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Samsung Galaxy Note8: Two years in the making, is it worth the wait?


Samsung Galaxy Note8 Malaysia First Impressions

Samsung had a rough time last year with the Galaxy Note7. After initiating massive recalls and efforts to inspire customer confidence, the Korean smartphone maker appears to be making a huge comeback with the Galaxy S8 and S8+. It was reported that Samsung had sold 15% more Galaxy S8 units compared to the Galaxy S7.

With a product gap of almost 2 years, Samsung has finally introduced its new Galaxy Note8. To make up for lost time, Samsung is doing more just than rehashing its current flagship with an extra stylus.

In terms of design, the Galaxy Note8 with a 6.3” screen looks like a bigger Galaxy S8+. It’s slightly taller, wider and thicker than its marginally smaller 6.2” Galaxy S8+. In the hand, it feels quite substantial as it tips the scales at 195g.

Just like the Note7, it has less rounded corners which result in a boxier looking appearance compared to the Galaxy S series. Build quality is top notch with the usual mix of metal and glass.

With an 18.5:9 QuadHD+ Infinity Display, Samsung has managed to fit a significantly larger screen than the Note7 (5.7” to 6.3”) while increasing its width by just a millimeter. You can hold it comfortably with a single hand but you would still need 2 hands to use it practically.

The Galaxy Note8 like the Galaxy S8 has one of the best screens on the smartphone right now. The colours are vibrant and it offers great contrast. By default, it still runs on Full HD+ resolution (2220×1080) for optimized power consumption but you can switch it to QuadHD+ (2960×1440) under settings.

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Under the hood, it runs on the same 10nm Exynos 8895 octa-core processor for our region but they have bumped up the RAM to 6GB for better multi-tasking. On board storage still starts at 64GB but now there’s a higher capacity option of 128GB and 256GB which would vary depending on each respective market. Good news is that storage is still expandable. However, it utilises a hybrid SIM tray design, which means you can’t use 2 SIMs if you’ve already inserted a microSD card.

At the time of the announcement, the Galaxy Note8 still runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat and you can expect Samsung to update this to the latest Oreo. Love it or hate it, it also gets Bixby plus you an extra button to summon your virtual assistant.

Probably to be on the safe side, the battery on the Galaxy Note8 is smaller at 3,300mAh capacity and it charges via USB Type-C. As a comparison, the former Note7 and the current Galaxy S8+ both come with a larger 3,500mAh battery. To ensure better reliability, Samsung assures that its new batteries have undergone an 8-point battery safety check which they claim to be the most rigorous in the industry.

Alexander Wong