Do we have a good one for you today – the new Samsung Galaxy S8 goes up against the Honor Note 8. We do realize that the Galaxy S8 is a high-end flagship device going up against a larger, very phablet-sized device, but the Honor Note 8 does have a QHD display and a high-end Kirin processor. Samsung completely redesigned the Galaxy S8 series – they still kept its all-glass body, but added an 18:9 aspect ratio, added an Infinity Display, and finished it off with thin bezels top and bottom. The Honor Note 8 uses a dual curved display with no bezels left-to-right. The Honor Note 8 will only work on AT&T and T-Mobile in the US, but the Galaxy S8 will work on all major US networks. 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.
Despite their differences, we can find some common ground between the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Honor Note 8. The displays do use the same AMOLED technology and the same QHD resolution. They both pack the same 4GB of RAM, there is a 64GB variant of internal storage, and both can expand their memory via a microSD card. The primary camera areas are close in megapixels – the Galaxy S8 uses a Dual Pixel 12MP and the Honor Note 8 uses a 13MP sensor. The front-facing camera (FFC) areas are different – the Galaxy S8 uses an 8MP with autofocus and the Honor Note 8 uses a more generic 5MP. Both have a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device, but only the Galaxy S8 has NFC for authorizing mobile payments, including Android Pay and Samsung Pay. They both use a non-removable battery, but only the Galaxy S8 has rapid charge capabilities. They come with the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth (v5.0 on the S8 and v4.2 on the Honor Note 8), GPS, NFC (S8 only), and the newer reversible Type-C port for charging and data transfer.
Please take a thoughtful look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another. 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 S8
The new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus both come with a new Infinity Display – a dual curved display that bends around the sides and seems to 'blends' into the glass backing. Even the top and bottom bezels of the Galaxy S8 are very small…so small that Samsung did away with their long-time Home Button and moved the fingerprint sensor to the back near the camera lens. Samsung added a couple of other easier ways to unlock the device using facial recognition or by scanning your iris. Samsung not only dropped their physical 'Home' button, but also the 'Back' and 'Recent' keys. All three are hidden on the lower part of the display and when needed can be accessed via a new 3D Touch area. The physical appearance alone of the Galaxy S8, which is arguably the best looking smartphone on the market, may win you over, but did Samsung upgrade the specifications enough, and just how does this $720 beast stand up to the $420 Honor Note 8.
Samsung finally went with a much larger 5.8-inch Infinity Display with a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio. The new display goes edge-to-edge on the sides, with very small top and bottom bezels. Samsung still uses its Super AMOLED technology and the QHD+ display resolution of 2960 x 1440 pixels generates 570 pixels-per-inch (PPI). Samsung kept its 'always-on' display to help save battery life and to make it easier and quicker to check notifications. The Galaxy S8 uses the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor or Samsung's excellent Exynos 8895 octa-core, both with the new 10nm technology. The model coming to the US uses the SD 835 clocked at 2.35GHz with an Adreno 540 GPU. Other countries will see the Exynos 8895 with four cores clocked at 1.7GHz and four cores clocked at 2.3GHz and a Mali-G71 MP20 for graphics. The Galaxy S8 packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and has 64GB of the faster UFS 2.1 expandable memory via a microSD card.
Samsung decided to keep the same camera from the Galaxy S7 series and said they concentrated on their imaging software. The Galaxy S8 camera uses a Dual Pixel 12MP sensor with a large aperture of f/1.7 for those low light conditions, a 26mm lens, PDAF, LED flash, auto HDR and OIS. Samsung did change the front-facing camera (FFC) by enlarging it from a 5MP to an 8MP sensor and then gave it its own autofocus. It still uses a wide-angle lens for those group selfies or a conference chat, and uses the same f/1.7 aperture, and Live HDR. Samsung also decided to keep the same sized non-removable 3000mAh battery that features Quick Charge and still offers Quick Wireless Charging.
Samsung introduced a few new features – the Samsung Connect feature that allows you to control Samsung's appliances, thermostats, and more; its own personal assistant called Bixby. You can either ask Bixby simple questions or get information from a picture through the camera; a DeX Station that will interface the Galaxy S8 with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to give you a near desktop experience; and the new Samsung Health that replaces Samsung's S-Health. The Galaxy S8 keeps its popular heart rate monitor and oxygen saturation sensor. You have access to Android Pay and Samsung Pay, which allows Galaxy S8 users more flexibility in making mobile purchases. The Galaxy S8 series continues to be IP68 certified against dust and water resistance. It will arrive with Android Nougat 7.0, followed by a quick upgrade to 7.1. It measures 148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm, weighs in at 155 grams, is available in Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, and Maple Gold depending where you are located. The Galaxy S8 will cost about $720 outright and is now available for purchase at major retailers.
Honor Note 8
The Honor Note 8 is undeniably huge with its 6.6-inch display. It is an all-metal device that has a dual curved display and small bezels at the top and bottom of the device. However, even without the bezels, it still looks large. Even with a QHD display and powerful Kirin processor, the 32GB model costs a mere $400 or so. It comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but its Nougat update should be out any day. Does the Honor Note 8 have what it takes to overpower the new Galaxy S8?
Huawei made a wise decision to use the QHD resolution on their 6.6-inch Super AMOLED display. The resolution comes in at 2560 x 1440 pixels with 443 PPI and is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. This size display is great for watching movies, gaming, web browsing, or reading – anything where a larger display makes for a better user experience. Huawei used their powerful HiSilicon Kirin 955 octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.8GHz and four cores clocked at 2.5GHz. Huawei paired the Kirin 955 with their Mali-T880 MP4 GPU for terrific graphics. The Honor Note 8 packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB of internal memory that is expandable via a microUSB card. You can also get models with 64GB or 128GB of internal storage.
The primary camera on Honor Note 8 is a single 13MP sensor with an f/2.0 aperture, autofocus, OIS, and dual-tone LED flash. It uses a 5MP FCC camera with an f/2.0 aperture for selfies and video chatting. The Honor Note 8 provides a large 4500mAh non-removable battery that will last you for a full day, but there is no fast charge capability.
With such small bezels, Huawei had to place the fingerprint sensor on the back of the device. It is only good for unlocking the Honor Note 8 because there is no NFC chip in the device and that means no mobile payments and no Android Pay. It incorporates DTS sound capabilities and includes an FM radio. The Honor Note 8 measures 178.8 x 90.9 x 7.2 mm and weighs in at a hefty 219 grams. The device is available to purchase online for about $420 for the 32GB model and comes in White, Gold, or Gray. It will work on the AT&T or T-Mobile networks. The device comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but should be getting its Android 7.0 Nougat very soon.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
This was a tough decision but the Samsung Galaxy S8 is clearly the winner in the specifications department – but are these factors worth the $300 difference in price – that is the real question and the answer is probably 'no'. The Galaxy S8 is arguably the most beautiful smartphone so far this year that runs on all major US carriers, has NFC for mobile payments, IP68 water resistance, an always-on display, a better sized to carry around for an everyday driver, facial recognition, and fast charging, as well as wireless charging. Not to mention the heart rate monitor, oxygen saturation sensor, Bixby, Samsung Connect, Samsung DeX, and Samsung Pay.
The Honor Note 8 is quite a looker as well with its dual curved display, it is very reminiscent of a large Galaxy S7 Edge. The Honor Note 8 does come packed with a larger display, that is not only QHD, but also Super AMOLED. It would be ideal for movies, YouTube, web browsing, reading, and games. However, its size could be a factor in carrying it around in a pocket as a daily driver. The processor and GPU are up to the task and it does come with expandable memory. If you are okay with carrying around a huge device, using only AT&T or T-Mobile, do not plan to do any mobile purchases, and are okay without a quick charging battery, then the Honor Note 8 may be just for you.