A flagship phone is the top-of-the-range model, the firm’s pride and joy, by far and away the best handset it makes. But Samsung being Samsung, has two of them.
The Galaxy Note 8 is its latest flagship, a 6.3-inch behemoth that stands head and shoulders above most of the competition.
But the S8 is no slouch – it launched back in the spring, since when it’s won rave reviews.
So what’s the difference between them? Let’s find out.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Samsung Galaxy S8: Size
This is the biggie, quite literally. The Galaxy Note range created the ‘phablet’ category, which is a device somewhere between a phone and a tablet. A pretty big phone, in other words.
The Note 8 continues this tradition – it has a 6.3-inch screen, which is pretty large by anyone’s standards. And certainly much bigger than the Galaxy S8’s 5.8-inch display.
Though not that much bigger than the S8 Plus variant, which has a 6.2-inch screen.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Samsung Galaxy S8: Stylus
Another major difference between the two is how you interact with the device.
The S8 is a standard smartphone, which means you tap, pinch and swipe the screen to get things done. But the Note 8 has an added trick up its sleeve: a stylus.
It’s called the S Pen, and it works like a very thin pen that stows away inside the body of the phone when not in use. You use it to write, scribble, doodle and draw on-screen.
It also works to highlight text and click links, if you like. And it’s pressure-sensitive, so the harder you press its nib against the screen, the darker the colour gets.
The S Pen even works underwater, so you can jot down some notes while sat on the bottom of the hotel swimming pool. Though why you’d want to, we’ve no idea.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Samsung Galaxy S8: Fingerprint sensor
Unlocking your phone with your fingerprint is a safe and quick way to access it. But not on the S8.
Because the sensor is on the back of the phone, you can’t see it without turning the handset over.
This means it’s awkward to reach. Even worse, it’s right next to the camera lens, which you’ll accidentally end up pressing instead.
Cue grubby fingerprints on the lens.
Unfortunately, the Note 8 doesn’t fix this problem – the sensor is in the same place. Better have a cloth ready to wipe the lens.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Samsung Galaxy S8: Camera
The S8 has one of the best cameras around. The 12-megapixel rear shooter packs auto-focus, a flash, and performs exceptionally well in low light.
Thankfully, the Note 8 camera is more than up to the task. It’s taken the same great optics as the S8, and added a dual lens set-up.
This combines one fixed-lens camera with a narrow field of view and another with a wide-angle lens – the phone then stitches the two images together to create a picture with less graininess, a higher resolution and better depth.
An all-round win, then.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Samsung Galaxy S8: Voice control
Both phones pack Bixby, Samsung’s own in-house personal assistant (think of it as Samsung’s take on Siri). In fact, Bixby is such an important part of the phone, that both have a dedicated Bixby button.
Press it, and you can speak to your own digital butler, with no menus to go through, or having to sound a bit silly by saying the wake phrase “Hi, Bixby”.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Samsung Galaxy S8: Battery
The S8 has a 3,500mAh battery on board, giving it up to 15 hours of internet use over Wi-Fi, or 13 hours through data connectivity. The Note 8, however, has a mere 3,300mAh model.
However, this should still see it through the day, thanks to its ultra-efficient innards.
The Note 8’s predecessor, the Note 7, suffered from an exploding battery, and as a result had to be taken off sale.
Samsung undoubtedly wants to avoid a similar scenario, and so will sacrifice a bit of battery life to do so.
Which is understandable – the Note 7 debacle brought it lots of negative headlines, and nigh-on irreparable reputational damage. Though strangely, it didn’t hurt profits.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Samsung Galaxy S8: Price
The S8 sells for £689, or £779 for the S8+. That’s not cheap, even for a flagship. But the Note 8 is even pricier. It comes in at £869. If you want one, better start saving.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Samsung Galaxy S8: Verdict
The Note 8 looks like a big improvement on its ill-starred predecessor, the Note 7.
Though similar in lots of ways, it’s a different beast to the S8, thanks to the addition of the stylus and the bigger screen.
If you want to go big, and drawing on-screen is important to you, it looks like a worthy investment.
Convinced that the Note 8 is the phone for you? Check out all our best deals for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.
Rather go for the S8? Here's all our best deals for the Samsung Galaxy S8.