Samsung Galaxy Note 8 - Performance, battery life and conclusion

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – Performance

Powered by the Samsung Exynos 8895 system-on-a-chip in the UK, this phone performs almost identically to the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+. In GeekBench 4 it managed 2003 and 6666 in the single- and multi-core tests respectively, while in AnTuTu it managed 171,413. All of these are within a rounding error of the Note 8’s smaller siblings.

In regular use, I had no performance concerns. The Note 8 opens apps and web pages in a flash, can play 3D games such as Real Racing 3 at the best possible settings, and generally feels like an exceptionally competent work companion. I have no complaints.

The Note 8 supports Samsung DeX, which I reviewed using the Galaxy S8+. The fact that this phone is powerful enough to support an almost proper desktop PC experience is seriously impressive.

Wi-Fi performance is fine, although it’s still not as fast at switching and connecting to networks as Huawei phones. Call quality is excellent, too.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – Battery life

Note devices were once heralded for excellent battery life, but with the Note 8 it’s merely ‘okay’. The battery cell itself is actually smaller than the one in the S8+, even though the screen is bigger and brighter here.

In its regular power mode mode, I’d be highly concerned that the Note 8’s 3300mAh battery wouldn’t get me through a full day of web browsing, social media, streaming music and taking photos.

I had a day out in which I browsed the web on the phone for a couple of hours, took maybe 50 photos and did about 15 minutes of Maps navigation, and by the end of the day I was scrabbling for a charger. Things did get better though, and throughout the majority of the review I was averaging 5 hours of screen-on time. This isn’t a bad number, but I would expect something more substantial for a phone of this size.

The phone does at least charge ridiculously quickly; expect to go from an empty tank to full in 90 minutes with the supplied charger.

With the optimised mode switched on, I’d be more confident about getting through a day of heavy use. The phone is noticeably slower (around 20% according to my benchmarks), but it’s still fast enough not to be annoying.

Samsung’s power-saving modes are among the best I’ve ever used, with each one customisable to your exact wants and needs. But I’d much prefer it if I could ignore them and have a phone that I could use all day.

I think Samsung is making an assumption that the people who buy this phone will spend a good portion of their day at work, with the phone plugged in. If that sounds like you, you’ll be fine. But just remember than when you take your Note 8 out for the weekend or on holiday, you’ll absolutely need a battery pack on your person or in your luggage.

Should I buy the Galaxy Note 8?

By this point, you’re probably tossing up whether you should buy a Galaxy S8+, the Note 8 or maybe even wait for the iPhone X. The Note 8 costs close to £900 upfront, while the S8+ is smidge under £800. Over the course of a contract you probably won’t feel much of a difference.

It comes down to features, then. The Note 8 has a dual-camera setup which is entirely non-essential yet extremely fun to use, while the stylus is certainly useful for many. Meanwhile, the S8+ has an easier-to-hold design and a larger battery at 3500mAh, which for many people will be the difference between making it through a full day of heavy usage and having to dig out the battery pack at 9pm.

If its extra pen and camera features interest you, the Note 8 is undoubtedly a decent buy if you can stomach learning how to use power-saving modes.

Buy Now: Samsung Galaxy 8 Note on Vodafone (4GB) – £150 upfront, £42/month
Buy Now: Samsung Galaxy 8 Note on EE (5GB) – £139 upfront, £42.99/month
Buy Now: Samsung Galaxy 8 Note on O2 (20GB) – £139.99 upfront, £51/month

Verdict

A worthy comeback for the Galaxy Note brand. The Note 8 has an excellent camera and stunning display, but the battery could be better.

Score in detail

  • Performance 9
  • Camera 9
  • Design 9
  • Battery Life 7
  • Value 7
  • Software 8
  • Calls & Sound 7
  • Screen Quality 10

General

Operating System Android OS
Available Colours Midnight Black (UK), Maple Gold (UK), Orchid Grey, Deep Sea Blue

Display

Screen Size (inches) (Inch) 6.3-inch
Screen Resolution quad-HD+
Touchscreen Yes

Storage

Internal Storage (Gigabyte) 64GB storage, 6GB RAM
Expandable memory MicroSD
Camera (Megapixel) 12-megapixel dual camera: 1x telephoto (f/2.4, OIS) and 1x regular wide-angle (f1.7, OIS)
Front Facing Camera (Megapixel) 8-megapixel (f/1.7)
Camera Flash Yes

Connectivity

Bluetooth 5.0
WiFi Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
3G/4G 4G
3.5mm Headphone Jack Yes
Charging/Computer Connection USB-C

Processor and Internal Specs

CPU Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895

Misc

App Store Google Play, Samsung
GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO
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