We all love extravagance
What started as an essential piece of technology to stay connected has now turned into an object of desire for deep pockets. What made the change? read on to hear our opinion.
After the idea of making phone calls from anywhere caught on, the first thing people wanted was their address books in their pockets. A thousand addresses stuffed in our pockets was enough for a while until the idea of text and messaging and email on the road became mainstream. And then we started stuffing music that we never hear, photos that we never see, movie downloads for some day, no wonder we are running out storage within weeks after buying a new phone.
In short, storage requirements have grown from a few hundred kilobytes to GBs. And the Samsung Note 8 does not disappoint with internal storage going all the way upto 256 GB and then you have microSD storage to extend by another 256 GB. That’s a whopping 512 GB if you use everything available.
What is it about curves, really hard to say but it captures the human imagination.
In a way the evolution of the display tells the story of how humans have evolved into information hungry productivity warriors with a insatiable appetite for more. Displays have grown bigger to push more information and then they started growing on the sides. The Note 4 Edge was the first of the devices with a curved edge, roughly 160 rows of extra pixels for obviously more information. Samsung has been squeezing in more ideas into the curved sides like contacts, weather, tickers and what not.
So the question is does it really make a difference? not really to us, but definitely looks more appealing. So the Note 8 has a slim edge on both sides for those extra shortcuts and information. By the way the ruler on the edge is a very useful.
Multitasking and 6GB RAM
Now that we stuffed in movies, music and contacts, There is this bizzare idea of being highly productive by multitasking on the go. Imagine listening to your favorite song while browsing tweets and copy pasting them onto an email about how productive we have become. If that’s you, then you need loads of RAM to have multiple apps open and shuffle among them and the Note 8 doesn’t let you down with 6GB of RAM.
The S Pen
Right from the days of paper based organizers, writing seems to catch the fancy of everybody’s imagination but nobody seems to write much. Sure we do jot down a few things once in a while, but is it worth the extra bulk, price and software? Again not really unless you’re into sketching and scrawling notes. But for those of you who do use digital notes to fetch milk on your way home, The S pen on the Note 8 is the best stylus experience you will ever get on a phone.
Pressure sensitive with 4096 levels, 0.7mm tip, stylus enabled apps like Samsung notes, select and translate and recognizes handwriting when scrawling on the keyboard.
The S Pen also comes with special software to create animated gifs from videos and pictures. But we think the best use of the S Pen is if you are an artist and like sketching. There are bunch of useful Android apps that use the S Pen from Autodesk Sketchbook to Artflow and OneNote.
Photography brings out everybody’s creative side. Easier than painting portraits, faster than making a sketch and costs nothing. No wonder photography became mainstream in the modern world and kind of badgered the art form to something as benign as selfies.
No matter which part of the photography spectrum you are on the Samsung cameras have the reputation of being the best cellphone cameras.
Dual cameras on the rear give us 2x optical zoom, optical image stabilization (OIS) for shaky hands and low light coupled with a crisp image sensor for sharp pictures. The dual camera setup opens up a couple of interesting possibilities.
Enter the Bokeh effect, once the hallmark of DSLR photos where the FOV is sharp on the subject and objects at a distance are blur. Cellphone photography had to be content with flat photos until the dual camera setup came in. The Note 8 dual camera setup brings in a large DSLR like feel to pictures.
You also get an option of letting the dual camera take a backup picture with a wider angle so you can go back to your photo software and crop it to perfection.
Another area where we have been pushing phones to the limits is audio quality for the tons of music we carry around. Early phones came with simple equalizers but today we have some really sophisticated audio power in our pockets.
Samsung bundles a tiny utility to adapt the sound signature to your ear. This is a not so much talked about feature that does make a difference to sound quality. The idea is conduct an audiometry test to identify your ears frequency response range and then bump up only those frequencies that your normal ear may not hear very well. For the sound purists and audiophiles this may sound taboo but the overall experience for most users is very satisfying.
Thankfully the audio jack stays on and the bundled AKG earphones are said to be tuned to sound great for everyday use.
Ever since we heard the voice of HAL in 2001 a space odyssey, it’s been a dream to have your own personal assistant who is smarter and human. Samsung has been pushing Bixby into our pockets for a while now, great for searching images, checking weather, crack a few jokes and then the novelty wears off.
The power of personal assistants will soon become interesting as they start doing things behind our back without letting us know. Like when we land at a airport we know that a cab would be waiting without saying a word. Its not far, the AI driven future is already here and we just have not unleashed it, or have we?
Samsung has ended up on the conservative side of battery power after the Note7 fiasco. The newest version of Note has a 3300mah battery which seems small for life altering productivity uses the Note is meant for, but Samsung has been tweaking performance of hardware and software to the limits and only time can tell.
We have truly reached a point in time where so much technology is stuffed in our pockets that its time to give a nod to minimalism. But until then the Note 8 is a technology beast in its most elegant form.