Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review: A More Powerful, Premium And Refined Flagship

Galaxy Note 8 - Software And User Experience

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 ships with Android 7.1.1 Nougat of the box, with Samsung’s UX interface enhancements integrated into the OS. As much as we like a clean, unaltered Android experience, we like many of the additions offered by Samsung’s current UX.

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Default Home Screen And App Edge Configurations

The Note 8 also feels polished, fluid, and fast right out of the gate. It’s too early to comment on long-term performance, which has been an issue on many devices as they get polluted with apps and bit-rot, but initial impressions of the Note 8’s software are very good. The icons, color schemes, and other aesthetic elements of the Samsung UX also appear polished and well designed.

When the Note 8 is first powered on, the home screens are fairly clean of widgets and shortcuts and the app tray is uncluttered and well organized. Responsiveness to touch is very good as well and is easily among the best we have experienced on any Android device. There is minimal lag when touching / dragging items, pinch to zoom is fluid and responsive, and transition animations are buttery.

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Default App Tray Configuration, Samsung Apps

Launching applications is also very quick; during everyday use, the Note 8 is just plain fast, which should be expected considering the high-end nature of the device. Its Snapdragon 835 processor and 6GB of RAM make for a potent combination.

In addition to the standard Google-fare included with Android, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 comes preloaded with a number of other applications. On the device are Samsung’s Galaxy App store and Hub, which features easy access to music, movies, videos, and books. There are a number of Samsung-specific apps pre-installed as well, like Samsung Connect, Samsung Gear, Samsung Health, Samsung Notes, Samsung+, Secure Folder, and Smart Switch. Samsung’s browser also comes pre-installed, along with a file explorer (My Files), and PENUP.

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S-Pen Shortcuts

Many of the apps included on the Note 8 are optimized for use with Samsung's S-Pen. The Galaxy Note 8’s screen is perfectly happy with finger / gesture input, but the S-Pen adds another level of precision and a host of additional features. When you pop the S-Pen out of its holder, an array of options slide out and are available with a quick tap. Writing notes and/or editing images is simply better when you’ve got the additional precision offered by the S-Pen. The S-Pen also makes it easy to take screen-captures, and then edit them immediately thereafter. It’s a great feature that can make taking notes on articles, or whatever you may be viewing on-screen, quick and easy.

Swiping in from the side also exposes the usual Apps Edge and People Edge features on the Note 8. These “edges” allow users to place an array of shortcuts to their favorite apps and most used contacts.

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