The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was one the best phones of 2016 – until it was recalled and then discontinued. It was a sour end to what appeared to be a good year for Samsung. 12 months on, it doesn’t seem to have caused any lasting issues. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are easily two of the best handsets of the year so far, selling in droves, and the company has just announced the Samsung Note 8: a smartphone we never thought would come to be.
Like all recent Samsung phones, the Note 8 is a gorgeous slab of curved metal and glass. It looks a lot like the S8, but it’s more straight-edged – more business-like – and the curved screen is steeper to aid S-Pen note-taking. The Infinity Display is even bigger at 6.3 inches, and it continues to make bezel-heavy devices feel old-fashioned by comparison.
If you found the S8+ too big, you’ll struggle here. The Note 8 is slightly larger on all fronts and difficult to use with one hand. The iPhone 7 Plus, which remains a bizarrely large phone for its screen size, is one of the only other recent phones to come close to matching the Note 8 in size.
The QHD+ AMOLED display is stunning, but that’s no surprise. The colours suck you in and perfect blacks make it ideal for Netflix and YouTube viewing, and scrolling through pictures. The slightly odd 18.5:9 aspect ratio is strange at first, but you can stretch videos and apps to fit it so it doesn’t detract from anything. Like the S8, the Note 8 is HDR certified by the 4K Alliance, but the actual amount of HDR content around is still slim.
The other big change is on the rear of the device. Samsung has jumped on the dual-camera bandwagon, popping a 12-megapixel telephoto sensor next to the already excellent wider-angle 12-megapixel sensor from the Galaxy S8. Importantly, both these sensors feature optical image stabilisation (OIS), so even if you use the 2x optical zoom, your snaps should be blur-free.
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