Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone
The first question many people will have about the Samsung Galaxy Note8 is: Will it explode?
The question certainly crossed my mind when the review device I received was a little hot to the touch, as it was sent to me, powered on in its box, buzzing with a variety of notifications.
The phone is Samsung’s direct successor to last year’s Note 7, which was banned from airlines by both Transport Canada and the U.S. Department of Transportation over reports of the battery catching fire when it overheated. Samsung had to recall the phone twice and eventually, it ceased production of it entirely last October – a mere two months after launch.
While the concern is understandable, it seems unwarranted. For one thing, Samsung appears to have resolved the issue. The popular Samsung Galaxy S8+ uses a 3,500 mAh battery, which is the same electrical charge as the one found in the discontinued Note 7. There have been no reports of battery fires with that device that I’m aware of.
But if you’re still worried, you should be comforted to know that the Note8 actually uses a slighter less powerful (3,300 mAh) battery. So there is less of a chance of damage from it overheating.
And if you’re a Samsung fan, you should really check it out as the Note8 is the best phone the company has ever made. It improves upon the popular Galaxy S8 line in both hardware, software and design.
Like the S8/S8+, the Galaxy Note8 uses Qualcomm MSM8998’s Snapdragon 835 chipset, which features an octacore CPU (with four cores running at up to 2.35 GHz and the other four at 1.9 GHz) and the Adreno 540 graphics card. It comes with 6 GB of RAM, 64 GB of internal storage (expandable with a memory card), charges via USB-C or wirelessly.
The Note8 is, of course, larger (162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm) and heavier (195 g) than the S8/S8+ so this may be an issue for someone with smaller hands. But the size and weight are well-balanced so I had no problem holding the phone in one hand. As with the S8 line, the Note8’s screen has an 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a 2,960×1,440-pixel resolution – though, by default it is set to 16:9. But the Note8 uses Samsung’s edge design, where the 6.3-inch near-bezel-less Infinity Display curves around the side of the phone.
And, like with other Samsung edge phones, you can slide in a customizable apps menu from the right side of the phone.
The larger display also makes using a split-screen option (where you can have two apps displayed at the same) not seem ridiculous. You can even configure it so certain apps always open in tandem.
As for audio and video playback, the built-in speakers are impressive. The sound is clear for the most part, though it can get a little distorted if the volume is set to max. Granted, most phones at full volume don’t sound nearly as loud as the Note8 does.
The big difference in hardware can be seen in the cameras. The Note8’s rear camera is an improvement over the S8 line as it features a dual-pixel sensor, which can be seen in some competitors’ flagship devices. It’s essentially two different 12-MP cameras, a “wide-angle” lens (which is actually the same as the S8 camera) and a telephoto one at 2X magnification – essentially creating an optical . (It also comes with an 8-MP front-facing camera.)
This photo was taken with the Samsung Galaxy Note8’s main camera. (Adam Swimmer/Postmedia Network)
The telephoto lens has a slightly smaller aperture (f/2.4) than the wide-angle one (f/1.7), which means it needs more light to take an image. However, at least in my own experience, the difference was negligible. And both of the rear camera’s lenses appear to capture more light than the naked eye because even pictures and video taken on a grey day are bright and colourful. Meanwhile, media shot in low light is stark and clear.
Like with many high-end smartphones, the camera has a manual mode where you can adjust the shutter speed and virtual “ISO” to compensate for lighting if need be.
One feature that stands out is live focus. (It’s similar to the iPhone’s Portrait Display so an Apple lawsuit is probably in the works.) Live focus lets you blur the background when taking a photo of an object or person in the foreground to simulate a short depth of field.
These two photos were taken seconds apart, with the bottom employing the Note8’s live focus feature. (Adam Swimmer/Postmedia Network)
You can even adjust the background blur after-the-fact. The live focus mode uses the telephoto lens to display the image but it actually uses dual capture so you get a wider angle shot as well in case you prefer that one.
The mode can be a little finicky. The object should ideally be about 1.2 metres away from the camera but it sometimes takes a bit for the camera to acknowledge what to focus on. When it works, the effect was quite impressive — not SLR-quality but quite good.
The cameras offer a variety of other features, some more gimmicky than others, such as a food mode, which lets you take more vivid pics when Instagramming your meals, motion photos, which takes a short video clip before the photo is shot (cue another Apple lawsuit), slow motion, hyperlapse and virtual shot to take VR-style videos.
Selfie taken with a sticker filter. (Adam Swimmer/Postmedia Network)
You can also apply various filters to the frame, from changing the tone of the image to adding animated masks, or ”stickers,” to people’s faces.
The stickers are fun but not really a selling point, as it is basically just mimicking Snapchat. But I guess if you’re banned from the service, this feature will let you still take goofy pics or videos to send to your friends.
Of course, the other main difference between the Note8 and the line S8, is the former’s use of the S Pen.
Many people likely think using a stylus on a phone (or phablet) is outdated. But the S Pen is a great accessory. It is easy-to-use and provides a great deal of versatility, whether it’s just for surfing the web without getting fingerprints on the phone, writing memos to yourself or doing something more complex.
Like the S8 line, the Note8 runs on Android Nougat but uses a newer version of the Samsung Experience user interface (8.5). which includes software designed for use with the S Pen.
When it is removed from the phone, a menu of stylus-specific apps becomes available. You can create notes, select content to copy, write directly on the screen and save it as a screenshot.
One interesting app lets you translate words when you hover the stylus over foreign text the screen. It only translates one word at a time but it’s faster than trying to do it through the web or copy-and-pasting the text into another app.
Live message on the Samsung Galaxy Note8.
Another interesting feature, live message, lets you record S Pen strokes as you sketch a drawing or write a note. Then, you share it as an animated GIF.
Like the camera’s Snapchat-esque stickers, live message is enjoyable but rather gimmicky. And, like with all online communication, its use will almost certainly degenerate into people sending each other drawings of penises.
The Samsung Galaxy Note8 is arguably the best Android device on the market and the only real caveat is the price. The phone is available from the Big Three telecoms (Bell, Rogers, and Telus) and many other wireless companies for around $ 550 on a two-year plan ($ 449.95 at Videotron in Quebec). But if you’re willing to go with smaller carriers, you can get a deal. Freedom Mobile is offering the Note8 for free on a couple of its MyTab Boost plans, as is Eastlink on a two-year plan, for those who have access to that carrier.
To buy the phone without a term – or unlocked on Samsung’s own site – will cost you roughly $ 1,300 ($ 1,349.99 at Bell).