Phone Comparisons: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Introduction

Do we have a good one for you today – we will compare the Galaxy Note 8 to the Galaxy S8 Plus – both are Samsung’s pride and joy flagships. The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are Samsung bestselling smartphones, while the Galaxy Note 8 is designed toward a slightly different crowd. Both devices have so much in common that the lines are becoming somewhat blurred with the Note 8 offering only a few improvements. A couple of items, the dual cameras, more RAM, and the S Pen, are what sets the Note 8 apart from the S8 Plus. Today we are going look at these two high priced devices to determine a winner. Before we examine each individual device, we will first see what these two flagships have in common.

The Galaxy Note 8 follows a lot in the Galaxy S8 Plus’s footsteps, after all, Samsung made some important changes in the S8 series that would naturally carryover to the Note 8. The first is the 18.5:9 Infinity Display. It is a true edge-to-edge display with literally no bezels on the left and right sides. The display curves around and blends into both sides of the device. The Note 8’s display is only 0.1-inch larger than the S8 Plus, both are Super AMOLED, both used a QHD+ resolution, both use an Always-On display, and both are protected by Gorilla Glass 5. The Note 8 and S8 Plus use the same processors and GPUs and both come with 64GB of expandable memory. The camera areas use a 12MP sensor for the main camera and an 8MP sensor for the front-facing camera (FFC) – however, the Note 8 adds a secondary 12MP sensor and includes 2X Optical Zoom in the primary camera. Both batteries are non-removable, offer Quick Charge 2.0, and wireless charging for both Qi and PMA formats. The physical sizes are nearly identical, but the Note 8 weighs in at 22 grams heavier than the S8 Plus. Both devices have a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, BT 5.0, Hi-Res audio, and a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer. The Note 8 and S8 Plus both have Iris Scanners, Facial Recognition, a Heart rate monitor, an SpO2 sensor, a 3.5mm headphone jack, IP68 certification, Bixby, DeX capabilities, and Samsung Pay. Both are running a version of Android Nougat and both can be used on all US carriers.

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.

Specifications

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Thankfully, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Note 8 – there were strong rumors the Note series would end after last years' Note 7 debacle. As we stated earlier, the Note 8 follows the Galaxy S8 Plus in using the new Infinity Display. Samsung finally eliminated the physical home button in favor of onscreen buttons – that are there only when you need them – allowing Samsung to have a very small top and bottom bezel as well. The bottom bezel is void of any function, while the top bezel handles the indicator light, proximity sensor, speaker, and front-facing camera. The front camera handles both facial recognition and iris scanning. The awkward fingerprint sensor is now separated by the flash from the camera, which does help a little. When there is light, you can quickly unlock the phone with the facial recognition or the iris scanner (if you do not wear glasses), or you can always fall back on using a pin for unlocking the Note 8. Samsung made improvements to the S Pen and software to make it easier to use and more productive. The Galaxy Note 8 is arguably the best looking and most feature-laden smartphone on the market, however, all of this technology comes at a cost of approximately $960.

Samsung increased the Note 8’s display size from 5.7-inches to 6.3-inches, which is slightly larger than the S8 Plus. The Note 8 the Galaxy S8/S8 Plus and uses the same Infinity Display, with the same 18.5:9 aspect ratio, Super AMOLED technology, and a QHD+ display resolution of 2960 x 1440 pixels that generates 521 pixels-per-inch (PPI). Samsung has the default set at an FHD+ (2220 x 1080) resolution to save battery life, but you can go to the display settings to increase it to QHD+. Samsung continues its ‘always-on’ display that helps to save battery life and makes it easier and quicker to check notifications. Just like the Galaxy S8 Plus, the Galaxy Note 8 uses the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor for the US/China models clocked at 2.35 and an Adreno 540 GPU. For EMEA countries, Samsung uses its excellent Exynos 8895 octa-core clocked at 2.3 GHz and the Mali-G71 MP20 GPU for graphics – both processors use the new 10nm technology. The Galaxy Note 8 packs 6GB of DDR4 RAM that offers smooth and fast multitasking. It has 64GB of expandable memory via a microSD card.

Many thought that Samsung was putting a dual camera system in the 'S' series, but they waited until the Note 8 to include finally dual 12MP cameras. The primary camera has a large aperture of f/1.7 for low light conditions, PDAF, a dual-tone LED flash, auto HDR, OIS, and 2X Optical Zoom – although you can also zoom 10X, but that is a digital zoom. The secondary camera carries all of the same attributes as the primary camera with the exception of a smaller, f/2.4 aperture. The majority of photos are taken with the primary camera, while the secondary camera allows the user to create photos with a bokeh effect – where you focus on one object and then blur the background. Samsung uses a nicely sized 8MP FFC along with an large f/1.7 aperture, auto-HDR, and autofocus. The non-removable 3,300 mAh battery should easily make it through the day. When you do need to charge the Note 8, it features Adaptive Fast Charging and Quick Wireless Charging for both Qi and PMA format.

Other Note 8 features from the Galaxy S8 are Samsung Connect that allows you to control Samsung’s appliances and other home controls and a DeX Station that interfaces the Galaxy Note 8 with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to give you a near-desktop experience. Samsung’s own personal assistant, Bixby is also included with its own button on the left of the device. You can ask Bixby a simple question – like what is the current time, but Bixby can also provide information from a picture of a landmark or it can translate words on a sign via the camera. The Galaxy Note 8 keeps Samsung’s popular heart rate monitor and oxygen saturation sensor. Samsung devices allow you to access not only Android Pay, but also Samsung Pay, that opens up even more possibilities to make mobile payments. The Galaxy Note 8 series is IP68 certified against dust and water-resistance. However, the item that sets the Note 8 apart from other smartphones is its improved S Pen and associated apps. It arrives with Android 7.1.1 (Nougat), measures 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm, and weighs in at a hefty 195 grams. It is available in Midnight Black, Orchid Grey, Maple Gold, or Deep Sea Blue depending where you are located. The Galaxy Note 8 will cost about $960 outright and is available for purchase from just about everywhere.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Samsung launched their two flagships, the Galaxy S8 and a larger version dubbed the Galaxy S8 Plus back in April. These devices introduced us to the new Samsung Infinity Display that has dual curved edges that wrap around into the sides of the device and its Gorilla Glass 5 back. Samsung changed up the aspect ratio from the standard 16:9 to 18.5:9 that allows the Galaxy S8 Plus, with a 6.2-inch display to have a smaller footprint than many devices with a 5.5-inch display and allows the user to have two squares for multiple windows. The Galaxy S8 series was the first mainstream smartphone to use the Snapdragon 835 processor and Adreno 540. Samsung did away with their iconic Home Button and moved the fingerprint sensor to an awkward position by the camera on the back. Navigation keys are now located on screen and only show up when you need them.

The Galaxy S8 series started the Infinity Display with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9 and the S8 Plus packs a 6.2-inch Super AMOLED version with a pixel resolution of 2960 x 1440 and 529 PPI. Samsung sells two models of the Galaxy S8/S8 Plus – the US/China model uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 clocked at 2.35 GHz and an Adreno 540 GPU. The EMEA model sold in most regions around the world is powered by an Exynos 8895 clocked at 2.3 GHz and a Mali-G71 MP20 GPU. The Galaxy S8 sports 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 64GB built-in UFS 2.1 storage that is expandable via a microSD card.

The Galaxy S8 Plus camera area is among the highest rated among smartphones. It includes a primary camera with a 12MP sensor that uses Dual Pixels. It has a large f/1.7 aperture, phase detection auto focus (PDAF), LED flash, auto HDR and OIS. The FFC is an 8MP sensor with auto-focus, the same f/1.7 aperture, and wide-angle lens with HDR. The Galaxy S8 Plus packs a 3,500 mAh non-removable battery with support for Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging and wireless charging for both Qi and PMA formats.

Samsung added some new features in its Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus that carried over to the Note 8. Samsung Connect allows you to control Samsung’s appliances and other home controls. Samsung introduced its own AI personal assistant called ‘Bixby,’ that can answer simple questions, like what is the weather as well as more advanced features such as the ability to get information from a picture via the camera of architectural landmarks. You can also point the camera at a sign written in a foreign language and Bixby will translate it for you. Samsung added a new accessory – DeX – that allows you to hook up your Galaxy S8 Plus to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse for a ‘desktop’ experience. The Galaxy S8 Plus also comes with IP68 water and dust resistance, an iris scanner, facial recognition, a heart rate monitor, and SpO2 sensor. It is available in Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, Maple Gold, and Rose Pink depending on what market you live in and what carrier you use. It comes with Android 7.0 (Nougat) out-of-the-box. The device measures 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm and weighs in at 173 grams and will cost you about $840.

...And The Winner Is...

The Final Word

Even though these two devices are so similar, the winner has to be the Galaxy Note 8. True it costs $120 more, but with the extra RAM, the extra camera, the higher Res audio, and the S Pen and all of its functions, it seems worth that extra money.

Some will argue that the Note 8 is for a different group of people – what group is that – consumers that want the best available smartphone that just happens to come with the added bonus of an S Pen. I know many Note users that have never used their S Pen or else use it very little. They just wanted the top performing Samsung device – and as wonderful as the Galaxy S8 Plus is – the Note 8 is just that much better.

If you must save some money, have no use for the S Pen, don’t care for the extra 2GB of RAM for smoother operations/multitasking, or will never use the dual cameras, then the Galaxy S8 Plus will not disappoint.

 

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