Samsung officially unveiled the new Note 8 on 23 August at its Unpacked event in New York. The new Galaxy Note 8 succeeds the Galaxy Note 7, a device that started off as an excellent smartphone until battery issues saw it discontinued, leaving Note users with no choice but downgrade to a Samsung device without an S Pen, or wait patiently for the new Note.
Well wait no more. Here is how the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 compares to last year's Galaxy Note 7.
Has it been worth the wait?
- Best Samsung Galaxy Note 8 pre-order offers and deals
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Release date, specs and everything you need to know
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Note 7: Design
- Glass and metal design on both
- Note 8 reduces bezels around display
- Both IP68 water and dust resistant
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was a beautiful device featuring a metal and glass sandwich design, a dual-edge display and a singular camera lens on the rear with the flash positioned alongside it on the right. As it was a Note device, it also featured the S Pen that had a slot built into the design.
A home button with a embedded fingerprint sensor was situated below the display on the front and it measured 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9mm and hit the scales at 169g. Like the Galaxy S8 and S8+, the Note 7 was also IP68 water and dust resistant.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 takes many of its design cues from the Galaxy S8 and S8+, offering an almost all-screen front, a dual-edge display again and a metal and glass sandwich design with a built-in stylus. It therefore significantly reduces its bezels surrounding the display compared to the Note 7.
The new Note is slightly thicker, as well as taller than the Note 7 with measurements of 162.5mm x 74.8mm x 8.6mm. The fingerprint sensor is positioned on the rear to the right of the dual-camera setup - another differentiating factor to the Note 7. Like its predecessor, the Note 8 is IP68 water and dust resistant.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Note 7: Display
- Note 8 display larger with 18.5:9 aspect ratio
- Dual-edge AMOLED display with Mobile HDR on both
- Note 8 slightly higher resolution display
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 featured a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED dual-edge display, which is the same size as all the previous Note devices from the Note 3 onwards.
It had an aspect ratio of 16:9 and it offered a Quad HD resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 518ppi. The Note 7 was also the first to introduce HDR compliancy in a smartphone, making it compatible with HDR content on Netflix and Amazon Video, even if it was a feature a little before its time due to lack of content.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 increases the display size to 6.3-inches, which makes it fractionally larger than the 6.2-inch Samsung Galaxy S8+ and over half an inch larger than the Note 7 on the diagonal. As shown in the measurements however, the Note 8 doesn't increase its footprint over the Note 7 by a huge amount which is thanks to the aspect ratio being same as the S8+ at 18.5:9, so although it sounds big, it's not too big.
The new Note also has the same Infinity Display as the S8 and S8+ models, meaning an AMOLED panel again with dual curved edges, and a Quad HD+ resolution, which translates to 2960 x 1440 pixels. This means the Note 8 offers a pixel density of 522ppi and it too comes with Mobile HDR, though this time with a little more purpose.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Note 7: Camera
- Note 8 has dual rear camera
- Note 8 has improved front camera
- Note 8 has dual OIS
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 had a 12-megapixel Duo Pixel rear camera with an f/1.7 aperture, phase detection autofocus, optical image stabilisation and an LED flash.
Its front camera featured a 5-megapixel sensor, also with an f/1.7 aperture and results from both cameras were excellent. The rear was capable of up to 4K video recording, while the front topped out at 1080p.
As we mentioned briefly previously, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 comes with a dual-rear camera, which is a first for Samsung devices. The dual setup consists of two 12-megapixel lenses, one wide-angle with an aperture of f/1.7, the other telephoto with an aperture of f/2.4 giving you 2x optical zoom. Optical image stabilisation is on board both lenses too, which is also said to be a first.
An improvement on the Note 7's front facing camera resolution is also present, with the Note 8 offering an 8-megapixel snapper with an aperture of f/1.7 and autofocus, like the S8 and S8+.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Note 7: Hardware
- Note 8 runs on more advanced platform with more RAM
- USB Type-C, 3.5mm headphone jack and iris scanning on both
- Note 8 has slightly reduced battery capacity
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 featured the Exynos 8890 chipset, coupled with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage and microSD support for further storage expansion up to 256GB.
It featured USB Type-C for charging the 3500mAh battery and it supported fast charging. There was also a 3.5mm headphone jack on board, support for 32-bit audio and it featured iris scanning capabilities.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 meanwhile, comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or the Exynos 8895, both with 6GB of RAM. It also comes in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB internal storage options and microSD support for further storage expansion.
The Note 8 opts for a 3300mAh battery capacity, which is a little smaller than its predecessor and the S8, though USB Type-C for charging is on board again, along with fast charging support. Additionally, the new device also offers a 3.5mm headphone jack, support for 32-bit audio and improved iris scanning abilities over the Note 7.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Note 7: Software
- Note 8 has Bixby voice assistant
- Improved stylus features for the Note 8 over Note 7
- New S Pen for Note 8
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 launched on Android Marshmallow with Samsung's TouchWiz interface over the top. It offered much the same experience to the S7 and S7 edge but with a few extra features that took advantage of the S Pen functionality.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will launch on Android Nougat, again with Samsung's TouchWiz interface over the top. There are several new features on board though, including App Pair, where two apps can be opened at the same time in split screen, Live Message, which turns drawings into GIFs and enhanced Screen Off Memo.
The new device also comes with a new S Pen, offering 4096 levels of pressure, and it features Samsung's Bixby voice assistant that launched on the S8 and S8+.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Note 7: Price
- Note 8 reported to be nearly £200 more expensive
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 went on sale around the £699 mark before it was discontinued.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 meanwhile is going on sale for £869 which makes it significantly more expensive than last year's Note 7, as well as the most expensive Samsung smartphone to date.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Note 7: Conclusion
Most succeeding smartphones make some big improvements over their predecessors, but not many have the challenge that lies ahead of the Note 8: rebuilding consumer confidence in an entire range that was, until last year, excellent.
The Note 8 offers a more streamlined design like the S8 and S8+, along with a larger and slightly sharper screen, camera advancements and hardware improvements. There are also several software improvements too and although the battery capacity is smaller, we suspect Samsung has played particular attention to this department.
For those who were Note users and have been waiting patiently, the Note 8 has all the makings of an excellent device and worthy of that wait. We will update this feature when we have reviewed the device in full though to let you know if all those numbers make for a great device in the real world.