Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Galaxy S8

Samsung's Galaxy Note 8, its second flagship phone for 2017 following the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, goes on sale in the UK today. There's not a huge difference in size between the S8 Plus and this new handset, though, so what is the difference? 

Traditionally the Note family has been distinguished from the Galaxy series with an S Pen stylus, a larger screen, more battery power and extra performance. That extra juice is no longer something we can expect from the Galaxy Note, following the explosive tendencies of the Galaxy Note 7, and the Galaxy series just got a lot bigger. So where does that leave us?

Key differences between the two are as follows. We've also listed the key specifications for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus and Galaxy Note 8 in the table at the bottom of this page.

Price and availability

The Galaxy Note 8 is now available to buy at £869 inc VAT SIM-free, which is the cheapest way to buy the new Note. See where to find the best Note 8 deals.

Meanwhile the Galaxy S8 is available today SIM-free at Amazon for just £542.99, and the Galaxy S8 Plus £626.99. This is way down on their RRPs of £689 and £779 respectively, and these prices will likely continue to fall over the next few weeks.

Cameras

The Note 8 is be the first Samsung flagship to come with a dual-camera, which is all the rage in the smartphone market right now. While the Galaxy S8 has a 12Mp f/1.7 lens, the Note 8 has an additional f/2.4 telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom. Interestingly both cameras on the Note 8 have optical image stabilisation - that's a first.

Both S8 and Note 8 have an 8Mp selfie camera.

S Pen stylus

Only the Galaxy Note family comes with Samsung's stylus, which has been enhanced for the Note 8 launch. We see the usual enhancements such as improved pressure sensitivity and a finer nib, but more exciting is the ability to interact with the Always-on display by creating, editing and pinning notes, and the ability to share animated text and images through Live Message. It can also translate entire sentences, and convert units and currency.

Screen

When Samsung announced the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus earlier this year, it bumped up the display sizes to 5.8- and 6.2in respectively. With the previous Note 7 donning a 5.7in screen, it seemed this would no longer be an area in which the Note family would shine.

Samsung is increasing the display size of the Note 8, but to 'just' 6.3in. With the same Infinity Display (Quad-HD Super AMOLED, Always-On display, minimal bezels, dual curved edges) we see on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, the difference in screen size will be negligible. If you notice any difference in design, it will be the slightly squarer corners of the Note 8.

Indeed, the Note 8 features the same design tweaks we see in the Galaxy S8, which means a dedicated Bixby key, USB-C support, and a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. Thankfully the headphone jack is also staying put.

Core hardware

Performance is another area in which the Note 8 usually gets a boost, though leaked Geekbench 4 results suggest performance is no better than the Exynos 8895-powered Galaxy S8 we ran through our own tests. While our S8 scored 6466 points, the Note 8 allegedly scored 6066 (that's with the Snapdragon 835). 

Take that with a pinch of salt though, because synthetic benchmarks routinely produce differing results. And both scores are evidence of crazy-fast performance.

We're looking forward to getting the opportunity to run the Note 8 through our own benchmarks.

We'd expect similar performance to the Galaxy flagships given the near-identical hardware inside (they run the same CPUs and offer the same amount of storage), though the extra 2GB of RAM inside the Note 8 could give it the lead in some benchmarks. 

Specification comparison

Specifications Galaxy Note 8 Galaxy S8 Galaxy S8 Plus
Operating system Android 7 Nougat Android 7 Nougat Android 7 Nougat
Display 6.3in, Quad-HD, 18.5:9, Super AMOLED, Always-on display 5.8in, Quad-HD, 18.5:9, Super AMOLED, Always-on display 6.2in, Quad-HD, 18.5:9, Super AMOLED, Always-on display 
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835/Exynos 8895 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835/Exynos 8895 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835/Exynos 8895
RAM 6GB LPDDR4 4GB LPDDR4 4GB LPDDR4 
Storage 64GB/128GB/256GB plus microSD 64GB plus microSD 64GB plus microSD
Primary camera 12Mp dual-lens rear camera (12Mp, f/1.7 wide-angle + f/2.4 telephoto with 2x optical zoom), OIS 12Mp f/1.7, OIS 12Mp f/1.7, OIS 
Selfie camera 8Mp f/1.7 8Mp f/1.7 8Mp f/1.7 
Extra features S Pen stylus, rear fingerprint scanner and heart-rate sensor, DeX support, IP68 Rear fingerprint scanner, heart-rate sensor, DeX support, IP68 Rear fingerprint scanner, heart-rate sensor, DeX support, IP68
Battery 3,300mAh with wired (USB-C) and wireless fast charging 3,000mAh with wired (USB-C) and wireless fast charging 3,500mAh with wired (USB-C) and wireless fast charging
Dimensions 74.8x162.5x8.6mm 68x149x8mm 73x160x8.1mm
Colours Midnight Black & Maple Gold at launch, Orchid Grey & Deep Sea Blue may come later Midnight Black, Orchid Grey, Coral Blue, Arctic Silver Midnight Black, Orchid Grey, Coral Blue, Arctic Silver

Read next: Best new phones coming in 2017 and 2018

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Samsung Galaxy S8: Specs

  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 5.8in Quad HD display (2960x1440), 570ppi
  • Dual curved edge display
  • Exynos 8895 octa-core processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB internal storage
  • Micro-SD card slot (up to 256GB)
  • 12Mp rear-facing camera with OIS
  • 8Mp front camera
  • Pressure sensitive home button
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Heart rate monitor
  • 11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • 4G LTE Cat 16
  • Headphone jack
  • USB-C
  • 3000mAh non-removable battery
  • Wireless charging
  • IP68 dust & waterproof rating
  • 68x149x8mm
  • 155g
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 5.8in Quad HD display (2960x1440), 570ppi
  • Dual curved edge display
  • Exynos 8895 octa-core processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB internal storage
  • Micro-SD card slot (up to 256GB)
  • 12Mp rear-facing camera with OIS
  • 8Mp front camera
  • Pressure sensitive home button
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Heart rate monitor
  • 11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • 4G LTE Cat 16
  • Headphone jack
  • USB-C
  • 3000mAh non-removable battery
  • Wireless charging
  • IP68 dust & waterproof rating
  • 68x149x8mm
  • 155g

SHOULD I BUY SAMSUNG GALAXY S8?

Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 is a touch faster than the Galaxy S8, but much more expensive. Buy the Note 8 over the S8 Plus only if you'll use its S Pen stylus and dual-camera, since the difference in screen size and battery capacity is negligible.

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