Every year there’s a number of shiny new smartphone vying for your attention, and 2017 was particularly chaotic. If you were looking to upgrade, and weren’t exclusive to iOS or Android, you may likely have been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices available. Who has the best camera? The most impressive display? The biggest screen? Best design? The questions are endless, and depending on how much you geek out on this type of stuff, it might take some research before you’re confident you’ve made the right choice. I’ve been using the Samsung Galaxy S8 for the last year or so, and was ready for something new. After hmm’ing and haw’ing, I finally decided to upgrade to either an iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy Note8.
Literally, I flipped a coin to see which was the better option (usually not the best way to make big choices, but hey, this isn’t exactly a life-changing one). So, based on the fate of said coin toss, I took home a shiny new iPhone X, thinking that I was ready to leave Android behind and go back to the Apple ecosystem. Haha… boy, was I wrong. From the beginning, I knew it just wasn’t going to work out; there just wasn’t enough going on with the X to really blow me away.
Outright, the 256g iPhone X costs over $1700 with tax in Canada, and for that price, I was expecting to be really, really excited about this phone. Not so much. The camera is probably its best selling feature, but beyond that, I was left wanting more. A lot more. I understand most people don’t actually use their smartphones to make calls these days, but the reception on the iPhone X was extremely poor, and I was a bit surprised to see it dropping calls, too. Needless to say, I returned it to the Apple Store, tout suite. If I really wanted a new $1700 camera, I’d go buy one. Now, after hearing rumors that Apple is discontinuing the X, I’m extra glad I didn’t make the investment.
The Samsung Note8 was clearly the way to go, and soon after peeling of its glossy protective coating, I was already in love. It’s a pretty big smartphone: boasting a 6.3” screen with an infinity display; a near bezel-less, full-frontal glass, edge-to-edge screen that makes the X look a bit dated. As for its camera, yes, I’d say that Apple probably takes the cake. But the Note8’s Dual Pixel Sensor and F1.7 lens is nothing to scoff at. It also features Live Focus, which is basically the equivalent of Apple’s Portrait Mode — but here you’re able to tweak the level of blur even more, pre or post shot.
Smartphones should be water and dust resistant — it’s 2018 for god sakes — and Samsung has been offering this type of protection for a while. The Galaxy Note8 and S Pen are rated IP68, meaning they are both protected against dust ingress and are water resistant. (Water resistance rating is based on test conditions of submersion in up to 1.5 meters of fresh water for up to 30 minutes). The Note8 is cheaper, smarter, and has a brighter, more vivid display. Colours appear more saturated, and this is something I prefer. It’s wonderful for taking notes, and also has a fantastic split-screen option making multitasking a breeze.
Besides all the technical features, overall, the Note8 just feels like a nicer smartphone to me. I’m starting to think that the freedom associated with Android devices is just too much to pass up for me, too. I also must say the functionality of AndroidAuto versus Apple’s CarPlay was hands-down in Android’s court — the interface was much smoother, better designed, and much easier to navigate on my car’s dash console.
So there you have it. My dirty and quick personal review of Samsung’s Galaxy Note8 vs. Apple’s iPhone X. Neither are perfect devices, but really, what is? These companies design these devices to be replaced, not to be used for decades; and I’m totally okay with that. In the end, the Note8 has my vote, at least until something better comes along.