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In the package, we find a USB to USB Type-C cable, a USB-C to USB adapter, a USB-C to MicroUSB adapter and a 9V/1.67A power adapter. There are also spare tips for the S Pen and a pair of great AKG headphones.
Build and Ergonomics
The Galaxy Note 8 is undoubtedly a big phone but thanks to the new display format are also very ergonomic. Samsung made the side edges a bit sharper than the ones on the S8 and this also helps in terms of ergonomics. The back, as well as the front, is made out of glass, while the frame is made out of polished metal tinted in the same color as the rear glass. From a construction point of view is worth spending a few words on the S Pen that we find housed in the lower right corner and that comes out first by pressing in and then pulling outwards. This ensures that the pen cannot fall off by mistake. The S Pen is made of plastic. This makes it very light but also a little more fragile.
There are physical keys both on the right (power button) and on the left (Bixby and volume rocker). The entire smartphone is IP68 certified. Sadly the positioning of the fingerprint reader is particularly unfortunate.
The hardware is basically identical to that of the Galaxy S8, but there are two important differences. The first is that alongside the 2.3GHz octa-core Samsung Exynos 8895 processor there are now 6GB of RAM instead of 4 and this phone is equipped with two SIMs. The second one will force you to give up on expandable memory. The internal memory amounts to 64GB and is very fast (UFS 2.1). Connectivity is at the top: we have dual-band ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 that can be paired to two audio devices simultaneously, NFC and Type-C output with video support. Also good is the sound offered by the lower speaker, definitely above average. Similar to the Galaxy S8 this smartphone also sports the face and iris unlock mechanism. The inconvenient placement of the fingerprint reader will force you to use one of these new methods. The only things missing here are the FM radio and the infrared port.
The cameras of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 remain substantially unchanged compared to the ones on the S8. They have the same ƒ/1.7 aperture, with optical stabilization and they shoot overall excellent photos under any light condition. The images appear sharp, the autofocus is fast and the contrast is quite high (maybe too much?). The automatic HDR is very efficient and can correct the exposure in the most difficult areas of your photos. The secondary camera also has a 12 megapixel stabilized sensor, but with a ƒ/2.4 aperture. This gives the phone a 2x optical zoom that lets you take pictures of distant objects without having to get close. In addition to this, the two cameras can also work together and produce excellent blurring effects. This portrait effect allows you to take professional-like photos. The 8-megapixel front camera is good and is equipped with autofocus. Also good are the videos with a resolution up to 4K, or up to 120fps for an even smoother slow motion.
The display measures 6.3 inches in diagonal, has slightly less curved edges than the one on the S8 and is a lot brighter. The SuperAMOLED screen sports a QHD+ resolution (2960×1440 pixels) and supports the HDR10 standard. The Always-On display feature allows the phone to display the time, calendar, battery status, and all unread notifications even when the screen is turned off. It has an impact on the battery, but the convenience is without precedent. Last but not least the display comes in the new 18:9 format, which is narrower and taller and therefore guarantees better ergonomics.
The Samsung Experience 8.5 is based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. It also supports Samsung DeX an excellent system that lets you use your smartphone as a PC when connected to its official dock. Among the other functions, we find the one-hand mode, multi-windows, side edge menu, Game Tools, a new quick photo editor, a personal area, and the possibility to clone some messaging apps.
The software runs buttery smooth and compared to the S8 it is more fluid in opening apps and showing animations.
Once you remove the pen you will be able to access a whole range of additional features. Leaving aside the classic ones (like taking notes) we have to point out the possibility of taking a note directly on the screen, creating a GIF, translating words by simply passing over them the pen. Of course, it can also be used instead of your fingers and it also becomes a useful tool for signing documents and much more.
The 3300mAh battery may seem undersized but with average use, you will make it at the end of the day. Luckily the fast charging and fast wireless charging make up for that.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 costs 999€, which is particularly high if we consider the fact that there are not so many differences compared to the S8.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Check on Amazon.com) is one of the best smartphones ever made. Sadly, thanks to the Galaxy S8+ (Check on Amazon.com), the only reason for you to buy a Note 8 today is the absolute need for dual SIM support or the use of the S Pen.
Read more: Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ review