Notebookcheck

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Smartphone Review

Daniel Schmidt, 👁 Daniel Schmidt (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 09/16/2017

Back to being best. The Note 8 shines with a big, superb Infinity screen, high performance and, for the first time, with a dual-camera. As usual, the S-Pen that can be inserted into the casing is included. Whether Samsung has developed the ideal phablet after the Note 7 disaster will be clarified in the test.
Update: new update improves security and adds new Wi-Fi features. Update: Information concerning PWM, display response times, temperatures and power consumption has been added.

For the original German review, see here.

After the exploding battery disaster of the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 (SM-N950F) follows. It now has the duty to cast off the flaw of its predecessor. The biggest innovation is, like in the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, the new Infinity screen. With a lush size of 6.3 inches, it has the biggest screen surface of all Note models. It also comes with the currently strongest Exynos processor or, depending on the region, the Snapdragon 835. The working memory has increased by 50 percent and now offers 6 GB. Like last year, a 64 GB internal storage is installed and can again be extended via a micro-SD card. The communication modules have also received an update. However, the biggest modifications are found in the camera. Samsung uses a dual-camera in one of its smartphones for the first time. The battery is 200 mAh smaller than that of the predecessor and has 3300 mAh. Even the smaller Galaxy S8+ sports a stronger battery. Find out whether Samsung wants to be on the safe side with the weaker battery and whether the battery life is not affected in the test.

The price is impressive. 999 Euros (~$950) is what the Korean manufacturer demands for its premium model. The Note 7 was sold for approximately 150 Euros less and the Note 5 was even 300 Euros cheaper at market launch. Buyers who order the Note 8 directly from Samsung can also select a dual-SIM variant. Our review sample is a single-SIM model.

The competition is sooner selected based on price range and screen size since no other high-end phablet comes with an integrated stylus. In particular, Huawei's Mate 9, Honor's 8 Pro and LG's V30 want to compete against the giant. Apple offers its biggest model, the iPhone 7 Plus while a genuine business behemoth comes from the Windows lineup: HP's Elite x3. The Galaxy Note 8 also has to compete against all high-end rivals in terms of technology in our test.

Update 1/8/2018: Samsung has released a new update for the Galaxy Note 8. Further details can be found in the software section of this review.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Galaxy Note Series)
Graphics adapter
ARM Mali-G71 MP20, Core: 850 MHz
Memory
6144 MB 
, LPDDR4x
Display
6.3 inch 2.06:1, 2960 x 1440 pixel 522 PPI, capacitive, 10 multitouch points, native pen support, Infinity Display, Super AMOLED, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, glossy: yes
Storage
64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash, 64 GB 
, 51 GB free
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: combo headphone/microphone jack, Card Reader: micro-SD max 400 GB (SDHC, SDXC), 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: accelerometer, position, heartrate, Hall, rotation, proximity, pressure and G sensors, barometer, digital compass, iris scanner, face recognition, BeiDou, Galileo, Ant+, MST, Wifi Direct, Miracast, OTG
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0, GSM/GPRS/Edge (850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz), UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1880, 1900, 2010, 2100 MHz and AWS), LTE Cat. 16 (bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 32, 38, 39, 40, 41, AWS and AWS-3), LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.6 x 162.5 x 74.8 ( = 0.34 x 6.4 x 2.94 in)
Battery
3300 mAh Lithium-Ion, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 12 h, Talk time 2G (according to manufacturer): 22 h
Operating System
Android 7.1 Nougat
Camera
Primary Camera: 12 MPix (Dual-Camera, Optical zoom at 2X. Telephoto camera: Resoultion: 12MP AF, Pixel size: 1.0µm, Sensor size: 1/3.6", Sensor ratio: 4:3, FOV: 45°. F.No (aperture): F2.4. Wide-angle camera: Resolution: Dual pixel 12MP AF, Pixel size: 1.4µm, Sensor size: 1
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix Sensor size: 1/3.6", Sensor ratio: 4:3, F1.7 aperture, Pixel size: 1.22µm, FOV: 80°
Additional features
Speakers: mono speaker, Keyboard: virtual, power supply, USB cable, AKG headset, two OTG adapters, SIM tool, quick start guide, safety instructions, S Pen, tools for S Pen tips, replacement tips, Samsung Experience UI 8.5, Samsung and Microsoft apps, 24 Months Warranty, USB Type-C (USB 3.1 Gen1), Bixby, head SAR: 0.173 W/kg, body SAR: 1.29 W/kg, IP68 certified, fanless
Weight
195 g ( = 6.88 oz / 0.43 pounds), Power Supply: 62 g ( = 2.19 oz / 0.14 pounds)
Price
999 ($950) Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 is a real giant with a screen size of 6.3 inches. This is also confirmed when holding it for the first time. It remains pleasantly slim due to the new aspect ratio and is comfortable to hold. However, it weighs a total of 25 grams more than its predecessor. The screen-surface ratio of approximately 83 percent is outstanding.

The metal bezel gives the casing a high-quality impression. The glass on both the front and rear is Corning Gorilla Glass 5 that attracts fingerprints but is also easy to clean. The Galaxy Note 8 absolutely resists pressure and twisting attempts. The gaps are impeccable and tight and do not provide reasons for complaint.

The phablet's card tray is situated on the upper edge and closes flush with the casing. Its latch is also made of aluminum, but the tray itself is plastic. It offers a place for a nano-SIM and a micro-SD in our review sample. A Duos variant that has a hybrid slot is available in Samsung's shop. The user can decide whether s/he wants to insert a second nano-SIM instead of a micro-SD.

The device is again IP68 certified, i.e. it is protected against the ingress of dust and water. According to the standard, this means that it is dust-proof and protected against the ingress of water for an unspecified time when submerged completely into water. Samsung limits the latter to 1.5 meters in fresh water for 30 minutes in the small print. Thus, the correct specification should be IP67.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 is available in Midnight Black and Maple Gold in Germany. Orchid Gray and Deepsea Blue are found in other regions. The battery cannot be removed.

Size Comparison

Connectivity

It is possible to expand the storage of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 with an optional microSD card. In theory, all usual SDXC models with up to 2 TB can be used, but only cards with up to 400 GB are available so far. It is not possible to format a microSD as internal storage or move apps there due to performance differences between internal and optional storage.

The USB port has the up-to-date Type-C shape now and supports transfer standard 3.1 (Gen. 1). Moreover, it is OTG capable. Hence it is possible to connect peripherals or storage devices via an adapter. In addition, it is possible to charge other devices with the Note 8 and the interface also serves as DisplayPort 1.2. Furthermore, the phablet can be combined with the Samsung Dex docking station.

There are many sensors including a fingerprint reader and an Iris scanner. In addition, a heart monitor is available on the rear side again. Apart from NFC, Bluetooth 5.0 is also on board now. The latter is brand new and has greatly improved in terms of range, transfer rates, and power consumption. Since Samsung does not specify the module's class, it is not possible to give details. Anyway, it is possible to connect two Bluetooth speakers now. The aptX codec is on board again for a good sound, but it is not the newer aptX HD. Bluetooth 5.0 is first supported in Android 8.0 Oreo. In the meanwhile, the module works according to standard 4.2.

Right edge: power-in
Right edge: power-in
Top edge: microphone, card slot
Top edge: microphone, card slot
Bottom edge: audio, USB, microphone, speakers, S-Pen slot
Bottom edge: audio, USB, microphone, speakers, S-Pen slot
Left edge: system noise, Bixby
Left edge: system noise, Bixby

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Software

At the time of testing, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 used Google Android 7.1.1 Nougat with Samsung's own UI 8.1. Thus, it proves to be slightly more up-to-date than Galaxy S smartphones. Moreover, an update to Android 8.0 Oreo is in progress. The user interface looks like the Galaxy S8+'s however. Apart from several apps, Samsung has also installed a small software package from Microsoft. These cannot be completely uninstalled, but only deactivated. In addition, Samsung's own app store is pre-installed.

Google's security patches as of 08-01-2017 are implemented. Hence they are up-to-date at the time of testing. We had the chance to discuss Samsung's update policy with the company at the IFA. The Note 8 is supposed to be provided with security patches once a month. Moreover, major updates of the Google OS are supposed to be available for at least two years.

Update 12/07/2017: Samsung has released Build N950FXXS1AQK9 for the Galaxy Note 8. The 576.14 MB large update not only brings Google’s security patches up to date (11/01/2017) but also features the new Samsung UI 8.5. In addition to app updates for Calendar, Gallery, Voice Memos and Reminders Samsung has also patched a bug in Samsung DeX without giving further details. The new Wi-Fi feature “Secure Wi-Fi” has also been added.

Update 1/8/2018: Samsung has released Build N950FXXU2BQKG with updates for the included calendar, gallery, voice memos, and reminders apps. In addition, Samsung also claims to have fixed an undisclosed bug in Samsung DeX and implemented a new feature called “Secure Wi-Fi”. Android security patches have been brought up to date (12/1/2017).

Communication and GPS

The Wi-Fi module of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 supports the IEEE-802.11 standards a/b/g/n/ac in 2.4 as well as 5.0 networks, which is standard at its price point. In addition, is masters VHT80 MU-MIMO and 1024 QAM (10 bit quadrature amplitude modulation). Especially the latter is supposed to ensure higher transfer rates and stability.

In our test with our Linksys EA8500 reference router, the Galaxy Note 8 actually achieves very high transfer rates for a smartphone and is even slightly faster than the Galaxy S8+ in sending. The iPhone 8 Plus performs best in this aspect, although it is slightly slower in sending. You cannot complain about the Wi-Fi range. The connection is good and HD is possible even if the phone is not in the same floor as the router. However, the response time gets notably longer.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 can connect to the mobile data network via quad band GSM, seven 3G bands or fast and modern with Gigabit LTE (download: max. 1 GBit/s, upload: max. 150 MBit/s). Moreover, the Note 8 is a genuine global player since it supports 18 FDD and four TDD LTE bands.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
A11 Bionic GPU, A11 Bionic, Apple 256 GB (iPhone 8 / Plus)
914 MBit/s ∼100% +82%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Mali-G71 MP20, 8895 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
503 MBit/s ∼55%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
Adreno 540, 835, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
501 MBit/s ∼55% 0%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
Mali-G71 MP20, 8895 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
368 MBit/s ∼40% -27%
Huawei Mate 9
Mali-G71 MP8, Kirin 960, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
259 MBit/s ∼28% -49%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
Mali-G71 MP20, 8895 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
656 MBit/s ∼100% 0%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Mali-G71 MP20, 8895 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
653 MBit/s ∼100%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
Adreno 540, 835, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
494 MBit/s ∼75% -24%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
A11 Bionic GPU, A11 Bionic, Apple 256 GB (iPhone 8 / Plus)
374 MBit/s ∼57% -43%
Huawei Mate 9
Mali-G71 MP8, Kirin 960, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
165 MBit/s ∼25% -75%
GPS test: indoors
GPS test: indoors
GPS test: outdoors
GPS test: outdoors

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 supports GPS, Glonass, BeiDou, and Galileo for geolocation. In buildings, the sat fix takes a while, but it reaches an acceptable accuracy, which varies heavily between six and twelve meters however. The Note 8 is significantly faster and more accurate outdoors. It was able to detect our location with four meters accuracy.

We took the smartphone on a small bike ride and compared it to the bike computer Garmin Edge 5000 for evaluating its real-world accuracy. While a difference of 140 m on the total route of 12 km does not appear to be much, a closer look at the route reveals notable weaknesses in the geolocation of the Galaxy Note 8, which we did not expect. However, it performs well enough for vehicle navigation.

Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Telephone Functions and Voice Quality

The telephone app of Samsung's phablet shares its design with Google's. As it only looks slightly different, you will get along with it quickly.

The voice quality is convincing. There are no complaints when used at the ear. Voice sounds clear on both sides. Moreover, the speaker is suitable in quiet environments. You can clearly hear the other person. This is also true for the Galaxy user although his voice echoes heavily. The included AKG headphones also appeared good. Due to bass-heavy representation, the other person sounds slightly muffled. Otherwise there are no complaints. Especially the microphone of the headset convinced us indoors. Outdoors, it hardly filters wind noises. Galaxy Note 8's noise reduction is also decent, but it fails when voices are loud.

Cameras

Front camera photo
Front camera photo

Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 has an 8 MP camera (Samsung S5K3H1) with autofocus on the front. The camera angle is 80 degrees. A nominal aperture of f/1.7 and pixel size of 1.22 µm suggest good light sensitivity. In fact, the camera is very fast and has many features, such as automatic HDR and many filter and sticker functions. Throughout good photos can be made in good light conditions, and the lens is also convincing in low light. However, the dynamic range is low as expected and light from the back is also a problem. Videos can be recorded in Full HD.

The Galaxy Note 8 is Samsung's first smartphone to feature a dual-camera. Both lenses have 12 MP and an optical image stabilizer (OIS), which are the only things that they have in common. The primary sensor is identical with that of the Galaxy S8 technically and has an aperture of f/1.7 and pixel size of 1.4 µm. The second serves as a x2 optical zoom and makes the Live Focus function, a portrait mode that creates a soft Bokeh for the background, possible. It is not as light sensitive (f/2.4, 1.0 µm), which strikes the eye in low-light photos and both following photos illustrate well.

Low-light photo with the primary camera of Samsung's Galaxy Note 8
Low-light photo with the primary camera of Samsung's Galaxy Note 8
Low-light photo using the zoom of Samsung's Galaxy Note 8
Low-light photo using the zoom of Samsung's Galaxy Note 8

The differences between the two lenses are insignificant in daylight and are only visible in highly detailed views. We quickly learned to appreciate the x2 zoom although it is nothing new and which is also found in the iPhone 7 Plus and in a similar form in the Mate 9 among others. Like the latter, the Note 8 also supports a x10 digital zoom that can only be recommended conditionally.

The photo quality strongly resembles that of the Galaxy S8 and shines with a superb automatic HDR feature and fast response times. The reproduction performance is on a similar level as its sister model and presents a decent reproduction performance with a comparatively high dynamic range and attractive colors in good light conditions. The phablet especially stands out with its wide-angle lens in the low-light sector, but the telephoto lens is disappointing here.

The video function has not changed fundamentally and videos can be recorded in a maximum of Ultra HD (3840x2160 pixels, 29.97 FPS, max. 10 min.). Like the S8, many features are not accessible in full resolution and the device remains behind the potential of the ISP integrated into the Exynos 8895.

Thus, the total rating of the camera is slightly lower than that of the Galaxy S8 and S8+. Although great features have been added with the telephoto lens and Live Focus, the additional lens is visibly worse in the low-light sector.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images

We examined the reproduction performance of the dual-camera in Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 under defined light conditions. It is noticed that the telephoto lens reproduces colors a bit paler and the photos are visibly cooler. The dual-pixel wide-angle lens offers crisp colors and a slightly warm white balance.

When looking at our test chart, we hardly find differences in the sharpness of both lenses. There are no differences in the image center and the lenses' reproduction performance are almost identical even into the lateral areas. However, the telephoto module has a few more problems with lettering on dark-color areas and they look a bit frayed.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 wide-angle lens
ColorChecker Passport (wide-angle): The reference color is in the lower field
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 telephoto lens
ColorChecker Passport (telephoto): The reference color is in the lower field
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Test chart photo (wide-angle)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Test chart photo (wide-angle)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Test chart photo (telephoto lens)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Test chart photo (telephoto lens)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Test chart photo center (wide-angle)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Test chart photo center (telephoto lens)

Warranty and Accessories

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 includes a black, modular power adapter (9.0 V, 1.67 A; 5.0 V, 2.0 A), a matching USB cable (Type A to Type C), two OTG adapter (Type C to Type A and Type C to Micro-USB), a SIM tool, an AKG in-ear headset with eartips in various sizes, replacement leads for the S Pen, small pliers for replacing them, flyers about security and warranty, and a quick guide.

Many optional accessories are available in Samsung's shop including various covers (20 to 70 Euros), the inductive charging station (80 Euros), and several other products. The legal warranty of the manufacturer is not affected by this.

Optionally, you can buy the Samsung Mobile Care package when purchasing the phone for extra 119 Euros. It covers damages such as a display breakage, liquid damage or battery defects for 24 months. You have to pay a deductible of ten percent of the purchase price whenever there is a damage. It is interesting in this aspect that Samsung writes in its terms of warranty that liquid damages are not covered:

The Extended Warranty Scheme shall not apply to damages or defects caused by the following: […] Exposure to excessive heat, moisture or dampness.

This is slightly confusing in view of the fact that the phone is certified with an IP68 rating, which means that it is protected from dust and water penetration. Customers might need to rely on the fairness of Samsung in this respect.

Input Devices & Handling

The capacitive touchscreen of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5. It supports 10-point input and responses quickly and reliable. Samsung uses its own keyboard layout, which is simple, suggests words and supports wiping. You can install other layouts from the Google Play Store.

The smartphone's physical buttons have a good build quality and an accurate fit. Apart from a power button, there are a volume control, and the Bixby button. The latter even opens an overview about coming appointments, weather information, Samsung Health, and news on a single page when the phone is locked. The assistant has still not reached the quality of the competitors' by far. Moreover, it was only available in Korean and English at the time of testing. The Bixby button can be deactivated now, but it is unfortunately still not possible to assign a different function to it.

Samsung has moved the home button below the display. It is a pressure-sensitive sensor. The two other Google input buttons are also only on-screen buttons now. They work perfectly in everyday tasks and give no reason for complaints. Since the home button is no longer on the front, the fingerprint sensor moved to the rear side and even supports a wiping gesture for expanding the notification center. Due to the size of the Note 8, the fingerprint sensor is difficult to reach for small hands. In other words, it is inconvenient to use if you need to change your grip. At least, it is surrounded by an easily palpable frame now. So, users won't accidentally touch the camera instead.

Further security features are face recognition and iris scanner, which are known from the Galaxy S8.

In terms of input, the highlight of the Note series is the S Pen, which is inserted in the Galaxy Note 8's case again. While the hardware hardly differs from the Note 7 predecessor and still recognizes as much as 4096 pressure levels and features a very thin tip (0.7 mm), Samsung has modified the software. It is especially useful that users can simply take out the S Pen and make notes on the display even when the Note 8 is in stand-by. The notes can either be saved in Samsung Notes or directly pinned to the always-on screen. What is new is that Bixby Vision can directly be opened via the S-Pen menu. The quick access toolbar is displayed upon taking the pen out of the case. You can quickly and easily adapt it to your needs. You can freely select up to ten shortcuts including apps. Another new feature are live news, which allows to quickly create and share simple animated GIFs. Certainly, the various note taking functions are more useful, but it is still a nice gimmick.

Display

Subpixel grid of Samsung's Galaxy Note 8
Subpixel grid

Like Samsung's Galaxy S8+, the Galaxy Note 8 uses a so-called Infinity display but is 0.1 inches bigger. Thus, it achieves a display diagonal of 6.3 inches (approx. 16 cm). Although this sounds big, it is due to the aspect ratio of 2.06:1 that stretches the handset compared with the common 16:9 ratio. The high QHD+ resolution (2960x1440 pixels, 522 PPI) ensures a razor-sharp reproduction. However, it is not set ex-factory; a lower Full HD+ resolution is set instead. Samsung relies on its own Super AMOLED screen technology and thus the known high-quality. HDR support is also present.

The brightness is similar to the S models. A maximum of 333 cd/m² is achieved in the center when only using manual brightness control. Using the ambient light sensor is usually more comfortable and allows a much higher brightness that can averagely be approximately 200 cd/m² higher. Even up to 818 cd/m² are possible when considering the measurement of evenly distributed dark and bright areas (APL 50). The illumination is also very homogeneous.

525
cd/m²
522
cd/m²
545
cd/m²
526
cd/m²
530
cd/m²
550
cd/m²
532
cd/m²
534
cd/m²
560
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 560 cd/m² Average: 536 cd/m² Minimum: 1.84 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 93 %
Center on Battery: 530 cd/m²
Contrast: ∞:1 (Black: 0 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.6 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 2.7 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
Gamma: 2.04
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Super AMOLED, 2960x1440, 6.3
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Dual Edge Super AMOLED, 2560x1440, 5.7
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
Super AMOLED, 2960x1440, 6.2
Huawei Mate 9
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.9
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.5
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
IPS, 3840x2160, 5.5
Honor 8 Pro
IPS, 2560x1440, 5.7
Screen
12%
20%
-28%
25%
0%
-19%
Brightness middle
530
544
3%
560
6%
696
31%
557
5%
578
9%
541
2%
Brightness
536
523
-2%
562
5%
680
27%
553
3%
568
6%
514
-4%
Brightness Distribution
93
84
-10%
93
0%
93
0%
97
4%
92
-1%
91
-2%
Black Level *
0.42
0.35
0.62
0.3
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.6
1.9
27%
1.7
35%
4.3
-65%
1.4
46%
2.8
-8%
3.2
-23%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
5.1
4.2
18%
3.4
33%
9.4
-84%
3.1
39%
5.1
-0%
7.2
-41%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.7
1.8
33%
1.6
41%
4.8
-78%
1.3
52%
2.8
-4%
4
-48%
Gamma
2.04 108%
2.12 104%
2.13 103%
2.33 94%
2.21 100%
2.15 102%
2.27 97%
CCT
6206 105%
6449 101%
6435 101%
7255 90%
6667 97%
6728 97%
7120 91%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
83.92
81.57
63.1
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
100
99.87
99.83
Contrast
1657
1591
932
1803

* ... smaller is better

OLED panels typically use pulse width modulation (PWM) and it is again found in the Galaxy Note 8. Although the screen only flickers at 60 Hz in full, manual brightness, the amplitude curve is very flat. The PWM frequency fluctuates from 227 to 270 Hz below 94 percent. The amplitude curve also becomes flatter the lower the brightness and has to be increased quite strongly. Samsung has this relatively well under control but it could not be prevented completely.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8: PWM @ 100%
PWM @ 100%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: PWM @ 94%
PWM @ 94%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: PWM @ 1%
PWM @ 1%

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 257.7 Hz

The display backlight flickers at 257.7 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) .

The frequency of 257.7 Hz is relatively high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering. However, there are reports that some users are still sensitive to PWM at 500 Hz and above, so be aware.

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8929 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

We examined the color reproduction of Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 with a photospectrometer and the CalMAN analysis software. Our review sample unfortunately presented smaller weaknesses if they can be called that at all. The color shifts are lowest in the Photo profile and are on a good level with a DeltaE of 2.6 in the grayscales and mixed colors. However, they are worse than in the predecessor or the S models. This is primarily due to the slightly too warm white balance. Furthermore, a minor bluish tint is visible when using the default setting (Adaptive Display).

Each color profile is selected autonomously by the system with corresponding, compatible apps, which also differ in the set color space. Basic uses sRGB, Photo AdobeRGB, and Cinema the DCI-P3 color space. The white balance can also be adapted to meet personal needs in the settings.

Grayscales (Adaptive display, target color range: Adobe RGB)
Grayscales (Adaptive display, target color range: Adobe RGB)
ColorChecker (Adaptive display, target color range: Adobe RGB)
ColorChecker (Adaptive display, target color range: Adobe RGB)
Colorspace (Adaptive display, target color range: Adobe RGB)
Colorspace (Adaptive display, target color range: Adobe RGB)
Saturation Sweeps (Adaptive display, target color range: Adobe RGB)
Saturation Sweeps (Adaptive display, target color range: Adobe RGB)
Grayscales (Profile: Basic, target color range: sRGB)
Grayscales (Profile: Basic, target color range: sRGB)
ColorChecker (Profile: Basic, target color range: sRGB)
ColorChecker (Profile: Basic, target color range: sRGB)
Colorspace (Profile: Basic, target color range: sRGB)
Colorspace (Profile: Basic, target color range: sRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (Profile: Basic, target color range: sRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (Profile: Basic, target color range: sRGB)
Grayscales (Profile: Cinema, target color range: P3)
Grayscales (Profile: Cinema, target color range: P3)
ColorChecker (Profile: Cinema, target color range: P3)
ColorChecker (Profile: Cinema, target color range: P3)
Colorspace (Profile: Cinema, target color range: P3)
Colorspace (Profile: Cinema, target color range: P3)
Saturations Sweeps (Profile: Cinema, target color range: P3)
Saturations Sweeps (Profile: Cinema, target color range: P3)
Grayscale (Profile: Photo, target color range: AdobeRGB)
Grayscale (Profile: Photo, target color range: AdobeRGB)
ColorChecker (Profile: Photo, target color range: AdobeRGB)
ColorChecker (Profile: Photo, target color range: AdobeRGB)
Colorspace (Profile: Photo, target color range: AdobeRGB)
Colorspace (Profile: Photo, target color range: AdobeRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (Profile: Photo, target color range: AdobeRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (Profile: Photo, target color range: AdobeRGB)

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 2 ms rise
↘ 2 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 1 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
4.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 2 ms rise
↘ 2.8 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 1 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 makes a very good impression outdoors and especially scores with its extremely bright screen. Furthermore, the colleagues at DisplayMate confirm the smartphone's very short response times, making use possible on sunny days.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 in the sun
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 light from the back
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 in the sun

The latest screens by Samsung are really good in terms of viewing angle stability compared with the first OLED screens. The panel does not have issues with inverting colors and ghosting. Color haze or brightness loss that often result from extremely flat viewing angles are only minimal.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 viewing angle stability
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 viewing angle stability

Performance

Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 relies on the company's own Samsung Exynos 8895 SoC that is already built in a structure width of 10 nanometers. It is also used in the Galaxy S8 and S8+. The processor is comprised of two quad-core clusters. The performance cluster uses Samsung's Custom M1 second generation CPU cores that clock at up to 2.3 GHz. The energy-saving cluster uses ARM Cortex A53 cores that can clock at up to 1.7 GHz. An ARM Mali-G71 MP20 is used for graphics calculations. In contrast to the S models, the Note 8 has 50 percent more working memory and 6 GB of LPDDR4x RAM are installed.

The performance is almost identical with that of the Galaxy S8 as expected. The Note 8 can improve itself slightly in the system benchmarks, but HTC's U11 still defeats it. It even takes the last place in PCMark Work 2.0 in the comparison field. The system runs very smoothly subjectively, and multitasking and multiple opened apps are not a real challenge for the Note 8. An occasional hick-up is sometimes noticed when using Samsung apps, such as Bixby.

AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
173997 Points ∼68%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
133845 Points ∼53% -23%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
165382 Points ∼65% -5%
Huawei Mate 9
124087 Points ∼49% -29%
LG V30
173749 Points ∼68% 0%
HTC U11
175032 Points ∼69% +1%
Honor 8 Pro
146044 Points ∼57% -16%
HP Elite x3
115867 Points ∼46% -33%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
165399 Points ∼65% -5%
PCMark for Android
Work 2.0 performance score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
5096 Points ∼49%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
5195 Points ∼50% +2%
Huawei Mate 9
6299 Points ∼61% +24%
LG V30
5603 Points ∼54% +10%
HTC U11
6828 Points ∼66% +34%
Honor 8 Pro
6134 Points ∼60% +20%
Work performance score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
6084 Points ∼45%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
5115 Points ∼38% -16%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
5830 Points ∼43% -4%
Huawei Mate 9
7403 Points ∼55% +22%
LG V30
6854 Points ∼51% +13%
HTC U11
8295 Points ∼61% +36%
Honor 8 Pro
7356 Points ∼54% +21%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
1235 Points ∼61%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
1101 Points ∼54% -11%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
1163 Points ∼57% -6%
Huawei Mate 9
1076 Points ∼53% -13%
LG V30
1009 Points ∼50% -18%
HTC U11
1221 Points ∼60% -1%
Honor 8 Pro
1131 Points ∼56% -8%
HP Elite x3
458 Points ∼23% -63%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
1542 Points ∼76% +25%
Graphics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
6121 Points ∼21%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
4273 Points ∼15% -30%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
6126 Points ∼21% 0%
Huawei Mate 9
3939 Points ∼14% -36%
LG V30
5949 Points ∼21% -3%
HTC U11
5976 Points ∼21% -2%
Honor 8 Pro
4070 Points ∼14% -34%
HP Elite x3
3974 Points ∼14% -35%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
6875 Points ∼24% +12%
Memory (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
3095 Points ∼49%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
2532 Points ∼40% -18%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
3135 Points ∼50% +1%
Huawei Mate 9
3850 Points ∼61% +24%
LG V30
2091 Points ∼33% -32%
HTC U11
2085 Points ∼33% -33%
Honor 8 Pro
4277 Points ∼68% +38%
HP Elite x3
2003 Points ∼32% -35%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
1319 Points ∼21% -57%
System (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
5308 Points ∼32%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
3994 Points ∼24% -25%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
5319 Points ∼32% 0%
Huawei Mate 9
3616 Points ∼22% -32%
LG V30
4238 Points ∼26% -20%
HTC U11
5570 Points ∼34% +5%
Honor 8 Pro
4029 Points ∼24% -24%
HP Elite x3
1384 Points ∼8% -74%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
6582 Points ∼40% +24%
Overall (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
3338 Points ∼40%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
2626 Points ∼31% -21%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
3301 Points ∼39% -1%
Huawei Mate 9
2772 Points ∼33% -17%
LG V30
2702 Points ∼32% -19%
HTC U11
3034 Points ∼36% -9%
Honor 8 Pro
2985 Points ∼35% -11%
HP Elite x3
1499 Points ∼18% -55%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
3097 Points ∼37% -7%
Geekbench 4.1/4.2
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
8310 Points ∼19%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
8295 Points ∼19% 0%
Huawei Mate 9
Points ∼0% -100%
LG V30
8016 Points ∼18% -4%
HTC U11
8281 Points ∼19% 0%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
6744 Points ∼19%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
6695 Points ∼18% -1%
Huawei Mate 9
6445 Points ∼18% -4%
LG V30
6078 Points ∼17% -10%
HTC U11
6443 Points ∼18% -4%
Honor 8 Pro
6245 Points ∼17% -7%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2028 Points ∼32%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
2015 Points ∼32% -1%
Huawei Mate 9
1866 Points ∼29% -8%
LG V30
1900 Points ∼30% -6%
HTC U11
1906 Points ∼30% -6%
Honor 8 Pro
1853 Points ∼29% -9%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2346 Points ∼56%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
1518 Points ∼36% -35%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
2466 Points ∼58% +5%
Huawei Mate 9
2117 Points ∼50% -10%
LG V30
2931 Points ∼70% +25%
HTC U11
2841 Points ∼67% +21%
Honor 8 Pro
2216 Points ∼53% -6%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2661 Points ∼49%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
2049 Points ∼38% -23%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
3479 Points ∼65% +31%
Huawei Mate 9
2294 Points ∼43% -14%
LG V30
3903 Points ∼72% +47%
HTC U11
3883 Points ∼72% +46%
Honor 8 Pro
1746 Points ∼32% -34%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2584 Points ∼55%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
1901 Points ∼40% -26%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
3188 Points ∼67% +23%
Huawei Mate 9
2240 Points ∼47% -13%
LG V30
3635 Points ∼77% +41%
HTC U11
3590 Points ∼76% +39%
Honor 8 Pro
1832 Points ∼39% -29%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2342 Points ∼56%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
1532 Points ∼36% -35%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
2465 Points ∼58% +5%
Huawei Mate 9
2123 Points ∼50% -9%
LG V30
2808 Points ∼67% +20%
HTC U11
2832 Points ∼67% +21%
Honor 8 Pro
1896 Points ∼45% -19%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
1522 Points ∼36% -35%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
3928 Points ∼47%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
2670 Points ∼32% -32%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
4786 Points ∼58% +22%
Huawei Mate 9
2448 Points ∼29% -38%
LG V30
5895 Points ∼71% +50%
HTC U11
5877 Points ∼71% +50%
Honor 8 Pro
1856 Points ∼22% -53%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
4235 Points ∼51% +8%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
3414 Points ∼53%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
2292 Points ∼36% -33%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
3958 Points ∼61% +16%
Huawei Mate 9
2367 Points ∼37% -31%
LG V30
4738 Points ∼73% +39%
HTC U11
4744 Points ∼74% +39%
Honor 8 Pro
1865 Points ∼29% -45%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
3034 Points ∼47% -11%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
22829 Points ∼26%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
19834 Points ∼23% -13%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
20892 Points ∼24% -8%
Huawei Mate 9
15104 Points ∼17% -34%
LG V30
14601 Points ∼17% -36%
HTC U11
20140 Points ∼23% -12%
Honor 8 Pro
15129 Points ∼18% -34%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
15626 Points ∼18% -32%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
36807 Points ∼7%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
23431 Points ∼4% -36%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
33077 Points ∼6% -10%
Huawei Mate 9
35626 Points ∼7% -3%
LG V30
55271 Points ∼10% +50%
HTC U11
55725 Points ∼10% +51%
Honor 8 Pro
32243 Points ∼6% -12%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
63386 Points ∼12% +72%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
32399 Points ∼14%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
22523 Points ∼10% -30%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
29282 Points ∼12% -10%
Huawei Mate 9
27364 Points ∼12% -16%
LG V30
34139 Points ∼15% +5%
HTC U11
40014 Points ∼17% +24%
Honor 8 Pro
25766 Points ∼11% -20%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
37746 Points ∼16% +17%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
105 fps ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
80 fps ∼1% -24%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
104 fps ∼1% -1%
Huawei Mate 9
80 fps ∼1% -24%
LG V30
113 fps ∼1% +8%
HTC U11
91 fps ∼1% -13%
Honor 8 Pro
43 fps ∼0% -59%
HP Elite x3
47.19 fps ∼0% -55%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
91.96 fps ∼1% -12%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
59 fps ∼2%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
52 fps ∼2% -12%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
58 fps ∼2% -2%
Huawei Mate 9
60 fps ∼2% +2%
LG V30
60 fps ∼2% +2%
HTC U11
58 fps ∼2% -2%
Honor 8 Pro
59 fps ∼2% 0%
HP Elite x3
26.42 fps ∼1% -55%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
57.71 fps ∼2% -2%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
51 fps ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
38 fps ∼1% -25%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
50 fps ∼1% -2%
Huawei Mate 9
34 fps ∼0% -33%
LG V30
59 fps ∼1% +16%
HTC U11
51 fps ∼1% 0%
Honor 8 Pro
29 fps ∼0% -43%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
58.71 fps ∼1% +15%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
38 fps ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
25 fps ∼1% -34%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
38 fps ∼1% 0%
Huawei Mate 9
37 fps ∼1% -3%
LG V30
35 fps ∼1% -8%
HTC U11
29 fps ∼1% -24%
Honor 8 Pro
20 fps ∼1% -47%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
55.17 fps ∼1% +45%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
42 fps ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
26 fps ∼1% -38%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
42 fps ∼1% 0%
Huawei Mate 9
24 fps ∼1% -43%
LG V30
40 fps ∼1% -5%
HTC U11
33 fps ∼1% -21%
Honor 8 Pro
21 fps ∼0% -50%
HP Elite x3
34.02 fps ∼1% -19%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
41.3 fps ∼1% -2%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
23 fps ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
14 fps ∼0% -39%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
23 fps ∼1% 0%
Huawei Mate 9
28 fps ∼1% +22%
LG V30
19 fps ∼1% -17%
HTC U11
15 fps ∼0% -35%
Honor 8 Pro
13 fps ∼0% -43%
HP Elite x3
16.09 fps ∼0% -30%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
41.5 fps ∼1% +80%
GFXBench
off screen Car Chase Offscreen (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
25 fps ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
15 fps ∼0% -40%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
25 fps ∼1% 0%
Huawei Mate 9
fps ∼0% -100%
LG V30
24 fps ∼1% -4%
HTC U11
24 fps ∼1% -4%
Honor 8 Pro
15 fps ∼0% -40%
on screen Car Chase Onscreen (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
13 fps ∼0%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
7.9 fps ∼0% -39%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
13 fps ∼0% 0%
Huawei Mate 9
14 fps ∼1% +8%
LG V30
13 fps ∼0% 0%
HTC U11
13 fps ∼0% 0%
Honor 8 Pro
11 fps ∼0% -15%
Lightmark - 1920x1080 1080p (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
30.86 fps ∼80%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
13.33 fps ∼34% -57%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
25.06 fps ∼65% -19%
Huawei Mate 9
19.14 fps ∼49% -38%
HTC U11
36.58 fps ∼94% +19%
Basemark X 1.1
High Quality (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
41022 Points ∼93%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
19134 Points ∼43% -53%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
42335 Points ∼96% +3%
Huawei Mate 9
31104 Points ∼71% -24%
HTC U11
38752 Points ∼88% -6%
Medium Quality (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
43464 Points ∼97%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
41901 Points ∼93% -4%
Huawei Mate 9
42176 Points ∼94% -3%
HTC U11
44696 Points ∼99% +3%
Basemark ES 3.1 / Metal - offscreen Overall Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
1295 Points ∼24%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
714 Points ∼13% -45%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
1280 Points ∼24% -1%
Huawei Mate 9
699 Points ∼13% -46%
HTC U11
812 Points ∼15% -37%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
1177 Points ∼22% -9%
Epic Citadel - Ultra High Quality (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
59.7 fps ∼97%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
59.7 fps ∼97% 0%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
59.7 fps ∼97% 0%
Huawei Mate 9
60.5 fps ∼98% +1%
HTC U11
60 fps ∼97% +1%

Legend

 
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Samsung Exynos 8895 Octa, ARM Mali-G71 MP20, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa, ARM Mali-T880 MP12, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus Samsung Exynos 8895 Octa, ARM Mali-G71 MP20, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Huawei Mate 9 HiSilicon Kirin 960, ARM Mali-G71 MP8, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
LG V30 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998), Qualcomm Adreno 540, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
HTC U11 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998), Qualcomm Adreno 540, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Honor 8 Pro HiSilicon Kirin 960, ARM Mali-G71 MP8, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
HP Elite x3 Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 MSM8996, Qualcomm Adreno 530, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Apple iPhone 7 Plus Apple A10 Fusion, Apple A10 Fusion GPU / PowerVR, 128 GB NVMe

The Samsung Browser version 6 is preloaded for Internet browsing. The subjective browsing speed is very good and the benchmarks confirm this. Solely the iPhone 7 Plus defeats the review sample regularly. It has to be satisfied with a place in the midfield only in WebXPRT 2015.

JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score
Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Safari Mobile 10.0)
168.08 Points ∼100% +142%
OnePlus 5 (Chrome 59)
71.6 Points ∼43% +3%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Samsung Browser 6.0)
69.57 Points ∼41%
HTC U11 (Chrome 58)
69.51 Points ∼41% 0%
Huawei Mate 9 (Chrome 54)
68.6 Points ∼41% -1%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus (Samsung Browser 5.2)
62.198 Points ∼37% -11%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium (Chrome 59)
61.5 Points ∼37% -12%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (Chrome Mobile 44.0.2403.133)
61.3 Points ∼36% -12%
Honor 8 Pro (Chrome Version 57)
58.065 Points ∼35% -17%
HP Elite x3
Points ∼0% -100%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Safari Mobile 10.0)
26053 Points ∼100% +96%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus (Samsung Browser 5.2)
14050 Points ∼54% +6%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Samsung Browser 6.0)
13265 Points ∼51%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (Chrome Mobile 44.0.2403.133)
12579 Points ∼48% -5%
OnePlus 5 (Chrome 59)
11945 Points ∼46% -10%
Huawei Mate 9 (Chrome 54)
11897 Points ∼46% -10%
HTC U11 (Chrome 58)
11781 Points ∼45% -11%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium (Chrome 59)
10672 Points ∼41% -20%
Honor 8 Pro (Chrome Version 57)
10016 Points ∼38% -24%
HP Elite x3 (Edge 1.14393)
8664 Points ∼33% -35%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
HP Elite x3 (Edge 1.14393)
4398.3 ms * ∼100% -134%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium (Chrome 59)
3199 ms * ∼73% -70%
Honor 8 Pro (Chrome Version 57)
3156.7 ms * ∼72% -68%
HTC U11 (Chrome 58)
2760.3 ms * ∼63% -47%
Huawei Mate 9 (Chrome 54)
2733.7 ms * ∼62% -46%
OnePlus 5 (Chrome 59)
2621.7 ms * ∼60% -40%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (Chrome Mobile 44.0.2403.133)
2569.1 ms * ∼58% -37%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus (Samsung Browser 5.2)
2236.7 ms * ∼51% -19%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Samsung Browser 6.0)
1876.8 ms * ∼43%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Safari Mobile 10.0)
1102.7 ms * ∼25% +41%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
204 Points ∼100% +28%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (Chrome Mobile 44.0.2403.133)
177 Points ∼87% +11%
HTC U11 (Chrome 58)
162 Points ∼79% +2%
OnePlus 5 (Chrome 59)
161 Points ∼79% +1%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Samsung Browser 6.0)
159 Points ∼78%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus (Samsung Browser 5.2)
154 Points ∼75% -3%
Huawei Mate 9 (Chrome 54)
152 Points ∼75% -4%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium (Chrome 59)
149 Points ∼73% -6%
Honor 8 Pro (Chrome Version 57)
141 Points ∼69% -11%
HP Elite x3 (Edge 1.14393)
130 Points ∼64% -18%

* ... smaller is better

64 GB of UFS 2.1 storage is inside Samsung's Galaxy Note 8. The user has approximately 51 GB for personal use after turning on the phablet the first time. The transfer speeds are excellent; the Note 8's storage only shows minor weaknesses when writing small data blocks.

The storage can be expanded via a micro-SD card optionally. We tested the card slot's performance with our Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 (max. read: 270 MB/s, write: 150 MB/s). The determined rates are relatively decent but do not come close to exhausting a modern and fast memory card. Thus, it is not surprising that Samsung does not permit installing apps on the micro-SD.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8Samsung Galaxy Note 7Samsung Galaxy S8 PlusHuawei Mate 9HTC U11Honor 8 ProSony Xperia XZ Premium
AndroBench 3-5
-21%
1%
-32%
66%
149%
-22%
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
59.27 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
43.84 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-26%
57.24 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-3%
29.53 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-50%
46.25 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-22%
32.16 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-46%
33.31 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-44%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
67.87 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
72.45 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
7%
71.12 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
5%
53.97 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-20%
68.82 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
1%
54.19 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-20%
36.79 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-46%
Random Write 4KB
14.55
14.72
1%
15.27
5%
8.77
-40%
79.97
450%
151.6
942%
17.2
18%
Random Read 4KB
122.48
82.68
-32%
127.18
4%
94.69
-23%
91.45
-25%
166.4
36%
74.1
-40%
Sequential Write 256KB
205.85
135.24
-34%
194.18
-6%
142.92
-31%
206.41
0%
187.1
-9%
194
-6%
Sequential Read 256KB
796.96
484.6
-39%
787.6
-1%
594.23
-25%
717.33
-10%
737.8
-7%
687
-14%

Games

Gaming is a strength of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. The powerful SoC with the capable ARM Mali-G71 MP20 ensures a feast for the eyes on the high-resolution display. Since the Vulkan API is supported, the Note 8 is also very well equipped for coming games. The Game Launcher, which is already known from the Galaxy S7 and its successors, can also be found in our test model. It allows to easily create screenshots or videos during gaming or minimize the game. The Do Not Disturb Mode is also on board again. It mutes all annoying notifications.

Touchscreen and sensors of the phablet work flawlessly. So, inputs are directly performed. Only the speaker is a weak point. It can be easily covered in landscape mode.

Asphalt 8
Asphalt 8
Iron Blade
Iron Blade

Emissions

Samsung Galaxy Note 8: GFXBench battery test T-Rex score (OpenGL ES 2.0)
T-Rex
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: GFXBench battery test Manhattan score (OpenGL ES 3.1)
Manhattan
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: CPU throttling test
CPU

Temperature

The surface temperatures of Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 are relatively low and the smartphone just gets lukewarm during permanent load.

It is not as cool inside the casing as the exterior rates would suggest. We examined the SoC clocking behavior during permanent load with the CPU Throttling Test app. The phablet slightly slowed down the clock speed of the Exynos after approximately 16 minutes but still remained stable above 2.1 GHz then. Although it throttles slightly, the Note 8 will rarely have to perform these intensive computations in real-world use.

This looks different in the GFXBench battery test that is primarily significant for players. The Note 8 remained stable for quite some time in the performance weaker T-Rex test (OpenGL ES 2.0) before nosediving and losing up to 30 percent of its initial performance. This happens a bit sooner in the more intense Manhattan test (OpenGL ES 3.1) and drops in two steps until only 57 percent of the initial performance are left. The user will not notice this in everyday use, but this is likely the reason that games like Asphalt 8 are limited to 30 FPS from the outset.

Max. Load
 33.2 °C
92 F
33 °C
91 F
32.4 °C
90 F
 
 35 °C
95 F
35 °C
95 F
33.8 °C
93 F
 
 35.7 °C
96 F
34.7 °C
94 F
33.1 °C
92 F
 
Maximum: 35.7 °C = 96 F
Average: 34 °C = 93 F
29.8 °C
86 F
31.3 °C
88 F
31.8 °C
89 F
30.6 °C
87 F
32.9 °C
91 F
34.6 °C
94 F
30.6 °C
87 F
36.2 °C
97 F
36.4 °C
98 F
Maximum: 36.4 °C = 98 F
Average: 32.7 °C = 91 F
Power Supply (max.)  29 °C = 84 F | Room Temperature 21.5 °C = 71 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 34 °C / 93 F, compared to the average of 33.2 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 35.7 °C / 96 F, compared to the average of 35.7 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 36.4 °C / 98 F, compared to the average of 34.2 °C / 94 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 30.1 °C / 86 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.
Surface temperatures of Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 measured with a Flir One infrared camera.
Surface temperatures of Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 measured with a Flir One infrared camera.

Speaker

Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Pink Noise measurement
Pink-Noise

Samsung has only equipped the Galaxy Note 8 with a mono speaker once again. While it can be quite loud, is sound is unsatisfactory. The positioning on the bottom edge is also suboptimal, since the speaker gets easily covered when the device is hold in landscape orientation. Moreover, we would wish for a stereo solution, which would have been adequate in view of the Note 8's price category.

The mono speaker delivers good mids, but the mid highs are too weak. As a result it sound slightly too wiry. It performs well enough for on-the-move, but that's it. The audio jack delivers a low-noise audio transmission and aptX is available via Bluetooth.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2031.631.32525.427.23125.326.14032.925.15033.624.56331.6268028.4241002728.212520.828.21602234.520021.348.325020.852.331521.257.640019.460.150019.563.963017.767.180017.965.5100017.868.6125017.372.1160017.474.6200016.776.2250017.278.4315018.281.1400017.977.4500017.672.8630017.775.4800017.877.91000017.970.91250018.167.11600018.258.1SPL3086.9N1.369.1median 17.9median 67.1Delta1.310.731.641.625.437.825.337.432.933.833.63831.632.328.432.32738.220.843.82249.321.351.820.852.121.253.619.454.219.562.417.765.417.965.117.866.317.365.817.468.416.767.717.267.818.270.417.971.317.669.817.77117.871.317.965.318.162.818.257.63080.11.348.9median 17.9median 65.31.37.331.635.225.433.125.329.932.92533.629.231.631.228.426.9272620.833.92243.521.349.920.854.821.257.519.462.319.566.417.767.317.96417.863.217.364.917.462.516.756.317.26018.26117.963.217.662.817.760.317.861.617.962.518.164.518.255.83075.61.336.8median 17.9median 61.61.34.8hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseSamsung Galaxy Note 8Apple iPhone 8 PlusHuawei P10 Plus
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (86.9 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 25.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 9.2% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (23.1% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 34% of all tested devices in this class were better, 13% similar, 53% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 61% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 31% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Apple iPhone 8 Plus audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (80.1 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 17.1% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.7% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4.3% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (3.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (15.1% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 2% of all tested devices in this class were better, 1% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 16% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 79% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Huawei P10 Plus audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (75.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 17.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (12.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.1% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (6.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 1% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (3.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (14.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 0% of all tested devices in this class were better, 2% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 14% of all tested devices were better, 3% similar, 83% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency Comparison (Checkboxes select/deselectable!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption of Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 is pleasingly low in all areas. Only the Galaxy S8+ is even more frugal in the comparison field. This is not only owed to the slightly smaller screen but also a more colorful wallpaper. It is also pleasing that the included power supply (9.0 V, 1.67 A | 5.0 V, 2.0 A) is also very moderate when connected to an outlet and only consumes 0.0014 watts.

The standby consumption doubles to 0.26 watts when the Always-On-Display is enabled, which is still on a relatively frugal level. The consumption skyrockets to 0.78 watts when the ambient light sensor increases the screen's brightness to maximum. The Galaxy Note 8 then drains 2.22 watts from the battery in idle.

The user can choose between an optional wireless charger and the included power supply when the battery depletes. The latter supports Quick Charge and fully recharges a completely drained Note 8 within 99 minutes.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Charging curve
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Charging curve
Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.06 / 0.13 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.73 / 1.44 / 1.53 Watt
Load midlight 4.56 / 5.09 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
3300 mAh
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
3500 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
3500 mAh
Huawei Mate 9
4000 mAh
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
3230 mAh
HP Elite x3
4150 mAh
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
2915 mAh
Power Consumption
-9%
9%
-33%
-37%
-37%
-33%
Idle Minimum *
0.73
0.72
1%
0.68
7%
0.78
-7%
0.62
15%
0.86
-18%
0.77
-5%
Idle Average *
1.44
1.37
5%
1.13
22%
2.13
-48%
2.44
-69%
1.46
-1%
2.04
-42%
Idle Maximum *
1.53
1.44
6%
1.16
24%
2.17
-42%
2.59
-69%
1.59
-4%
2.24
-46%
Load Average *
4.56
5.56
-22%
4.69
-3%
6.32
-39%
4.94
-8%
8.1
-78%
4.69
-3%
Load Maximum *
5.09
6.78
-33%
5.24
-3%
6.49
-28%
7.91
-55%
9.35
-84%
8.66
-70%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Larger, heavier, faster - yet a smaller battery. Does this work? The battery runtime tests of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 show clearly that it does not. After the battery disaster of the Note 7, Samsung appears to actually go for a safe solution and only equipped the Note 8 with a 3300 mAh battery. It falls behind the predecessor in all tests and only achieves mediocre battery runtimes.

The tests with adjusted display brightness (150 cd/m²) are most realistic. In our Wi-Fi test the Note 8 achieved one of the worst results in our comparison group. Only the HP Elite x3 lasts even shorter. The test model also ranks in the last third in video playback.

Nevertheless, the Galaxy Note 8 should be able to last a day without recharging as long as you do not run battery-hungry apps such as games. In addition, the battery life can be extended by means of various power plans or reducing the display resolution.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
18h 54min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
7h 54min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
11h 02min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 06min
Samsung Galaxy Note 8Samsung Galaxy Note 7Samsung Galaxy S8 PlusHP Elite x3Huawei Mate 9Apple iPhone 7 PlusHTC U11OnePlus 5
Battery Runtime
37%
29%
18%
32%
25%
-3%
10%
Reader / Idle
1134
1429
26%
1565
38%
2205
94%
1538
36%
1835
62%
1250
10%
1534
35%
H.264
662
960
45%
742
12%
760
15%
947
43%
813
23%
498
-25%
623
-6%
WiFi v1.3
474
607
28%
736
55%
422
-11%
758
60%
587
24%
560
18%
518
9%
Load
246
361
47%
275
12%
185
-25%
219
-11%
225
-9%
212
-14%
247
0%
PCMark for Android - Work 2.0 battery life
Huawei Mate 9
677 min ∼100% +37%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
669 min ∼99% +35%
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
533 min ∼79% +8%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
495 min ∼73%
HTC U11
476 min ∼70% -4%

Pros

+ great display
+ fast SoC
+ expandable storage
+ Dual SIM optional available
+ great S Pen with many features
+ USB 3.1 with DisplayPort and HDMI
+ Gigabit LTE
+ fast Wi-Fi with high range
+ Quick charge and wireless charging
+ protected against water and dust
+ many sensors

Cons

- SoC throttles under load
- extended warranty does not apply to liquid damage
- weak GPS performance
- speaker should be better
- fingerprint is not optimally placed

Verdict

In review: Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Review sample courtesy of Samsung Germany.
In review: Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Review sample courtesy of Samsung Germany.

Samsung has again launched a superb product with the Galaxy Note 8 and there is no real alternative phablet for fans of the S Pen. The handset comes with an outstanding configuration. However, the manufacturer could have gladly been a bit more generous with the internal storage in view of the price.

Display, performance, and camera are first-rate. However, the smaller battery is slightly disappointing, since it leads to shorter battery runtimes in practice. Moreover, the 2.06:1 display format is not ideal for the Note series in our opinion. Since the panel got narrower, there is less space crosswise, especially since the note app does not change its orientation when the smartphone is turned. A 16:9 format would have been a better choice.

Otherwise Samsung delivers everything necessary for a business smartphone, especially since it is compatible with Samsung's DeX docking station and can serve as desktop replacement.

Nevertheless, the Note 8 is a great smartphone. Those who do not need the S Pen, should better buy the Galaxy S8+. They will not only save money, but will also get a device with larger battery.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Smartphone Review
Daniel Schmidt, 2017-09-16 (Update: 2018-01- 8)