It seemed like the end of the line for Samsung’s Galaxy Note series after the Note 7 went up in flames. But Samsung remained committed, saying its productivity workhorse is immensely popular among business users. As such, it wasn’t about to abandon the Note family, even if its reputation was on the line.
The payoff was such that the Note 8 is one of this year’s best smartphones, offering a terrific design, powerful S Pen features, and a fantastic camera. And it didn’t catch fire—finally putting last year’s recall in the rearview.
When we initially reviewed the Note 8, it was hard to find things we disliked. About the only knock against the device was the fingerprint sensor’s awkward placement; some people don’t mind it, others hate it. Be that as it may, Samsung could have found a better spot to place it.
But that’s just a small, almost minuscule, blip in the grand scheme of things. Nearly a month after the Note 8 became available, and the device holds up well after our initial week-long review period. It’s still lightning fast, the design still gorgeous, and the screen is eye-popping.
We still maintain that if you own the Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8 Plus, it’s not worth upgrading to the Galaxy Note 8. But it makes a compelling argument over earlier Note iterations thanks to the S Pen, which is a unique and important differentiator.
For how good the S Pen and its features are, however, we haven’t found ourselves using it all that often. It’s convenient to have when you want to scribble down a quick note, but it isn’t a crucial tool for everyday use. That’s just our experience—yours may differ.
With the Pixel 2 XL and iPhone X arriving soon, the Galaxy Note 8 is up against some major competition. But as it stands, Samsung’s flagship remains one of this year’s best phones, well worth being your daily driver.