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In previous generations—when the Note was markedly larger than S phones—the question was simple: “Do I need a giant screen and stylus for taking notes?” But now that these two devices are more similar than ever, choosing between them can be a difficult and confusing task.
That’s why we’re going to take a closer look at the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8+ and help you decide which device is best for you.
Galaxy Note 8 vs. Galaxy S8+ display
Traditionally, the display has been the biggest differentiator between the two devices. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ have 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch screens, while the Note 8 sports a 6.3-inch display.
Yes, there’s0.1-inch0.1 inch difference between the S8+ and Note 8, which is why they appear almost identical sitting next to each other. Check it out:
You’ll notice the Note 8 is boxier and less curved. Samsung said the new shape makes writing with the S Pen a bit easier. Otherwise, these screens are nearly identical, both sporting 2960×1440 pixels with Samsung’s colorful Super AMOLED display.
Galaxy Note 8 vs. Galaxy S8+ design
The aesthetic differences between these phones—other than screen curvature and a new camera module (more on that later)—are difficult to point out.
For better or worse, the Note 8 comes with nearly all of the S8’s design elements. The good news is the return of a curved edge-to-edge display and premium glass/aluminum build. The bad? The fingerprint sensor is still near the camera lens, and the Bixby button rears its ugly head once again.
The bit of extra screen real estate and built-in S Pen make the Note 8 a bit heavier at .43 pounds versus .34 of the S8 and .38 of the S8+. The color options of these phones is another slight difference, with only the S8 and S8+ available in Rose Pink and Arctic Silver.
However, both the S8+ and Note 8 are IP68 dust and water resistant.
Galaxy Note 8 vs. Galaxy S8+ specs
Typically, one of the easiest ways to compare two products is by scrolling down their specs sheets. This isn’t the case with the S8+ and Note 8. The nature of a system on a chip (SoC) means both devices are powered by the same internals, including a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 835 processor. Where the Note 8 sneaks ahead is with its 6GB of RAM compared to the S8’s 4GB. It’s a nice upgrade but not a deal breaker.
Both phones start with 64GB of storage, upgradeable to 256GB via a microSD card slot. They also run Android—7.1.1 on the Note and 7.0 on the S8 and S8+. We expect them to be updated to Android 8.0 Oreo in the coming months.
Galaxy Note 8 vs. Galaxy S8+ camera
The camera setup is the biggest difference between these two phones. Finally, Samsung jumped on the dual-lens setup championed by LG and Apple. The horizontally oriented cameras on the Note 8 are both 12MP, but one has a f/1.7 lens and the other a 2x telephoto f/2.4. With the extra lens, the Note can take portrait shots or pictures with added bokeh effect for blurring out a background. You can also take two images at the same time, one with the normal wide-angle shot and another more zoomed in.
The S8+ has just one 12MP f/1.7 rear camera, though many consider it one of the best smartphone cameras ever released.
We’ll have to wait for a review unit to compare their image quality, but we suspect both f/1.7 lenses will produce similar, if not, identical shots.
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Galaxy Note 8 vs. Galaxy S8+ battery
Interestingly, the Galaxy S8+ has a larger 3,500mAh battery compared to the 3,300mAh in the Note 8. We’ll let that slide considering what happened to the Note 7. Keep in mind, the size of the battery is just one of many factors that determine how long a smartphone lasts on a charge. We’re pretty certain the Note 8 will last around a day before needing to be charged back up, which is about as long as the S8 and S8+.
Both phones come with fast charging and wireless charging compatibility.
Galaxy Note 8 vs. Galaxy S8+ pricing and availability
The Galaxy S8 went on sale in April for $720, while the S8+ started at $840. Both phones have seen major price drops since then. The S8 now costs just $575 unlocked straight from Samsung’s website and most major retailers. The S8+ will run you $100 more.
Even at $675, the S8+ is significantly less expensive than the Note 8, which will cost $930 unlocked when it’s released Sept. 15.
Which phone should I buy?
Unless you absolutely need the S Pen, save yourself some money and buy an S8 or S8+. Get the S8 if you care more about comfort than display real estate. If you prefer a larger screen then go with the S8+ and don’t look back. While it’s undoubtedly one of the best phones on the market, Samsung’s newest release simply doesn’t stand out enough to warrant its ridiculous price tag. In fact, you should be frustrated with Samsung for pricing the Note 8 at nearly $1,000. Then again, it’s hard to complain when the S8’s price continues to fall.
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.