5 Things Wrong with the Galaxy Note 8

Tech Lists Galaxy Note 8
5 Things Wrong with the Galaxy Note 8

The follow-up to the beloved Galaxy S8 is here. The Note 8 has made favorable impressions on critics across the board thus far with its top-of-the-line specs, massive 6.3-inch display and S Pen stylus. We already put together a piece just on how impressive the new dual-camera system is.

However, not everything about the Galaxy Note 8 is spot-on. Here are five things wrong with the Galaxy Note 8:

5. Boring design

note8 boring.jpg

Photo by Drew Angerer / Staff

Design can be subjective, but no one’s going to argue that Samsung took a big risk with design of the Galaxy Note 8. On one hand, it’s got the great curved display on the front, including the nearly bezel-less top and bottom. That can’t be denied. However, the design feels like a safe choice and a very iterative step from the Galaxy Note 7 and S8. That means it’s got the same glass back that attracts fingerprints (that I’ve never been a huge fan of) and comes in only two very bland colorways in the US.

I do love that Samsung went out of its way to remove the camera bump on the back, but it’s clear that Samsung was more concerned with triple-testing its batteries than a new revolutionary design.

4. T-Mobile 600 mHz network

T-Mobile has really been talking up its 600 mHz network that promises connection speeds and coverage that can rival Verizon’s 700 mHz network. However, devices need to be compatible with the new network to enjoy the benefits. An earlier announcement by T-Mobile claimed that Samsung was working on a compatible device, but it appears that the Galaxy Note 8 is not it.

It’d be good to see Samsung working well with partners, especially when software updates to Android depend on this willingness. While Samsung has determined that it will be updating to Android Oreo as soon as it can, we’ll have to wait and see. So in the end, not being compatible with T-Mobile’s new network is kind of a bummer, even though this will only affect a relatively small group of people.

3. Bixby button

note 8 button.jpg

Photo by Jason Kempin / Stringer

Bixby is Samsung’s digital assistant, which is featured prominently on the device. Unfortunately, Bixby has been rife with problems. In fact, it’s only been available worldwide as of a couple days ago despite that the Galaxy S8 has been in customers’ hands for months now.

While Bixby is up and running now on the Galaxy Note 8, it’s just not anywhere near as helpful as the Google Assistant, which already enjoys the spotlight on Android. The real problem, however, is that there is a dedicated button on the Note 8 (as with the S8) that can’t be reprogrammed to do something more useful. It’d be easy to open this up, but Samsung seems determined to force Bixby on its users.

2. Fingerprint scanner

fingerprint scanner note 8.jpg

Photo by Jason Kempin / Stringer

Other than Bixby, the other annoying feature that the Note 8 inherits from the S8 is the fingerprint scanner. To make room for the massive display, the fingerprint scanner has been moved to the back of the device. While there’s nothing wrong with that, the placement of the scanner is completely wrong—right next to the camera. That means having to stretch out your finger just to unlock your phone and often smudging the camera lens instead.

It’s even worse on the Galaxy Note 8, which is substantially bigger than the S8. The Note 8 has other ways of unlocking your phone, but not having easy access to the fingerprint scanner is really inconvenient.

1. Pricetag

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Photo by Jason Kempin / Stringer

The most surprising thing about the Galaxy Note 8 is the price, which takes the cake for one of the most expensive flagship smartphones ever made. The phone starts at $929 unlocked, and goes up to $960 at Verizon. It’s significantly more than competitors like the iPhone 7 Plus, but it’s not clear if it really adds enough value to be worth the cost. With that being said, we’re anticipating that the new “10th anniversary” iPhone 8 will have a price jump as well.

We’ll have to wait and see if the extra large screen and fancy camera are enough to justify the cost over something like the Galaxy S8, but with affordable laptops and smartphones entering the market from every side, the Note 8 has an uphill battle ahead of it.

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