As I sit here in a costa coffee in Didsbury, Manchester it occurs to me that I have Now been using the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 for almost a month now.
I think it’s fair to Say that this phone has come to surprise me as time has gone by. At first I began to think we had reached a time where mobile phones had peaked and we are entering an era of mere incremental upgrades between devices. Slightly bigger screens with slightly smaller bezels and a slight boost in memory and processing power. The bit I missed is that with each major iteration of hardware, the software upgrades that come with it, are more useful each time. The switch from iOS to Android has presented some clever features that I’d not even heard the Android fan boys shout about. An example of this, somehow my phone detects when a company or spam line is calling me and auto populates the details, allowing me to make an informed decision on whether to take the call. As someone who has held the same number for over a decade, this has proven incredibly useful in a time where telemarketing somehow still wreaks havoc on British phone lines.
The widgets piece is something android users have been boasting about for generations of Android and iOS however Apple somewhat addressed this in a recent release in which widgets could be included in spotlight search. Whilst a nice addition on Apples part, the Android integration seems a lot more established and, as expected, open. It’s not only Google or Samsung apps that get the privilege of deep integration into the system ui. Audible, Spotify, Inbox all fit in incredibly well.
On the flip side, my Garmin watch comes up with all sorts of weird notifications. Why is WhatsApp checking for messages and why do you notify me. When I set up the phone I set the privacy settings so notifications didn’t include the content of the notification on the home page. I’ve searched and searched and have no idea how to fix this problem so that notifications work better on my watch. It might also be worth mention here that the settings menu is both better and worse than iOS. The search feature is good 90% of the time but a week or so ago when “OK Google” stopped working I literally couldn’t thing the settings to repair it. It fixed itself with a switch off and on again. Perhaps a homage to the fact that the vastness of a modern day mobile operating system is unlikely to run perfectly all the time as there is simply so much going on.
The camera also has impressed me a number of times. When lighting and space is available you can really make use of the portrait mode. The normal modes and video are also impressive and the sound quality when recording far surpasses that of my previous iDevices. I’ve spent some time fiddling with the pro modes and whilst useful in difficult lighting situations, I think I’d rather have my point and shoot or SLR on me for anything serious. I was intrigued to see Google are going for a software based portrait mode on the new Pixel devices rather than the addition of a second camera. We saw the results of the single camera on the initial Pixel and I’ve no doubts the engineers at Google will build something more impressive this time around. DxO mark team scored the Note 8 with 94 alongside the iPhone 8 Plus. It will be interesting to see how the iPhone X fares against these scores but the Pixel 2 and Huawei Mate 10 pro have already ousted Apple and Samsungs efforts with scores of 98 and 97 respectively.
I am very glad to have made the move and look forward to experimenting more with the device over time. I’m expecting Samsung to provide me with a Dex at some point in the near future as part of their pre-order promotion and in 11 months, I’m expecting a Galaxy Note 9.