The Php 50,000 review | Samsung Galaxy Note 8

What does a Php 50,000 phone feel like?

First of all, it’s bulky.

Yes, the Galaxy Note 8 has all the right boxes ticked in the design and aesthetic department. It’s sleek glass feel is amazing. Too amazing, in fact, that it gets slippery with dry hands or if you’re not careful enough. One of the many factors is the sheer size of the display that crams all 6.3 inches of amazing SuperAMOLED display into an almost bezel-less body set at 18.5:9 ratio with just a little bit of both the forehead and chin left. Samsung calls this the Infinity Display which works well with both taking photos of the phone as much as enjoying full screen content on it. No, seriously, the angles are amazing thanks to the curved sides.

6.3-inches of SuperAMOLED goodness

It will be a daunting task, in itself, to attempt navigating through the expanse of the Note 8 with just one hand. Mini heart-attacks will be abundant in attempting to reply to an email while walking down 31st street with a hot cup of coffee in another hand trying to get to your next appointment. The same experience is emulated when trying to take a photo or video on its dual lens camera at the back that will only allow the default settings on automatic, zoom 2x, switch to video or apply effects and use some of the other functions. The other settings at the top will require the aid of your second hand. The sides will get in the way of your viewing pleasure as accidental touches will activate a pause, a skip, or a back button if you move a lot.

More than one hand needed.

A shimmy up or down will also be required for reaching the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner on the far left (if the phone is facing you) right beside the flash and the cameras that you will inevitably be almost always smudged for being mistaken as the sensor. The same story goes for the volume rocker near the top left portion of the edges. Meanwhile you will almost always call up Bixy by mistaking the dedicated Bixby button as a volume down button when you’re not looking. In any case, you will almost always hit the Bixy button accidentally.

The water-resistance is a gift from the gods. Sure, the build is not going to save your phone from kissing the pavement at speeds of 9.8 m/s² but trust me when I say the IP68 water and dust resistance is heaven sent from being brave enough to navigate, call, text, sext, under the rain – because you’re too stubborn to spoil your outfit with an umbrella and a coat just ruins the tropical climate approved outfit you’re wearing, or simply just wanting to catch up with you favorite series on iflix while taking a shower, or having to answer a call straight out of doing your laps in the pool. You get the idea.

Secure to the bone

A plus for getting a flagship phone means all the different versions of security will be available from the regular pin, password, the line dance to make a pattern, the fingerprint scanner, face detection (which only works with proper lighting, the sun, or brightly lit corridors) and the iris scanner (that only works if there is no sun confusing the IR blasters looking for your eyes, that you don’t have contacts on, or in corridors and hallways.)

The required swipe up is all you need to tall the phone to look for the security of choice.

Stylish stylus for some

While the stylus caters to only a handful of the number of consumers in the market, it works great in conditions that require a writing material for comfort or just that holding a tiny pen is easier to write with compared to typing with two fingers. The function and the added capabilities, however, works wonders for those that require the hardware. It’s sensitive, easy on the take, and thin enough to manage really small handwriting.

The gesture features of the phone will get some getting used to since a lot of the ones available have proprietary functions. Take for example the edge screen mini folder that allows you some navigation shortcuts of either your most used apps, favorite contacts, calendar, weather and such. The function is not available for third-party apps (if at all, depends on Samsung.)

Samsung this and Samsung that

There’s less of Samsung (insert app name here) or S (app) to great relief of many of the consumers complaining of how Samsung literally has the same number of apps that does pretty much the same things as those natively provided by Google. (Native apps allow for a more seamless experience.)

The Note 8 will last you a good day

Though the battery has been reduced, understandably, for 2016 reasons, the Note 8 manages well with regular, casual use. Messages, emails, social apps, even some screen time on Youtube manages well.

The battery meter will quickly descend, however, if you’re in areas with weak 4G reception as the phone will keep looking for better and better transmissions. It drops even faster if you find yourself using the camera/s more and more often. Specially on higher settings like UHD or 60fps video capture. The live focus seem to take its toll on the juice, too together with all the different functions of the camera like having to take simultaneous shots so can opt for the standard angle or the zoomed-in version complete with bokeh or portrait effect in case you change your mind afterwards.

Speaking of the cameras

It’s good. Saturated, as per standard Samsung affair, with every photo coming in bright and vivid with the assistance of ample lighting or mr. sun. Everything else will start to have grains creeping in slowly from the sides for those in really low light scenarios or forcing the ‘Pro’ mode to try to take in more than it has to maxing out at 10 secs (which works for most scenarios.) Night shooting will be grainy at best specially for the case of the selfie camera.

Click to view slideshow.

Video capture is smooth, very smooth, in fact, with optical image stabilization. Much of the effects of photo taking are emulated with some degree of aperture drop because of the fps settings if bumped up. This is natural for any camera -phone, mirrorless, or slr, so it’s not much of a trade-off.

Overall experience

Crammed with all the latest 2017 has to offer, the Note 8 is fast. There’s no doubt about it. The only thing slowing it down will be the (legendary) paltry internet speeds of the Philippines.

The inclusion of the headphone jack is a nice touch for hardcore wired listeners.

If you’ve heard everything that has been said before, you’re basically looking at the review of the Galaxy S8 or S8+ with the inclusion of another camera, the stylus, and a larger screen.

The Php 5,000 – 7,000 difference (depending on where you get your phone) for the upgrade from an S8+ might be worth it if the functions and features are the ones you need on a phone but all things considered, they’re pretty much the same with some advantages here and there. The ‘upgrade’ is more apparent coming from the S8 or the S7 and beyond.

Here’s a little teaser of the video review we have cooking up for you guys:

What do you think? Let us know at the comments section below or over on Twitter @MNLMash. You can find Gio San Pedro here and myself here.

Mabuhay, Manila.

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