Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Samsung Galaxy S8

Update: Our Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Galaxy S8 comparison has been refined to include the newly announced US, UK and Australian pricing to help you decide which is the ideal phone for you.

Samsung Galaxy S8 is our current favorite smartphone, but the Galaxy Note 8 was just announced and is a serious contender for TechRadar's best phone list. 

That makes this S8 vs Note 8 comparison all the more important. Should you buy the six-month old smaller Samsung phone or its newest S Pen phablet?

That comes down to several key features, including but not limited to the S Pen stylus. Will you use its increasingly handy features? Or leave it in its holster after a couple of uses?

Here's our Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Galaxy S8 comparison that will help you decide between the two smartphone heavyweights.

Note 8 vs Galaxy S8 design

The Note 8 is joining the ranks in the current Galaxy family, meaning its design isn't all too different from that of the Galaxy S8. Of course, the Note 8 is sandwiched together with a premium metal frame and showcases a dual-lens camera on its back, which sets it far apart from the S8.

Starting on the front, the phones mirror each other with an Infinity Display. Other than their inherent sizing difference, the smaller and extra-large options look quite similar.

Digging into dimensions, the S8 stands up at 148.9 x 68.1 x 8mm and the bigger Note 8 will be 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6mm.

The wider, taller measurement of the Note 8 makes sense given the extra power within, but it's also a bit bigger to make room for the insertable S Pen.

Comparing the weight of the two has the Note 8 obviously weighing more at 195 grams versus the S8's 155 grams. However, despite its heftier size the new Samsung device doesn't feel overly weighty.

If you were hoping that Samsung relocated the rear-facing fingerprint sensor to, say, the front of the Note 8 or at least a spot that was easier to access, you'll be disappointed to know that it's snug against the camera – just like the S8. 

Like the S8, the Note 8 brings the dust and water resistance, which is an awesome feature for those who like to take their phone everywhere.

At launch, the Note 8 color selection pales in comparison to that of the S8. In the US, the choice is limited to Orchid Grey and Midnight Black. Elsewhere, Deep Sea Blue and Maple Gold will be available.

Note 8 vs Galaxy S8 display

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is a relatively tiny phone with a surprisingly large 5.8-inch Super AMOLED. Its 1440 x 2960 resolution contains a pixel density of 570 pixels per inch and uses a super-widescreen 18.5:9 aspect ratio. 

Similarly, the Note 8 operates at the same resolution and widescreen aspect ratio but given its much larger 6.3-inch display, its pixel density is spread out to 521 pixels per inch.

The S8 display is pixel-rich, but the Note 8 is even bigger

Like the Samsung Galaxy S8, the Note 8 continues its HDR-ready lead. As a result, the new phone supports the Mobile HDR Premium codec, which is still unfortunately not supported by Amazon or Netflix.

Note 8 vs Galaxy S8 OS and power

Power is one thing you don't have to worry about with either of these phones.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is currently one of the most powerful phones around, thanks to 4GB of RAM and either a Snapdragon 835 chipset (if you’re in the US) or an Exynos 8895 one (in most other places) – both of which are top-end.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will have the same chipset, with the same division in terms of which countries get which, but its RAM has been upped to a whopping 6GB.

Although Android Oreo just launched, you won't find it on the Note 8 at launch, just as you won't find it on the S8. It's very likely to come down the line, but until then, these both run a tweaked version of Android 7 Nougat.

Note 8 vs Galaxy S8 camera and battery

The camera is an area where these two phones are almost beyond comparison. The S8 relies totally on its single 12MP lens to do all of the heavy lifting, but the Note 8 utilizes two 12MP lenses to good use.

One is a wide-angle lens with an aperture value of f/1.7, which should give the Note 8 the upper hand in low-light shooting. Its second lens is the telephoto lens that offers greater zooming capability.

Working in tandem, the Note 8 is capable of more things on both the software and hardware side of things than the S8 is. First off, optical image stabilization is offered for both lenses, meaning your images and videos won't suffer from too much blur at all.

Samsung is using these lenses in interesting ways. Dual Capture snaps a photo with both lenses, so that even if you commit to a zoomed-in shot, you'll have the wide-angle option sitting in your camera roll as well.

Live Focus is another neat feature exclusive to the Note 8 that lets you not only adjust the focus of a shot in post-production, but in pre – right before you even take the photo. That's really the main appeal of dual lenses, the depth of field that they provide, but Samsung's feature that lets you tweak before committing to a shot really is a game-changer.

Over on its front, the selfie camera of the Note 8 is unchanged from the S8. You'll still get the same 8MP f/1.7 performance, which is among the industry's best in terms of spec and the results speak for themselves.

As one might expect for two phones of dramatically different sizes, battery size  differs between them. The S8 contains a 3,000mAh cell – a fairly generous amount for its small size. However, the Note 8 is honestly not much bigger at just 3,300mAh. 

Samsung told us that the focus for the capacity is on all-day battery life and of course, it’s no surprise that Samsung would want to play it safe though, given what happened with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

Note 8 vs Galaxy S8 price

The S8 isn’t a bargain big phone and the Note 8 won’t be either. The former launched for $724/£689/AU$1,199, and although you can now find it cheaper if you shop around it’s still more expensive than many other flagships on the market.

The unlocked Samsung Galaxy Note 8, meanwhile, $930, £869, and AU$1,499 SIM-free. That's a hefty increase on a phone that's only slightly bigger, has a dual-lens camera and S Pen. You're going to have to really want all three of those things.

Takeaway

If you're looking at the S8 and Note 8 from across the room, they look similar, but that’s not to say there aren't differences between the two phones.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is obviously the bigger, more powerful option that comes with an S Pen Stylus. The biggest difference between the two phones is that there's an extra lens on its camera.

Whether these differences will be enough to tempt would-be buyer’s who’ve resisted the S8 depends on what you desire out of a phone and if you can handle the higher price of the Note 8.

  • The Note 8 will have the iPhone 8 to compete with