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Galaxy Note 8 vs Galaxy S8: What Should You Buy?

From the OnePlus 5 and LG V30 to the iPhone, the new Galaxy Note 8 faces some stiff competition. But for Samsung fans, the biggest decision will be whether to get the Note 8 or turn to Samsung’s other top flagships, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.

The Note 8 is certainly similar in some ways to the S8 and S8+, sporting a curved Infinity Display that goes from nearly edge to edge, as well as a pressure-sensitive home button (yay!) and a back-mounted fingerprint reader (boo!).

But it’s the differences between these two flagships that make this comparison a lot more interesting. Here’s how the Note 8 and Galaxy S8 stack up, and our recommendations on what you should buy.

Galaxy Note 8 vs S8 Specs


Galaxy Note 8
Galaxy S8
Galaxy S8+
Price
$930 to $960
$725 to $750
$825 to $850
Screen Size
6.3 inches5.8 inches6.2 inches
Processor
Snapdragon 835Snapdragon 835Snapdragon 835
RAM
6GB4GB4GB
Storage
64GB
64GB64GB
Camera
Dual 12-MP w/2x optical zoom12-MP12-MP
Special Features
S Pen, BixbyBixbyBixby
Battery
3,300 mAh3,000 mAh3,500 mAh

Screen

The 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch Super AMOLED displays on the Galaxy S8 and S8+ are truly stunning. But if you want an even bigger canvas, the Note 8 has you covered. The Note 8's 6.3-inch screen is the biggest in Samsung's current lineup, making it ideal for getting lost in movies or getting serious work done with the included S Pen.

In addition, the Note 8 lets you do more with its additional real estate. Thanks to a new App Pair feature, you can launch two apps simultaneously side by side, such as the Browser and YouTube, or a music app and Google Maps. The S8 has a Multi Window feature of its own, but you have to launch the two apps separately.

Despite the extra size, we fund the Note 8 fairly easy to hold with one hand in our full review. On the other hand, because the Note 8 offers the same resolution as the S8 and S8+, you get less pixels per inch on the Note.

Winner: Draw. Although the Note 8’s screen is slightly bigger, they’re all stellar.

Camera

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ have topped our list of the Best Camera Phones, but the Note 8 has now taken the No. 1 spot. The Note 8 is the first handset in Samsung’s lineup to offer dual cameras on the back, and they performed very well in our testing.

The Note 8's deal 12-megapixel cameras boast a 2x optical zoom, which matches the iPhone 7 Plus, as well as a 10x digial zoom. Both of the Note 8's cameras sport optical image stabilization - a first for camera phones - which should result in steadier shots.

But the fun really starts when you start using Live Focus, which lets you adjust the bokeh/blur effect both before you snap the shutter and after. Then there’s Dual Capture, which enables Note 8 owners to take a wide-angle and close-up photo at the same time.

Winner: Galaxy Note 8. The dual cameras make a big difference.

Special Features

The Galaxy Note 8’s dual cameras is an important special feature. But perhaps the easiest way to determine whether the Note 8 or S8 is right for you is to ask yourself whether you want to use a stylus. The S Pen is back for the Note 8, allowing you to take notes with ease — even when the screen is off.

The Note 8 improves on the Screen Off Memo feature that debuted on the Note 7, this time letting you jot down up to 100 pages of notes without even unlocking your phone. Other notable S Pen features include Live Messages, which let you sketch your own GIFs, as well as improved translation capabilities.

Like the Galaxy S8, the Note 8 can access Bixby, Samsung's Siri-like virtual assistant. Based on our Bixby Review, it still needs some improvement, but if you get the hang of it this feature can save you lots of screen taps.

Winner: Galaxy Note 8.The combination of the S Pen and dual cameras give the Note 8 the edge in this round.

Performance and Battery Life

The Galaxy Note 8 sports the same Snapdragon 835 processor as the Galaxy S8 and S8+, but benefits from a beefier 6GB of RAM compared to the S8's 4GB. The Note 8's extra RAM helped it top the Galaxy S8 on a couple of key performance benchmarks.

Despite having a small-ish 3,300 mAh battery, the Note 8 offered the same great 11-hour battery life as the Galaxy S8+. The smaller Galaxy S8 lasted for a decent 10:39.

Like the Galaxy S8, the Note 8 comes with 64GB of internal storage that you can expand to up to 256GB using a microSD card.

Winner: Galaxy Note 8. The Note 8 and Galaxy S8+ offer similar endurance, but the Note 8 has a slight edge in terms of performance.

Price

The Galaxy Note 8 costs between $930 and $960 (depending on your carrier), retaining the Note line's reputation as the priciest member of Samsung's lineup.

By comparison, the Galaxy S8 debuted at about $750 and the S8+ $850, though you can find better S8 deals, especially if you go the unlocked route.

Winner: Galaxy S8. You get more bang for your buck with the S8.

Overall Recommendations

Between its excellent dual-lens cameras and S Pen features, the Galaxy Note 8 is worth the nearly $1,000 price tag for Android enthusiasts who want the absolute best of the best. On the other hand, the Galaxy S8 is the better value who want Samsung’s great image quality, display and immersive Infinity Display for less.

The Galaxy S8+ is a fine choice for those who want a bigger screen, but if we had to choose between the 6.2-inch S8+ and 6.3-inch Note 8, we’d rather pay the little bit of extra dough to get an optical zoom camera.

Photo Credit: Tom's Guide

  • Sushi_burger
    No built in stereo speakers????? Wtf?
    Reply
  • drewin11
    Main difference between Note 8 and S8+ are 2gb RAM, smaller battery, 1 extra camera, S Pen. Is that all worth $300?? That's the real question.
    Reply
  • bubbajones
    DREWIN11, agree with you, it is not worth the extra $300-ish. For some users into one upmanship and inflating their ego it well may be worth it. My question is "will that extra $300 translate to higher productivity, earning more money", answer is a resounding no. Thus, until it dies I will continue using my present two year old flagship. My previous flagship phone I had for over four years, when it died I purchased the one I now have.
    Reply
  • guardianali
    S8 Plus 64gig is 850
    Note 8 65gig is 950...

    it is NOT a 300 dollar difference.

    S pen is actually a huge productivity increase. Its not just a gimmick where the pen is nothing more than a replaced finger....the entire OS has been updated from the non-pen S8 to actually fully utilize it. Its not a gimmick put ACTUALLY useful.
    The screen is wider and less tall...which is SO MUCH better.
    More ram is a HUGE plus in OS and app smoothness.
    The second camera has optical zoom x2 AND unlike other phones with two cameras, included OIS.


    Is all the worth a ONE hundred dollar difference...yes.
    Reply
  • elvinocasio1
    I was excited to upgrade my Note 5 to the new Note 8, after looking at the specs and comparing between the Note 5 and S8+ my first option will be to keep the Note 5 longer, the upgrades and features in the new Note 8 does not justify the price tag, I rather upgrade to the S8+ that only have a slightly disadvantage in performance how ever the S8+ have the same Ram so it does not bother me the disadvantage and for the price tag the S8+ is a no brainer. I said that you have two options of you are looking to upgrade your Note 5 or any other phone. 1. Note 5 users - Stay with the Note 5 and wait for the next Note or go for the S8+. 2. Other phone users, the S8+ is a no brainer go for it, you will love it. For Samsung - Today 8/28/2017 I declared another Note effort of FAIL, get your act together an bring real upgrades, I been a loyal Samsung customer for the last 10 yrs. from Cellphones to TV Screens, tablets, etc., they all are great but you are failing to bring back the Rhino of the phones. The Note 5, S8+ are great hits, give me a Note 9 that I cant resist to buy it with real upgrades, a step up from the rest.
    Reply
  • elvinocasio1
    @guardianali - Im a photographer for hobby and in the last yr. I been learning how to handle the Note 5 camera and manipulate to the point that none or minimum digital adjustment is needed, that being said the dual camera with less pixels is just a feature not an upgrade, a 20 MPX is an upgrade, Stop drinking that cool aid this people put up in this pages. The pencil is not for everyone and for those that use the pencil it is an upgrade however does not justify some of the high price tag. S8+ is the best option for must of the users. M2C
    Reply
  • Stakeout
    if that's all this article can add to the differences is that the Note 8 is easier to hold.. c'mon.. 99% of the users of these type phones put a case on them.. so that knocks that out... either of these phones for me is a deal-breaker why CURVED edges.. for what they serve NO useful purpose NONE as in zilch..squat.. just another samsung gimmick is all.. like curved screen TV's and 3d TV's are they still around.. a sucker born every minute..
    Reply
  • LamoidZombieDog
    bubbajones
    drewin11
    sushi_burger

    it does have a speaker, if it didnt samsung would be an idiot no one would buy it xD

    as for you 2
    2GB of ram more
    longer Lasting battery
    more efficient
    Optical zoom
    first time ever optical stable
    better in OS features
    S Pen
    Bigger screen
    2K Screen
    infinity display
    higher quality feel
    higher quality speakers
    Allows up to 256GB MicroSD expansion
    + more


    the phone is the best one out
    its worth way over 300 extra
    defidently a good purchase
    glad i preordered it
    Reply
  • Stakeout
    20148418 said:
    bubbajones
    drewin11
    sushi_burger

    it does have a speaker, if it didnt samsung would be an idiot no one would buy it xD

    as for you 2
    2GB of ram more
    longer Lasting battery
    more efficient
    Optical zoom
    first time ever optical stable
    better in OS features
    S Pen
    Bigger screen
    2K Screen
    infinity display
    higher quality feel
    higher quality speakers
    Allows up to 256GB MicroSD expansion
    + more


    the phone is the best one out
    its worth way over 300 extra
    defidently a good purchase
    glad i preordered it

    they 'skinnied' the phone with those curved edges--junk ..ruined a great phone is all I can say..
    Reply
  • vormoszx
    Comparison should be between 6gb ram variants or both mobiles. Which are now available. S8+ has 1000 nits brightness with 3500mAh battery which is gonna last much longer on max brightness than note 8 with 1200 nits brightness with 3000mAh battery. Nonetheless, the dual camera, wider screen and it's future applications make note 8 a better phone.
    Reply