The Best Yet

Samsung makes an impressive comeback with the Galaxy Note 8; the stylus and dual camera stand out.
 Nidhi Singal   Delhi     Print Edition: October 22, 2017
The Best Yet

After the Note 7 battery fiasco, Samsung's time under the sun has come. The Korean giant has hit a home run with the Note 8. Unlike other smartphones in the Note series that sport a 5.5-5.7 inch display, the Note 8 boasts a 6.3 inch 'infinity' display. Its slightly longish design makes it comfortable to hold. On its 2,960x1,440 pixel display resolution, the text appears crisp and colours look good.

One can activate the split-screen multitasking feature from the settings option and with the new app pair feature, create combos that launch two apps in multi-window mode with a single touch. The home button has been replaced with an on-screen control button and the fingerprint scanner has been moved to the rear, next to the camera. The placement is inconvenient - I ended up smudging the camera several times while unlocking the phone. The Note 8 is water and dust resistant, and comes with a stylus (S-Pen) mounted on the right bottom panel.

While the Note 8 shares many similarities with the S8 Plus, its Stylus functionality is notably distinct. Input text through handwriting, scribble or sketching is much more natural and intuitive - as good as writing with a real pen on paper. The S-Pen's ease of use, for instance while writing a memo and pinning it to the lock screen, is remarkable. Like Apple's iMessage that allowed handwritten messages, Samsung has a Live Message feature that records animated GIFs of handwritten messages and these can be shared using any app. Using Screen Write, I was able to take a screenshot of the current screen and write over it - handy for highlighting or marking corrections. Smart Select can be used for capturing a part of the screen - text, drawing, videos, etc. Samsung has also enabled paragraph translation using the S-Pen.

This is Samsung's first smartphone to boast a dual 12-MP camera with sensors, 2x optical zoom, dual ISO and dual LED flash. Using the Live Focus feature, background depth can be adjusted while capturing an image. The images look sharp and retain natural colours. There is also a Pro mode with manual settings; images shot using this mode in low light were impressive.

The Note 8 is a powerful device. There was no lag or heating issue while playing heavy graphic games, streaming videos, using VR and AR apps or multitasking. It is powered by Samsung's own 1.7 GHz Exynos 9 octa-core processor, paired with 6 GB of RAM. The 3,300 mAh battery, that supports quick charge and wireless charging, lasted me a day despite heavy usage.

The stylus functionality on the Note 8 is incomparable. However, if the stylus and dual camera are not your priorities, then the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, priced lower than the Note 8, could be worth considering.~

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