It’s not too late to consider buying a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 as the smartphone’s specs are future-proofed
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ are launching this week in Ireland, and some lucky customers who pre-ordered have already received their handsets.
I had a hands-on preview with the gorgeous new devices a couple of weeks ago which you can read about here.
Ironically, while attending the sneak preview of the new S9 and S9+, I was testing out a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 which was of course first released late last year.
But don’t let the arrival of the new flagship smartphone put you off purchasing its predecessor. The Note 8 is still a seriously great phone with many outstanding features.
The review unit I tested had still not upgraded to Android 8.0 Oreo, so some of the operating system’s most recent enhancements were not available.
One of the most frustrating aspects of being an Android user is this delay in upgrading to the latest version of the OS on some devices.
Whereas on the iOS ecosystem, key operating system updates and upgrades are rolled out across all compatible devices simultaneously.
The main advantage of using the Galaxy Note 8 over the S9+ or S8+ is the stylus, which was improved greatly on this model.
There were new features like Translate (highlight words or sentences to translate) and Live Memo (draw a reply and turn it into a GIF), and you can now create up to 100 memos when the screen is off.
The ability to quickly take a screenshot (of all or part of the screen) and annotate it has been refined, and using the stylus feels much more like writing with a real pen. The 4,096 levels of sensitivity help here.
So whether you choose the S9+ or the Note 8 may depend on how much you love or want the stylus experience.
In many other areas, you’ll find the Note 8 is almost a match for the new machine.
The 6.3in device has got the same breath-taking bezel-less Super AMOLED screen (and almost identical pixel density) housed in a similarly stylish unibody glass and aluminium frame.
The Note 8 has 64GB onboard storage, 6GB RAM, an octa-core processor and a super dual camera with HDR.
The dual camera set-up on the Note 8 is excellent, even without the refinements included on the newer handsets.
The main camera has a 12MP sensor with a wide-angle, f/1.7 lens.
The second houses another 12MP sensor behind a zoomed lens with 2x optical zoom behind a f/2.4 aperture.
Both produce excellent quality images.
The new zoom lens’ coupled with the Live Focus tool enables you to shoot some great portrait shots with a de-focus on the background.
Both the selfie camera and the 4K video capture also deliver impressive results.
The Note 8 is also water and dust resistant. It has an iris scanner, facial recognition and a more sensibly positioned fingerprint scanner than the S8+.
And if you use it with either the Gear Sport or Gear Fit 2 Pro, it will unlock automatically without the need for any of the above steps.
The key areas where the S9+ is superior to the Note 8 are the improved camera and the much faster Snapdragon 845 processor.
I thoroughly enjoyed my brief time with the Note 8.
I don’t use the stylus as much as some fans of the Note range but it was still one of the most pleasant and powerful 2017 handsets to try out.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 costs €199 from Vodafone billpay and €279 from Virgin Mobile billpay.