The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is out, and reviewers have already posted their thoughts on the flagship device before its official Sept. 15 launch.
While the consensus is that the phone is one of the best around, there are a few things journalists weren’t too happy with.
Let’s see how the Note 8 could be improved.
1) CNET: Fingerprint sensor placement
In her review of the Note 8, CNET’s Jessica Dolcourt hit out at Samsung for putting the fingerprint sensor near the camera lens, again.
“The placement of the fingerprint reader off to the side of those two rear cameras drives me bananas. It’s plain inconvenient: too high and too off-centered. Even if muscle memory takes over and you get used to it, and even if you use the hit-or-miss iris scanner instead, there’s no good reason it shouldn’t be in the center of the Note’s back like it is on so many other phones.”
Dan Seifert at the Verge was pleased with the Note 8 but questioned if it’s worth its massive price tag—especially when compared to the competition.
“Now there are a lot of great big phones available, including other options from Samsung, that provide most of the Note’s experience at lower prices. That means this year, the Note 8’s value all comes down to how important the S Pen and the second camera are to you. In my experience, the camera doesn’t do enough to justify its existence. It needs more work before it’s truly great and worth the cost of admission.”
Engadget senior mobile editor Chris Velazco also doubted whether the Note 8 is worth its nearly $1,000 price tag, especially when compared to its slightly older sibling.
“The problem is, Samsung’s second-biggest phone, the Galaxy S8 Plus, is nearly as good, and mostly just lacks the gimmicks that make the Note 8 more expensive. If you’ve always wanted to sketch or write on a phone, the Galaxy Note 8 is exactly what you’ve been looking for. For the vast majority of people, though, the Note 8 remains a tough sell.”
3) New York Times: Design flaws, explosive history
Times writer Brian Chen got straight to the point, rattling off a bunch of cons.
“Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way. For unlocking the phone, the eye scanner barely works and the fingerprint sensor is in a lousy place. Samsung’s Bixby, which is included, is the most incompetent virtual assistant on the market. And—need I remind you—this phone line has a reputation for gadgets that spontaneously combust.”
4) Mashable: Bixby virtual assistant
Senior tech correspondent Raymond Wong isn’t a big fan of Samsung’s Siri competitor or the dedicated button Samsung put on the S8 and Note 8 to access it.
“Bixby is the only part of the Note 8 that I don’t like. I know that AI and digital assistants will play a much larger role in our phones in the coming years, but Bixby is so half-baked that it’s jarring it has its own physical button.”
5) Tom’s Guide: Live Message
LaptopMag and Tom’s Guide editor-in-chief Mark Spoonauer gave the Note 8 a glowing review and 9/10 score, despite some frustrating limitations with Samsung’s Live Message feature.
“The coolest new S Pen feature is Live Message, which turns your scribbles into animated GIFs to share with others. For example, I wrote “Love you” on top of a photo with a fun sparkle pen tip and then tried to send it to my wife via text message. I say “tried” because I got an error message that said “Maximum total size of attachments exceeded.”
6) Quartz: Sharper corners
Reporter Mike Murphy called the Note 8 “excellent,” but found it uncomfortable to hold, and not just because of its giant size.
“The more sharpened corners of the device, when compared to most other phones on the market—including the Galaxy S8—don’t rest well in your hands when holding it for a while. The S8 is far more comfortable to hold.”
7) Wired: Battery life
Samsung put a smaller battery in the Note 8 after the Note 7 debacle. David Pierce at Wired felt the effects of that decision.
“I’ve never seen a battery die like this one. I lopped off 40 percent during a two-hour drive just by using Google Maps; a little Netflix and some light Twittering killed the entire battery in less than eight hours.”
8) BGR: Facial recognition
Zach Epstein says the Note 8 is a fingerprint magnet and also questions the security of its facial recognition authentication method.
“Apart from issues in low-light settings, the Galaxy Note 8’s facial recognition feature appears to be wildly unsecure.”
9) Gizmodo: No ‘wow’ factor
Gizmodo reporter Sam Rutherford was harsh on the Note 8 and doesn’t feel Samsung did enough to push the envelope.
“Samsung’s new dual camera module isn’t even a clear-cut winner against last year’s iPhone 7 Plus, not to mention whatever new handsets Apple is planning on announcing next week. So despite sporting best-in-class components from its screen to its stylus, Samsung’s phablet still seems a bit tame. The only thing about the Note 8 that’s really excessive these days is its price.”