On the Galaxy Note 8’s 6.3-inch screen, the benefits of OLED are pronounced. Photos looked amazing. They popped out with vivid colors and nice shadow detail. For reading, web articles looked great, with crisp, clear text that was easy on the eyes — a boon for anyone with less-than-perfect vision. The roomy screen, which has roughly the same dimensions as a pocket notepad, is a nice size for taking notes with the digital pen; I used it to outline this review in a coffee shop.
Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate, a consulting firm that studies displays, also tested the Note 8 and gave it an A+, his highest rating. He praised the screen for its exceptional brightness and wide color gamut, among other features.
“It is the most innovative and high performance smartphone display that we have ever lab tested,” he wrote in his review.
The downside is that OLED is an expensive screen technology, which is reflected in the Note 8’s price tag. Apple’s next premium iPhone, which is also expected to have an OLED screen, will cost upward of $999.
The Note 8 also has an exceptional camera. Similar to Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, the Note 8 has a dual-lens system. The two lenses work together to produce a so-called bokeh effect: You can show the photo’s main subject clearly while gently blurring the background.
The Note 8 calls this feature Live Focus, which worked quickly and proficiently in my tests. In the end, the Note 8’s photos looked clear and vibrant but oversaturated to me — though some people prefer that their photos appear exaggerated.
Stronger Safety Checks
The Galaxy Note 8’s top-notch screen and fast camera would become moot if the phone is unsafe like last year’s infamous Galaxy Note 7, which had to be discontinued because some burst into flames. There’s no way to be certain that the Note 8 will not also explode, but Samsung has shown that people can reasonably expect these phones to be safe.
For one, Samsung said the Galaxy Note 8’s battery underwent a series of safety checks. The company also for the first time brought in a reputable product safety consultant, UL, to perform additional tests. And the Galaxy S8, the smaller version of the Note 8, has