Samsung Galaxy Note 8: should you upgrade to it?

It is finally here — the Samsung Galaxy Note 8! The first new Note in 2 years that we should be able to buy without having to return it soon after or needing to import an obscure edition only sold in South Korea. It's also the phablet that has the hard task of washing away the black smudge left by the Galaxy Note 7. If you are a fan of the S Pen-toting line, you have probably been waiting for this moment for a while. Or, you probably have a Galaxy S7 / edge and didn't go for an S8, but wanted to see what the new Note is going to offer you.

Whichever of those is your case, we will now be looking at the question “Should you upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8?”. Let's dive in!


As you can expect, we have got yet another glass-and-metal sandwich. If you own any Sammy flagship from the past 2 years, you'd be used to the premium materials and build here. The Note 8, however, also adopts the 18.5:9 display ratio from the Galaxy S8, which results in a taller screen with a diagonal of 6.3 inches, just slightly larger than the 6.2-inch one on the Galaxy S8+. We've also got the curved edges here — Sammy's signature futuristic look for its top-tier phones. Also, unless you imported a Note FE or managed to stash away a Note 7, the Note 8 is the first dual-curved member of the line you can get.

So what's the judgment on design? In all honesty, Samsung's top-tier phones from the last couple of years still look great, so we don't think the device's looks will play a major factor in your choice. If you are still wielding a Note 5 and want to (finally) get a curved Note, it's a good time to upgrade. If you are just tired by your old Galaxy S6 edge or Galaxy S7 edge and want a refresh — the Note 8 will definitely deliver.

On the other hand, many users still dislike that fingerprint scanner placement — off-center in the back of the device. If this bothers you, you may want to hold on to your phone with a nice physical scanner smack dab on its front. Next year's flagships may just deliver something much more awesome (yes, we are talking about a fingerprint scanner embedded in the display's glass).


As mentioned, we've got a 6.3-inch screen here. It's got a resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels (QHD+) making for a super-dense PPI ratio of 529. Nothing new in the top-tier Galaxy family. Sammy's Super AMOLED screens have been consistently awesome over the past 3 years, so you won't be getting a mind-bending upgrade in terms of color-reproduction or sharpness over the Note 5 or Galaxy S7 / edge. So, is it worth upgrading?

The Note 8 doesn't have a flat screen variant, so if you are still hanging dearly to your Note 5 and you cherish its plane screen, you might want to hold on a bit longer. On the other hand, if you find the curvy screen to be super-appealing, especially with the few software features it unlocks, now's the time to make that jump.

If you are considering upgrading just for the widescreen standard, which is just now picking up — we would advise to not take it as a serious point just yet. The hardware standard is still too young and it may take a while for most media producers to catch up and convert to it en masse. The same goes for HDR10 support.

Now, if you are an early adopter who always wants to ride the edge of the new tech wave, by all means, ignore what we said above. You can still watch 16:9 media on an 18.5:9 display and having HDR10 support doesn't hurt anything anyway.


Needless to say, we've got the latest and greatest in phone internals here. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (or Exynos 8895 if you buy it outside of the US), a whopping 6 GB of RAM, and a choice between 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB of internal storage. Naturally, if you are one who wants to have the biggest and best in commercially-available hardware, upgrading to the Note 8 is a no-brainer.

However, it's worth noting that both the Note 5 and Galaxy S7 can still hold their own in modern times. The Exynos 7420 in the Note 5 has aged well and is still a pretty respectable piece of hardware and its 64 GB of storage and 4 GB of RAM are nothing to smirk at. It is, however, missing the microSD card slot for storage expansion, which you may be feeling by now.


Here's the juicy stuff — the Note 8 finally adopts the dual camera module, which Samsung has been rumored to be working on for months. It's a regular (wide-angle) and telephoto lens setup, meaning it's meant to work like the iPhone 7 Plus and OnePlus 5 — the secondary lens provides a narrower field of view, a 2x optical zoom, and unlocks that sweet “portrait mode”, which blurs the background and makes your subject pop. Samsung has also enabled the user to tweak the amount of blur, so you can fine-tune your picture to your liking. The regular camera has the Dual Pixel tech for super-fast focusing. Both sensors are 12 MP in resolution and both are assisted by OIS, which is a big deal when it comes to taking a sharp snap when making use of that optical zoom.

If you are a shutterbug, you will definitely enjoy the new camera, especially if you are coming from the Galaxy Note 5. You will get better low-light performance and faster focus times as the most notable improvements. The selfie camera also gets autofocus — the Galaxy S8 had the first auto-focusing front-facing snapper on a phone and the Note 8 inherits that feature.

Compared to the Galaxy S7, the differences fade out a bit, but the Note 8 still does have the upper hand with that secondary telephoto camera.

Interface, functionality, and other tidbits

Of course, Samsung added various little improvements here and there to make the Note 8 its most advanced device. The S Pen gets the new super-thin pen tip, which the Note 7 had. Not many users got to enjoy it before the phone went under, so it's sort of a new feature.

A new App Pair feature for the Edge Panels allows users to quickly launch their favorite pairs of apps in split screen. When taking a Screen off memo, you can now expand the note up to 100 pages without ever having to unlock your phone, which is a major improvement that would definitely make the feature more useful. The Translate feature that lets you translate words just by hovering your S Pen over them now works for whole sentences and also does real-time currency conversion. But we don't see a reason for those features to not be added to the good ole Note 5 via an update.

Water-resistance is something that Galaxy S6 or Note 5 owners will be new to. It's a pretty awesome feature, which pretty much every modern flagship has (with small exceptions). While it's still not recommended to go ahead and test its underwater lifespan, you can rest assured that your phone will last accidental splashes and not get any dust stuck under its camera glass through mysterious means.

We've also got support for Samsung DeX here — the dock that allows you to get a desktop PC experience from your phone. Just find a keyboard, mouse, and monitor and hook up the Note 8. Of course, it's a bit limited, but works fine for basic tasks like text files, spreadsheets, some photo editing, video conversations, et cetera. It is for sure something that digital nomads should appreciate.

And, of course, we've got Bixby with its dedicated hardware button. Now, that's a controversial “upgrade” as many will argue Bixby still doesn't feel especially superior to the Google Assistant, which is baked into the Android 7.1.1 OS that the phone comes with (and available on the Note 8), but hey — it's there.

Final judgment: should you upgrade?

We probably didn't sound extremely enthusiastic throughout this article. But this is not because the Galaxy Note 8 isn't a stellar device. On the contrary — it is powerful, it is beautiful, and it's a fantastic top-tier handset that belongs in 2017. But the thing is, right now, mobile technologies have hit a sort of a plateau and the jump from a Note 5 to a Note 8 is just not that extreme (compare the jump from Note 4 to Note 5). And, when we consider the near-$1,000 price tag, we can't flat out recommend that you go out and buy it without saying this first.

But, if you have the money to spend and you've got your mind set on upgrading, you will definitely enjoy the shiny new design, the huge new Infinity Display, the awesome dual camera, the most powerful hardware you can get on an Android phone right now, and Samsung DeX (if you shell out for the dock), and all the small improvements littered throughout the software.

Related phones

Galaxy Note 8
  • Display 6.3" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3300 mAh(22h talk time)



1. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

The art of bitçhslapping the competitors

2. You_Dont_Say

Posts: 431; Member since: Jan 26, 2015

ROFL no. The art of FAIL - $256 MORE than S8+??? Seriously? LMAAAOOOOOOOO - Small 3300mah battery - Way too large for one hand usage - $930? ROFL Nobody should upgrade if you have an S8+


Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

You always have something negative to say. I am surprised that you are second and not first...... What a troll. We get it you dislike Samsung.... Let's see what you say when the 1000.00 iPhone drops..... Piss off. Dual ois camera, auto amber 2k selfie, 6gigs of ram, SD pen enhanced, best display a phone has to offer large screen, most and Nfc credit card.... Sign me up

7. You_Dont_Say

Posts: 431; Member since: Jan 26, 2015

Aw someone is triggered ROFLL


Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Not triggered... Just tired of seeing your ignorant rants.... How old are you little bwoy..

38. htainlintha

Posts: 73; Member since: Mar 20, 2010

Bruh I think,for a person who is using Note 4 or 5,it is sound to upgrade,but not for S8+ users. why so negative? Not all or many users will upgrade their phones when every new versions come out, do they? XD


Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Should be auto 8mb 2k selfie.... Damn auto correct

34. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 729; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

LOL! And you think that iphone 8 would be that great? 120hz pro motion display 512GB internal storage 90% screen to body ratio. Triple speaker system that gives a dolby effect when watching videos without headphones. No bloatwares like samsung touchwiz. And best of all. Full OS and software support. Try beating that!

36. deleon629

Posts: 463; Member since: Oct 04, 2014

Negative, but honest: You'd be a dumb ass to upgrade IF you have an s8+ already. Note 5 or later is the only thing that justifies an upgrade at this point, unless you've already broken your s7 Edge numerous times and are gonna cross over to the LG V30

11. Tipus

Posts: 869; Member since: Sep 30, 2016


20. gigicoaste

Posts: 456; Member since: Feb 21, 2016

are you adding also the stuff which are coming with the phone. As a small example Dex is 130 euros in my country. Also the price in between s8+ and Note8, official distributions is just 140euros.. So.. what do you thing, should I pay 10 euros more for 2Gb plus, OIS on both cameras, Spen and slightly bigger screen?

31. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Dex is not bundled with Note, so you'll have to pay 270€ more.


Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

All of the Samsung hating Trolls coming out of the woods so let me just add this tidbit of Information for them to swallow. Dual ois12mp camera's one being telephoto 2.4 f stop, wide angle lens 1.7 f stop, and a 8mp auto focus 2k selfie, 6gigs of lpddr4 ram, 6.3 quad HD super amoled screen, hdr 10 certification, Bluetooth 5.0, 1024QAM for Quadrature amplitude modulation, NFC/MST CREDIT CARD implementation, WIFI, GIGABIT LTE, for up to 1 Gigabit per second LTE carrier supported speeds, Wireless charging, animated S pen integration that translates language, AKG in ear headsets, and Dex support.... Sounds like a lot of reasons to upgrade from a Note 5 not including Vr support and lastly.... Bixby.... Regardless of its stage of implementation.... Tbh Bixby is not a draw for me yet.

15. sissy246

Posts: 7112; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

And fast charging. Of course that's not new but we still have it and can be charged in half the time that iphone can.

28. chenski

Posts: 768; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

From note 5, definitely. From s8, not so much...

35. rishav20193

Posts: 241; Member since: Jul 18, 2015

from note 3 ? (like me). obviously

32. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Those are very nice specs, but considering what the phone is used for (instagram or Facebook share, porn - this is where that huge display come into play, candy crush, 4G speeds (4G+ barely reach 1/3rd of the potential of the last year's modems and only in 10-20 countries), they tend to be irrelevant.

18. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

The art of FAIL, if I may... Same as S8+ except dual cameras, Nothing new innovative, Too expensive and may be it can blow up your house as an added feature.. Very convenient isn't it??

3. Supah

Posts: 692; Member since: Mar 08, 2017

My wallet's ready and Mxyflashdabitchmite's colon is ready, too

16. sissy246

Posts: 7112; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

And his new name Marcy and some numbers I think, just signed up today.

27. Supah

Posts: 692; Member since: Mar 08, 2017

He's so lost that even god can't save him. Trolling here became his legacy and life.

4. Skimshaddy

Posts: 126; Member since: Feb 23, 2016

Hell yes!

5. izim1

Posts: 1599; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Ill wait for the BOGO sales...

37. deleon629

Posts: 463; Member since: Oct 04, 2014

RIght. Carriers like T-mobile have a consistent reputation for almost waiting immediately after you leave the store with the phone before they post an outrageous flagship sale for something like, "Buy One Get Four Free!" or some garbage. I'll never again pay MSRP for a flagship phone as long as I know they're just gonna plummet the price in less than 6 months after its release

12. Tipus

Posts: 869; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

Iphone 8 starting price $999 LMAO :)))

14. Foxgabanna

Posts: 597; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

I know right. But that thing is going to sell like hotcakes. Every OEM's dream. This isnt too far behind it tbh and it will get outsold like no other.

22. metalspy101

Posts: 105; Member since: Dec 15, 2012

yes it will alot of Iphone idiots

13. Foxgabanna

Posts: 597; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

Im really excited for the Essential phone.

17. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Kinda irrelevant here.

30. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

"We probably didn't sound extremely enthusiastic throughout this article. But this is not because the Galaxy Note 8 isn't a stellar device....And, when we consider the near-$1,000 price tag" Can't wait to compare it to PA beloved iPhone 8 review. Bet they would say the 1K iPhone 8 is worth every cent. Anyway, this is PA the fun is always to read their apple biased review for objective reviews may need to read from other sources.

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