Do we have a good one for you today – the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 goes up against the Honor 8. It is hard to imagine that the Galaxy Note 7 and the Honor 8 have much in common, let alone be compared to one another. However, once you strip away the ‘S-Pen factor’ from the Note 7 we can look at two smartphones in different pricing spheres, that perform the same function. The Note 7 does it with Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and the back, surrounded by a metal frame and edges. The Honor 8 take a more ‘iPhone’ look with a metal back, and even the antenna lines are set at the top and the bottom – before there is any name calling, the Honor 8 came out before the iPhone 7. Let’s look at just what these two devices have in common, if anything, and then we will take a closer look at each one in hopes that we can determine a winner of this comparison.
Because Samsung does a good job keeping its physical dimensions to a minimum, even though it has a one-half inch larger display, it is very close in size to the Honor 8. Both have an AMOLED display although they do not share the same resolution. They both use excellent processors and GPUs, but from different companies. Both devices use 4GB of DDR4 RAM, and both have a 64GB variant of internal memory that is expandable. Both devices use a 12MP sensor for picture taking, although the Honor 8 uses two of them. They both have a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device or authorizing mobile payments. They both use a non-removable battery with rapid charge capabilities and the Note 7 even has quick wireless charging. They have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC and a Type-C reversible USB port for charging and data transfer.
Please take a careful look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the “View Full Comparison” link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each device in greater depth and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Most of you are familiar with the looks of the Galaxy S7 Edge, so when you think of the Note 7, think of it as a stretched S7 Edge with and S Pen. Although not as pronounced as the S7 Edge, and not even close to the uniqueness of the Galaxy Note Edge, the Galaxy Note 7 is still a stunning device. This dual curve is just enough to add some real elegance and beauty to the Note 7 – it is the best-looking Note ever.
The Galaxy Note 7 sports a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED QHD ‘always-on’ display with the addition of the dual curved edge. This setup gives the Galaxy Note 7 the resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 518 pixels-per-inch (PPI.) Galaxy Note 7’s sold in the US/Canada will use a Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.6GHz and the other four cores clocked at 2.3GHz. International versions will sport an Exynos octa-core with a quad-core clocked at 1.6GHz and a quad-core clocked at 2.3GHz. The Note 7 packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and a base 64GB of the faster UFS 2.0 internal memory and includes expansion via a microSD card.
For the Note 7’s picture-taking, Samsung used the same camera from the Galaxy S7 series – a new Dual Pixel 12MP sensor with an aperture of f/1.7, faster phase detection autofocus (PDAF), auto HDR, and retains OIS. For its FFC, the Galaxy Note 7 uses a 5MP wide-angle lens with a larger f/1.7 aperture and Live HDR. The Note 7 has a non-removable 3500mAh battery, and it features a quick charge feature as well as quick wireless charging capabilities.
Samsung included a new Iris Scanner that allows you to unlock your device by looking into the top area of the display. It also acts as your entrance into a secret folder where you can store things for your “eyes only.” The S Pen has many new added features – some giving it even more functionality and sensitivity and others making it waterproof and color coded to your device. It also has the heart rate sensor and oxygen saturation sensor and is IP68 certified against dust and water. The Note 7 is the first Samsung device with the newer USB Type-C reversible connector for charging and data transfer and the first to use Gorilla Glass 5. Depending on where you buy the Galaxy Note 7, it will come in Blue Coral, Silver Titanium, Black Onyx, and Gold. It measures 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9mm, weighs in at 169 grams, and will cost you about $865.
The Honor 8 replaces the wildly popular Honor 5X announced earlier this year. Huawei’s pursuit of going after the millennial market is the reason you can only purchase the Honor 8 online, through Best Buy or B&H Photo’s website. The Honor 8 is a real beauty and a true flagship in every sense of the word. It has glass on the front and the back of the device with a metal frame holding it all together. It comes in a little small by today's standards at 5.2-inches, that used to be the sweet spot for smartphones. Just how does this $400 flagship stand up to the new Galaxy Note 7 for more than double the price?
The Honor 8 sports a 5.2-inch AMOLED Full HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 423 PPI. Huawei had been using the Samsung Exynos processors for a while, but with the Honor 8, decided to go with their HiSilicon Kirin 950 octa-core processor with one quad-core clocked at 1.8GHz and another quad-core clocked at 2.3GHz. It uses a Mali-T880 MP4 GPU for graphics. It packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB of expandable internal storage.
The primary camera functions are handled by two 12MP sensors with laser autofocus, a dual-toned LED flash, and an aperture of f/2.2. The FFC is a large 8MP with a f/2.4 aperture for taking selfies and video chatting. It packs a 3000mAh non-removable battery with their Smart Power 4.0 fast battery charging that will give you a 47-percent charge in 30 minutes.
The Honor 8 measures 145.5 x 71 x 7.5mm and weighs in at 153 grams and can be purchased in Pearl White, Midnight Black, Sapphire Blue, and Gold. It is running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with Huawei’s Emotion UI 4.1 over the top. It packs DTS sound for better listening through your earphones. The fingerprint sensor also acts as a Smart Key that is programmable to function with one or two pushes. It can be used to open an app or turn on your flashlight, among other things. It will cost you about $400 online and is an excellent value for the features and build.
...And The Winner Is...
The Final Word
I realize that the Galaxy Note 7 is technologically superior to the Honor 8, but only in a few subtle ways, yet it costs over twice as much. The Note 7 is a niche device for those that want the S Pen, larger, always on, display, an iris scanner, heart rate sensor, oxygen saturation sensor, it's IP68 certified, and it has Samsung Pay.
However, for $400 less, if you can give up the screen size and S Pen of the Note 7, then you have yourself a solid, beautiful, and well-built smartphone. The Honor 8 has an excellent display, terrific processor, expandable memory, dual 12MP cameras, and an 8MP FFC. You get your fingerprint sensor, Android Pay, and even an IR Blaster.
The best phone here is the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – hands down – but you will pay a premium price of $865. A question you have to ask yourself is it worth $465 more than the Honor 8.