Full Reviews

My favourite things about the Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Last year was a bad year for Samsung with the Galaxy Note 7. I doubt the device had hit the Kenyan market before the worldwide recall, but I am sure many of us, myself included, were really looking forward to using their then best smartphone ever.

This year Samsung went all in with Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus but didn’t stop there with the announcement of the Galaxy Note 8, their most expensive offering to date.

I have been using the Galaxy Note 8 for the last 10 days and decided to, before that full review, write a post on certain things that have really stood out for me with this device.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Kenya

But before that, you should know that before I picked up this device, I had idolized it. I still believe no other phone in the world packs as much tech as the Note 8. There’s just so much tech and ability baked into this Glass and Metal sandwich.

Here are my favourite things about the Galaxy Note 8:

The Display:

The screen ratio is weird for someone holding this device for the first time. But I have used the Galaxy S8 Plus before so I knew what I was getting myself into. And I love it. I love that it is tall. I love the quality of the display (though I only use it at FHD max to save battery). I love the Infinity display. I love the whole vibe you get from just holding and using this device.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Kenya

The cameras:

I know the Google Pixel 2 appears to be a really serious camera from the reviews I have read and watched. But the cameras on the Note 8, both front and back, are definitely the best cameras I have used.

The 12MP+12MP system at the back is superb. Both lenses being stabilised means smooth video even at 2x zoom. Also, the ability to blur the background and even adjust the blur is amazing. On the front camera you can also take selfies and blur the background. But you cannot adjust the blur.

I’m trying my best to come up with a video shot entirely on the Galaxy Note 8 to show just how good the cameras are. What do you think of that?

If you follow @TechishKenya on Instagram you’ve definitely seen pictures taken by the Galaxy Note 8. I’ll keep sharing more pictures over the next coming weeks as I write up a comprehensive review of the phone.


The only flaw in the design is that this phone is quite heavy. Mark you I wouldn’t have said that had I not gotten the OnePlus 5 some few days ago.

Inasmuch as the Note 8 is relatively heavy compared to other phones, I personally believe it is a work of art. The metal frame that sandwiches the front and back glass panels has a coldness I like. I love how the glass panels just melt into the metal. Nothing is sharp. Nothing is ugly.

I have the black Note 8 and there’s nothing as beautiful. One can spend so much time just admiring the architecture. I am dead serious.

The S-Pen

You know what, the last time I used a Galaxy Note device was so long ago. I believe it was either the Note 3 or the Note 4. I was impressed.

However the last time I used a stylus on a phone wasn’t so long ago. And that phone’s stylus was a big disappointment.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Kenya
Click to remove the Spen

The new S-pen on the Galaxy Note 8 is really really good. There’s totally no noticeable lag.

I use the pen mostly for writing using the Samsung Keyboard, and it gets about 95% of my words right. As a Kenyan, English isn’t how I chat with most people, but that’s no problem with the S-pen. The handwriting recognition, and my handwriting is bad, is incredible.

I gave the phone to a 12 year old talented, and award-winning artist (yaaay!) and he amazed me!

Drawn on Google Keep by Anthony Omolo using the Note8's SPen
Anthony Omolo isn’t your average artist. And he did quite well with the Note 8 S-Pen (using just Google Keep)

Micro-SD support

This would sound funny to many but I have the OnePlus 5 and there’s no Mico-SD card option and it totally annoys me. Having the option to expand memory is basic and should be on every phone. I really love that Samsung didn’t hold back with the Note 8.

Edge Notifications

This is a feature I loved on the S8 Plus. It is unique and beautiful, and quite an interesting way to put to good use the edge-less display. Eventhough I never place my phones with the screen facing down as Samsung would advice with Edge Notifications, I love it when the screen glows on my hand when notifications arrive. It is just something no other phone can boast of.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Kenya
Dual camera system, flash, heart rate monitor, and the fingerprint scanner

Game Mode

We all know the Note 8 is one of the best smartphones in terms of speed and performance. But Samsung put a lot of thought into the software of the Note 8. There’s many handy things that you find in the phone and you’re like, “Wow, someone spent time making this phone”.

Like the built in game mode. It knows which apps are games, but you can add other apps. It gives you the option to mute the game but not the whole phone. It allows you to do things like record the screen when game is on, lock the navigation bar buttons, lock the edge-display accidental touch or kill all alerts while gaming. You can even lock the screen in game mode.

For a phone where you are sure you won’t have any issues gaming, such handy tools are quite exciting.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Kenya
Photo on the phone is taken and edited by @theMagunga


The Note 8 is IP68 certified – Dust and Water resistant. Meaning you can shower with it, go swimming with it, rinse it when it gets dirty, get rained on etc. And once you use such a phone, it is quite hard to switch to any other.

My full review of the device will be coming in the next days. Plus that video I am trying to make showcasing the power in the cameras. Tell me what you would want to see in the video, or read in the review.

What are your thoughts on the Galaxy Note 8?



  1. Im using note 4 and never disappointed me but my next upgrade will be s8+ thats my direction. Im fond of note 8 but i will wait for next unveiling of the note series.
    Awesome review from Oti.. I love the flow of words n nice captures of ?. Details

  2. Samsung ‘split’ the Note line when they released the Note 5. I own the Note 3 & 4 and both remain remarkable devices; especially the Note 4 with its Marshmallow update. When the Note 5 debuted it was sans a micro SD card slot. I found this very disappointing and I bought LG’s new V10 on November 6, 2015.

    On August 23rd of 2016 I received my Note7. I was pleased to have my powerful yet quirky V10 and the brand, spanking new Note7 to run in-tandem. Seemingly days into the ownership experience with the Note7 the sky fell-in on it. By the time I sent my second Note7 to the collection depot in Texas I had LG’s stunning V20 in-hand. The transition was seamless yet minus an S-Pen. Notes 3 & 4 had spoiled me for that Pen.

    I bought the S8 Plus in April of 2017 and ran this in-tandem with my V20. Something which developed since 2012 saw me needing to have a lot of storage space for work ‘in the field’ and I was carrying two of Motorola’s Droid Razrs with me at all times each having the biggest micro SD cards (64 gigs) of the era.

    I still ‘need’ two large capacity smartphones (to my own bewilderment at times) when I’m out and about. When LG sealed-in the battery on their new V30 my affair with the V-Series was over. I can accept the Note’s sealed-in battery but I’d counted on LG to carry on the removable battery thing as something to differentiate their brand but market forces dictated otherwise. I’ve now got a few recent and reasonably powerful devices which will see me through the next several years. Were I to buy another device it would be a spare, brand new V20 as a hedge against all of my devices breaking down. I’m a little disenchanted with tech at present.

    1. Interesting story. Seems to me you wasted a lot of money changing phones so often. 64gb? Maybe in 2012. I have a 256gb micro in my Note 4 which is amazing plus 64gb internal. More than I will ever need. Plus I have 2 spare batteries one a 10,000 Zerolemon. Marshmallow?
      Who cares? There were so many bugs with Lollipop I happily rooted and stayed on Kitkat. I also HATE Material
      Design with their flat icons and childish colors. In have been a happy camper ever since and still am. Seems you could have learned from me…!

      1. I did waste a lot of money, Bill. I feel that’s been tamped-down when I didn’t rise to the bait in buying the V30 on impulse. I also made sure my fiancée kept pace. I gave her an LG V10 on December 9th of 2015 as an early Christmas gift. My dearest passed away in April of 2016. When the shock lessened a bit I saw that the impetus for upgrading phones so often was dissipating. Last year’s splurge on phones was as much ‘depression spending’ as anything else. I’m beginning to look at the proposition of smartphone ownership as something basically necessary aside from recording videos and taking photos of places we’d frequent and things we did together.

        I can see buying fewer devices going forward. Those which I own I regard as curiosities (like our Palm Treo 650s bought in December of 2004 and still my favorite device for what it represented at the time) and these remain stored with batteries either removed or depleted to be admired from time-to-time. My email contains search results initiated as far back as 2013 and on occasion I’ll see an article which piques my interest which can result in my making a (lengthy) comment as I’ve done here.

  3. Honestly, I prefer the Note 4. I resent they don’t make the new Note 8 without the edge notifications. I prefer the full screen. I am happy with the Note 4 and really the Note 4 was the best they ever made. And who cares about the weight? So what. Quality is heavy. What do you want a feather for a phone? Get real. But I like your description of the build quality. Spot on!
    Staying with the Note 4. Has everything I need.

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