Samsung Galaxy Note8 review

GSMArena team, 16 September 2017.

Gallery

The Samsung Gallery has been focused on Stories for a while now. Stories are shared, collaborative albums - that means your friends can add their own photos from the party or just a Story on a shared theme (e.g. sunsets).

Gallery: Timeline view - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Gallery: Albums - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Gallery: Storymaking - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Gallery: Storymaking - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review
Gallery: Timeline view Albums Storymaking

There are two editors on the Note8, a basic one from within the gallery, and a Pro one that you launch from the three dots menu. The basic one only has color filters, stickers and drawing capability.

Viewing an image - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Image details - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Basic editor - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Basic editor - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Basic editor - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review
Viewing an image Image details Basic editor

The Pro editor has these too, but adds proper control over tone curves and color parameters.

Editor Pro - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Editor Pro - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Editor Pro - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Editor Pro - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review
Editor Pro

Google Play Music for music playing

Google Play Music is the default player for your tunes on the Note8. It can play your local files as well as stream music from the cloud, and it's backed by Samsung's extensive sound enhancements.

They include the SoundAlive tool, which has an intuitive interface for tuning the equalizer. Presets and two simple dials are available for basic users, and a manual 9-band equalizer for more advanced users.

Google Play Music - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Google Play Music - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Google Play Music - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Google Play Music - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review
Google Play Music

Adapt Sound tunes the EQ to your hearing and your particular pair of ears and headphones by playing multiple frequencies and asking how well you hear them. Smart Volume automatically adjusts the volume of tracks from multiple sources.

UHQ sound resolution enhancer is available as well for upscaling compressed audio. There are also features such as Surround sound emulation and Tube Amp Pro simulator.

Equalizer and Adapt Sound - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Equalizer and Adapt Sound - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Equalizer and Adapt Sound - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Equalizer and Adapt Sound - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review
Equalizer and Adapt Sound

Video player

There is no video player app pre-installed, so the Gallery handles the videos by default. Like with the music player, you can grab the traditional Samsung one from the Galaxy Essentials collection in Galaxy Apps (the Video Editor is there too). Even if you don't the Gallery app is up to the task. It has full subtitle support with advanced features to modify their appearance. The app lets you play only the audio track of the video.

With the odd display ratio, which doesn't match any standard video aspect ratio, you're given the option to view videos in their original proportions leaving you with black bars, stretch them to fill the display (resulting in disfigured videos), or crop an 18.5:9 portion. We quickly got used to those options, and we didn't mind this limitation as much as we thought we would.

A pop-up view is also supported, which you can resize with a pinch gesture - don't look for resizing handles.

Video player: Settings - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Video player: Subtitles - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Video player: Fullscreen view - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review Video player: Pop-up view - Samsung Galaxy Note8 review
Video player: Settings Subtitles Fullscreen view Pop-up view

You can download third-party video players, and they can tap into the system-wide Video Enhancer feature as well. We tried VLC, MX Player and BS Player and they were all recognized correctly. Even YouTube worked. It touches up the contrast curve and color rendering to make the video footage pop.

Flawless audio output

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 delivered a memorable performance in our audio quality test. It had very high volume levels in both parts of the test and the clarity was splendid even with headphones attached.

The fact that all readings were perfect with an active external amplifier is hardly shocking - most decent smartphones can pull that off these days. The fact that degradation was so limited when our standard headphones set came into play is far more impressive. Even the stereo crosstalk reading was barely affected.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Samsung Galaxy Note8+0.02, -0.01-92.592.50.00150.0095-93.2
Samsung Galaxy Note8 (headphones)+0.03, -0.02-92.292.20.00580.051-79.9
Samsung Galaxy S8++0.01, -0.03-92.192.10.00200.0086-92.5
Samsung Galaxy S8+ (headphones)+0.03, -0.03-92.592.50.00240.046-77.3
LG V30+0.02, -0.01-93.293.10.00080.0069-94.2
LG V30 (headphones)+0.03, -0.02-92.992.90.00570.051-68.1
LG G6+0.01, -0.02-93.393.30.00590.0095-94.4
LG G6 (headphones)+0.01, -0.02-93.493.40.00670.020-56.3
OnePlus 5+0.03, -0.01-94.194.10.00100.0070-94.2
OnePlus 5 (headphones)+0.15, -0.08-94.094.00.00330.139-59.9
HTC U11+0.05, -0.11-94.194.10.00170.0067-94.5
HTC U11 (headphones)+0.05, -0.02-93.793.80.00180.105-53.7
Sony Xperia XZ Premium+0.01, -0.03-90.690.40.0180.027-92.6
Sony Xperia XZ Premium (headphones)+0.30, -0.20-90.590.00.00180.145-65.7

Samsung Galaxy Note8 frequency response
Samsung Galaxy Note8 frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.