So 48 hours later using the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8, here is my initial review. But it is also 48 hours without my iPhone 7 Plus/Apple Watch combo. I have been incredibly used to using iOS as my main phone for over a year despite reviewing many android phones.
Having used iOS and other Apple hardware has benefits. Everything talks to everything. It’s a doddle to share content between devices and other people using iOS or Apple hardware. Everything just works and I have got very used to all the methodology and ways. I have had to tell my wife not to send photos over iMessage, instead email them. My wife can’t FaceTime me. Same for the rest of my family who all use iPhones. AirDrop is absent too. But weirdly, the biggest thing I miss is wearing my Apple Watch. I’m not sure it’s missing it as such, but my wrist feels empty without it. It is such a strange sensation. My wife at the start of my journey was not too pleased with me moving platforms either.
Anyway, so back to the Note 8. The first 24 hours felt alien. As much as I am bowled over by the hardware, the software just felt a mess. Setting up Bixby was a disaster. It kept saying it could not hear my voice. WTF. A deaf voice assistant! I also had a mess of 136 apps and or games installed and everything was out of order and all over the place. On my iPhone, apps were in a particular folder and position within the folder for ease of use.
However, I am not one to give up and realised it would take a while to adjust and hopefully I would start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. For the time being, I won’t be installing Nova Launcher. I want to feel and appreciate everything Samsung has done with this phone for at least a month. Tomorrow, I have a new super fast Samsung memory card arriving, a Gear Fit 2 Pro and already have a Gear 360 (2017). This way I can appreciate the Samsung eco system more. I won’t be turning off Bixby either. Siri works extremely well for me on my iPhone due to the simple reason I taught it over time. I shall do the same with Bixby and get it to deliver eventually. I hope!
The single biggest problem with the Note 8 has been signal. If I had got my Note 8 direct from Three UK, it would have the wifi calling integrated into the firmware. My Note 8 has come unlocked direct from Samsung. Between Three and Samsung, they have not provided the wifi calling/VOLTE within the firmware. For a flagship phone this is not acceptable. My iPhone 7 Plus had this integrated and was from Apple direct. Three have an app for WiFi calling. Firstly the software looks like a dogs dinner. Secondly it drains the battery. And thirdly, you have messages and calls coming into its app, and not the default Samsung apps. So it gets 1/10 from me and that’s being generous. Fortunately, I have a Three Signal Booster which I had to power up and this has resolved my signal at home.
Setting up Bixby was resolved by opening Bixby, finding the settings and running through the setup. I still can’t turn the phone on from a lock screen, using my “Hi Bixby”. No idea why that’s not working. Also, the Smart Switch software provided by Samsung to transfer SMS and other stuff from my iPhone to the Note 8 keeps crashing. It just doesn’t work! Bummer. I really would like my text messages transferred across, if nothing else.
Unlocking. Joke, serious joke. WTF did Samsung think by adding the fingerprint sensor so high up. Firstly, it is impossible to reach. Second, when you do reach it, it never works because your finger angle is always out of alignment slightly. So fortunately, I am using Android Smart Unlock options along with face unlock for now. Face Unlock doesn’t work in darkness or bright sun, so its back to a pin code.
Before this sounds like a bash bash of Samsung, let’s move on to the good stuff. The phone looks amazing. My Spigen case arrived on Saturday which made usability a damn sight better. It is a great case for under £9. Link at end if you are interested. As I have had many Samsung phones before, logging into my Samsung account brought back lots of information, from web bookmarks, my Samsung Health data and much more. S Health on the Note 8 is amazing. More on this on my main review.
Themes. Again logged into my Samsung account, and have downloaded all 20 of my themes, checked them all out, and removed the ones that don’t look good on the Note 8. I now have all my folders and home page looking tidy. My weather station, Hue lights and other connected devices are all working well and Google Assistant is super fast at controlling stuff. Quicker than Siri. I have now logged into all my social media accounts, media and web services so the phone is now usable.
Gaming. Samsung Game Launcher is excellent. More on this in my full review.
The screen is wonderful to view anything. It’s big and bright and so visible in sunlight. And the dual OIS rear camera lenses produce amazing results. And so to the camera. Below are just a few random quick shots in auto. These shots are so good, my wife now is happy for me to be on android instead of iOS !!
The Note 8 has a super fast focus system, and now using the zoom lens is offers more flexibility due to having OIS.
Any that’s all for now. More soon.