So I am fresh out of the Samsung Note 8 launch here in beautiful Trinidad & Tobago, and even in the smaller markets, Samsung knows how to launch a device. It was perfect timing as I had started writing a blog about the Note 8 and put it on pause because I have a mixed bag of feelings towards it. Let’s get this out of the way, the Note 8 will be one of the top 5 devices that comes out for 2017 and there is a lot to like about it.
The trouble I usually have with Samsung in the Caribbean that I am always asked is if the device is worth the money we have to pay here in the islands. That’s a trick question. As the rest of the world enjoys great carrier device subsidies, sales, trade in bonuses etc, we are usually stuck paying for the full price of the device + customs + retailers markup, which puts the costs of some of these devices in a space where even the deepest of pockets will find a way to write it off as a business expense.
On paper, the Note 8 sports bleeding edge specs like some of its flagship counterparts and has the Samsung class that we have grown accustomed to since their design language change from the good ol S6 days. What you have is Samsung engineering at its finest. I got a chance to talk to the Samsung guys and a fellow tech reviewer, and we both thought the device was amazing in person, but when asked if we would buy it, we both collectively scratched our heads.
The Note 8 is not for everyone, it was never meant to be for everyone. This device was built and centred around productivity, for people who want to do more and get more out of a device with a large screen. Coupled with the S-Pen, this was a business owner most important tool at their disposal. You have to look past the typical Samsung gimmicks, (this year it is the live gif text feature) and really dive into what the phone can do.
A few features that stuck out to me was the live focus feature with the camera, basically when you take a picture, you can adjust the bokeh effect before and after the shot is taken. It also takes two simultaneous shots (close up, and a reg shot). The rest of the features for me that I truly appreciate are all S-pen related. The top S-Pen features for me are as follows:
Smart Select allows you to draw a lasso or square shape to make copying and pasting text a breeze.
Translate allows you to hover the S-pen over a piece of foreign text and it will instantly translate it for you in the language of your choosing.
Screen Off Memo combines the S-pen and the Super AMOLED screen capabilities, and let’s take notes on the screen when its off. You are able to get up to 100 notes on the screen off memo, and you can pin your note to the always on display for quick reference.
Direct Input is a Note series feature that’s been around for a while but does not get talked about enough. You can handwrite all of your messages and the Note will turn your chicken scratch into actual text.
Currency Converter works similarily to Translate, hover over a foreign currency and it will give you the conversions into the currency of your choice. If you are a frequently travelling for business or leisure, you will probably put this feature to use a lot.
So with all that said, there are 2 ways to look at this. If you are someone who needs to be productive, likes large screens, values photography, and will actually use the capabilities of the S-Pen than the Note 8 is definitely a device you should take a look at. If for any reason, you do not see yourself using the S-pen but enjoy the other 95% of what the Note 8 can do, get yourself the S8 Plus and save yourself some money.
Do not think of the Note 8 as a smartphone. This is a tool and an investment. Anytime you are investing your money into tools, you have to think about how you can leverage it to work for you, regardless of the price of the tool. The Note 8 costs $7500+ depending on where you are purchasing from, so yes, it is not for the faint of heart and is a device that should be bought with real intentions to maximize its capabilities.
While this may not be a good purchase for most people, there are a lot of businessmen, travellers, photographers, I know that are lining up and waiting to get their hands on that Maple Gold Note 8.