The camera is good but not as good as the Pixel 2.
Die-hard Note fans love the line-up because the Note always pushed the technology boundaries. It meant Note users always had the best, biggest and flashiest toys to play with. This has always included the battery.
We all remember the issues with the Note 7 battery and looks like Samsung has taken the safe route by using a 3300 mAh battery in the Samsung Note 8.
I have spoken to a dozen Note fan readers and every single one of them complained that the Note 8 felt like Samsung was "playing it safe" and this isn't why they became Note fans. Remember that the cheaper Samsung Galaxy 8 comes with a 3500mAh battery.
Samsung's official position is that the smaller battery was required because of a lack of space (due to the dual camera system and the SPen slot).
To help alleviate the pain of a smaller battery, Samsung has efficient hardware and purpose-built software to help conserve power (where possible). In my 2 weeks of testing, the phone got through average days just fine but died when I was travelling (spotty reception and more media consumption). Either the battery should have been slightly bigger or their battery conservation model should have been more aggressive.
If you need to juice up, you can use the built-in QuickCharge 2 or wireless charging now found in most coffee shops. Again I felt like the fast charging was good but not great. The Huawei Mate 10 Pro, Pixel 2 XL and OnePlus 5 all out-charge the Note 8. Why didn't Samsung go with QuickCharge 3? On a positive note, if you own a USBC PD charger (like the one that comes with the Pixel 2 or the Pixelbook), you will be able to fast charge the Note 8. This was a wonderful surprise.
Samsung does offer fast wireless charging but it costs $125CAD which seems a bit too rich for me, considering you have to buy a couple to make it really work (bedroom, office, kitchen, etc).
What about the fingerprint scanner?
The fingerprint scanner is located in the back next to the camera. This is a horrible location because:
- it is not in a location where my finger naturally goes
- I keep smudging the camera lens when my finger misses the scanner
The alternative is to use the "as secure" Iris scanner. The Iris scanner is wonderful when it works, but frustrating when it doesn't (e.g. outdoors under bright sunlight).
Nothing more to say here.
The display on the Note 8 is a thing of beauty and easily the best display on any smartphone (iPhoneX included). Its 6.3-inch display is bright, clean, clear and easy on the eyes. The Samsung Infinity Display stretches from one edge of the phone to the other.
With all the Pixel 2 XL screen issues, it is refreshing to see Samsung release AMOLED screens that are so beautiful. Videos look crisp. Pictures look amazing. Web pages are easy to read.
The screen is everything you expect from the leader in screen manufacturing. The screen is bright, punchy and the size means you are drawn to whatever content you are consuming.