The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 was launched in India recently. After last year’s Note 7 fiasco all eyes in the world were on Samsung and how they planned to come out of that major issue which rocked Samsung loyalists especially the Note series users. Seems like Samsung did get out of that mess and in style. The note 8 is a great piece of machine. I will be sharing my thoughts with everyone on why that is and will share my reviews of the device from an average consumers point of view.
There are a lot of reviews already out there which state that besides the pen and the dual cameras there is nothing else that separates the Note 8 from the S8 and S8+. But I beg to differ on that notion. Since I am not a professional reviewer I had to go and buy the Note 8 in the first place so that I can also review the device itself. But that was not the only motive of buying the note 8. I love trying and testing most flagships and using the latest and greatest that the mobile manufacturers of today have to offer. Hence, I bought this first as a consumer vs a reviewer which made it more important for me to ensure i choose the right device as I was spending my hard earned money. The point that I am making is that even as a consumer I chose the Note 8 as it seemed to have more bang for the buck vs just buying it to review it. The idea to review it came after I bought it as I have been using a lot of flagships since a number of years and always wanted to review them but could not due to my personal and professional obligations.
To give you some background, I have been an apple user most of the time. I buy the new iPhone every year and try a few android flagships every now and then as I get bored of the iPhone ecosystem rigidness and dullness. The iPhone works great with my apple TV and air pods so that is another benefit to using an iPhone for me. But still android’s open ecosystem and flexibility to customise the phone and also some india specific apps which only work well on android (moneyview/truecaller etc.) keep making me take these plunges every few months.
As we all know over the years apple seem to be losing its sheen as they seem to be selling old wine in new bottle every year after iPhone 6 and consumers seem to have had it by now. That made many consumers like me experiment more with flagship android phones like LG, Google, Samsung and even One plus until iPhone X was announced which may or may not change the game. That we all need to wait and watch for now.
This gets me back to Samsung Note 8. I had a choice to wait a few more days and get the iPhone X vs Note 8. But I still chose the latter. Let me tell you why.
I have been using iPhone 7 Plus before this since March 2017 and before that I had iPhone 6s. Last year (and the year before) I did not see any sense in upgrading to the new iPhone coz technically there was nothing new in them. But the way these products are marketed and the way the hype is created it gets too difficult for consumers especially apple loyalists to resist the temptation and not upgrade. That is how I got caught as well. I went to see the new iPhone 7 Plus at the launch and it looked the same as my 6s but just that small change of having a faster finger print scanner and the portrait mode had me and I upgraded to it. But just after a few hours reality hit me as I started feeling I was using my older 6s Plus every time I was using the phone for other tasks except clicking a picture. I should say except when I was using the portrait mode. It had the same icons which I could not change. It had the same huge bezels. It had the same placement of icons which I could not change as well. I do agree the touch is great on the iPhone but its not that different anymore on other flagship android phones especially Samsung phones. The s7 and s7 edge were awesome as well but S8, S8+ and now the Note 8 takes it to whole another level. Samsung seems to have almost caught up with Apple. Maybe for some consumers it has already left Apple behind last year itself.
Not sure if apple realises this but this year they are taking a big risk by relying on old technologies in their 2017 release like wireless charging and face detection which Samsung has had since years. LG G6 was the first flagship which launched the 18:9 ratio screen and Samsung has had AMOLED screens since years.
Samsung on the other hand has been constantly innovating and adapting to consumers needs and requirements. They have been listening to what the consumer wants and adapting to it vs simply doing what they want and just using their brand value to lure consumers and mint money. Samsung has not only done a great job at that but also have taken Note 8 to the next level with its superb design and infinity display and fast performance.
I am an average consumer. I don’t know all the technical mumbo jumbo or anything about geek bench scores and I don’t think I really care about those as a consumer as actual every day performance & usage counts for me more as it does for majority of average consumers.
I feel that if in 2017 mobile manufacturers cannot make unique smartphones and only want to copy each other by churning similar looking mobiles & features then it doesn’t make sense for consumers to keep getting fooled and wasting their hard earned money on minor upgrades.
This is what Samsung has not done. They have come out with a product which is very different from the competition and stands out on its own. I completely agree with many of you that at first it does seem especially in video reviews and ads that it is just a larger copy of s8+ with an S-pen but you have to see it in person to really understand that it is not true.
I had both s8+ and Note 8 next to each other for comparison in the Croma store I visited in Gurgaon. The s8+ had even had a price cut and I was getting a TUMI cover as well with it as per the new discount scheme from Samsung for their customers around Diwali. But holding them next to each cleared all doubts I had in my mind about both of them. The Note 8 is definitely superior in looks, display and not to forget the amazing cameras. It is much easier to hold as well due to its rectangular design and there is no comparison once you use the dual lens of the Note 8.
But the stand out feature is easily the S-pen. You do not realise how handy the s-pen is until you actually use it. I am a first time note series user. It does seem like a gimmick at first but being able to quickly jot down a note while on the move, easily being able to crop an image and then being able to extract text from it in a press of a button, being able to translate anything into the choice of your language and having the option to easily select a text or cut and paste anything makes a world of a difference and definitely makes you much productive than you would normally be on any smartphone. The more I use the S-pen the more I am getting dependant on it which doesn’t seem to be a bad thing unless you lose it.
This blog cannot end until I talk about it’s gorgeous display. That display is just purely awesome and many renowned you tubers and reviewers have crowned it as the smartphone with the best display “ever”. I don’t blame them coz it is so immersive that once you start consuming video content on it you just can’t stop. I am thoroughly enjoying watching movies and Netflix on it especially with the noise cancellation headphones Samsung is giving away with the Note 8. Thank You Samsung as this gesture is much appreciated. While other mobile phone manufacturers are doing away with the headphone jack you are giving us much more than that by including AKG noise cancellation headphones in the box. Listening to movies and music through them makes a world of a difference. So much that I ditched my iPad for it. Now I don’t need to multiple devices in order to consume video content and do day-to-day tasks with my smartphone.
Before buying the Note 8 I kept hearing concerns from many people in their reviews about its low battery life but to my surprise I don’t see any issues at all in completing a full day with a charge even when my work timings are a bit odd. I charge my phone around 10 AM every day and leave for work at 2 PM IST only to come back around 1 AM IST. During this time I use the phone for consuming video content for 2-2.5 hours daily as I commute from Delhi to Gurgaon for work 4-5 days in a week. I have to regularly check my work emails with a few calls here and there but I am constantly connected on wifi in my office where I spend most of the time in the day and also all chat messengers that keep me connected with my clients , employees, acquaintances and friends are always on in the background. I also using my kindle app to read books which are again a treat for my eyes due to the beautiful screen of the Note 8. Overall I would say that my usage is not that low not too high which is similar to most average consumers and I get 4-5 hours of screen time easily on a daily basis which is exceptional considering the large 6.3 inch screen the phone has to power. I expect the battery life to get better after Android Oreo update whenever it comes to Note 8.
Also let me tell you about the superb customer service I received from Samsung. I bought the gold colour Note 8 on 18th October 2017. It worked fine for 2 days but after that It stopped registering the network. Assuming it was a SIM error I headed to Airtel who were very courteous and changed my SIM instantly. But it turned out that the issue was with the phone and not the SIM. I called Samsung customer care in the morning the next day and they arranged a visit from a Samsung Engineer at my home on the same evening. The engineer checked the phone and took it to the service centre for in depth testing before they could come to any conclusion. The very next day Samsung engineer informed me that they will give me the phone back with a DOA confirmation and I can go back to Croma and get a new handset which I did and in black colour this time which I love more than the gold I had bought. Croma Store on Sohna Road Gurgaon was way to courteous in helping me with the replacement.
Long story short Samsung service had me impressed as much as the phone. Kudos Samsung. Keep up the good work. You are definitely taking great care of your customers and providing exceptional service.
The iPhone X is launching in a few days but its the first time I feel that I do not need to go and get it when I already have an brilliant phone with me in Note 8 and at a much lower price. It has got everything that I want – looks, performance, extra features, battery life and that display to die for.
Samsung Note 8 – a true winner this year! For now I am completely sold on the Note 8.
Coming up next……. iPhone X review in a few days!