My Note 8 Review.

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by dallas112678, Oct 2, 2017.

  1. dallas112678, Oct 2, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017

    dallas112678 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2008
    So, I've had a Note 8 for about a week, here's what I think (It's going to be a long one). Keep in mind, this is my first Android device EVER. I've used nothing but iPhones (I currently have a 7+) up to this point. So.....


    Design and feel - Wow, this is the most premium looking and feeling device I've ever held. Pictures on the internet does not do this design justice, if you think it looks good online, trust me when I say it looks even better in person. The glass has a smaller radius of curvature compared to the S8 which gives a better grip and (in my opinion) feel. Now, with glass front and back, you obviously have to be careful about not dropping it as there's more surfaces to shatter, but the feel of the glass is much better than the feel of the aluminum on my 7+. This device, while big, is essentially the same size as my 7+ (although a big taller), and despite it's weight, the Note actually doesn't feel heavy due to the weight distribution.

    Cameras - There's 3 of them, one on the front, 2 on the back. Not going to go in detail about this as I'm not a huge phone camera guy and you can see tons of comparisons on Youtube.

    Finger Print Reader - Now this is probably the only thing I will SLIGHTLY grip about. As everyone knows, it's not in the most optimal place, which is the gripe. Now, I say SLIGHTLY, because this isn't nearly as big of a deal so many people make it out to be. If you only use the device for a few hours, or a day (like most youtube reviewers) then you may have an issue. For me, after using it for a week, it's been a non-issue, as I've gotten used to it very quickly. I don't have large hands by any means, but due to the fact that the phone isn't nearly as big as a 6.3" screen would suggest, I have no issue reaching it with my finger tip while holding the phone how I'd actually hold it during use. If you want to avoid smudging when you are first getting used to it, then simply start your finger near the side of the device, and swipe over until you hit the sensor. Not hard at all. After a week, I don't have to do that as muscle memory has me hitting the sensor perfectly pretty much every time.

    Display - Yah, it's huge, and it's amazing. The one thing I will say as it's my first AMOLED display, is that all though viewing angles are good in terms of CLARITY, things are not so good as far as COLOR SHIFT. What I mean is, when you have an iPhone with an LCD, at an angle, the display becomes dimmer and a little bit more muddy. On the Note 8, the brightness doesn't really drop, and text seems just as sharp, but the colors slightly shift, meaning a white page will go from a warm white to a cooler white or vice versa at an angle. Like all display tech, there are pros and cons, this is no different.

    SOFTWARE: (There's way too much to talk about, so I'm only going to talk about the things that stand out the most to me)

    UI Design - Honestly, not sure what to write here. Not that there isn't a ton I could write about, it's simply because, with Android, you can make the UI look and feel however you want. If I'm just talking about stock UI for Samsung/Android, the thing I like the most is the app drawer and widgets. Why do I like the app drawer? Simple, I have a lot of apps, but I only have a FEW apps that I use FREQUENTLY. That means on my 7+, I have all these apps on my home screen that I hardly use whereas all of those are hidden in the App drawer so I don't have to constantly look at them everytime I use my device. Now for the widgets, for me, the great benefit of widgets are that they can quickly show you small bits of information at a glance. Well, putting them on there own page where you have to swipe over just to see them kind of defeats the point of them in my opinion. Think about it, if you are on your iPhone homescreen, and you want to check the weather, you can swipe to the widget pane, or just tap on the weather app...Basically, if it takes the same number of swipes or button presses to get the information, why would you even bother checking the widget that will give you less information than simply tapping the app? It really doesn't make sense. Right now, I have a very stock setup, but the simple weather widgets and the google search bar (especially the search bar) makes the 2 shortcuts I use the most right there on my home screen.

    Notifications/Settings - The notifications system is much more effecient on Android. Why Apple doesn't allow you to just clear all notifications at once, I have no idea. I also love that notification icons show up in the status bar incase you forget to swipe down to check the notifications. I also love the fact that settings are accessible straight from the notifications shade, rather than me having to minimize an app just to open up settings. Simply put, more efficient overall.

    Multitasking - I mean real multitasking, the kind where you can actually have two apps open on the screen at once, is a game changer for me. I'm always on forums while also scrolling through 9gag, or I'll be watching a football game and following along the game threads on fansite for each opposing team. It's awesome, and with a 6.3" screen, it's not a cramped experience. I actually got suspended on macrumors for having fun by screenshotting my phone with two apps on screen, in addition to writing a funny message saying that I prefer the split screen feature much more than those introduced with the iPhone X. I won't repost that picture here, because apparently I don't feel like getting suspended again. Of course, with Samsung devices, you can take multitasking to a step further with window pop-ups, etc, but I've never felt the need to do that. On top of all that, simply switching apps is much faster compared to an iPhone X. At the end of the day, simply double tapping a button to bring up your last used app, is always going to be faster than half swiping up, and then pausing to bring up past apps as you would on the iPhone X.

    Immersiveness - What I mean by this, is having as much of your screen as possible being filled up by an App rather than system buttons. Samsung gives you the option to hide your navigation bar for extra screen space, unlike the iPhone X, which will seemingly having that swipe bar always present. So how do you go back to the home screen without out the button on screen? Just 3d touch where the home button is and you go right back to the home screen. You know where the button is, no need to constantly remind people where to press or swipe. So I like the implementation that Samsung chose.

    EDIT: Oh god, of all the things to forget, I forgot to write about the thing I like the most about the Note 8...

    SPen - This is why you buy the Note 8, and no, the SPen does not simply make the Note 8 a S8 with a stylus. First off, the S-Pen is not just a stylus, a stylus simply replaces your finger, but does not change the actual functionality and feature set of your phone. The S-Pen, however, adds so many new features to the phone, along with making just about everything you can do with your finger, MORE EFFICIENT. For example, I do a lot of text selecting. With my S-Pen, I simply drag the pen across the text which allows me to be much more accurate and quick with getting the right start/end points. It may not sound like a big deal, but god, with how much I'm selecting text, it's so much more convenient. Now, the translation feature, as someone who is trying to learn a different language, this thing is a game changer. Just select translate from "air command" and hover over a paragraph...Boom, translated. Compared to having to select the text, copy it, minimize your current app, open google translate, then finally paste to see the translation...Let's just say it's much more convenient. Probably my most used feature, is taking a partial screen shot on my screen and then drawing on an image. I can't tell you how many memes with my personal annotations I've sent to my wife already, again, this may not sound like a big deal, but once you start doing it, it's pretty awesome. Lastly, on screen memo, I don't write that many notes, but as an engineer, I do doodle design concepts and draw free-body diagrams, this to me is a game changer, as you don't always have pen and paper around when and idea pops up. There's of course much more you can do with the S-Pen, but these are the features I truly use and love the most.

    One more thing... (sorry, couldn't resist)... I can't tell you how many times people on this forum have told me that Android is laggy and stuttery, while iOS is super smooth. I can say without a doubt form having both devices side by side, that my Note 8 is noticeably smoother than my iPhone 7+ with iOS 11. Ever since since upgrading to iOS 11, but 7+ has gone from stuttering once in a blue moon, to suttering 30% of the time simply from opening up an app. It's kind of ridiculous that my less than 1 year old 7+ is acting as if it's a 5 year old phone. Now, you may be saying "well just wait for patches, etc..." well doesn't that defeat the whole "with iPhone you always get updates immediately" agrument? I mean, I don't see how getting an update immediately from Apple that turns your phone into a stuttery mess and then waiting a few months HOPING that those stutters go away, is much better than waiting a few months to get your android update... I guess that's just me.

    Ok, my fingers are getting tired, there's so much more to write, but these are the biggest things to ME. So what about you guys? What do YOU think of the Note 8 after using it for a week?
  2. Farrellcollie macrumors 6502

    Apr 23, 2011
    I kept it instead of going and getting an iPhone eight or 8+. I now carry the note 8 around with me and have the Apple Watch on my wrist connected back to an old iPhone 6. I love the screen and the Spen. I have not had any trouble with android.
  3. Voodoochild346 macrumors regular


    Aug 16, 2015
    Good review. Long story short, my Note 8 has been by far the best phone I've ever used. The fact that I never have worry about battery life and fact that every aspect of the experience thus far has been top notch says it all for me. I'm glad since I plan on using this phone exclusively for the next two years at least. Awesome phone by Samsung.
  4. michael9891 macrumors 65816

    Sep 26, 2016
    On the 7+ (and I think any iPhone with 3D Touch), when you bring down the notifications from the top and press the cross to get rid of one, you simply hold it down & get the option to clear all notifications!

    But same as you, long time iPhone user and the Note 8 is the first Android device I've used beyond a few days. I never intended to keep it, just have a play around and return it. But it's far exceeded my expectations and is the best device I've ever had.

    I think a lot of people get ideas in their head about certain devices and won't give them a proper chance. They convince themselves it's too difficult to get used to, the apps aren't as good, it's laggy etc etc. I get on well with iOS & Android, so for me it comes down to what device I like the best. And it will take something special to make me want to give my Note up. And while I'll still try and get an iPhone X, I doubt very much I'll want to switch to a smaller device with an extra cost of £300+.
  5. Dodgeman macrumors 65816

    Nov 30, 2016
    So the s pen makes that much of a difference?

    What’s the Window pop ups in regards to multi tasking??
  6. dallas112678 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2008
    The window pop-ups are exactly what the sound like, you can have an application be a simple pop up window (not fitting your entire screen) just like you can do on your computer. You can also minimize the windows into little "bubbles" that stay on the screen that act as a shortcut to that app window (so you don't have to hit the recent apps button and then hit the app again).

    Youtube Flossy Carter. He does some of the best and most in-depth reviews on any phone. Check out his Note 8 review and you'll see the window pop ups I'm referring to.

    Yes. The S-Pen makes that much of a difference, actually it makes more of a difference since I didn't even talk about everything it can do. Many people will just say that it's just a piece of plastic/stylus, but its actually a wacom digitizer that communicates with the phone which is what allows all of the extra functionality. Here is a video that does a good job at showing all of the features (although only short examples for each feature):

  7. BeefSupreme macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2012
    I'e had my note 8 for almost a week and I'm pleasantly surprised at how much I like it.
    I think I still overall prefer iOS just because of its integration. But this screen won out. Going from a 7+, the screen is like it was going from the first iPhone to the iPhone 4. It's that much of a difference.
  8. convergent macrumors 68030


    May 6, 2008
    You should look into the Gear s3. I was very pleasantly surprised by it after having a AW for 2 years wearing it every day.
  9. Dodgeman macrumors 65816

    Nov 30, 2016
    So window pop ups and better screen a better watch experience?
    Sounds like it’s the route to go. Note just seems kind of big hence why I’d like to go to the s8+
  10. convergent macrumors 68030


    May 6, 2008
    You realize the Note 8 and S8+ are almost the identical same size, right? Hold them in the store and you'll be hard pressed to tell them apart in terms of size. If you want something smaller, then go with the S8. If you hold an iPhone 6/7/8+ next to the S8, you'll see that the screen on the S8 is nearly the same size ( little narrower) as the iPhone plus devices; but the physical size is about the same as the non-plus iPhones. So the S8 is more comparable to the iPhone X.
  11. Dodgeman macrumors 65816

    Nov 30, 2016
    Yes. I’m just debating if I want the pen that’s all right now. If I’d actually use the cool features. It’s not a necessity but I can see some benefits.
  12. convergent macrumors 68030


    May 6, 2008
    The dual camera was the main reason I went with the Note 8 over S8. I will use the pen, but my guess is not a huge amount. I have a pen on my Surface Pro, so for any serious note taking I'll use that. It is cool that you can use the pen to take a note and stick it to your always on display without even opening the phone. That may be useful too.
  13. Suckfest 9001, Oct 4, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017

    Suckfest 9001 macrumors 65816

    Suckfest 9001

    May 31, 2015
    btw you can switch to last used app on an iPhone X by swiping on the home bar. going forward i'd probably not post "info" about the iPhone X until at least it comes out, but thanks for sharing your opinions anyway
  14. BeefSupreme macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2012
    Even if you don't use it for anything else, having that pen for use when moving files around in one of the file explorer apps is worth it.
  15. convergent macrumors 68030


    May 6, 2008
    Which file explorer app do you recommend? I've been on iPhone so long the concept of moving files is such an unfamiliar smartphone topic!
  16. Dodgeman macrumors 65816

    Nov 30, 2016
    Yeah I’m like what would I be moving files around for... lol

    I played with the pen. Cool with the cropping and the live messages. Guess the notes are kind of cool as well but doubt it’ll get much use.
    The note is kind of big and I really don’t care about the dual camera.

    Probably going to go the s8+ as it’s the size I like, cheaper, bit longer battery...
    I want to love the Note 8 it just feels kind of big and I just don’t think paying the extra money for the pen would be feasible as I would only use it occasionally.
    I’m going to make up my mind by tonight.
  17. pat500000 Suspended


    Jun 3, 2015
    Great in-depth review. If you have mac computers, what do you use to sync together? Pushbullet for message? drop box for file sync?
  18. dallas112678 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2008
    Samsung has a simple software called "smart switch" that you can use to backup, restore, and move files around (there is a mac version, which is what I use). Again, it's just like moving files to a separate storage device on your computer. Super simple and easy, not having to try and find a place in iTunes that might allow a certain file type... Basically, I wish the "Files" app in iOS 11 would make it this easy but it doesn't.

    You of course can use the cloud as well, but I'm not a big user of the cloud and like to be able to simply connect with a cord and move to whatever folder I want.
  19. Dodgeman macrumors 65816

    Nov 30, 2016
    One thing isn’t miss from Apple is it not “hiding” my files.
    Like if you download a PDF or Excell usually in Apple those are easily visible and not stored on the back end where as android it’s the opposite.
  20. dallas112678 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2008
    I'm not sure what you mean...
  21. BeefSupreme macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2012
    I use astro right now. There' not a whole lot of difference between them all though.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 4, 2017 ---

    Oh and not known by many, but the pen app that comes preinstalled has a COLORING BOOK section.

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