5 Reasons To Buy The Samsung Galaxy Note 8
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is one of the most expensive phones on the market right now. With great price comes great consideration about if it's the right purchasing decision for you. So here are 5 Reasons to consider the Note 8 as your next phone. This is based on my time with a review handset ahead of the launch and I've had a little over a week to come to these conclusions.
Quite note though: my good friend and fellow Forbes contributor Jay usually does these 5 Reasons articles. But Jay's busy launching an amazing YouTube project so he's letting me borrow the concept, he'll be back with more of these in the future I'm sure.
1 - The camera
I'm a regular iPhone 7 Plus user so it takes a camera better than that to really impress me. And while the Note 8 doesn't get everything right I've had a total blast using it's powerful and high-quality camera. One of the things I always look for in a camera phone is the ability to take the thing out of your pocket and snap a really good photo on auto. Why? Because almost every photo I take on my DSLR is in manual, when I'm using a camera phone I want the thing to do everything for me.
Samsung has, for the most part, nailed it here. Shots on both the telephoto and standard view look great in good light. Things aren't dreadful when the light level drops either, but like all camera phones there are compromises. Low light shots are not, in my opinion, as good as they can be on the Pixel. Google's phone remains the king of very low light photography.
But colours really pop on the Note 8 and while they push the boundaries of reality a little, they're not unrealistic. When I snapped shots around the South Bank in London, the colours the phone captured are as I remember them being.
On the downside, using the zoom doesn't feel as clean to me as the iPhone. This is a UI problem, not a device issue though.
2 - Music
Samsung's developed a really nice sound system for it's phones. But for me there's some stuff here that just goes beyond the overall quality. In the EQ menus there are options to tweak the sound for your hearing. There are presets for different age groups that boost the overal sound to compensate for the changes in hearing we all have as we age.
I've listened to a lot of music on the phone on the AKG headphones, and a selection of more expensive devices and I'm impressed. It has deep bass and clear mids with no sparkly high end. I'm not pitching myself as an audio expert, but I think the Note 8 sounds beautiful. For me, that's a big selling point.
3 - Dual biometrics
Forget the facial recognition here, it's pony. Concentrate instead on the fact that you can have both a fingerprint and iris scan on the device. That gives you a couple of options for how to unlock the phone each time you pick it up. If your finger is wet, then you can just hold the phone a bit higher and use your iris scan. If you don't want to do that, then press your finger on the scanner and the phone unlocks. You can use both on the device and switch between them to suit your needs. I like this a lot.
4 - Secure folder
I've loved Samsung's security features for a while. Secure folder is a really good idea and could be a big help in these days of border security paranoia at airports. Put simply, secure folder allows you to lock a load of apps away and keep files away from prying eyes. Not only that but you can also hide the folder itself, meaning that it won't be obvious to people when you give them the phone that it has a hidden folder. You can also opt to protect the folder with a different pin to the phone system, and you can also disable biometrics for it.
As a bonus feature, it also allows you to keep more than one social account on the device. So Twitter, Facebook and messaging apps like WhatsApp can all have duplicates on the device that can be used with a separate account. This could be incredibly useful for enterprise users who need to keep some details away from all prying eyes.
Maybe I'm paranoid, but I like the idea that my phone can be used to keep certain files away from prying eyes.
5 - S-Pen (obviously)
I thought about not bothering to mention the S-Pen as presumably everyone knows that it's a huge part of the Note 8 experience. But one thing stopped me from avoiding it - it's just so good.
The old S-Pen was nice, but the new one feels glorious to use. Like a fresh Moleskine notebook and a good pen, the stylus Samsung gives you with this phone feels really nice on the screen. I like the ability to both write notes from the lock screen, as well as display them there. This means my "to do" list can be hassling me every minute of every day. This is how you make a writer get on with their work - passive aggressive notes on phone screens.
If you draw, then the S-Pen produces amazing results. If you like to make notes, then the S-Pen makes that a joy. I love Samsung's Notes app, as a reporter it allows you to write pen-based notes while recording audio to go along with them. It's just the best tool I could ask for.
This is reason 6, but it's also a bit of a downside so I'm adding it in as an extra. The screen is amazing. Great colour, HDR support and it looks simply amazing all the time, thanks to the Infinity Display. I don't honestly know why they ship it with a 2960x1440 resolution but cut it down to 2220x1080 so most people never see it. Well, I do know, it's to save power. The extra resolution is for VR, but it's still kind of pointless. I love Gear VR, but most people aren't using it. Perhaps in a few years when the power output can keep pace with the screen resolution, this will be a better option, but for now, I sort of think the display is overkill.