Samsung has finally unveiled the Note 8, successor to the notoriously-explodable Note 7. We've already taken a look at its specs, pricing and Australian availability, but how does it stack up against Apple's iPhone 7 Plus? Is it better? Worse? Prettier? Faster? More powerful? Let's take a good, hard look.
We should note from the outset that the iPhone 7 Plus was released on September 16 2016, so it's been available for almost a full year, giving the Note 8 the benefit of time. Technology advances at an alarmingly fast rate so it's no surprise that the Note 8's internals are significantly improved over Apple's competing smartphone.
Although Apple is likely to unveil the iPhone 8 in the near future, the Note 8's current competitor remains the iPhone 7 Plus. So what are the major differences?
Here's the pure specs for how the two match up:
|Samsung Note 8||iPhone 7 Plus|
|OS||Android 7.1.1 (Nougat)||iOS 10|
|Dimensions||162.5mm x 74.8mm x 8.6mm||158.2mm x 77.9mm x 7.3mm|
|CPU||Octa core (2.3GHz Quad + 1.7GHz Quad), 64bit, 10nm processor||Apple A10 Fusion Quad core with six-core graphics GPU|
|Storage/Memory||64 GB, 6 GB RAM||32/128/256 GB, 3 GB RAM|
|Display||6.3-inch WQHD+ AMOLED Display||5.5-inch Retina HD Display|
|Resolution||2960 x 1440 (521 ppi)||1080 x 1920 (401 ppi)|
|microSD support||Yes, up to 256GB||No|
|Camera||Dual 12MP rear (wide-angle f/1.7mm, telephoto f/2.4mm, optical image stabilisation), 8MP front||Dual 12MP rear (f/1.8, 28mm and f/2.8, 56mm, phase detection autofocus), 7MP front|
|Colours||Midnight Black and Maple Gold||Jet Black, Black, Silver, Gold, Rose Gold|
What Are The Major Differences Between The Note 8 And The iPhone 7 Plus?
The most obvious thing is, of course, the size of the Note 8, which is just a bigger beast than the iPhone 7 Plus. Samsung are touting this as their best phone ever, and sometimes, the best has to be the biggest. The Note 8 is heavier, much taller and slightly thicker than Apple's counterpart, but actually comes in slightly slimmer. Samsung's decision to practically remove the bezels from the front of their phone (which we first saw with the Galaxy S8) makes way for a massive 6.3-inch Super AMOLED screen, with a superior resolution and pixels-per-inch over the iPhone 7 Plus.
If you're the kind of person that worries about your phone's battery dying before afternoon tea, then battery life is a key buying criteria. The Note 8 has a 3300mAh battery, edging out the iPhone 7 Plus' 2900mAh battery, but as of yet, Samsung haven't officially revealed how much battery life this will equate to. With such a much larger screen and energy-intense software built into the device, there's a chance that overall battery life will be quite similar between the two models. We'll update this post when we know a little more.
For the first time, Samsung has included a 12MP dual rear camera that uses two different lenses: A wide-angle lens with an f/1.7mm and a telephoto lens with an f/2.4mm and optical image stabilisation, plus a front-facing 8MP camera. The iPhone 7 Plus uses slightly less-bright f/1.8mm and f/2.8mm, so if you're routinely using your phone for photography the Note 8 is the clear winner here.
Lastly, the Note 8 is the most expensive Samsung phone yet and will retail at $1499 for the 64GB model. Samsung did announce 128GB and 256GB models, but these will not be available to purchase in Australia. Though the iPhone 7 Plus doesn't have a 64GB model, 32GB will set you back $1269, 128GB comes in at $1419 and the 256GB model retails for $1569. One of the key differences, in terms of storage, is the fact the Note 8, like the Galaxy S8 and S8+, has a microSD card slot that is capable of carrying 256GB of extra storage. However, tacking a large SDXC card on top of the retail price starts to really push the price up.
We haven't even discussed the Note 8's stylus, which is a core component of Samsung's Note range. The touch-sensitive stylus comes bundled with every Note 8 and tucks away conveniently in the phone's base, next to the USB-C charging port and the headphone jack. Oh, yeah, there's that too. The Note 8 still has a headphone jack.
Overall, the Note 8 is clearly a superior phone if you look purely at the specifications but with the iPhone 8 just over the horizon, we're likely to see the playing field even right out again.