Why Samsung's Note 8 made me dump my S8 Plus: S Pen and dual camera

After several months with the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, I thought it was perfect for my needs and that I would not go back to a Note. I then saw the Note 8 in person and immediately changed my mind.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

After having to return my Samsung Galaxy Note 7 twice last year, I bought and spent more than four months with the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. It's a fantastic smartphone, but I sold it the day after being briefed on the Galaxy Note 8.

There will be several new smartphones released in the next couple of months and there are still some current, incredible options. Many are priced at $500 or less, but since I use my smartphones daily for many hours, I have no problem spending whatever it takes to have the best.

I spent a couple hours with the Galaxy Note 8, and I think it is the best for me in 2017, primarily due to two reasons above what the Galaxy S8 Plus offers.


Dual camera setup

We have seen dual cameras over the past year on several Huawei devices, the Apple iPhone 7 Plus, the LG V20, the Moto Z2 Force, LG G6, and more. These cameras are setup in various ways with mono and color lenses, telephoto lenses, and wide-angle lenses.

On most of these dual camera smartphones, you have to make a choice as to what kind of image you want when choosing the lens or mode before taking a photo. With the new dual OIS rear cameras (first phone to have OIS support on both lenses) of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, you can take the photo and then decide later what you want to do with that photo.

Huawei has the closest type of setup, but you still need to select wide aperture mode on the Huawei phones and this limits your result. Samsung's Live Focus feature lets you control the depth of field, unlike some other smartphone cameras, by allowing you to adjust the bokeh effect in preview mode and even after you take the photo.

In Dual Capture mode, both rear cameras take two pictures simultaneously -- and you can keep both images: One close-up shot from the telephoto lens and one wide-angle shot that shows the entire background.

Samsung already has one of the most compelling camera phones with the S8 and S8 Plus, and now with the Note 8, it has taken smartphone photography to the next level.


S Pen functionality

Over the past couple of months I have come to find the Apple Pencil to be essential for my tablet usage. However, my smartphone is with me even more than my iPad, so I want to extend that stylus experience to my entire mobile life.

Samsung stated that more than 60 percent of S Pen notes were captured from a screen off state, and so it worked to improve this important capability on the Galaxy Note 8. You can still capture notes with the screen off, but now you can edit them after saving, add 100 more pages if you want, and easily set notes to appear on your lock screen.

The S Pen supports 4,096 levels of pressure with the tip having a 0.7mm diameter. You can animate notes in GIF format, select text for real-time translation, and more. Like the Note 8 itself, the S Pen also now has an IP68 water and dust resistant rating for use in most any condition.

Air Command has been updated with a new shortcut option for messaging with the S Pen. You can now quickly and easily write text messages with your S Pen, which allows you to send a more personalized message to contacts.


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Samsung launches Galaxy Note 8 with dual camera, improved display, S Pen

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Samsung Note 8 launch: How to watch it live

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