues on this device but it was worth $292 with tax. I did cancel the 360' camera do to it's back order. Still I like both devices.
  • I really love the look of the phone. It takes great pictures. I was taking some pictures for someone at their book signing event and they were really impressed with the quality of the pictures. My only issue is that one of my Note phones, I own two, has a problem with wireless charging. It simply doesn't work. My other phone's battery life is not so great. I'm charging that phone more than twice a day. When I first got the phone, I got awesome battery life. The battery does charge fast so I am never without any juice. Just wish it would last longer.
  • Note 8 is good phone but not for 940$, though for me, outside of camera and sceen, the Note 8 is huge downgrade to my almost perfect Mate 9. Battery just last, gaming performance are amazing especially tekken 6, no throttling unlike all galaxy devices(try playing tekken 6 on ppsspp, you''ll see), great cameras, great big screen, adequate DAC for headphones. Every year people say maybe the next galaxy will solve Samsung known shortcoming, but as times goes by, it always same conclusion over and over again. Again, it's a great phone maybe for 600$ and even that is way too much, but for 940$ it's not worth it(or any other phone)
  • You're not their intended audience. Why would someone buy a device that is clearly business related when they don't have to?
  • AC are biased towards stock android devices always have been and always will be! The pixel may be smoother, get quicker updates etc but it's boring to me! When it comes to actual phone features the Note 8 is a better choice.
  • I couldn't agree more. Stock Android is boring. I have a Pixel and Note and the Note is 100x more useful for me.
  • agree. Note software is excellent. Love it
  • The note 8 targets everyone who wanted the latest feature, with or without the S-Pen. I used the Note 5 back in the day before upgrading to S7E, then i purchased the Mate 9 and could never look back, sure it's not perfect but no phone is. Note 8 isn't worth the money asking for, not any phone tbh, and when you buy supposedly the "best", you should NEVER experience lag, or rarely, and get all updates in a timely manner without any fragmentation. Overall it's a good phone, between Pixel 2 XL, V30, iPhone X, i think the Note 8 best all of them.
  • I'm very happy with the Note8, but I'll agree it's not worth $940. IMO, no phone is worth $940. However, I have and am happy with Sprint, so I got it for half price.
  • Nothing is worth close to $1000 The law of diminishing returns
  • I see we're still coming to the defense of the 3rd world dirt hole devices... Pixels don't matter, One + - Samsung continues to be the only Android brand that counts - without Samsung, Android looks more like Windows mobile than IOS...
  • I like how a compn complaint is the size, mean while I couldn't ask for a better phone for my hands and it was a selling feature. I operate this thing one handed with ease. Have a bit of a bulky case thou, so I get some fatigue. Once I'm out of the babystage i'll get something else for it. As for the finger print sensor, again could be the case helping, but I can say 9.5/10 times I can nail it without looking at the phone. [the .5 is one thing I grabbed it with the wrong finger.
  • I held the Note 8 for the first time last week and have used it off and on since then. The device is significantly thinner than my Note 4 and a bit taller, this makes it easier to use than the Note 4. I don't have big hands, both my right and left index fingers can easily reach the fingerprint sensor. In fact my left index rests on it naturally. Also ALL Note phones have been two-handed devices, saying otherwise is dishonest.
  • I sure didn't buy a Note 8 with the intention of using it with one hand. That's like buying an SUV and then complaining about the gas mileage. Its a big phone get over it... My teen daughter or my wife doesn't even complain about the finger print scanner or size and they came from the S8+ and Note 5 before the Note 8. And I've yet to experience this so called stutter or lag I always here about since I've owned an S4 or Droid x. A lot of nit picking I see.
  • Same here. I've always used even smaller phones with two hands. He has to nit pick, because he called that clusterfark of a phone the Pixel 2 the best Android phone you can buy.
  • "I legitimately can't reach it" I have small hands, which is why I can't play Chopin or even some Beethoven pieces without jumping from one note to the other even though they're supposed to be simultaneous. But I can reach it easily. So I can't imagine how microscopic your hands must be. I'm guessing you have Deadpool KFC spork hands.
  • You nailed it.
  • The complaints about the UI are just silly especially since you seem to indicate that the UI if stock android is the holy grail (oh surprise).
    Amongst a ton of crap Android UIs Samsungs is actually the most consistent and better looking one.
    Personally I think it looks better than Googles(which looks pretty plain and boring now). Samsungs problems is not the ui. it's that is not the fastest out there.
    But there's not anythinf wrong with how it looks.
  • Well after recently going from the s8+ to the Note 8 quite impressed. Really enjoying it so far.
  • As a relative newcomer to Android as my daily driver, I've been installing too many variants of everything since the day of the Note 8's release, so I have exacerbated the usual "bit rot" conditions and have noticed a slowdown over the last few weeks. Mail, browsing, waking, password fill-ins all are taking longer than they used to. There's background clashes between Arrow Launcher and Samsung/Bixby, and the assistants also squabble. I think I am going to invest the time and bandwidth to scrub it clean and bring it back forward in a leaner form. what I really need is help managing Android apps and system settings to avoid conflicts in the future. The device itself remains terrific. I love the S-Pen and love the display, although I still would prefer a slightly shorter and wider form-factor. I don't like the way the "tall and thin" devices, look, feel or display. Its been great on battery and maintaining connections (bluetooth, wifi and cellular.). Definately in my all-time top 5 of smartphones. And I hate Android (though I am working on it).
  • Wp user, right? I'm on that boat myself
  • I stopped reading after you said that the glass back and curved front is a trade-off...no it's not, it's a failure to design something that will last longer than a few days without having scratches and marring all over the back and front. Who cares about a glass back when you have to cover it in plastic anyway!?!?!?!? There are other much stronger and resilient materials that the back could be made of that will allow wireless charging for those who want, or need it. The curved front glass is a useless gimmick designed purely to sell phones, (which I am ashamed to admit has worked for them) and it makes the front more fragile. This idea of "premium" materials is just another sales pitch...period. Now Samsung does make a good phone in general, but they could improve on it tremendously by stopping with the cutie crap and making these expensive tools out of real premium materials. Until they do that, I will never buy any Samsung phone! Now the Active line has my interest, but I am waiting for them to move the fingerprint scanner to a proper location, and eliminate the stupid Bixby button...thus two more goof-ups that prevent me from buying anything Samsung.
  • Again different opinions on design and materials. The Galaxy A line is probably more your thing if it had to be Samsung.
  • So many butthurt Samsung fanboys.... I love it!
  • So because we disagree with some of the article, and like our phone, we are all butthurt? .... think of that all by yourself, did ya?
    my phone don't lag, Andrew lists the Size of the phone as a negative. Samsung makes small phones for people with small girly hands.
    The size should NOT be listed as a negative. No one should buy this phone if they don't want a BIG phone. it's not like they hide the size of the phone until AFTER you buy it.
    I don't buy a H3 Hummer and then bitchh about how much harder it is to park at Target than my Honda Fit....
    go back to the pixel forums.
  • Any phone that does not have replaceable battery can't be the best. IMHO.
  • In the not-so-distant future you will not be able to crown any phone "the best" then.
  • Well it's easily solved with a battery pack and some adhesive tape.
  • I have had mine about 3 weeks and I am loving it. The one phone that may be my daily driver for more than a year. That is a big deal for me.
  • Hate Samsung. Would never own one. Ugliest UI of any phone other than LG. Only thing about them I like is the saturated colors on the screen. Good review.
  • It's almost like you didn't know there's a theming engine
  • I thought it looked decent enough. Used to be Super Barftown. Now, it's actually somewhat cohesive
  • [quote]
    I just can't get around the size of this thing, and how frustrating it is to try and operate with one hand.
    [/quote] What moron would buy the largest phone on the market and then complain that it's too big?
  • Yea and there's a number of people always posting it. Although I kinda doubt they actually bought it and isn't just trolling.
  • It would be like buying the 5" Pixel 2 and then complain that the display is too small.
  • The Note 8 is hardly the largest phone on the market. It's up there, but it isn't the largest. It's also in no way surprising that someone would want to use a smartphone in one hand. A lot of what we do with our phones happens in one hand — waiting until you have two hands free is restricting. I think it's incredibly rude to assume that everyone just inherently knows how a phone will handle before they get it and live with it for a while.
  • Just came here the butthurt and rage, not disappointed. LMAO 😂 Oh yeah, and many thanks to Qualcomm for their extortionist, monopolistic policies, especially in the North American market. Time for a hostile take over.
  • I didn't have any slowdown with the Snapdragon S8+, nor has my wife had any with her S8, and I also haven't had any so far with the Note 8. The size though is the one thing that does bother me. The Note 7 was the perfect size for me, and even the S8+ was good. The tiny difference between the S8+ and the Note 8 size wise has been noticeable for my hands. Performance wise though it's stellar, and I do notice the extra 2GB in memory.
  • I'm an Android fan and have argued for it against people for years. I'm starting to lose a little faith in it, though. My S7 edge's performance and battery life over time reeks so much of planned obsolescence I'm debating not going back to Samsung. It all started when the S8 came out. Suspicious. It's so slow now, and to not have the newest version of Android ever when old iPhones always get updated is officially annoying now. The Nexus brand just hasn't put it all together yet. This quote from the article hit close to home:
    "But why am I factory resetting my $940 phone to get it to perform after three months like it did after three days? I'm growing even less tolerant of this behavior. It just shouldn't be a thing now, particularly in a company's super-high-end phone."
  • Like it or loath it Samsung are pretty much flying the Android flagship flag alone! they are the only genuine competitor to Apple!
  • What sucks is that 128gb and 256gb versions only come with sd835. There's no option for an exynos 128gb or 256gb versions.
  • There is 256GB Exynos version sold in Korea. https://m.ebay.com/itm/Black-Friday-Sale-Samsung-Galaxy-Note-8-SM-N950-2... https://forum.xda-developers.com/galaxy-note-8/help/256gb-exynos-note-8-...
  • No issue with the fingerprint sensor.. Works great and easy to find.
  • If I could upload pictures, I'd show you how easily my small hand can tap the fingerprint sensor on the Note8.
  • I have the Note 8 and recently picked up a Pixel XL 2. Despite the bad press that the Pixel XL 2 was getting, I wanted to give it a try. I tried it all weekend and I am still on it today (Monday.) The camera is truly amazing and I love not having all the duplicate Samsung apps hanging around and in the way. It may be hard to go back to it. That isn't knocking the Note 8 at all, for it is a fantastic phone, But for me, Camera is number one and again, not having all of the Samsung apps thrown on me is refreshing.
  • If camera is number one, get the iPhone X. It's beating all the others in blind tests. Pixel 2/XL ranks last in those comparisons. See Android Pit and Phone Arena.
  • On the PhoneArena review, which only dealt with portrait mode, they said it managed to do extremely well in many cases. I'd say that's pretty damn good given that the pictures were almost identical, and the fact that the Pixel 2 has one less sensor to work with. If anything, the extra sensor on the X and Note should blow the Pixel 2 out of the water, but they don't.
  • I think, for sure, the Pixel XL 2 Camera blows away the Note 8. I've not been all that impressed with the Note 8 Camera but I lived. It is a great camera but after using the Pixel XL 2, there is no comparison.
  • It still placed last in the list. You can't get around that fact.
  • They're almost identical, and they're also the top 3 cameras on the market. It's not like it came in dead last behind $100 smartphones. And if the difference is almost nil, then I'd rather have a device that I want rather than being saddled down with a bunch of BS features I'll never use. I remember you saying in the past that you didn't have anything against the Pixels, just with AC for saying they were the best. Guess that ship has sailed hasn't it?
  • Android Pit??? Lol. OK...
  • Gee, grow some hands man, or play with 5 inch phones! ! I can use my Note just fine with one hand. And I'm a fat 5' 7" guy and not a giant!
    I also hated the FPS - before I actually had that phone. All that negative press set my mind before I touched the real thing. Now, after 2 months, I don't have any problems whatsoever. Besides that, Iris scanner works flawless.
    As to lag, I don't have any. Clearing cache and unnecessary files once a week keeps it running smoothly.
    Best phone ever. Period!
  • My Note8 still runs perfectly fine. I also have a Pixel but prefer the Note because of the many useful features. I find vanilla Android quite boring. Both are fantastic devices but for my use and in my opinion, the Note8 is a much better device for me. I stopped reading this article when the author started to whine about the size and the fingerprint scanner. Neither are a problem for me. The iris scanner works 100% of the time for me. These guys need to set it up properly. Don't do exactly like the demo shows when setting it up. Nobody holds their phone that way when unlocking. I now expect the hateful comments from the "stock Android" crowd.
  • This is my first Note... It would have been my second but there was some sort of fire... I bought an S8 instead.... It's an absolutely fabulous phone. Then the Note 8 appeared. I have always said a 5" phone is the maximum any sane person would use ... I've lost my mind. I've been using the S8 and Note 8 side by side since the latter launched. I've gradually been moving my day to day applications to the Note 8. In 4 days I'm being made redundant. I bought the Note for my work SIM (email and wotnot)... Come New Year I'm moving my personal SIM to the Note. I hate big phones. I love my Note 8. I don't know what happened. I'm blaming the stylus thingie.
  • "why am factory resetting my $960 phone?"
    Because you have no idea how to use device maintenance
    Why are people who don't know how to use Samsung devices allowed to review them?
  • You shouldn't have to factory reset a phone after 3 months, unless you're modding it. How can you make a case, that because he may/may not have run device maintenance, that he has to reset it? I've unlocked, rooted, rommed, installed magisk, xposed, etc.. Only had to factory reset once, and that was required for the software that I installed to get to my goal, and that was after 7 months on stock, no device manager needed. Three months is extremely unusual.
  • I don't use Device Maintenance and mine hasn't slowed. It's either a weird software issue on his end, another case of lackluster optimization for QCOM processors on the part of Samsung or I got the golden nugget of all Note8s
  • Yup, you nailed it. I have no idea how smartphones work. What am I even doing here?!?
  • With articles like this one I do wonder.
  • Andrew, I don't understand your complaint about the size.. it's a NOTE for crying out loud.. it's supposed to be big. My wife has the Note8 with the exynos cpu and it's super smooth, fricking fast.
    I dont' see how any phone can compeed with the Note8, sorry. The S-Pen is super practical and works so well now. Note users want to have the pen - they don't want a small S8 with worse battery/camera/display and missing s-pen. Imho the Note is in a category of it's own and difficult to compare to other phones.
  • Not to mention that the Note 8 also has a one-handed mode. Apparently the reviewer didn't do his homework.
  • Andrew did mention it. Tap home button three times. Apparently you didn't read the article or do your homework.
  • I specifically mention having to use one-handed mode.
  • I would agree mate , the note series of devices always have been in their own little space , nothing compares really .
    I still love to use my slow old note 4 even though i have a few newer devices after it .
  • I have both the Note8 and the Pixel 2 XL. Both are fantastic devices that will cause different opinions on which one is better according to each individual's taste. Personally, I think the author is spot on. For me, day to day interaction with the UI on the Pixel 2 XL is far superior than the Note8. The Note8 is more aesthetically pleasing (until you slap a Google Fabric Case on the Pixel haha) but the smoothness, cleaniness, and features of lastest and greatest Android makes a world class user experience. Only things I feel the Pixel is missing that I love on the Note is the native screenshot scrolling/cropping, and clipboard. Hopefully that are in the next Android update
  • Great reply. I am now in the quandary of choosing the Note 8 or Pixel XL 2 as my daily driver. I love the Note 8 but I am finding that I love the Pixel XL 2 even more, if for the smoothness and cleanness and yes, 128GB of pure storage and no need for MicroSD. The Note 8 didn't feel bloated but I so wish I could completely turn off Bixby and totally remove the Samsung apps and store. I do use the S-Pen a lot but I think it is a mild sacrifice for the Pixel XL 2.
  • Not gonna lie, I’d love a Satin Black 2 XL It will likely be a secondary companion however since the Note better fits my personal usage pattern but oh man, that camera.
  • I have none of the issues the author does here. From the perfect size for my hands on down. Good example of the user experience being different for each user. For me it's an entirely brilliant device that I love more every day!
  • "I just can't get around the size of this thing, and how frustrating it is to try and operate with one hand. " A problem with ALL 2017 Samsung devices and one that apparently will continue in 2018.
    Also the main reason for me to immediately delete a phone from my consideration list. If the overall height of the phone goes above 145cm, it's out. "I use a good half-dozen apps multiple times a day that require fingerprint authentication, and every single time I open one I start that awkward shuffle of the phone in my hand to reach the fingerprint sensor. And in doing so, I regularly gunk up my camera lens. It sucks. It will never not suck." Also why I absolutely HATE rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. Because not only they're cumbersome, but my phone spends much of its day on a stand. And a rear mounted fingerprint scanner forces me to constantly pick up the bloody thing.
  • 145cm? That is one seriously tall phone :P
  • I also would not use a phone approaching 5 feet in length.
  • I don't mean to be critical , but the Galaxy note is an obviously and unashamedly big device ,
    if you don't like big devices, i think you would wrong to buy one then critisize it because you did not check it out in store before you bought it ..
    The same goes for the fingerprint sensor location ,
    I think it somewhat sucks too , but i bought my galaxy with my eyes open knowing that it was ergonomically challenged in some ways and make the best of it ,
    It's not like there no other options on a galaxy to unlock the phone.
    As for the note being expensive , and given the pixel devices prices and missing what most would regard as flagship features , ie , a dedicated headphone jack , sd card, wireless charging , ois , or pro mode on the camera , and without even a cheap pair of usbc ear buds supplied in the box or even a quality display on the xl device ,
    Price seems like very unfair critisism too hang on any of the galaxys , let alone the note 8 .
  • The Pixel 2/XL has OIS, but other than that, I agree 100%. The Pixel 2/XL are feature-free phones. Also, I resent people buying into the myth that the Pixel 2 has the best camera, and that Samsung phones slow down over time. Those are things that people say, and others simply parrot them as if they're true. I'm only one data point, but my Samsung phones haven't slowed down over time. On the other hand, there is ample evidence that the Pixel 2 doesn't really have the best camera. At least 3 blind taste tests put the iPhone X on top, and the Pixel 2 was at the very bottom in two of those comparisons. Blind tests ensure that you don't judge the photos with preconceived notions about which phone must be best.
  • I stand corrected on the ois sir , it was reported in one of the reviews as not having it , and while watching a camera test of the pixel in action , it did seem to be a bit janky while panning , so i assumed it was correct .
    cheers .
    regarding phones slowing down , i would say it is fairly common up to a point with some android devices at some stage , and dare i say it , i suspect a lot of the time it has a lot more to do with the owners of said devices and how they set them up with apps , permissions , updates , etc ,etc .
    Its not rocket science , if you give the cpu more tasks (some unseen in the back ground ) any device is going to slow down in such circumstances .
    i vaguely remember some time ago loading a google app called goggles (which i probably only ever used once ) ,
    it wasnt until some time later i also loaded a battery saver app that monitored rogue apps for power use and found this app was turning itself on and using X amount of cpu a lot of the time .
    that was probably some years ago now and its probably long fixed with recent software tweaks , but it does show how easy it is to knobble your own device with out even knowing what you have done ...... and then blame the device .
  • Never owned a Note, but had S6 then S7 and they did slow down and got buggy quite quickly. I assume with 6gb of ram the Note 8 will be different.
    But I've never use any system that could handle multiple programs trying to do the same tasks without bugs.
  • So you can say with certainty that everyone else is just saying they slow down to say it? And you bring up a good point, you're only one data point, but somehow in your world it's the only true one. I suppose all the other ones are fake data? I don't know if the Pixel is the best camera, from the reviews I've seen, I'd say it is to my eyes, and that's what matters for me. I've also had a Samsung phone, and it slowed down after about 6 months. So I guess I'm another data point, just opposite of yours.
  • I have not experienced any problems whatsoever with the Note 8's fingerprint scanner. In fact, I have mine set up to read both my left and right index fingers, which it does consistently. So, I'm guessing that the folks who are complaining about the placement of the scanner, have hands that are somewhat smaller than mine.
    I also have not experienced any processor slowdown or battery issues. After owning and using my Note 8 for 3 months, at the end of each day, I still have between 55 percent and 65 percent of my battery. And if I forget to place it on the charger when I go to sleep, when I wake up in the morning, the battery has only lost another 2 or 3 percent.
    As for the shortcomings of the TouchWiz launcher, I'm a longtime user of the Nova launcher which is far, far superior.
    Needless to say, I wouldn't trade my Note 8 for ANY other phone currently available today.
  • S8 Active is the best phone I have ever used. Battery life is phenomenal. No curved screen to break. Rugged design. Water resistant. Just a damn well built and excellent phone.
  • Yes the active looks like a great phone , just a pity it is not sold around the world , and somehow on the other side of the pond , i do not think we will ever see one :( .
  • The note 8 is the G. O. A. T
  • I haven't a clue to why the author of this article has been allowed to review a product he clearly doesn't understand. The article is complete rubbish. The Samsung NOTE 8, emphasis on NOTE!! No mention of the note taking capability, which clearly separates this phone from the rest, and does so brilliantly. The only reason to write such, humbug, as far as I can see is to generate interest from some 100 commenters, most of which have completely debunked a great many of these petty complaints. "Can't reach the the fingerprint scanner window", give me a break!! Either the author has infant size hands or has suffered some misfortune and has only one hand. And If that is the case why not stick with reviews for the old "Game Boy". Anyway, I have had my Note 8 for almost 3 months and have no lag, or other problems, what-so-ever. Android Central, step up your game, give us reviews worth reading.
  • To be fair, the Note has never been the phone for everyone. It was unashamedly humongous back in the day. The Note5 and Note7 were exceptions since they were remarkably compact for their screen size back in the day but the 8 is humongous again and it doesn't seem to be ashamed in doing so. The size alone means it's definitely not for everyone, but as I mentioned earlier, I have ginormous hands to the point where I can use this phone with one hand just fine, but someone with smaller hands may want something smaller like a regular Galaxy S8 or LG G6-sized phone.
  • Funny you mentioned that the Exynos version of the Note8 has no stutter. You're right, mine doesn't either. I've only ever had Exynos Samsung phones and they've never stuttered. It's a pity Samsung don't use their own SoC globally. It's designed with Samsung phones specifically in mind. The Snapdragon is definitely not as optimised. Though the new 845 in the S9 may change that.
  • I’m not so sure The S7 and this one doesn’t seem to age well on QCOM chips. It’s probably gonna stay that way :/
  • I considered a Pixel 2 for its camera and timely OS updates but decided on a Note 8 because the Pixel 2 doesn't have wireless charging, Samsung Pay, support for AT&T Wi-Fi calling, a headphone jack, and screen as good as the Note 8's. I haven't experienced any slow-downs or problems in using the fingerprint / IRIS sensors. My Note 4 also has not slowed-down with the same 230 apps and is still going strong after 3 years. Too bad Samsung got rid of the Note 4's infrared (remote) emitter, removable battery, and flat 16:9 screen & camera that were in the Note 4.
  • My Note 4 stuttered, but it didn't get worse over time. And I was never put off by the occasional lag. You have to be pretty OCD to let that bother you. It's not like the Note 4 was unique in that regard. Despite the reputation of schlock Android, I've seen plenty of people complaining about how the Nexus 6P and Pixel lags and stutters (especially the 6P). Again, so what? Unless it makes a phone unusable, I don't see the problem. So far, though, my Note8 has been smooth 100% of the time. And I pre-ordered it and have had it since September 5. If it occasionally stutters a year from now, I'll live. It doesn't have the myriad of problems the Pixel 2/XL phones seem to have. Tthe latest problem is bad multi-touch, which it seems few places are reporting yet. https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/70344455 I'm guessing Google fixed the dead zones and their fix broke multitouch, but since Google never does QA or regression testing, the new problem just went out to all its users. Once again, I have to say that if you buy Google phones, knowing they have no QA process, you get what you deserve.
  • the S-Pen is not a "fringe benefit".. it's the reason that the Note 8 exists.! All else is secondary..
  • Hahaha... Right! That's ridiculous... Seems some people don't even get what does the S-Pen mean, included the reviewer. It's so many years now I search for some cheaper replacement to the Note phones, but no way... S-Pen or nothing.
    Any other valuable phone I consider is ok... but just lacks that "fringe benefit".
    Copy&paste, link previews, text extraction, signing documents... the AOD memo (on this iteration it's awesome)!! Obviously leaving apart.. taking notes.
  • My exynos note 8 is a fantastic device. I've had it from day one. I've customised the user interface to my liking i.e launcher apps and icon packs. I've not experienced any slow downs and I've now got used to the fingerprint placement that I can reach it without adjusting my grip when an app calls for it. I'll happily keep it for a few years well worth the money.
  • I have had nothing but very good results and positive usage from the Note 8. Best phone since the early Motorola's at the beginning of Android. Hopefully the battery will function properly after the two years that the President of Sammy promised. $480.00 after trade in plus another $205.00 in immediate credit from VZ makes the purchase of the Note 8 a no brainer. WHAT'S THERE NOT TO LIKE? 😉
  • Samsung may have a large user base that's used to the way it does things, but the majority of them never customize anything about their phones. Of all the people I know who have S-line Galaxies, only one has exchanged any apps or launchers, and he was still using an S4. There are at least 4 or 5 people I work with who have the standard wallpaper, messaging and email apps (the FIRST things I would change when I had a Galaxy), and ringers that come on the phone. Which is all just to say Samsung keeping all its deep-level settings is idiotic because the vast majority of people who buy its phones never know they're there.
  • "the majority of them never customize anything about their phones" I love how some people have magic knowledge of what most people do.
  • Based on following your comments around AC, you are very clearly one of those people with magic knowledge.
  • I don't recall ever saying "most people want this or do that". But you're never going to live down calling the Pixel 2 the best Android Phone you can Buy. So keep taking shots at me. You'll feel better.
  • I use both iOS (8+) and Note8. I find that my Note 8 is the more enjoyable device, however I still feel like the iPhone is a snappier and smoother experience. I'm not sure it is on the Note8 as much as the apps that I experience the sluggish response. I click on an app notification, but while the app opens quickly the circle spins as the feature story slowly loads. I use my Note8 for work and there is no other device I would use for that. I love App Pairing and S-PEN features. I have been using N8 since launch, I haven't noticed a degraded experience. I use iPhone for my personal device because most of my friends and family use iPhone, and getting them to use anything other than iMessage and FaceTime is like pulling teeth. I have had Android phones since their inception, and I think the Note 8 is an amazing phone with a unique user experience.
  • I would never use an iPhone just cause my friends and family use it (which most of them do) I can communicate just fine with them. Most of them are just blind followers. I hate being like everyone else. I take pride in being the green message in the crowd 😁
  • I have a Galaxy S8+, which is similar to the Note 8, and I must say that while I love many of the features such as the IRIS axanner, great photos, fantastic display, wireless charging, Micro SD slot, Samsung Pay and lots of nifty software features like Secure Folder, eye tracking for screen timeout, enhanced video feature, etc. But after over 4 months, I have noticed lag at times. Like when I open the Recent Apps and select an app, it sometimes takes 2 seconds to actually go to the app, sometimes without any indication that it will actually switch. Also, pressing the home screen sometimes takes an extra second to actually go home. The lag is especially noticable when sharing something, and the selection panel of apps to share through takes quite a bit of time to popup from the bottom of the phone. My wife had the regular S8 and she is definitely not a techie and she was using her phone and said out loud "Why is my phone so slow...". She had had her S8 since May 2017. So I think this is a problem that Samsung has struggled to shake .
  • Operator error one of my phones is Galaxy S5 after 3 and half still work perfect like brand new. go back icrap dude, you not smart enough for Android
  • My Galaxy S3 still works like new. My Note4, on the other hand, died a painful death, may it rest in peace.
  • Funny...I opened chrome to read an article(not on this site) and the damn phone froze on me! Had to press the off button to get it to work again...first time ever...
  • Chrome sucks. Try Dolphin or Samsung Internet.
  • Any phone, PC, device.... Even the healthy amount of Ram in the Note 8, gets consumed. Stuff like closing chrome tabs, deleting history, or running device maintenance to clear cache & all are facts of life.
  • My only complaint about the Note 8 is the virtual home button, even when set to always not be on, is easy to hit and results in unintended app closures. It's an adjustment, but worth adjusting too... The disappearance of physical navigation buttons isn't a bad thing. I respect your honest review, But, with all due respect, it's whiny... We get it, you are of smaller stature with a strong preference for one handed mobile use.. Small hands but two handed users might love the Note 8. Perhaps every mobile review should come with a disclosure... I've. Your height, hand size. I'm 6'2", and have thin fingers, which I suppose would be considered long. Maybe a review reference to reviewer hand size would simply include a photo. Personally, my Note 8 is in an Otter Box Defender case. If I align my right hand at a 90° angle to the display, with the bottom of the defender case at the bottom of my hand, the full last joint in my index finger, plus a centimeter to spare below the joint, extend above the top of the Note 8 Otter Box case. We get it Andrew, the phone size doesn't work for you. If the Note 8 doesn't work for you, then the Note 5 must have been absolutely hateful, for it was wider in the 16:9 form. The narrowed, taller Note 8 should be an improvement for most. Which leads to the finger scanner. I've always felt they were a gimmick... I managed to survive without a fingerprint scanner for about 20 years... I've laughed at those who obsess about the finger scanner... But I accept your criticism. If you use it for the health apps or stuff other than unlocking your phone, that's fine. I tried using the fingerprint scanner for the first time today. Unlike years past, it works well and is instant, every time. The Defender Otter Box case I use, with its deep recesscit out for the dual camera and finger print scanner make locating it on the Note 8 automatic. If you were left handed, it's placement might be ideal. I'm right handed, so the far left placement is ideal for my right index finger, one handed. The scanner works fine... Your complaint is personal Andrew, your a smaller human.... But again tie it back to preference.... In a lot of situations many people use both hands for going between apps and general use. But the benefits of a large phone, including the Pixel XL... Reading content: google play books, newspapers, playing games (heh heh, 8 ball by Minicap, Real Racing3, and Skyforce Reloaded), video, TV, are fundamentally better on a large phone. The Note 8 is a tablet killer, and for some... I'm in the minority on this forum, perfectly suitable as the only device I use to go online. I have no use for a laptop or desktop.... Thus I took no issue in the price of the Note 8....and It has no rival on Android for display quality. Camera? I haven't used the Pixel 2... But no phone is great in dark, low light... Phones have never been better... And video super slow mo will continue to be an area where there is progress... Hair splitting differences, I'll take your word for it the Pixel 2 is better... But the Pixel 2 displays made by LG are inferior... Rendering the camera difference a moot point of difference. I do laugh over anti Samsung software experience argument. Sure, I disabled Bixby too, but I'm not interested in talking to Google either. The bixby screen is easily disabled, just likely it's predecessor, Flipboard /Briefing. The deeper menu's you complained about are extra features I disabled... I.e. Various touch less hand gestures for stuff like taking a screen shot, surfing the web, or not answering your phone, etc... I disabled all that crap, which will free up RAM and improve already decent battery performance. I stand by the point that 95% of users look at Android submenus for the hour or two of initial phone set up, than never look at OS menus again save for turning WiFi, mobile data, Bluetooth, location, and sound on or off. I use apps, and do not have an 'American Psycho' thing about Android... Whenever Pixel fan boys refer to the 'pure android experience' I'm reminded of the scene in American Psycho where lead character Patrick Bateman mentally obsessed over business card fonts and paper quality in banter with coworkers. Andrew, you didn't mention face recognition... It's garbage on the Note 8 and I won't use it... But if reports are true, late 2018 will see the finger print scanner successfully make its way under the front display, relegating facial recognition to the garbage bin, perhaps never to be seen on a smartphone again. Micro USB is great, headphone jack...
  • Dude you can set it so that the button always there instead hidden. you can change color too. The is perfect in all aspects except the extra tall long dong phone put me off, I returned after 4 days because the useless extra long if the phone design like IcrapX I would keep it
  • He has hands the size of a KFC spork, so a 5" phone is all he can manage. And he can't handle more than 2 or 3 features in a phone (so a phone with 5 features, 2 of which don't work, is perfect). So naturally, the Pixel 2 is the best Android phone he can buy.
  • Uh, overall, Andrew, your review is incomplete... Written anecdotes slagging a bit less performance speed and battery is nominal BS... Are you seriously suggesting CPU or RAM slowdown within 3 months? Lol, how? To many read /writes on internal storage? C'mon man... That is meaningless to just throw in an unproven, personally biased performance comment... Give us ratio data to prove your point. Also, no mention of facial recognition or Stylus S Pen.... Performance is excellent, but it's true for any phone... Go through your apps and turn off stuff you don't use, which may include any or all of: individual background app data use, Samsung's advanced gesture controls, Bixby, Bixby Home screen, stylus S pen apps, Samsung calendar, clock, email, photo backups to the cloud, etc.
  • I think what he means is that people shouldn’t have to go through the hoops to make sure a phone runs well. TBH, that’s a valid point but I haven’t needed to micromanage mine for a while now. I used to with past Samsungs, which slowed down significantly despite disabling apps, but this one is the first.
  • I'm a hardcore Samsung fan, my house full of Samsung products, even my PC memories all Samsung, every since I ditched iphone 4 years ago, I smashed all my old iphones, 3gs, 4s and 5, I actually smashed them all with a hammer, they all junks, but Samsung made a giant mistake the Note 8 is way too long there is no need for a long dong phone, not practical at all, I bought 2 Note 8 used for 4 days, the extra long really annoying so returned them, iphone X is way better design, not too long not too wide so perfect on hand just like my S7 and S5, I hope they reduced the length a little and widen the width a little on Galaxy S9 , otherwise I will buy One plus or Xiaomi,
  • That's due to the aspect ratio. 2:1 and 18.5:9 maintains the width but increases the height of the device. The iPhone X uses a different aspect ratio which maintains the form factor but allows them to basically fit an entire screen inside without changing the actual shape by much. It's all up to personal taste in the end, but just know that phones like the Note8, V30 or OnePlus 5T is likely going to feel slightly taller than what you're used to due to the aspect ratio.
  • "the lock screen is a calamitous combination of ideas, the launcher is clunky (those folders ...), the settings go down into deep rabbit holes of untold depths, some buttons just aren't intuitive, and there are features tucked away in every little corner" I think you need to elaborate here. The folders couldn't be more simplistic. The settings are deeper than the pixel because the Note has more features. As long as simple ( Pixel Grade) settings are easy to access, then you're good. Obviously, if you want to tweak you need to go deeper, but most people won't need to and are still able to access the basic settings they need easily. Also, as far as aethestics it's no contest. The Galaxy series is in a different league than the Pixel. Just not even a contest. The Galaxy line has an underlying modern design language. The Pixel has no such thing. Where the Galaxy is refined, the Pixel is rough and poorly thought out from an artistic/functional perspective. The Pixel folder design is a garrish, extremely dated, dumpster fire of UI from a design perspective, for example.
  • Like I said, he can't handle a phone with more than 2 or 3 features. The Pixel 2 has more than that, but since some of the features don't work, it's the perfect smart phone for him.
  • « the Note 8 is a great phone today just as it was three months ago«  Well you just said the opposite when tou write that it slows down and needs a factory reset after 3 months. In that case, it can NOT be as good as it was 3 months ago... You complain also about low light qyality with picture being noisy but that wasn’t thr case with the s7 or s6 if i remember thecreviews. But at the time the narrative was that they had the best APN... now the narrative is in favor of Google so Samsung’s pictures are apparently not as good all if a sudden Also by design the Note phones are big and not designed for one handed use so it isn’t really a downside And what’s wrong with the folders exactly ?
  • Don't confuse him with real facts. He has to make up his own facts so that the Pixel 2 is the best phone you can buy.
  • It's not as convenient but at least they did add the One-Handed Mode feature. I kinda like it.
  • I just can't believe you are STILL crying about the FPS placement. Here, let me help you.
    1 - pick up phone with right hand
    2 - with free left hand,wrap 3 last fingers on right side of phone, thumb on left & left index is still in the air
    3 - touch index finger to FPS
    Or you can reverse 2 & 3.
    Why are you allowed to continue doing Samsung reviews when it's so obvious you only want to put them down with untruths and falsities . I would list them all,but reading the comments will fill you in on your incorrect assumptions and statements.
    If you only want to push Pixels then only do those reviews.
  • So true! Complain about finger print sensor placement when there's 6 other ways to unlock the phone, and sensor is actually perfectly placed. Complain that the phone is starting to lag when people who own and use it daily report the total opposite. Report that the battery life is probably going to be lackluster before trying it, because they don't trust that Samsung was able to optomise it. Then it turns out to be outstanding. Complain that the phone is too big to use with one hand, ignoring the multitude of ways Samsung has addressed this like triple tap the home button to shrink the screen. Complain about stock camera setting compared to a Pixel, when there's millions of ways to adjust what the note 8 camera can do using pro mode. The pixel doesn't have it, so it doesn't even get mentioned. Either the reviewers are too lazy to learn how to use it, or they don't want to stack the deck against other phones because they want to down Samsung. Android Central and it's staff is Pro pixel it's extremely evident. There's nothing remotely close to offering the total package and bang for the buck that the Note 8 does. Point blank period. Nothing.
  • I agree with many of your points. I don't get the negativity toward the size. If only they made a really similar phone slightly smaller for personal preference...
  • #2 was mentioned
    #3 doesn't change the post processing unless you do RAW Tbh, not everyone is going to like the Note and I can understand why. Some people perhaps prefer a more vanilla experience or faster updates. But I do love using mine, but that's me.
  • I hate the placement of the FPS, but it only took a little while to get used to it. Now I hit it every time, and I HAVE SMALL HANDS. I just don't have Andrew's KFC spork sized hands. I find the idea that he can't reach it to be absolutely ludicrous, or just a flat out lie.
  • Either do I read my post below. The sensor is uncomfortable for me but get used to it after awhile but yeah sorta weird but yeah I have called Samsung and they'll get back with me as soon as to why they placed that sensor there.
  • Well, given that the S9 is likely going to have a centered FPS (the A8 has them), pretty sure Samsung already heard the complaints...
  • I've had my Note 8 since 9/15 when it came out on At&t. Always loved the S-pen & this phone is a BEAST!! No slow down on my phone. Then again I uninstall apps I barely use, I use Device Maintenance often, & I wipe cache every so often. Samsung has come a long way & imo they've finally produced a winner here.
  • It's not for everyone. It's just for people who want the best phone available with the most useful features.
  • You got it. My s8 is awesome and I love it I even have dropped it twice and it's done nothing. My son used the stylus to fix his Nerf gun and our dog got hold of it and chewed it up so yeah not a Samsung issue but I need to replace my stylus for sure.. BTW happy New year to all of you and make 2018 a year to remember. Buy yourself a good phone or get a 3d TV but treat yourself good people.
  • Lord, I love 18.5:9. I keep hearing proteome ***** about it. Please don't stop making this format. Videos look great on it. A lot of real estate and still readily hold our in your hand. If yippy have to go to single hand use, just triple tap the home button.... easy peasy.
  • Hello....it's a Note model and not even one word about thr Stylus S Pen....?!
  • Looking forward to seeing your notes posted. The information you have posted is very useful. It is the best smart phone.
    https://apkdownloads.net/yareel/
  • Great phone, but I had to have a battery replaced in one of my Note 8s yesterday. Woke up to a dead battery that wouldn't charge. The phone would not even turn on.
  • Yawn. Nothing original or new in this "article." Same tired, lazy criticisms. Andrew, you must be one clumsy, non-dexterous handed person, or your hands are the size of a child's. I have small hands and haven't had a problem with the FPS after one day of getting used to it.
  • My s8 has done everything I expected and beyond. Samsung is the best at what they do kind of wish the fingerprint scanner was in a different format but it's not a buzzkill
  • I got mine end of October 2017. Though I am not a power user, I do love to tinker around with settings, and changing things around etc. And I love to have my items the way I want them. So I have Nova Launcher. Other than that, I have not really customized this phone, as I did my Note 3 and Note 10.1 2014 tablet. (Yes I am Sammy fan - actually the S-pen). I even bought the Samsung Chromebook Plus for the pen. Unfortunately, that pen does not work on my other devices. :(
    I use Bixby for regular, automated device maintenance. So my device is neither slow nor lagging.
    I am pretty small (4'9") so have small hands, but I can get to the FPS no problem.
    I use the S-pen quite regularly, and for large amount of writing. And of course, the locked screen note taking is awesome. I just write something down, and switch on the AOD, and stick the note on that. I have a reminder for me all through the day, until I complete that task. Very handy.
  • Hey Nova is the first thing I install! Well this time I used the Samsung feature to copy everything, and then activated Nova as my first action. Since my s3, every phone has had the same three main screens with everything where it belongs :-). Go Nova!
  • I am a longtime iPhone user, but the Note 8 is an excellent phone and there is nothing bad I can say about it. People that buy this phone will not regret it if they are business professionals or have a very busy life. Gamers may not like it because it is a big phone, but then again, it is a big phone to see a lot of the game. Movies are a joy to watch and the S-Pen is one of the best features. I do not have an issue with the FPS, the location is just fine...and no, I do not have large hands. Bixby is very cool and I'm sure it will get better: OK Google does the rest of voice automation you could want. I'm not a big camera user, but when I do use it the pictures are awesome and the features are plenty. The bottom line is, a cell phone is a personal choice, and the Note 8 is the best phone I've ever used. If the iPhone had S-Pen like features, I would likely have stayed with Apple.
  • This is a great review thanks. I like the following-up nature of it. And you tell it straight too. It's appreciated. And to hear the exynos is good is nice - I figured we'd get the cheaper, crapper one in Oz lol. I've gotten off the phone bus recently, for the first time since my Nokia n95 8gig. My s7 edge got replaced just before the contract is to expire so I've got a new phone from 2 years ago. And can't do another contract for a new phone ... they're just not good enough. They haven't progressed enough. Phones climbed the mountain and now we're walking up a gently climbing plateau. I can grab a prepaid SIM and bank half the money I will save for the next year and have a grand to buy something next year. For that reason, today is the first time I picked up a note 8. It is awesome. I get it. But next to my s7 edge, It's just not better enough to make me change my mind. And my mind could have been changed. Ah well. Phones like PCs are the classic oligopoly. Even one plus is cashing in now. I want to see a disruptor come in and shake things up, like Tesla with cars. For now, no one is getting my money and from the recent sales figures, I'm not the only one!