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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs S8+: A $270 surcharge for a stylus?

At first glance, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8+ look like twins. But there are many differences between the smartphones which aren't just limited to looks. The differences are also under the hood, which is where both the Note 8 and the S8+ are ahead of the pack.

Anyone who does a side-by-side comparison of Samsung’s largest smartphones of the moment doesn’t need a magnifying glass to find the design differences; just having a second glance is enough. The Galaxy Note 8 is a little bit thicker than the Galaxy S8+. It’s also a bit more angular at the corners, but the build quality of both devices is flawless.

samsung galaxy note 8 s8 plus front
Compared to the S8+ (right), the Note 8 is hardly bigger but distinctively edgier. / © AndroidPIT

The Note 8’s display is merely 0.1 inches bigger, and we estimate that the bezels are just as slim. Despite the curved glass surfaces, the Galaxy Note 8 is more massive and also heavier than the S8+. The controls, including the standalone Bixby button, are located in the same places.

samsung galaxy note 8 s8 plus back
The button arrangement is identical. / © AndroidPIT

The Galaxy Note 8’s most important differentiating factor is the S-Pen. This digital input stylus, which can be pulled from below the housing as usual, divides Samsung fans. For Note aficionados, the S-Pen is what makes this device truly interesting and thus, without equal. But, the pen critics do not see the need for the S-Pen and emphasize other things instead.

samsung galaxy note 8 s8 plus under
Only the Note 8 (bottom) sports the S-Pen. / © AndroidPIT

There are large differences between the cameras. The Galaxy Note 8 is the Korean manufacturer’s first smartphone that is equipped with a dual camera, while the Galaxy S8+ takes the conservative route and has a single 12 MP lens on the back. Although the camera still has to prove its worth in our review, it already offers more opportunities for creativity. Both are evenly matched when it comes to the front camera.

Galaxy S8+ has better battery life than the Note 8

A look at the technical specs sheet reveals the following: The Galaxy S8+ has the larger battery of the two Samsung smartphones, and that’s in spite of the smaller size and thinner body. To make up for it, the Note 8 offers the S-Pen, which takes up space inside the body as well. Furthermore, the Galaxy Note 7 battery incidents caused Samsung to stay on the safe side and, for better or worse, not go for maximum capacity. As a result, the Galaxy S8+ lasts a bit longer on one charge, even if the differences are minor in practice. Both Galaxy smartphones support quick charging and wireless charging.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs. Samsung Galaxy S8+ technical specifications

  Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Samsung Galaxy S8+
Dimensions: 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm
Weight: 195 g 173 g
Battery size: 3300 mAh 3500 mAh
Screen size: 6.3 in 6.2 in
Display technology: AMOLED AMOLED
Screen: 2960 x 1440 pixels (522 ppi) 2960 x 1440 pixels (531 ppi)
Front camera: 8 megapixels 8 megapixels
Rear camera: 12 megapixels 12 megapixels
Flashlight: LED Dual-LED
Android version: 7.1.1 - Nougat 7.0 - Nougat
User interface: TouchWiz TouchWiz
RAM: 6 GB 4 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB 64 GB
Removable storage: microSD microSD
Chipset: Samsung Exynos 8895 Samsung Exynos 8895
Number of cores: 8 8
Max. clock speed: 2.3 GHz 2.3 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0 HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth

Performance wise, both smartphones are very close, which is no wonder since they are equipped with the same processor. RAM is the only thing where the Note 8 has a bit more to offer, which is hardly noticeable in practice. The Snapdragon 835 (or the Samsung Exynos 8895 outside of the US), powers both XXL smartphones and you won’t have to wait long for apps to load or deal with a laggy browser with either phone.

samsung galaxy note 8 s8 plus cameras
The Note 8 is the first Samsung with a dual camera. / © AndroidPIT

Note 8 buyers pay $270 more for an $-Pen

There is quite a price difference between both smartphones, with the Galaxy Note 8 starting at a full $929, which is $80 more than what the Galaxy S8+ cost when it was released on the market ($850). Now the price for the latter has dropped further, and you can currently get it for as little as $659, which is an enormous $270 difference that will make some Note fans think twice.

Opinion by Steffen Herget
The S-Pen does not justify a price difference of over $250.
What do you think?
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There are differences between these two Samsung smartphones, even if the Galaxy S8+ and the Galaxy Note 8 look similar at first glance. Which of the two models is your favorite?

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  • The 80$ difference in the opening price for the S-pen and dual cameras, maybe. The fact that the way I use my phone the battery would be toast in a year, arg. I love what I can do with my Note 4, the S-pen is the cats meow. Run it hard at work, swap the battery and keep on going like the Energizer bunny. A Raspberry Pi or two and a few hard drives take care of the little that it is not the best option for. But disposable devices are supposed to be inexpensive! Not cost nearly 1000$! Not to mention that removing chips and functions from a device should lower the cost of it! I am thoroughly unimpressed with the direction of high end smartphones. If I have to go back to carrying multiple devices, a cheap flip phone would make more sense!


  • So pleased what Samsung havecreated with there S8 models,and so pleased with the S8 plus,and the batterylife as been superb, after the Note 7 saga I thought Samsung would release a more affordable Note 8,and as soon as I saw the pricing of the Note 8,and it used the same chips as the S8 plus I thought let's get saving my money for the future S9 models instead,but if Samsung keep up there pricing policy like Apple overpricing there phones,I will start to look for another Top end phone that is more affordable, we might get the Nokia 9 soon,a company I use to love


    • With Apple being released in Nov & LG in Dec this gives the s8 series a definite edge with sales. The pixels & LG are priced the same as the s8 & plus. So who's got the advantage, Samsung!

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