Note8 review: super premium Android


It’s the time of the year that all the iPhone and Note reviews are taking the world by storm. I’m a Nexus user but this year I have used iPhones, cheap Nokias and now, my most expensive phone ever a Galaxy Note8. Time for a recap.

Samsung revamped their flagship lineup with the longer Infinity Display that makes everything else look outdated. The curved bezel-less display is the one to beat at the moment. Samsung has also stepped up their game with the build quality since they last visited my daily driver treatment. Starting from the Galaxy S6, Samsung has been crushing the build quality game with glass and metal sandwich that allows features like wireless charging in an absolutely beautiful body. The Note8 is the first Samsung to rock a dual camera setup. Also onboard, is the S-Pen, an iconic Note feature for precise control over the huge screen. This should be the ultimate smartphone of 2017.

Starting from the packaging, Samsung really wants this to be a Premium device. Included in the box are USB on-the-go adapter, type-C to micro-USB adapter, S-Pen replacement tips, premiumish AKG earbuds and a surprisingly low-amp charger. I would personally appreciate a case of some sort as at least now, the 3rd party cases are very poorly available in Europe, and even the Samsung’s own high-priced cases are out of stock everywhere. The rear glass needs protection for sure. The Gorilla Glass 5 is a tiny bit softer than the Gorilla Glass 4 and at least the 4 is very easy to get scratched by just laying it down to a wrong place with any kind of stone or sand nearby.

Physical features are brilliant. We have the 3.5mm headphone jack down at the bottom next to the USB type-C charging port, a mono speaker and the S-Pen silo. On the top, is the dual nano-SIM or one nano-SIM and a microSD slot. Buttons are great but there’s one too much of them. Luckily the single press feature of the Bixby button can now easily be disabled. The home button is now virtual but thanks to the pressure sensitive display, it’s available even when the screen is off or the navigation bar is hidden.

At this point, I decided to keep this review a bit shorter, and get to the critic part of the review. Continuing with the navigation bar. Why would anyone want to hide it on this long display? Samsung hasn’t made the navigation bar transparent or even match the color to the content. There are only a few lame options. Continuing with the software, the device maintenance is, to be honest, annoying. The darn thing wants to shut down apps I use. One day I took almost 900 photos and in the evening, I uploaded them to my Google Photos and OneDrive. Samsung software just shut them down for consuming too much power. Thanks. Also, the device maintenance always reminds me in the notification bar because it wants to disable my Freedome VPN. There is always an orange number on the settings button to show the number of the so-called problems.

The weirdest thing is the amount of Samsung bloatware. If Google already provides apps for everything, why does Samsung waste resources to thing like browser, calendar, calculator, clock, app store, SMS-app, phone, email app and so on and so on. A Nexus user just didn’t settle. I tried to setup my Action Launcher and disabling a bunch of Samsung bloat but no, I’m going back to the Nexus once again.

I’m not saying the Note8 is a bad phone, I just didn’t get used to it. This is a $1000 phone, I shouldn’t get used to it, it should be perfect. The display for example, is stunning. Of course, I turned on the maximum resolution and upped the brightness to a reasonable level and what can I say, can display be better? Blacks are black, colors are either oversaturated or accurate depending on your choice. The max brightness is so high that some would even consider throwing in a Note7 joke here.

The camera is great. I wouldn’t take 900 photos one day, if the camera wasn’t great. Shutter lag is minimal, portrait mode works fine, videos are brilliant. There’s just something missing. The images are a bit soft to my liking but very comparable to the iPhone 7 I have in my other pocket. In low light, at least with the current software, the Note8 seems to make everything washed out. While my Nexus 6P and the iPhone can find black from a very dark scene, the Note produces quite grey result. The front facing camera is decent, nothing groundbreaking here.

Not able to add iPhone’s photo here because of the file type. You can check the low light comparison at my Instagram or Twitter.

Nothing groundbreaking under the hood either. The Note8 packs the same SoC the S8/+ had. There’s 2 gigs more RAM thought, making it to a total of 6 gigabytes. In some scenarios this is noticeable. For example, I have never had to reload my Chrome tabs. Even after a lot of cameraing, photo editing, Twitter, Instagram and so on, when I get back to Chrome, all my ten tabs are still there, ready to go. Being Samsung though, that’s not consistent. For example, leaving Instagram to send a message in Messenger, the Instagram sometimes randomly reloads and loses the place I was. Optimization issue probably.

The Note lineup used to be great for power users, content creators and consumers, and road warriors. However, after last year’s catastrophe, the Note8’s battery is relatively small in capacity. The 3300 mAh package didn’t make it through the day too often. The display is very power hungry, and all the Samsung features use power in the background. Those days I made I to the bed time with one charge, there were 10-20% left and 2.5 hours of screen-on-time. Keep in mind that I’m in Finland and no phone has ever lasted more than 3,5 hours SoT in my testing. Could have something to do with the cellular thingies.

LTE speeds here in Finland are quite decent

 

One more interesting note, I have all three phones on my desk at home connected to my WiFi. When I get a notification, email, YouTube, whatever, the iPhone wakes like 10 seconds before the Nexus. Samsung is probably trying to save some juice with the update frequency as the Note8 gets the same notifications another 10 seconds later.

In the Android smartphone market, manufacturers do different things to differentiate themselves from the mass. Lately, the newest trend is super premium class of smartphones on top of the normal flagship lineup. Note8 is Samsung’s super premium phone coming in at $1000. Note lineup used to be something else. For some reason, Samsung thinks it can charge a $1000 for a phone that really only has the best display on the market. Everything else is just a little bit of meh. But I bought one, now Samsung thinks it’s okay to price a phone at $1000. Personally, I think that Samsung had a better change to outsell Apple by lowering their prices, not by following iPhone pricing.

Samsung releases a voluntary recall campaign for the Note 7

note-7

Samsung has released a statement about Galaxy Note 7 and its battery issues. Current Note 7 owners can replace their phones over the upcoming weeks.

Samsung says that they have received 35 reports about faulty batteries. Reportedly those 35 batteries have exploded. Samsung has stopped shipping and selling new Note 7 units before all batteries have been checked.

As all Note 7 owners will be able to replace their device, this is probably the biggest smartphone recall ever. Samsung has expectedly sold around 500,000 Note 7 units to date.

Source: Samsung, SamMobile

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 goes official

Galaxy Note7

Samsung has released the highly anticipated Note 7 phablet. 

Thanks to the leaks, we already knew everything. The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is not surprise for anyone. The beautiful IP68 certified metal and glass body packs a curved 5.7″ QHD Super AMOLED display, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage and a 3500 mAh battery. The CPU package is Snapdragon 820 in the States and Exynos 8890 in other markets.

Although Samsung skipped the Note 6, the Note 7 is just and incremental upgrade over the Note 5. It finally brings together the features many have wanted, curved screen, IP certification and the S-Pen. The Note 7 packs an iris scanner and the USB port has been updated to Type-C. Otherwise it is just a mix of Note 5 and Galaxy S7.

The Note 7 will be available on August 19th and preorders start tomorrow, August 3rd. The price will be higher than the S7 edge which currently costs around $800. No word on worldwide availability or exact pricing just yet.

S7 Active leaks with full specs

s7-active

The new Active will again bring a lot of power in a ruggedized body. The fresh leaks reveal full specs. 

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Active will again be quite an impressive device, if the leaks and rumors are to be believed. The specs are mostly the same with the Galaxy S7 with 5,1″ 1440p Super AMOLED display, Snapdragon 820, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The microSD slot is also on board.

The biggest differences are the ruggedized body, physical navigation buttons and a much larger 4000mAh battery. Obviously the IP rating is going to be higher and the body of the device will be able to take much more hits than the glass and aluminium sandwich of the normal S7. One big feature the S6 Active lacked, the fingerprint scanner is now built in to the home button.

On the camera side, there are no differences. The 12MP rear camera is accompanied by a 5MP front shooter. The rear camera module seems to be lower than the riced edges of the 9.9mm thick body, so it’s probably less vulnerable for damage than the protruding one on the original S7.

Source: VentureBeat

Note 6 to have IR autofocus

note-5-camera

Samsung is rumored to add IR autofocus to the next Note. The Note 6 has been rumored a lot lately.

Samsung Galaxy Note 6 will be released in the fall but we already have quite a lot of rumors. Now, Android Geeks have heard that Samsung is testing an infra red autofocusing system for the Note 6. The Galaxy S7 already has ridiculously fast focusing but for some reason Samsung wants to further improve it.

The IR autofocus is used by many of Samsung’s competitors. For example LG, HTC and Huawei have already implemented it to their high-end phones. At least the feature is going to improve the reliability and predictability of the autofocus even though it probably won’t improve the speed. The 12 megapixel sensor will most likely be the same that’s already in the S7.

Other rumors of the Galaxy Note 6 suggest a 5.8″ display, Snapdragon 823 or Exynos 8 series SoC, 6GB of RAM and 4000mAh battery. Some new features, Samsung is rumored to add, are iris scanner and IP certification of some sort. Samsung is also claimed to be testing both, a flat and a curved display, only one of which will make its way to market.

Source: Android Geeks

Samsung releases the Galaxy S7 lineup

 

s7-edge

Samsung has released their 2016 flagship phones, S7 and S7 edge. 

The new Samsung Galaxy S7 retains the best of the S6 but improves in a few key areas. The display is still 5.1″ and the resolution stays at QHD but it’s now always-on. The back of the device is now curved like in the Note 5 and the camera bump is almost gone. The physical size is a bit larger in all directions.

The S7 edge now has a 5.5″ QHD curved always-on display but other specs match with the standard S7. There are two liquid cooled SoC options for different markets, Snapdragon 820 and Exynos 8890. Also onboard is 4GB of DDR4 RAM. The battery on the S7 edge is obviously larger at 3600mAh vs 3000mAh on the S7. The devices also support Vulkan to allow better, more realistic games.

Both models are now water resistant with IP68 certification. Samsung has also listened the customers and the microSD slot is back. Of course onboard are the usual Samsung features like fingerprint scanner and the heart rate sensor.

The new 12MP F1.7 camera takes even better low light images while retaining the great quality in daylight. The sensor also uses dual pixel technology in every single pixel to reduce focusing time. The S7 doesn’t use the BriteCell sensor Samsung announced a while ago but Sony Exmor RS IMX260 sensor instead.

The color options are black, white, silver and gold and a Gear VR comes for free with pre-orders. The devices will be available in mid March.

Galaxy S7 will be released on 21 February

gs7-press-leak

Samsung Galaxy S7 press renders have leaked with a probable release date of the devices. 

EvLeaks has leaked press render images of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphones. In the images, the date is February 21 which of course means the release date. EvLeaks has been very reliable source, so these renders are probably real.

In the image there are two phones. The one on the left is the normal Galaxy S7 with 5.1″ QHD display and the one on the right is probably going to be called Galaxy S7 edge and it will have a 5.5″ curved QHD display.

Other specifications we know are the two SoC options for different markets, Snapdragon 820 and Exynos 8890. The amount of RAM will be 4GB and the battery capacities will grow to 3000mAh and 3600mAh respectively.

The 12MP Britecell rear camera is joined by a 5MP shooter on the front. The rear camera hump will be gone as the new Britecell sensor improves the low light capabilities and reduces the thickness of the module.

Source: VentureBeat