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High expectations

The Galaxy S8 was the first flagship to follow the Galaxy Note 7, albeit under a different product line, with minimal negative reactions. The Galaxy Note 8 arrived soon after to much aplomb. With record pre-orders and sales, it certainly looks to have delivered the follow-up superstar the Galaxy Note 7 deserved.

Almost-flawless fundamentals

The biggest criticism of the Galaxy S8 was the odd choice of fingerprint placement, and the Note 8 somewhat addresses this with a slightly rearranged order of the camera and sensors. The Note 8 features the dual cameras on the left, with the heart rate sensor and flash in the middle and the fingerprint sensor on the right. The sensor itself is slightly recessed, which makes it easier to find than the Galaxy S8 – with fewer fingerprints on the camera lenses.

Five reasons why the LG V30 is better than the Galaxy Note 8

Features

The S-Pen delivers exactly what you expect – an excellent life-like writing experience, lots of customization, and plenty of legitimate uses. The screen-off memo now supports 100 pages of editable text that can be pinned to your Always On Display (AOD). I use it a lot to jot down notes, shopping lists, and reminders while walking down the street or when I just want to scribble something, and then pin them to the AOD.

At the launch of the Note 8, Live Message was the most interesting app tweaked for the S-Pen. Like most gimmicky features, I barely actually use it. This is more than likely down to the lack of an iMessage-like single messaging system, although it works pretty well as a GIF inside WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. It would be great for Samsung – or most likely Google as it would need Android-wide support – to develop a single messaging system. Unfortunately it’s unlikely to happen as attempts like Google Talk, Hangouts and Allo have all fallen by the wayside.

The new software feature that makes this the king of productivity is App Pairing, which allows you to set up two apps to launch side-by-side in multi-window, in a single shortcut. I use Asana and Slack a lot, as well as Twitter and YouTube and having both these shortcuts easily accessible definitely made things easier. I prefer to have them on my home screen though as I still don’t use the Edge Screen features, even several generations after they were first launched.

Bereft of innovation

It has taken weeks to figure out exactly why the Galaxy Note 8 makes me feel this way. With an almost-perfect overall experience, you’d expect it to be a firm favorite. It was a few days ago that it came to me; the Galaxy Note 8 doesn’t feel like a Galaxy Note at all, it feels like a Galaxy S8 Plus with an S-Pen.

Last year, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge offered a lot of the same design features as the Galaxy Note 7, but there were a number changes which made it feel like a different smartphone. The Iris Scanner was new. The wider body and overall feel were new. The S-Pen had several new features. Overall the handset felt a lot more polished than either of the earlier devices.

The problem for the Note 8 however, is the mere existence of the Galaxy S8 Plus

Samsung has had the benefit of an extra year, as well as the lessons of the Galaxy Note 7, to give the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus a little extra finesse. The result is two smartphones that, like the Note 8, were almost perfect. The problem for the Note 8 however, is the mere existence of the Galaxy S8 Plus. Samsung’s super-sized Galaxy S flagship has a similar screen size, near-identical design, and almost identical specs sheet.

Aside from the S-Pen, dual camera, additional RAM and a few minor tweaks, the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8 Plus are essentially the same device. This is a product differentiation problem. The Galaxy Note always brought big new features to the Galaxy family, and the Note 8 has only a handful. If anything, Samsung is relying on the minor updates to the S-Pen and the addition of a dual camera to appeal to would-be Galaxy Note users, which simply doesn’t fit the mold of previous Galaxy Note devices.

The dual camera itself is definitely able to hold its own against any other smartphone but Samsung hasn’t innovated here. Rather, the company is playing catch up to rivals who have offered dual cameras for years. The addition of OIS in the second lens – a first for smartphone cameras – offers something unique and the camera performs incredibly, but it’s not exactly the groundbreaking innovation we’ve come to expect from the Galaxy Note line.

The success of the Galaxy Note 8 may simply be because, for the first time in three years, it’s a widely available Galaxy Note device.

Lost in translation

A thought that’s been going through my mind since the launch of the Galaxy Note 8, is that it feels like Samsung has forgotten what the Galaxy Note means. After the failures of the Note 5 global availability and the Note 7 recall, the success of the Galaxy Note 8 may simply be because, for the first time in three years, it’s a widely available Galaxy Note device.

The Galaxy Note has always represented the best of smartphones, but the homogenization of Samsung’s smartphone range seems to have substituted iteration for innovation. Updates make already-great smartphones even better, but nothing that truly wows us.

The homogenization of Samsung’s smartphone range seems to have substituted iteration for innovation.

Maybe this is where the meaning of the Samsung Galaxy Note name has changed. Instead of innovation, maybe we can now only expect these devices to offer a slightly upgraded and better experience than the Galaxy S flagship.

Sure, the Galaxy Note may continue to be where Samsung offers its new features first, but these are no longer a guarantee with each device. The switch to the all-screen Infinity Display and taller aspect ratio for the Galaxy S8 family, coupled with it being a global hit every year, may mean this has now become Samsung’s focus. Even the new chipsets arrive in the Galaxy S line first.

Despite it all… a blockbuster Make the Note… note-worthy again!

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Note 7 Vs Note 8: What’s The Difference?

Our Verdict

This one is a no-brainer, given that you cannot – and could not – buy the Note 7. But if you had been able to, we still reckon the improvements in performance, photography, productivity and accessibility make the Note 8 a much better deal. It’s significantly more expensive than was the Note 7 at launch, but Samsung prices fall fast and it won’t be long before you find some great offers.

People loved the Galaxy Note 7. I mean they really loved the Note 7. Its battery was known to be setting alight people’s cars and homes, and even with Samsung bending over backwards to encourage people to return it still they would not. That’s the kind of loyalty that makes a Labrador’s love seem half-arsed.

A rather obvious point to make at the beginning of this article, then, is that the Note 7 is no longer on sale – at least not in its original configuration, and not in the UK. But the Note 8 now is (find the best deals), at a colossal £869 – is it worth it?

(You’ll likely be buying it on a contract and so the price may not bother you so much, but  buying the Note 8 SIM-free is still the cheapest way to buy it, of course.)

Samsung probably could have got away with more or less re-releasing the Note 7 with a processor upgrade and a new battery. Even a year on and by today’s standards it was and should have been a a great phone. “Almost flawless,” we called it in our review. Then the battery started exploding, and you know the rest of that story.

Thanks to this misfortune, the UK hasn’t seen a decent Galaxy Note since the Note 4. The Note 5 was never officially released in the UK, and Samsung then skipped a generation to bring its numbering scheme into line with the S series.

The Note 4 is now a pensioner by smartphone standards, so it’s against the Galaxy S8 Plus that the new Note 8 really needs to impress. Nevertheless, we’ve compared the specs between what we have now and what we should have had last year to help you see what’s new in the Galaxy Note 8.

What’s new in the Galaxy Note 8?

There are four key new features in the Note 8: a larger Infinity Display, a dual-camera, an enhanced S Pen and the Bixby assistant. Samsung has taken the opportunity to bump up the core hardware, so we now get a 10nm Snapdragon 835 processor and 6GB of DDR4 RAM. It’s also shrunk down the battery a tad, so it’s now just 3,300mAh rather than 3,500mAh.

The Infinity Display is the most obvious change in terms of appearance. While the dual curved edge became a standard feature with the Note 7, Samsung has enlarged it from 5.7- to 6.3in, and extended the screen at the top and bottom of the device to create a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio. It has accomplished this by moving the fingerprint scanner to the rear of the device, and implementing a pressure-sensitive home button in the display itself. 

The basic technology is the same, with Samsung still favouring Super AMOLED and a Quad-HD resolution (here referred to as Quad-HD+ because of the extra pixels in the now taller screen). But the extra space available is better suited to enjoying games and media, or whatever you want to do.

There have been some enhancements to the Always-on aspect of this panel, too. In conjunction with some key S Pen stylus improvements – it’s more sensitive to pressure, it has a refined tip, and it can translate entire sentences, units and currencies – you can now create, edit and pin notes to the Always-on display.

Something we’ve not had much opportunity to experiment with yet is Bixby, Samsung’s own virtual assistant. This is because the UK version of Bixby Voice rolled out only a day ahead of the Note 8 launch, despite being a promoted feature of the Galaxy S8 that was unveiled in March.

Bixby is said to be much like the Google Assistant that is also built into the Note 8, offering a new way to interact with the device. You can ask it questions and give it commands, all in a natural conversational tone.

The processor is a strong choice, if mimicked by the majority of other flagships launching this year. The Snapdragon 835 is the first Qualcomm (actually co-built by Samsung) processor to be made with a 10nm process, which brings improvements to performance and efficiency, and therefore battery life. 

Compared to its 14nm process, Samsung’s 10nm method claims an up to 30 percent increase in efficiency, 27 percent increase in performance, and 40 percent decrease in power consumption.

So though we’ve lost 200mAh on the battery the difference should be negligible, while performance should be significantly improved over the Note 7 – especially given the extra 2GB of RAM.

The dual-camera is a first for Samsung flagships – and the fact each lens has optical image stabilisation is reportedly another first. Whereas the Note 7 had one 12Mp f/1.7 wide-angle camera at the rear, the Note 8 adds a second 12Mp f/2.4 telephoto lens. You can use the new pairing to play around with the bokeh effect, or to simply capture two images at once – one close-up, the other not so much.

We’ve compared the key specifications of the Note 7 and the Note 8 in the table below:

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy Note 7Samsung Galaxy Note 8Display5.7in, 16:9, Quad-HD, Super AMOLED, Always-on display6.3in, 18.5:9, Quad-HD+, Super AMOLED, Always-on displayOperating systemAndroid Marshmallow 6.0.1Android Nougat 7.1.1ProcessorExynos 8890 (14nm)Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (10nm)RAM4GB LPDDR46GB LPDDR4Storage64GB plus microSD up to 256GB64GB/128GB/256GB plus microSD up to 256GBPrimary camera12Mp, f/1.7 wide-angle, OIS12Mp dual-lens rear camera (12Mp, f/1.7 wide-angle + f/2.4 telephoto with 2x optical zoom), OISSelfie camera5Mp f/1.78Mp f/1.7Connectivity802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, 4G LTE Cat 9, NFC, GPS, GLONASS802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, 4G LTE Cat 16, NFC, GPS, GLONASSExtra featuresS Pen stylus, home button with integrated fingerprint scanner, heart-rate sensorS Pen stylus, rear fingerprint scanner and heart-rate sensor, DeX supportBattery3,500mAh with wired (USB-C) and wireless fast charging3,300mAh with wired (USB-C) and wireless fast chargingWaterproofingIP68IP68Dimensions

73.9×7.9×153.5mm, 169g

162.5×74.8×8.6mm, 195gColoursBlack, Blue Coral, Silver, GoldMidnight Black & Maple Gold at launch; Orchid Grey & Deep Sea Blue may follow

Read next:  Best new phones

Specs Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Specs

Android 7.1 Nougat

6.3in Quad HD display (2960×1440), 521ppi

Dual curved edge Infinity Display

Exynos 8895 octa-core processor (Snapdragon 835 in some markets)

6GB RAM

64GB internal storage

Micro-SD card slot (up to 256GB)

Dual 12Mp rear-facing cameras with OIS

8Mp front camera

Pressure sensitive home button

Fingerprint scanner

Iris scanner

Heart rate monitor

11ac dual-band Wi-Fi

Bluetooth 5.0

GPS

NFC

4G LTE Cat 16

Headphone jack

USB-C

3300mAh non-removable battery

Wireless charging

IP68 dust & waterproof rating

75x163x8.6mm

195g

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Faqs, Pros, Cons, User Queries And Answers

The latest premium offering from Samsung features a huge 6.3 inch infinity display and a suite of premium features and high-end specifications. Notably, the Galaxy Note 8 is the first Samsung flagship to sport a dual rear camera.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Specifications

Key Specifications Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Display 6.3-inch Super AMOLED Infinity display

Screen Resolution 2960 X 1440 pixels Quad HD+

Operating System Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box with Grace UX

Processor Octa-Core

Chipset Exynos 8895

GPU Mali G71 MP20

RAM 6GB

Internal Storage 64GB

Expandable Storage Up to 256GB via microSD card

Primary Camera Dual 12 MP (26mm, f/1.7, PDAF & 52mm, f/2.4, AF), OIS, 2x optical zoom, dual-LED flash

Secondary Camera 8 MP, f/1.7, autofocus

Video Recording [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], HDR

Battery 3,300 mAh

4G VoLTE Yes

Sim Card Type Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual standby

Dimension 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm

Weight 195 grams

Price Rs. 67,900 

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Pros

6.3-inch Quad HD+ Infinity Display

Dual Rear Cameras

Waterproof S-Pen and Other S-Pen Features

IP68 Certification

6GB LPDDR4 RAM, UFS Memory Card Support

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Cons

Average Battery Size

Question: How is the display of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8?

Question: Does Galaxy Note 8 support dual SIM cards?

Answer: Yes, it supports dual nano-SIM cards.

Question: Does the Galaxy Note 8 support 4G VoLTE?

Question: How much RAM and internal storage come with the Galaxy Note 8?

Answer: The smartphone comes with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage variant.

Question: Can the internal storage in the Galaxy Note 8 be expanded?

Question: Which Android version runs on the Galaxy Note 8?

Answer: The Galaxy Note 8 runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat with Grace UX on top.

Question: What are the camera features of the Galaxy Note 8?

Answer: Galaxy Note 8 is the first Samsung flagship to sport a dual rear camera. Samsung has added a 12MP + 12MP rear camera with a telephoto and a wide-angle lens combination for ‘bokeh’ effect. The dual camera features (26mm with f/1.7 and PDAF & 52mm with f/2.4 and AF). Also, both the sensors have OIS, 2x optical zoom, dual-LED (dual tone) flash. There’s another feature called Live Focus in the camera app that will let you adjust the background blur even after you have taken the photo. You can also record 4K videos with the camera.

On the front, there is an 8 MP camera with f/1.7 aperture. It also features autofocus, video recording of [email protected], dual video call, and Auto HDR.

Question: What is the battery size on Galaxy Note 8?

Question: Which mobile processor is used in Samsung Galaxy Note 8?

Answer: The Note 8 comes in India with Samsung’s in-house Exynos 8895 64-bit octa-core processor with Mali G71 MP20 GPU.

Question: Does the Galaxy Note 8 features a fingerprint sensor?

Question: Is the Galaxy Note 8 water resistant?

Answer: The Galaxy Note 8 is IP68-certified. It is capable of withstanding immersion in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.

Question: Does the Galaxy Note 8 support NFC connectivity?

Question: Does the Galaxy Note 8 support Samsung Pay?

Answer: Yes, it comes with Samsung Pay support for digital payments.

Question: Does the Galaxy Note 8 support USB OTG?

Answer: Yes, the smartphone offers USB OTG connectivity.

Answer: Yes, the phone supports HDR mode.

Question: Can 4K videos be played on the Galaxy Note 8?

Answer: Yes, you can play as well as record 4K videos.

Question: How is the audio experience of Galaxy Note 8?

Question: Does the Galaxy Note 8 support a 3.5mm headphone jack?

Answer: Yes, it comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Question: Does the device support mobile internet sharing?

Answer: Yes, you can use mobile hotspot to share your internet.

Question: Will the Bixby Assistant on Galaxy Note 8 support Indian accent?

Answer: The Galaxy Note 8 comes with the Bixby virtual assistant. Bixby will understand Indian accents, and dialects, and context when it launches later this month for Galaxy Note 8 along with Galaxy S8, and S8+.

Answer: The Galaxy Note 8 has been priced at Rs. 67,900 in India.

Question: Will the Note 8 be available on offline stores?

Answer: The Galaxy Note 8 will be available to buy via select Samsung retail stores, the Samsung online store, as well as Amazon India.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that the Samsung has brought back its Note Series in India with a lot of premium features with the Galaxy Note 8. This is a perfect flagship device by all means and offers all that we can expect from a premium device. The 6.3 inch infinity display which may seem extra-large, but it does not make the device bulky and one can enjoy one-handed usage easily.

Samsung Galaxy Note For T

Not much has changed with the Galaxy Note for T-Mobile, but it ships with Ice Cream Sandwich and is slightly less expensive than the AT&T version.

The Samsung Galaxy Note ($200 with a two-year contract on T-Mobile; price as of July 30, 2012) came out on AT&T initially, but now T-Mobile customers get a chance to experience the phone-tablet hybrid sensation. With a 5.3-inch display, the Galaxy Note certainly isn’t for everyone, but its unique accompanying pen, which is a far cry from the pens accompanying the capacitive PDAs of yore, works quite well with the user interface. On T-Mobile, not much has changed from the AT&T version except for the fact that it runs on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network and has a few T-Mobile-branded apps preloaded. But with the Galaxy Note 2 rumored to come out next month, the Galaxy Note might be a hard sell.

(Editor’s Note: The Software, Display and some of the Design sections of this review were taken from the AT&T review, as the phones are almost identical.)

Tablet, Phone, or ‘Phablet’?

The Galaxy Note’s 5.3-inch display puts the Note in an interesting spot between a phone and a tablet. I have to say, however, that it feels a little silly to hold something of this size up to your face and make a phone call. It is light enough, but I found it a bit too wide for my hands, feeling uncomfortable and unwieldy at times. The Galaxy Note measures 5.78 by 3.27 by 0.38 inches, and weighs 6.28 ounces.

The Note has the typical touch-sensitive navigation buttons below the display (Menu, Home, Back, Search), plus a volume rocker and a power button. On the bottom of the Note, you’ll find the slot for the S Pen (which I’ll cover soon).

The Note’s aesthetic is pretty similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy S II phones (though larger), with a rectangular shape, a piano-black bezel, chrome piping, and a textured “carbon blue” battery cover.

HD Super AMOLED Display

The Galaxy Note’s 5.3-inch display has a 1280-by-800-pixel resolution. The technology is HD Super AMOLED, not to be confused with Super AMOLED Plus, which we saw on the Samsung Galaxy S II line of phones. This is the same display technology as on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. As I noted in my review of the Galaxy Nexus, HD Super AMOLED is based on the PenTile pixel structure, in which pixels share subpixels. Galaxy S II phones, on the other hand, have full RGB displays, in which the pixels each have their own subpixels. In comparison with Super AMOLED Plus displays, HD Super AMOLED displays supposedly have a lower overall subpixel density, reduced sharpness, and degraded color accuracy.

When I reviewed the Galaxy Nexus, I noted that I couldn’t really see a difference in sharpness between the two different display types. The Galaxy Note also handled image and text rendering well, producing sharp, clear text and details on both Web pages and high-resolution images. I noticed a touch of degradation on higher-resolution images, particularly when I zoomed in, but the image quality definitely looked better than on some other phones and tablets we’ve seen.

The main problem I have with the display is that the colors are oversaturated. Additionally, skin tones look ruddy, and whites have a slight yellowish tint. Oversaturation is a common problem among AMOLED displays, Samsung-made or not. Still, it isn’t always a bad thing: Colors on the Note look rich and bright, while blacks are deep.

Using the S Pen

The Galaxy Note includes a Wacom-made S Pen for note-taking and drawing. And as I mentioned earlier, the S Pen is very different from the old styluses you might remember. Wacom pens recognize both right-handed and left-handed users, and the S Pen also mimics the act of physically taking notes: The harder you press the pen on the Note, the thicker and bolder your lines will be.

As of July 10, the Note was upgraded to Android 4.0, “Ice Cream Sandwich,” with a version of TouchWiz that’s similar to the one on the Galaxy S II line of phones. As you might expect, the Galaxy Note also has built-in software and special gestures for the pen.

One handy app, called S Memo Lite, lets you jot down notes from pretty much anywhere in the phone. To pull up the S Memo Lite app, you hold down the button on the pen, and double tap on the display. If you have another app open, the notepad appears on top of it, allowing you to switch back to it easily.

A fuller version of S Memo, S Note Premium Suite, is accessible from the apps menu. In this app, you can add color to your drawing or text, or insert pictures (either via your gallery or from the provided clip art) and shapes.

In Premium Suite, you can now choose from seven different templates: Note, Meeting Note, Idea Note, Magazine, Diary, Recipe, and Travel. These templates let you easily add images, video, maps, and text for whatever you feel like creating in S Note. You can also now record and play back step-by-step details of your drawings and share it with others. While this feature is cool, I don’t really see the purpose of it. I suppose if you want to show somebody step-by-step directions on a map or the like, it could be useful.

Premium Suite also has an automatic shape correction feature, which will straighten any lines and create perfect circles or rectangles. That seems useful for drawing flow charts on the fly. You can also enter basic mathematical equations, and S Note will solve them for you via Wolphram Alpha.

You can also take screenshots by pressing and holding the pen to whatever item you want to capture. Your shot then opens in a simple photo-editing app that lets you crop the screenshot in either lasso or rectangle mode.

Writing on the Galaxy Note takes some getting used to. At first, I was appalled at how horrible my handwriting looked. Once I got the hang of using the pen, though, I started to enjoy it. As somebody who is constantly doodling and prefers writing down notes to typing them, I liked being able to jot down ideas or reminders. Also, the keyboard has a pen mode that will convert your handwriting into text. I thought it did a pretty good job of recognizing my handwriting, though a few times, it misinterpreted what I was trying to write.

Pen gestures involve a learning curve, as well. To go “back,” you hold down the pen’s button and swipe to the left. To go to the home screen, you drag the pen from top to bottom while pressing the pen button. And if you want to open Menus, you swipe from bottom to top while pressing the button. Once you get accustomed to relying on the pen rather than on the hardware buttons, navigating the Note is a breeze. You can, of course, use the hardware buttons at any time if you don’t like the pen gestures.

If the S Pen feels too wimpy (or gives you horrible flashbacks of your capacitive-touch Windows Mobile phone), you can invest in the S Pen Holder Kit (sold separately). The accessory is basically a standard writing-pen shell for the S Pen, complete with a pocket clip.

Pen-Friendly Apps and Other Software

The selection of pen-friendly apps feels a bit anemic. Samsung says that the SDK for the Galaxy Note and S Pen will be available to developers soon (though the company doesn’t specify when). I see a lot of potential for creative programs and productivity apps, as well as games that incorporate the S Pen (think Nintendo DS-style games).

You’ll also get a new app called My Story, which lets you create multimedia letters and cards. As far as I can tell, you can share these notes only with other people who also have the My Story app—basically fellow Galaxy phone owners.

Of course, you also get a slew of T-Mobile-branded apps including Bobsled Messaging, T-Mobile Name ID, T-Mobile TV, and a suite of apps called T-Mobile 4G Pro App Pack. This is essentially a curated list of productivity apps (like Evernote, Dropbox, Square, and so on) with links to those apps in the Google Play Store.

Performance

The U.S. Galaxy Note is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm S3 processor. (The European version, on the other hand, has a 1.4GHz dual-core Samsung Exynos processor.) I tested a few graphics-heavy games on the Note, including Osmos HD and World of Goo. Both ran smoothly, without any glitches, and looked terrific on the Note’s large display. Video also ran flawlessly, without any issues.

I ran a few benchmarks on the Galaxy Note, including the third-party Android app Andebench. Andebench measures CPU and Dalvik (the virtual machine in Android that runs many of the operating system’s core functions) interpreter performance. The Galaxy Note got a score of 2469. By comparison, the Galaxy S III on T-Mobile got a significantly higher score of 5109. On Sunspider, which tests Javascript performance in the browser, the Galaxy Note got a score of 2.6 seconds, while the Galaxy S III on T-Mobile was faster with a score of 1.91 seconds.

After using so many phones with Qualcomm’s newer, faster S4 chip (the Galaxy S III, the HTC One X and the Motorola Atrix HD), I though the Galaxy Note felt a little poky. Native apps, like the S Note and S Memo apps, lagged a bit when I tried to launch them. It isn’t all that noticeable, but it does illustrate that the Galaxy Note is a bit dated.

I also ran the FCC-approved Ookla app to test the Galaxy Note’s data speeds over T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ network in San Francisco. In my neighborhood, I got an average download speed of 6.92 and an average upload speed of 1.04. We’ve seen faster speeds over T-Mobile’s 4G network in other parts of the city, however. For comparison, I got an average download speed of 24.64 megabits per second, and an average upload speed of 8.78 mbps on the Galaxy Note over AT&T’s LTE network.

Call quality was good over T-Mobile’s network in San Francisco. My friends’ voices sounded clear over the line with a good amount of volume. My friends reported that my voice came in perfectly—even when I was standing in a highly trafficked area.

We haven’t yet formally tested battery life, but the Galaxy Note lasted through a full day of heavy testing before I had to plug it in again. We’ll update this section once we run our battery tests.

Camera

The 8-megapixel camera snapped good pictures, indoors and out. The colors in my indoor and outdoor photos looked accurate, and details appeared sharp. Honestly, though, the phone’s dimensions make it a little awkward to use as a camera. Have you ever tried shooting a photo with a tablet? It just feels strange.

The Galaxy Note can capture HD video at up to 1080p resolution. The device also has a front-facing 2-megapixel camera for making video calls or taking self-portraits.

Bottom Line

The Galaxy Note is a unique phone and unlike anything else we’ve seen in the United States (I say that, though the LG Vu is quite similar, but it’s available only in Korea). I like being able to whip the Note out to jot down ideas, and I love being able to doodle during a meeting or while riding the bus. But is the Galaxy Note on T-Mobile outdated? The Galaxy Note came to the United States back in February, but it debuted internationally almost a year ago at the IFA Conference in Berlin. With rumors of the Galaxy Note 2 coming out at this year’s IFA next month, this older version might be a hard sell. Even so, we likely won’t see the Galaxy Note 2 in the United States until next year. The Galaxy Note is a perfectly good phone for T-Mobile customers itching to try out this phablet wonder.

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Hands

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra hands-on: You can preorder, but you shouldn’t

Samsung has a new flagship, though the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has the feel of something pretty familiar. Largest of the company’s phones with its 6.9-inch Super AMOLED display, the S Pen enabled handset doesn’t stray too far from last year’s Note 10, only pausing to dip liberally into the aesthetic of the Galaxy S20 Ultra released earlier in 2023.

That is, thankfully, no bad thing unless you wanted revolution not evolution. You’d have been out of luck there generally with the Note line-up anyway; the past few iterations of Samsung’s Android workhorse have been about refinement, it’s fair to say.

With its $1.3k+ price tag, it’s also fair to have high expectations for the Note 20 Ultra. I’ll put aside the wisdom of Samsung opting for a plastic back on the $999.99 Note 20 until I’ve had a chance to play with it myself, but its full-spec’d sibling has no such compromises. Though the Mystic Bronze color looks a lot more pink than you might expect, the frosted finish to the rear glass works nicely against the highly polished metal frame.

Samsung’s attention to detail has come on leaps and bounds over the past few years, which is a good thing considering how in-your-face the Note 20 Ultra’s camera bulge is. I can understand the urge to accommodate a fancy periscope zoom – which folds the optics across the Note to manage its 5x optical magnification – but the resulting protrusion is no mere bump. It looks unwieldy, but more annoying still is how it leaves the Note 20 Ultra rocking as you use it on a table.

That’s all the more frustrating when you go to use the S Pen. Samsung’s stylus supports the same 4,096 levels of pressure, but some refresh magic – including AI prediction of where you’re likely to swipe the nib next – leaves it feeling that little bit more fluid to write or sketch with. It’s truly a lovely sensation, up until the point where the Note tips to the side on the desk because of that accursed camera barnacle.

Pick it up, meanwhile, and it’s a reminder that those with small hands might want to look elsewhere. The 6.9-inch screen may be pushed to the edges as best Samsung’s engineers can, but it still leaves the Note 20 Ultra at 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1 mm. The downside to the premium construction is a 208 gram weight, too. Yes, that’s a little under the iPhone 11 Pro Max (at 226 grams) but then again it’s hardly like anybody said Apple’s phone was lightweight either.

All that gets easier to stomach when you actually see the display, however. Its WQHD+ resolution is detailed and its AMOLED tech is bright and color-rich. A 120Hz refresh rate – which can automatically ramp down when such rapid speeds are required, to save on power – leaves it silky-smooth in scrolling. Samsung’s Infinity-O hole-punch camera is small and easily overlooked.

Pull out the S Pen from its silo – moved, for 2023, from the right to the left side – and you get new Air Actions that allow you to control more of the phone wirelessly. You can navigate through a PowerPoint using just wand-like swipes, for example. It has the potential to be useful, but with DeX having gone wireless there’s arguably more chance you’ll be holding the Note 20 Ultra in your hand anyway, even when presenting to a remote screen.

As for power, it’s early days with the phone – and my full review will have to wait for now – but the combination of Snapdragon 865+ and 12GB of RAM doesn’t exactly leave me concerned the new Note will be lacking in grunt. You get a 4,500 mAh battery with fast wired and wireless charging, too, plus 5G, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, and Ultra Wideband which will be useful for Android Nearby Share when UWB is more common.

All in all, the Note 20 Ultra is shaping up to be just what we’ve come to expect from the Note series. Power, form that follows function, and a beautiful Samsung display on top of it all. Camera performance and the rest will have to wait until the full review too, but Samsung’s decision to cherry-pick sensors from the well-reviewed Galaxy S20 Ultra seems like a sensible one.

Restore Galaxy Note 10.1 Wi

In the world of custom ROM flashing, it’s often needed to revert back to a stock firmware on your device, for many reasons including wanting to recover the device from a bad custom ROM flash or simply returning to stock from a custom ROM which you don’t like. The Galaxy Note 10.1 is sure to receive a lot of attention in the custom ROM development world, which is where this guide comes in.

This guide will help you restore your Galaxy Note 10.1 Wi-Fi variant (N8010) to the stock N8010XXALGC (or simply XXALGC) Ice Cream Sandwich Android 4.0.4 firmware. Flashing this firmware will not affect your device’s warranty nor will it increase the dreaded flash counter nor show the yellow triangle when booting up the device, so it is perfectly safe to flash and will get your device back to stock.

Continue reading how you can restore your Galaxy Note 10.1 to the XXALGC Samsung firmware.

Compatibility

This firmware and the guide below are compatible only and only with Galaxy Note 10.1 Wi-Fi variant, model number N8010. It’s not compatible with any other device. Check your device’s model number in: Settings » About tablet.

Warning!

The methods and procedures discussed here are considered risky and you should not attempt anything if you don’t know completely what it is. If any damage occurs to your device, we won’t be held liable.

How to Install N8010XXALGC Firmware on Galaxy Note 10.1 Wi-Fi (N8010)

Extract the N8010XXALGC_N8010PAPALG5_PAP.zip file to obtain a file named N8010XXALGC_N8010PAPALG5_HOME.tar.md5 (the file name may end at .tar, which is normal as the .md5 extension may be hidden).

Extract the contents of the Odin 1.85.zip file to a folder.

Disconnect your tablet if it’s connected to PC, then switch it off.

Then, turn off the tablet. Then boot into download mode (odin mode) on the tablet by holding down Power and Volume Down buttons (volume down is the button next to the power button) together till you get a Warning!! screen. Here, press Volume Up to continue to enter download mode.

If you don’t get this message, then probably there is a problem with drivers. Make sure you’ve proper drivers installed (check step 2). Also, uninstall Kies from the Control Panel as well if you have it installed.

What to do if Odin gets stuck: If ODIN gets stuck and doesn’t seem to be doing anything, or you get a FAIL message (with red background) in ODIN, disconnect the tablet from the PC, close ODIN, press and hold the Volume Down + Power buttons till the tablet reboots and shows you the Warning!! screen, then press Volume Up to enter download mode again, then repeat the procedure from step 9.

[Important] After you get the PASS message and the tablet reboots, the tablet might get stuck at the booting animation/Samsung logo. If that happens, perform the following steps to make it boot. Remember that these steps will wipe your personal data like contacts, apps, messages, etc. If your tablet has already booted, skip these steps, the flash has been successful:

Boot to recovery mode — for which, press and hold down Power andVolume Up buttons together till the device reboots. When the screen turns on, let go of the power button but keep holding down the volume up button till the device boots into recovery.. Once you are in recovery mode, use volume keys to move the selection up and down and power key to select the option.

Go to Wipe data/Factory Reset and select it. Select Yes on next screen.

Then, select reboot system now to reboot the tablet, which will now boot properly.

If you run into any roadblocks while flashing the firmware, let us know and we’ll help you out.

Your Galaxy Note 10.1 N8010 has now been restored to the N8010XXALGC firmware. Do let us know how it works!

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