I have been using iOS as my main phone for a few years, but I always have a line with an Android device on it for testing and playing (I also had a third line for Windows devices, but alas that is no longer needed). I have had Nexus devices, the original Moto X, as well as two from Samsung. So it was time to replace the S6 with a newer Android device. So now I have a Note 8!
I am going to write more about this after using it for a few more days, but a few notes.
- The screen on this phone is breathtaking.
- Samsung has finally figured out Android. While the tech press goes on and on about “vanilla Android” and devices that run it they miss a huge point. Most people are not tech nerds, and they want a finished product out of the box. This is why Google has now started adding their own differentiators on the Pixel devices whereas the Nexus devices did not. Yes you can still change defaults, but if you don’t you have a device that works and works well.
- A big concern I had going in was Bixby. Again after reading about the device online all I kept reading about was how Samsung has Bixby instead of Google Assistant when Assistant is better. Turns out this is not true. First the phone has Assistant and Bixby turned on by default when you get your phone. They have different trigger words, but holding the home key down launches Google Assistant the same as it does everywhere else. It also turns out that Bixby and Assistant do different things and have different uses. Imagine complaining your phone came with the Gmail app because it comes with a browser that can also access that Gmail. That is pretty much what is going on here.
I am going to put my phone through the paces, but here is my home screen as I start my first work week using this phone as my main device. The second image is from a Samsung slide over feature. You swipe in from the right edge and you get a list of apps, people, or tasks that you always want access to. I have put most of my messaging apps there and have been using it a lot. This was a feature I thought I was going to disable.
Update: One thing I was rightfully worried about with this phone was the awful location of the fingerprint reader. Well it’s not great, but once I put a case on I found it much easier to use. I was also plesantly surprised how well the iris scanner works. I had only used this before on a Lumia 950 and the process was slow and clunky so had low expectations. Samsung also offers facial recognition to unlock, but it’s not secure so just skip that.
More to come……