The Galaxy Note 8 is boringly great

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is finally here, but it kind of feels like it was never really announced: instead, all the rumors and leaks somehow just transformed into higher quality official renders and the leaked specs pages became official specs that only confirmed everything that we'd heard time and time again: dual camera, optical image stabilization on both lenses and an S Pen ever so slightly better than before. There was nothing new, nothing surprising, nothing wow-inducing, the Note 8 was just everything that everyone expected.

And that might be the biggest issue with the Note 8.

Let me be the first one to admit that I fully appreciate Samsung's innovations: The 18.5/9 Infinity Display Super AMOLED display that has practically no bezels, the brave Bixby voice assistant (despite it showing late and not quite living up to the hype), the great new TouchWiz (now, it's officially called Samsung Experience) interface, the DeX station... but those were all announced with the Galaxy S8 and S8+ in the beginning of the year.

Yes, the Note 8 has all these cool features, but having the same features as the much, much cheaper Galaxy S8+ does not justify excitement, or a whopping $930 price tag.

In fact, the Note series used to be about a bigger, phablet-sized phone, but ever since last year, Samsung has handed out that role to a plus-sized Galaxy S.

Why do we even have the Note?


So what is the Note? It seems that it has lost an important bit of its essence, of its identity.

Is it now all about the S Pen and the dual camera? I know a few people who would draw on their phones, but few if any who would buy a phone over another one because it has a stylus. And as much as photo geeks like myself appreciate the optical image stabilization on the zoom lens, OIS is not exactly a feature that you can sell to people that have seen tens of dual-camera phones in the past year.

It's hard to get excited about a device that looks identical to the Galaxy S8+, runs the same software, has the same Snapdragon 835 chip, a practically identical display and a SMALLER battery!


Meanwhile, the industry as a whole is far from dormant: Samsung's biggest rival Apple has two big new features cooking for the iPhone 8, a brand new 3D sensing face recognition technology, rumored to be faster and more accurate than a finger scanner, as well as ARKit, a new platform that already has multitudes of developers interested and developing some crazy new features that don't require a person to wear a weird VR headset.

Meanwhile, we have companies like Motorola with their unbreakable screens and Moto Mods, we have OnePlus pushing that price revolution, and we have growing Chinese companies like Xiaomi introduce a whole ecosystem of products around their phones.

So yes, the Galaxy Note 8 is predictably, boringly great. And sure, with the Note 8 Samsung expects to even beat its 11 million sales unit record that it set with the Note 5 series, but the lack of a truly exciting, brand new feature in the Note 8 is worrisome for an industry that thrives on excitement and innovation.

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)

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82 Comments

1. jellmoo

Posts: 2588; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Yeah... This is gonna end well...

30. Lumbergh

Posts: 463; Member since: Feb 14, 2016

If anything is boringly great, it's the iPhone. I'm not saying this as an iPhone hater, because i love both Android and iOS. But, the Note 8 packs many, many features. Though most of those features don't interest me, they interest the niche crowd who supports the device. This article is one the greatest reaches I've seen on phonearena, to nitpick a device they haven't even yet reviewed.

44. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Samsung never have innovated anything besides there AMOLED displays and recently the 18.5:9 aspect ratio. That's it. They didn't came up mainstream with Siri, touch ID, 3D touch, stereo speakers, dual camera with portrait mode and zoom, apple pay etc etc until Apple inserted all that in to iPhone. Yes they came up with Iris scanning and 2D face recognition which turned out to be huge fails in terms of security. With iPhone 8 Apple will once again lead the innovation by adding 3D facial recognition and Samsung will follow it soon after.

50. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"With iPhone 8 Apple will once again lead the innovation by adding 3D facial recognition and Samsung will follow it soon after." Nice joke.

58. jacky899

Posts: 430; Member since: May 16, 2017

Not only will Samsung follow Apple with the 3D facial recognition, they will also follow Apple once they see success in Apple's AR implementation. Heck the Note 8's dual camera is a copy of the Iphone Plus models. Of course you can say they both copied HTC with using dual camera but it wasn't until Apple's use of it was successful, which led to Samsung copying.

79. TerryD

Posts: 546; Member since: May 09, 2017

If anyone else innovates, then its a niche. If Apple implement anything, its successful. Partially because they do a good job of it and partially because of their huge market share. Only Samsung and Apple can really make anything 'successful'.

81. AxelFoley unregistered

Meanwhile, my wife is pregnant and had a 3D ultrasound done on a Samsung machine. I'm sure Apple has one in the works or Steve Jobs thought of doing it 15 years ago. Maybe they just use their innovations to for more important things than figuring out the best way to unlock a phone. Because if there is something people struggle with day to day, it's the .04 seconds it takes them to unlock their device.

53. sissy246

Posts: 7112; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

You mean just like apple didn't come up with most of the stuff they have either.

65. tomanow

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 29, 2017

LOL! Samsung mobile is a small portion of the massively innovative company that is Samsung, and yet they hold twice the market share of Apple for smartphones. But don't worry your iPhone 8 will be great, it will finally have a few of the features Samsung phones have already had literally, for years. Albeit, they will be crappier. xD

73. cheetah2k

Posts: 2256; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

All the tech you've mentioned was licenced. Apple didn't create one thing. Also you forgot to mention Samsung innovated AMOLED tech, also RAM, SOC and other chip tech as well. The next Apple will have at least 25% Samsung inside. LOL!

80. donfem

Posts: 708; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

"They didn't came up with anything mainstream with........." Wow! Go back to school to take English lessons.

54. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

Many features that no one uses. That's the key my friend. To most, it's just a big screen and it's a Samsung. The brand Samsung is huge in the Android space, so the phone sell a lot off that alone. They are the Apple of Android and even the Samsung fans act sheeperish lol! A lot of them will buy a Note 8 no matter what! Think about it. If you own an S8, why would you buy a $1000 phone that basically only gives you a pen and a telephoto lens? The S8 plus is barely 6 months old.

61. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

"Many features that no one uses." Just 'cause you're too dumb to realize the uses until apple spoon feeds it to you 10 years later, doesn't mean no one uses it. Many of the things I was jail breaking my iphones for are baked into Samsung's skin over stock android, or are readily available for download via the Play Store, and I'd surely be making use of them on my Exynos Note 8.

63. slow00

Posts: 97; Member since: Mar 08, 2017

Like apple s 3d touch you mean..?

35. slow00

Posts: 97; Member since: Mar 08, 2017

Where is Supah..?..many you may consider him a troll but he is more than right regarding the way he ends his posts...

40. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

There is a reason why many of us consider him a troll. If it still needs explaining to you, then you may not have seen many of his comments here.

49. slow00

Posts: 97; Member since: Mar 08, 2017

Tbh Never clicked to the links he attached and cant recollect sth from his posts apart from his "signature" ending. I am referring to the paragraph with all the users he considered samsung haters which was fun to read minus the characterizations to some people. I wouldnt mind if included in such a list but some dont and respect that..

69. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

You don't need to be listed there to consider him a troll. Also, as PlasticSh1t said below, he got limited, how can you explain a non-troll to get limited?

46. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3106; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

He got limited thanks to his constant trolling.

2. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Prepare to get flamed Victor. I'm not sure I even agree with the premise of this type of editorial, but I'm certain Samsung's faithful will have a few choice words for you.

72. Greenmule

Posts: 129; Member since: Apr 24, 2017

Here is a nice article describing why the iphone 8 is worth $999.00:https://www.cnet.com/news/iphone-8-1000-dollar-price/ I particularly like reason #5: A high iPhone 8 price could help limit demand -- and frustration. High prices mitigate frustration. He had to find that wisdom somewhere in a tome by Keynes.

82. AxelFoley unregistered

I believe that was his point in writing it.

3. black.inco unregistered

This article was boringly not worth reading. Not a Samsung "fanboy" either.

4. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Don't front. We both know you didn't read past the title.

5. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

Nah, also read the author's name, it's bound to be full of stupidity and double standards without a doubt...

7. black.inco unregistered

I actually did read the entire article, since I am simply trying to waste time since my boss has nothing better for me to do. The writer is simply going on a pointless rant. We get it that the Note 8 isn't a WOW factor, but overall I am sure it'll be a great phone and many will still enjoy it.

24. disatrousrainbow

Posts: 65; Member since: Oct 24, 2015

How is it pointless? It's a valid argument mainly due to the predictable nature of the phone and its lack of standout features versus the Galaxy S8 line. Not once in the article did he say it wasn't going to be a good phone (he used "great" in the headline for goodness sake), rather questioned its merits when it's no longer exceeding the bars set by the Galaxy S8 and S8+ in the way the Note line used to do.

27. Macready

Posts: 1821; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

The premise is wrong to begin with. The Note 7 didn't raise the bar further than the Note 8, compared to its S7 Edge sibling. Neither did the Note 5 (exact same size screen as the S6 Edge Plus). Reality check versus myth/romanticized history.

59. black.inco unregistered

It's just a phone, disatrousrainbow.

21. IT-Engineer

Posts: 544; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

Well im not a Samsung fan anymore, i moved to Oneplus, but you have to give him a point here. The article is boring, no point in it. And about the OIS factor which Victor means is not a sale point, Victor was so over joyed about the OIS in the iphone 7. That's double moral don't you think? I mean at some point, you have to wonder about the author being professional as an author should be or biased towards a specific vendor? Ofcourse Authors can have their favourit device or eco system, but they must have a degree of being professional when writing an article.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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