Samsung’s new Galaxy Note smartphone is out in the market and it packs best of companies new tech and, not to forget, the S-Pen. It is the first Note phone selling with bezel-less display, and with previous Note 7 not making it to the market, Note fans have been eagerly waiting for a new one.
Though Samsung has doubly ensured this time that the phone wouldn’t meet the same fate as its predecessor, it has also made some compromises on the new phone and taken some bad decisions that bring up few noteworthy points as to why the Note 8 may not be a good buy.
Big and heavy
The Note series of devices are usually big, bigger than its S-series counterparts. But the Note 8 is really big and heavy. It is unlike any Note phone of the past. The phone weighs close to 200g and Samsung has made it hideously big.
It does mimic the Galaxy S8 Plus in design and ergonomics, but when the weight is not the same, the size creates more hindrance in the usage. Note 8 is thicker and more chunky, giving you a very different feel in the hand. The difference is like picking up a wooden block and a metal block that have the same size.For a similar reason the Note 8 has a more chances of falling out of the hands, and more chances of breaking itself (that is why Samsung includes a back cover?).
Previous Note phones were bigger because there was no option to include a big screen in small form factor. With the infinity display, Samsung could easily do that. The Note 7 was a great example – sufficiently big, but slim and light.
Puny battery life
The biggest challenge for a bezel-less design is to keep up with the battery backup of that provided by normal phones. Samsung tried to do match Note 7’s backup with that of the Galaxy S7 and ended up exploding it. This gives a double blow for the Note 8.
As a part of extra precaution, the battery on the Note 8 is kept at 3000mAh that drives a 6.3 inch Quad HD display which is smaller than Note 7’s 3300mAh battery that powered a 5.7-inch display (before of course it became ash).
Also, since you are charging it more per day that other phones, it would lose capacity to hold more charge much sooner. That is, you within 6-8 months or probably a year, you will see the backup getting reduced from 10 hours to 7 hours, for example.
No serious camera upgrade
This one may require you to step aside from the trend and take a look at what Samsung really offers. The Note 8 comes with dual camera setup that is the norm with most phones; even the new iPhones have adopted them more whole-heatedly.
Apart from normal shooting, the dual camera gives you 2x optical zoom that allows you to get closer. Samsung couldn’t better the main, dual pixel-camera that it brought on the Galaxy S7 – probably because it is a very perfect sensor already – and you will find that on the Note 8.
Also, the second sensor doesn’t produce the same quality in the zoom shots. Which means if you digitally zoomed in the shot you may get, more or less, the same quality as you would capture from the second lens.
Now, the only standing benefit of this arrangement is that you can softly blur the backgrounds more than you can with a single sensor. That is it. Yes there is OIS on the second sensor as well, but the quality won’t be the same and you may anyways consider getting closer on foot.
Crowded with pen features
In a bid to offer more features, Samsung has overcrowded the S-Pen functionality on the Note 8. There are so many new features on-board that if you add them on the Air-command, they won’t even fit on its big screen and you would need to scroll.
Few new features are worthwhile, like the translate feature lets you hover over any text, or image with text and that gets translated to English. There is a catch however, you should know which language you are translating as it needs to be told to the translator. It doesn’t automatically detect like the Google translate.
The other features like live message and custom GIFs all look like a gimmick, as if just to increase the counting. Writing on lock screen is improved as more pages can be added and lock screen pinning is possible (will Samsung push it in software updates to Note 5?)
Taking text from one app to another is still very limited, searching in handwritten notes is not possible and handwriting-to-text is still iffy.
It cannot be argued that some people buy the Note phone just because of its big display and that they rarely use the S-Pen on the device which is its main advantage over the S-series. And Samsung knows this already, and didn’t put any audio enhancement on the premium device.
The phone doesn’t have dual speakers, and the one that it has seems to be improved just for loudness. Almost all companies are paying attention to this – the iPhone 7/7Plus, HTC U11 and LG V20 are a few phones to speak of, that come with dual speakers.
Much cheaper phones come with a built in DAC or Dolby enhancement to improve headphone audio quality. But Samsung hasn’t paid attention to that either. The wired audio from on note 8 is pretty average and the company could have fully utilised the big screen experience by mating its big vibrant display with some nice sound.