Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Galaxy S8 Plus: Which is best?

Which Galaxy should you explore with your hard-earned cash?

In past years, Samsung's Galaxy Note phones have stood apart from the Galaxy S models – besides the S Pen, of course – by being larger handsets. But the difference isn't as noticeable now.

Not when you put the new Galaxy Note 8 against the Galaxy S8 Plus, at least. The Note 8 packs a 6.3in screen, while the S8 Plus is just a hair smaller at 6.2in, and there's quite a bit more that's pretty even between the two.

So what really sets them apart besides the stylus? If you're considering both of Samsung's current big-phones, you'll need to consider the finer details – and now that our Galaxy Note 8 review is live, we've done just that below.

Design: Two of a kind

The Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8 Plus are, unsurprisingly, birds of a feather. The Note 8 follows in the S8's striking design lineage, and given the very close screen sizes, they're expectedly pretty close in appearance. But they're not identical.

The Galaxy S8 Plus has a subtler curve to its screen, most noticeably, while the Note 8 has harder curves to give you more flat surface on the front. As we wrote in our review for the Note 8, the S8 phones are "smooth, soft, and almost pebble-like," while the Note 8 feels like "it means business."

Both dazzle with their bezel-lite looks and attractive curves, but honestly, this one will go down to personal preference. They're both essentially best of class because they feel like two sides of the same coin.

Winner: Draw

Screen: Big and beautiful

And really, the same goes for the display, as well. As mentioned, the Galaxy Note 8 has 0.1in on the S8 Plus, which is something, but it's not much at all. They're both large displays, but since they're extra tall with 18.5:9 dimensions, neither feels completely unmanageable in the hand. You'll probably struggle a bit with one-handed messaging, though.

They're also both fabulous displays: Quad HD stunners at 2960x1440 resolution, and Super AMOLED panels at that. The Galaxy S8 Plus offered arguably the best smartphone screen on the market today (tied with the standard S8), and despite the slightly lower pixel density here, the Note 8 really doesn't appear any weaker to the human eye.

As above, they're both the best, so you'll just have to go on whether you notice any difference in screen size, as well as whether you like the softer or harder curves along the sides.

Winner: Draw

Camera: Seeing double

The Galaxy S8 Plus, along with its smaller sibling, has one of the best smartphone cameras on the market today – although we wouldn't say the 12-megapixel sensor is the all-around best. But in any case, it's totally top-notch.

The Galaxy Note 8 has that same camera on the back, but then it adds another 12MP sensor alongside it, following the same kind of dual-camera approach as the iPhone 7 Plus, OnePlus 5, and other top handsets today.

In other words, there's really no way for the Note 8 to lose this particular battle. It appears to have the same f/1.7, dual-pixel autofocus camera as the S8 line, but then it adds a f/2.4 sensor with phase-detect autofocus alongside it, allowing optical-esque variable zoom without shedding detail as well as bokeh-packing portrait-like shots.

It's also a slight improvement over the iPhone 7 Plus camera, since the optical image stabilisation is found in both sensors. And the bokeh is even better, since Samsung's Live Focus functionality lets you tweak the amount of the effect, as well as adjust it afterwards using the two resulting shots.

Overall, it's an excellent camera, and the everyday shots are typically vibrant in Samsung's familiar fashion - maybe too vibrant for some of you, but hard to argue with when you lay eyes on them. In short: it's the Galaxy S8 camera, but with great extra perks.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 8

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