Tag Archives: Android Nougat

Samsung Galaxy Note20 Series Camera Technologies : What’s New?

Samsung Galaxy Note20 Series Camera Technologies : What’s New?

The new Samsung Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G smartphones come with a brand new camera system, with larger high-resolution sensors, and improved Space Zoom technology!

Let’s take a look at the new camera technologies in the Samsung Galaxy Note20 family of smartphones!

 

Samsung Galaxy Note20 Series Camera : Ultra-High Resolution

The Samsung Galaxy Note20 series smartphones come with new ultra-high resolution cameras :

The ultra-high resolution photos they take allow you to zoom in, and crop a section you want, without losing any detail in that picture!

Samsung did not just increase the number of pixels on their sensors, they also greatly increased the sensor size. This increases the amount of light each pixel receives, so that they will deliver better image quality, even in low-light conditions.

Camera Galaxy
Note10+
Galaxy
Note20
Galaxy
Note20 Ultra 5G
Main
(Wide Angle)
12 MP resolution
1/2.55-inch sensor
12 MP resolution
1/1.76-inch sensor
108 MP resolution
1/1.33-inch sensor
Ultra-Wide 16 MP resolution
1/3.1-inch sensor
12 MP resolution
1/2.55-inch sensor
12 MP resolution
1/2.55-inch sensor
Telephoto 12 MP resolution
1/3.6-inch sensor
64 MP resolution
1/1.72-inch sensor
12 MP resolution
1/3.6-inch sensor

 

Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G Camera : Nonacell Technology

The 108MP Samsung HM1 image sensor in the Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G comes with Nonacell technology, which combines groups of nine pixels into much larger 2.4μm pixels.

This gives you a 12 MP picture instead of an 108 MP picture, but each pixel will receive 9X more light for much better clarity in low-light conditions!

In addition, Nonacell uses the Samsung ISOCELL Plus technology to dramatically reduce crosstalk, optical loss and light reflection that happens when pixels are combined.

 

Samsung Galaxy Note20 Series Camera : Space Zoom Technology

The Samsung Space Zoom Technology combines their improved Hybrid Optic Zoom (Note20) or Optical Zoom (Note20 Ultra 5G), with AI multi-frame processing enhancements to give you incredible zoom ranges.

In addition to their incredible zoom ranges, the improved Samsung Space Zoom features smooth transitions between presets, and a manual zoom mode.

They both allow for more professional videos, with greater creative options.

 

Samsung Galaxy Note20 : Where To Buy In Malaysia?

Samsung is offering these models with these specifications :

  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 (8 GB + 256 GB) : RM 3,899
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 5G (8 GB + 256 GB) : RM 4,299

Here are the direct online purchase links (desktop / mobile) for Malaysia :

Here are the direct online purchase links (mobile) for Malaysia :

 

Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G : Where To Buy In Malaysia?

Samsung is offering one model with these specifications :

  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G (12 GB + 256 GB) : RM 5,199

Here are the direct online purchase links (desktop / mobile) for Malaysia :

Here are the direct online purchase links (mobile) for Malaysia :

 

Recommended Reading

Go Back To > Mobile Devices | Photo + VideoHome

 

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The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro Review – Battery Life King!

ASUS had a reputation of being short on battery life with their Intel-powered ZenFone 2 smartphones, but almost on a dime, turned around with their ZenFone 3 smartphones to deliver truly amazing battery life. So one of the most anticipated ZenFone 4 model was the ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro, with its focus on battery life.

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) smartphone is designed to offer extremely-long battery life to users who are always on-the-go, and may not have ready access to a power source. On top of that, it boasts a fast reverse charging capability, as well as a dual lens camera system!

 

The Pro Edition Of The ZenFone 4 Max

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) is the “Pro Edition” of the regular ZenFone 4 Max (Price Check). It even comes in the same box as the regular ZenFone 4 Max, with a Pro Edition sticker slapped on it. So make sure it’s the ZC554KL (Max Pro), and not the ZC520KL (Max). Here’s a table comparing their key specifications :

SpecificationsASUS ZenFone Max ProASUS ZenFone Max
ModelZC554KLZC520KL
Design2.5D glass with metallic design & multiple colour selections
Premium metal unibody
2.5D glass with metallic design & multiple colour selections
Premium metal unibody
Display5.5" HD IPS display (720 x 1280)
Greater than 400 nits brightness for best outdoor readability
Capacitive touch panel with 10 points multi-touch (support glove touch)
5.2" HD IPS display (720 x 1280)
Greater than 400 nits brightness for best outdoor readability
Capacitive touch panel with 10 points multi-touch (support glove touch)
Operating SystemAndroid 7.0 Nougat with ZenUI 4.0Android 7.0 Nougat with ZenUI 4.0
System PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 430Qualcomm Snapdragon 425
Processor8 x ARM Cortex-A53 (up to 1.4 GHz)4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (up to 1.4 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Adreno 505Qualcomm Adreno 308
Memory3 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM3 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
Storage32 GB internal flash storage
One microSD card slot (up to 256 GB)
32 GB internal flash storage
One microSD card slot (up to 256 GB)
Main CameraDual Lens Camera System

Main Camera (25 mm)
- 16 MP Omnivision 16880 sensor
- 1.12 μm pixel size
- f/2.0 aperture

Wide-Angle Camera (18 mm)
- 5 MP Omnivision 5675 sensor
- 1.12 μm pixel size
- f/2.2 aperture
Dual Lens Camera System

Main Camera (25 mm)
- 13 MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture

Wide-Angle Camera (18 mm)
- 5 MP Omnivision 5675 sensor
- 1.12 μm pixel size
- f/2.2 aperture
Front Camera16 MP Omnivision 16880 sensor
- 1.0 μm pixel size
- f/2.0 aperture
- soft LED light
8 MP sensor
- f/2.0 aperture
- soft LED light
Connectivity4G : CAT 4 - up to 150Mbps download / 50Mbps upload
WiFi : 802.11n (2.4 GHz)
Bluetooth 4.1
Micro USB 2.0 - supports OTG
4G : CAT 4 - up to 150Mbps download / 50Mbps upload
WiFi : 802.11n (2.4 GHz)
Bluetooth 4.1
Micro USB 2.0 - supports OTG
SIM CapabilityDual SIM, dual standby
SIM1 : nano SIM (2G / 3G / 4G)
SIM2 : nano SIM (2G / 3G / 4G)
Dual SIM, dual standby
SIM1 : nano SIM (2G / 3G / 4G)
SIM2 : nano SIM (2G / 3G / 4G)
Fingerprint Sensor0.3 sec ultrafast unlocking, supports 5 fingers and 360 degree recognition0.3 sec ultrafast unlocking, supports 5 fingers and 360 degree recognition
GPSGPS, AGPS, Glonass, BDSGPS, AGPS, Glonass, BDS
AudioSpeaker with PMIC internal amplifierSpeaker with PMIC internal amplifier
Battery5,000 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
Supports reverse charging (1A )
4,100 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
Supports reverse charging (1A )
Dimensions76.9 mm wide
154 mm tall
8.9 mm thick
73.3 mm wide
150.5 mm tall
8.73 mm thick
Weight181 grams156 grams
Available ColoursRose Pink / Sunlight Gold / Deepsea BlackDeepsea Black
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Unboxing The ZenFone 4 Max Pro

As mentioned above, the ZenFone 4 Max Pro (ZC554KL) comes in the same white box as the regular ZenFone 4 Max (ZC520KL). So look for the “Pro Edition” sticker, and check the label on the underside of the box for the model number.

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Here are the items you will find inside the ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro box :

  • One ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) smartphone
  • One ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro TPU bumper case
  • One ASUS 10 W fast USB charger
  • One set of micro USB 2.0 cable and OTG cable
  • One pair of ASUS earphones with spare ear buds
  • One set of warranty form, user guide and IMEI stickers
  • One SIM tray ejection pin

Next Page > The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro Up Close, Better Battery

 

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The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (ZC554KL) Smartphone

Thanks to its thin bezel, the ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) has a 5.5″ IPS display in a form factor that is smaller and lighter than the iPhone 8 Plus (Price Check). The only downside – it only has a HD resolution of 720 x 1280.

Somehow, ASUS managed to pack a massive 5,000 mAh battery and everything else into a metal unibody chassis that is just 8.9 mm thick, and weighs only 181 grams. It may not be as svelte as the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro (Price Check), but it has a much larger battery.

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, which has eight Cortex-A53 processor cores running at 1.4 GHz, and an Adreno 505 GPU. It also comes with 3 GB of LPDDR3 SDRAM and 32 GB of internal flash storage.

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Larger, Smarter, Safer Battery

The killer feature of the ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) is its phenomenal battery. It has a massive 5,000 mAh battery – equal to the capacity of most power banks, and much larger than what smartphones generally carry. In fact, you can use it like a power bank, thanks to its fast reverse charging ability.

This battery is not just bigger, it is smarter. It comes with a suite of power management technologies to optimise battery capacity, safety and lifespan. The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) even has a double battery lifespan feature that extends its lifespan by up to 2X, allowing you to fully discharge and recharge the battery (0 to 100%) up to 500 times in a 25°C environment.

The ZenFone 4 Max Pro battery is also protected by 12 battery safety mechanisms. Combined with the automatic battery maintenance capabilities of ASUS PowerMaster, this battery is not only extremely safe, it will have 2X longer lifespan compared to other smartphones.

Finally, this battery has 10W fast charging capability, which allows you to fully recharge the ZenFone 4 Max Pro in just four hours. We will share with you our performance test results of this battery later in the review.

Next Page > Cameras, SIM & microSD, Fingerprint Sensor, Ergonomics

 

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Soft Lit Selfies

In addition to its battery, the ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) also boasts some serious photographic chops. First up is the high-resolution 16 MP front camera with a 140° wide-angle lens, with f/2.0 aperture. The wide-angle lens lets you fit more of your friends in the frame, while the fast aperture improves its low-light performance.

If the f/2.0 aperture is not sufficient, the front camera has a Softlight LED flash. It delivers just enough fill light, giving you the ability to take great selfies even in the darkest conditions, without harsh shadows and overblown highlights.

 

Dual Lens Camera

A nice surprise in a smartphone at this price point – a dual lens camera! It consists of a 16 MP main camera with f/2.0 lens, and a 5 MP wide-angle camera with f/2.2 lens. They are both supported by a single LED flash.

The 16 MP main camera is what you would be using for most of your shots. It has fast phase detection auto-focus, and electronic image stabilisation (EIS). But for greater creativity, and more dramatic photos and videos, you can switch to the 120° wide-angle camera. It may have a lower resolution, but it has a 200% wider view.

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SIM & microSD Capability & Fingerprint Sensor

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) has dual SIM, dual standby capability. But unlike many other smartphones, it has a full SIM tray for two nano SIM cards, as well as a microSD card (up to 256 GB). This allows you to use all three cards simultaneously!

It also boasts a fast, all-aspect fingerprint sensor integrated into the Home button. Our tests showed that it requires just 12 finger presses to register a fingerprint, and is very fast and accurate in recognising the registered fingerprint.

 

The Ergonomics

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) may have a large 5.5″ display, but it is svelte at less than 77 mm wide and relatively slim at just under 9 mm. Even though it packs a 5,000 mAh battery, it weighs just 181 grams. That said, it will feel a bit chunky, if you are used to really thin smartphones like the Galaxy S8 or ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro.

We really like the anodised metal chassis, which has a really premium feel that is resistant to fingerprint smears. We also give ASUS props for providing a soft bumper case in the package. It actually adds grip, while protecting the ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) without making it overly bulky, or covering up its look.

Next Page > Setting Up, Available Memory & Storage, Dual Lens Camera Comparison

 

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Setting Up The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) ships with Android 7.1.1 Nougat, and ASUS confirmed that it will be upgraded soon to Android 8.0 Oreo. It also comes with 100 GB of free Google Drive storage for 1 year. Let’s show you just how easy it is to set-up the ZenFone 4 Max Pro.

 

Available Memory & Storage

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) comes with 3 GB of LPDDR3 memory, of which 2.1 GB (70%) is free to use. That’s a lot of free memory, allowing you to run many applications simultaneously.

The ZenFone 4 Max Pro also comes with 32 GB of internal flash memory. Of that, just under 22.4 GB is available to use. That’s not a lot, but you can top it up with a microSD card (up to 256 GB).

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The Dual Lens Camera Comparison

The dual lens camera of the ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) consists of a 25 mm main camera, and an 18 mm wide-angle camera. The main camera pairs a 16 MP Omnivision 16880 sensor with a f/2.0 lens, while a 5 MP Omnivision 5675 sensor with f/2.2 lens.

The wide-angle camera may have a lower resolution, but it has a 2X wider angle of 120°. How useful is that? Let’s take a look at these full resolution samples.

Next Page > Camera Performance – Photos & Videos

 

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Main Camera Performance – Photos

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) uses the 16 MP Omnivision 16880 sensor with a f/2.0 lens for its main camera. The full 16 MP resolution is attained with the 4:3 aspect ratio. Each picture has a resolution of 4640 × 3480 and a file size of between 3.3 to 7 MB.

Here are 6 full resolution samples for you to check out. Click on them to load the full-sized photos, which you can also download to examine.

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Main Camera Performance – Video Recording

We tested the main camera’s video recording performance at its maximum resolution of 1080p. It supports EIS (electronic image stabilisation) at this resolution.

Video Recording Test #1 : Piano (1080p)

The EIS did an okay job in this video, but what was very noticeable was its inability to focus properly. It kept seeking, which was very distracting. The audio also lacked punch, with too little bass. It was almost all treble.

 

Video Recording Test #2 : Street Market (1080p)

The lack of optical image stabilisation is noticeable, although its electronic image stabilisation capability was decent enough to remove the worst hand shaking in this video. However, the audio was extremely thin… why is there so much treble?

 

Video Recording Test #3 : Cable Car (1080p)

This video showed the limits of electronic image stabilisation (EIS). It could not take out the vibration, but helped to smooth out the heavier hand shaking. From the recorded audio, it appears that the ZenFone 4 Max Pro is tuned to maximise the clarity of the voices, at the expense of other frequencies.

Next Page > Work Performance, Battery Life & Recharging Speed

 

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Work Performance – PCMark

We tested the ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro’s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

Work 2.0 ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro Samsung Galaxy S8 Huawei Mate 9
Performance Score
(Average)
3846 5656 5303 6316
Web Browsing 4371 5708 5155 5624
Video Editing 3716 5888 4998 5370
Writing 2822 4509 5158 6326
Photo Editing 6671 10698 7082 9864
Data Manipulation 2753 3570 4458 5333

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) may have an octa-core processor, like the other three smartphones, but it is a less-powerful model – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430. It was 32% slower than the Snapdragon 625 processor used by the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro (Price Check), and 27.5% slower than the Samsung Galaxy S8 (Price Check).

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro’s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

Thanks to its large 5,000 mAh lithium-ion battery, the ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro lasted 14 hours 19 minutes in our battery test. That’s more than 5.5 hours longer than its higher-performance brother, the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro (Price Check)!

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Battery Recharging Performance

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) comes with a 10 W fast charger. It took about 172.5 minutes (2 hours 52.5 minutes) to recharge its battery from 17% to 100%. The fastest recharging happened in the first 90%, before recharging at a lower speed for the last 10%.

The recharging time of under 3 hours is far lower than the 4 hours quoted by ASUS. It also has a battery life : recharging ratio of just 5.2 : 1 – which is excellent.

Next Page > Gaming & Overall Performance, Our Verdict & Award

 

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Gaming Performance – 3DMark

We tested the ZenFone 4 Max Pro’s gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

Ice Storm Unlimited ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro Samsung Galaxy S8 Huawei Mate 9
Gaming Score 9751 14015 29509 27853
Graphics 9609 13470 33279 36605
Physics 10285 16328 21130 15164
Graphics Test 1 55.1 fps 80.7 fps 173.1 fps 202.5 fps
Graphics Test 2 33.6 fps 46.0 fps 124.3 fps 131.1 fps
Physics Test 32.7 fps 51.8 fps 67.1 fps 48.1 fps

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) uses the Qualcomm Adreno 505 GPU, which offers decent performance but is no match for the much faster GPUs in flagship smartphones. It is about 30% slower than the Adreno 506 GPU used by the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro (Price Check).

 

Overall Performance

AnTuTu is a nice benchmark for testing various performance aspects of Android devices.

AnTuTu ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro Samsung Galaxy S8 Huawei Mate 9
TOTAL SCORE 41952 65302 175422 123167
3D SCORE 8282 13431 74336 40114
– 3D (Marooned) 5915 8230 43953 23313
– 3D (Garden) 2367 5201 30383 16801
UX SCORE 14099 24848 52159 39975
– UX Data Secure 4655 6226 7996 7943
– UX Data Process 2328 3404 5866 6985
– UX Strategy Games 1143 4611 11165 11860
– UX Image Process 3585 7291 22716 5580
– UX I/O Performance 2388 3316 4416 7607
CPU SCORE 14940 21357 38513 31992
– CPU Mathematics 2964 4304 10996 9680
– CPU Common Use 5180 7150 10939 11139
– CPU Multi-Core 6796 9903 16578 11173
RAM 4631 5666 10414 11086

Even with an octa-core processor, the ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) is no race horse. It is definitely much slower than the top-of-the-line processors used in flagship smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 (Price Check). But make no mistake – this is very decent performance at its price point..

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Our Verdict & Award

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (ZC554KL) smartphone offers extremely-long battery life to users who are always on-the-go, and may not have ready access to a power source. With its large 5,000 mAh battery and the ASUS PowerMaster system, you can run the most strenuous apps on it for hours, and it will still have hours more of battery life to spare.

ASUS knows this, so they added a fast reverse charging feature. This allows the ZenFone 4 Max Pro to function like a power bank, recharging your other devices. If battery life is critical for you, there can be no doubt that the ZenFone 4 Max Pro is about as good as it gets!

But the ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) is not just a smartphone with large battery. It actually boasts some serious photography chops. It has a 16 MP front camera for really high-resolution selfies, with a soft LED flash for low-light conditions.

It even has a dual-lens camera system, albeit not as advanced as those in flagship smartphones. Still, this is a nice surprise for a smartphone at this price point. The main camera has a 16 MP sensor with f/2.0 lens – no complaints here. The wide-angle camera only has a 5 MP sensor, which reduces its utility.

What this means is you will most likely use the 16 MP main camera for a vast majority of your photos, switching to the wide-angle camera only when you really need the wider angle. Still, it is better than not having the option at all.

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What we did not like was its video and audio recording performance. It has focusing issues when there are multiple subjects at different distances, which detracts from its otherwise decent video recording performance. The recorded audio though was reedy and lacks punch. It appears to be tuned for voice recording, at the expense of other frequencies.

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro (Price Check) looks very similar to the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro (Price Check). It has the same basic design with a premium anodised metal chassis. Other than the difference in the cameras, it looks like a thicker brother of the Selfie Pro.

All in all, we really like its awesome battery capabilities, premium build quality, and 16 MP front camera. Its dual-lens camera is also a nice bonus at this price point. With all that in mind, we think the ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro deserves no less than our Reviewer’s Choice Award!

 

Other ASUS ZenFone 4 Articles

Here are the links to our other ASUS ZenFone 4 previews and articles :

Go Back To > First Page | Reviews | Home

 

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The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max (ZC520KL) Price, Specs & Offer Revealed!

ASUS just announced the availability of the ASUS ZenFone 4 Max (ZC520KL) smartphone! This is the 5.2″ version of the ZenFone 4 Max Pro (ZC554KL) launched by Korean superstar Gong Yoo at the We Love Photo event. Best of all – it will only cost RM 799 / ~US$ 189! Unbelievable, if you consider what ASUS is providing in the ZenFone 4 Max. Even more unbelievable – the special limited launch offer they also announced!

 

Long Battery Life

Ever since ASUS launched their ZenFone 3 series, they have been known for long battery life. The eponymous ASUS ZenFone 3 and the larger ZenFone 3 Ultra, for example, lasted almost 12 hours of non-stop operation while the excellent ZenFone 3 Zoom lasted more than 17 hours!

The new ASUS ZenFone 4 Max builds upon this heritage with a high-capacity 4,100 mAh battery, coupled with an advanced power management system. ASUS says the ZenFone 4 Max will last 37 days on standby, and offers 2 hours of talk time with just 15 minutes of charging!

They’re so confident about its battery life that the ASUS ZenFone 4 Max is capable of reverse-charging, essentially functioning as a power bank for your other devices!

 

Dual Lens Camera

Even though it’s priced at just RM 799 / ~US$ 189, the ASUS ZenFone 4 Max comes with a dual-lens camera, and an 8 MP selfie camera!

The dual-lens camera consists of a 13 MP main camera with a standard 80 degree field of view, and a wide-angle 5 MP camera with a 120 degree field of view. The different viewing angles allow for greater creativity when you frame your shots.

 

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Specifications

SpecificationsASUS ZenFone Max
ModelZC520KL
Design2.5D glass with metallic design & multiple colour selections
Premium metal unibody
Display5.2" HD IPS display (720 x 1280)
Capacitive touch panel with 10 points multi-touch (support glove touch)
Operating SystemAndroid 7.0 Nougat with ZenUI 4.0
System PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 425
Processor4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (up to 1.4 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Adreno 308
Memory3 GB RAM
Storage32 GB internal flash storage
One microSD card slot (up to 256 GB)
Main CameraDual Lens Camera System
- Main 13 MP Camera (25 mm)
- Wide-Angle 5 MP Camera (18 mm)
Front Camera8 MP selfie camera
Connectivity4G : CAT 4 - up to 150Mbps download / 50Mbps upload
WiFi : 802.11n (2.4 GHz)
Bluetooth 4.1
Micro USB 2.0 - supports OTG
SIM CapabilityDual SIM, dual standby
SIM1 : nano SIM (2G / 3G / 4G)
SIM2 : nano SIM (2G / 3G / 4G)
Fingerprint Sensor0.3 sec ultrafast unlocking, supports 5 fingers and 360 degree recognition
GPSGPS, AGPS, Glonass, BDS
AudioSpeaker with PMIC internal amplifier
Battery4,100 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
Available ColoursRose Pink / Sunlight Gold / Deepsea Black
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The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Price & Launch Offer

As mentioned earlier, ASUS is pricing the new ZenFone 4 Max (ZC520KL) smartphone at an amazing price just RM 799 / ~US$ 189. If that’s not enough, they have a special limited launch offer.

Starting from 9 PM, 20 October 2017, it is available for sale at RM 799 / ~US$ 189, with a gift bundle worth RM 399 / ~US$ 95!

The offer is limited, while stocks last. So make sure you don’t miss this launch offer!

 

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The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Review – In A Class Of Its Own

We loved last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note7 and were sad to return it to Samsung before we could complete our review. We are glad to see it return as the Galaxy Note FE, but if you are one of those who were impressed by the Note7, you will be even more impressed with the new Samsung Galaxy Note8. It is literally in a class of its own.

In fact, we are so impressed with the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check), we gave it our Editor’s Choice Award. Find out why we think it deserves no less!

 

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Specifications

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is more than just a Samsung Galaxy S8 / S8+ with an S Pen. While it shares many similarities, it introduces numerous improvements. Here is a table that compares the specifications of the Galaxy Note8 against the Galaxy S8+ and the Galaxy Note7 (now known as the Galaxy Note FE)

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy Note8Samsung Galaxy S8+Samsung Galaxy Note7
Display6.3" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2960 pixels (521 ppi)
6.2" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2960 pixels (529 ppi)
5.7" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2560 pixels (577 ppi)
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 5 (front & back panels)Corning Gorilla Glass 5 (front & back panels)Corning Gorilla Glass 5 (front & back panels)
Operating System (At Launch)Android 7.1.1 NougatAndroid 7.0 NougatAndroid 6.0.1 Marshmallow
System PlatformSamsung Exynos 8895 Octa
or
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Samsung Exynos 8895 Octa
or
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa
Memory6 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
Storage Options64 GB / 128 GB / 256 GB internal flash storage
One microSD slot (shared with SIM 2) - supports up to 256 GB
64 GB internal flash storage
One microSD slot (shared with SIM 2) - supports up to 256 GB
64 GB / 128 GB internal flash storage
One microSD slot (shared with SIM 2) - supports up to 200 GB
Front Camera8 MP sensor with f/1.7 lens8 MP sensor with f/1.7 lens5 MP sensor with f/1.7 lens
Rear CameraDual Lens Camera with Dual OIS

Wide-Angle Camera
12 MP (1.4 µm) sensor with f/1.7 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash

Telephoto Camera (2X optical zoom)
12 MP (1.0 µm) sensor with f/2.4 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash
12 MP Sony / Samsung (1.4 µm) sensor with f/1.7 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash12 MP Sony / Samsung (1.4 µm) sensor with f/1.7 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash
Dual SIM capabilityHybrid dual SIM (dual standby capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
Hybrid dual SIM (dual active capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
Hybrid dual SIM (dual active capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
ConnectivityNetwork : LTE Cat. 16 (1 Gbps / 150 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 5.0 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 3.1, NFC, GPS
Network : LTE Cat. 16 (1 Gbps / 150 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 5.0 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 3.1, NFC, GPS
Network : LTE Cat. 16 (1 Gbps / 150 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 5.0 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 3.1, NFC, GPS
Fingerprint SensorYes, Rear MountedYes, Rear MountedYes, Home Button
Iris ScannerYesYesYes
Other SensorsAccelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Barometer, Hall, HRMAccelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Barometer, Hall, HRMAccelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Barometer, Hall, HRM
BixbyYesYesNo
S PenYesNoYes
Water & Dust ResistanceIP68IP68IP68
Battery3,300 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired & wireless)
- wireless charging (WPC and PMA)
3,500 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired & wireless)
- wireless charging (WPC and PMA)
3,500 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired & wireless)
- wireless charging (WPC and PMA)
Dimensions162.5 mm tall
74.8 mm wide
8.6 mm thick
159.5 mm tall
73.4 mm wide
8.1 mm thick
153.5 mm tall
73.9 mm wide
7.9 mm thick
Weight195 g173 g169 g
Colour OptionsMidnight Black, Deepsea Blue, Orchid Gray, Maple GoldMidnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, Maple GoldBlue Coral, Silver Titanium, Gold Platinum, Black Onyx

 

Unboxing The Samsung Galaxy Note8

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) comes in the premium black Samsung box. Let’s unbox it, and see what’s inside!

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When you unpack everything, you should find the following items :

  • One Samsung Galaxy Note8 phablet with S Pen
  • One Samsung Galaxy Note8 TPU bumper case
  • One set of Samsung Galaxy Note8 documents
  • One 15 W Samsung Quick Adaptive Charger
  • One USB Type C cable, with USB Type A and micro USB converters
  • One pair of AKG earphones with replacement ear buds
  • One set of spare S Pen nibs, and nib extractor tool
  • One SIM tray extractor pin

Next Page > The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Up Close, Cameras, Hybrid SIM & Fingerprint Sensor

 

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The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Up Close

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) has a large 6.3″ Super AMOLED display with a WQHD+ resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels. But thanks to its Infinity Display design, the Galaxy Note8 is just 2.2 mm wider than the Galaxy S7 edge, which only has a 5.5″ display! This means it will better fit smaller hands, while offering a much larger display.

Just as we saw with the Galaxy S8 (Price Check), the new Infinity Display covers almost the entire frontal aspect of the Galaxy Note8. Samsung achieved this by removing the physical Home button and making it part of the display. It is pressure-sensitive, and works like a physical button.

The same metal-glass design philosophy from the Galaxy Note7 was retained, with the glass protection upgraded to Gorilla Glass 5. The Samsung Galaxy Note8 continues to boast the same IP68 dust- and water-resistance rating of its predecessor, as well as its iris scanner.

The Infinity Display required the fingerprint sensor to be moved to the back, as it was in the Galaxy S8 (Price Check). There is also a dedicated Bixby button, as well as a new dual-lens camera.

 

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Cameras

Like the Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) has a new 8 MP front camera with f/1.7 lens. It is capable of recording 4K videos at 30 fps, and has great low-light capability.  its low-light capability will come in handy, as the front camera does not have flash support, not even screen flash.

But what’s unprecedented is the new dual-lens main camera that beats everything else in the market today. It boasts a regular wide-angle 12 MP camera with a very fast f/1.7 lens, as well as a telephoto 12 MP camera with f/2.4 lens. However, unlike other dual-lens cameras, it works like two separate cameras that captures images simultaneously!

This allows it to create pictures with amazing adjustable bokeh through its Live Focus feature, while giving you the Dual Capture option to capture photos from both cameras simultaneously! Learn more about these two features in our article – The Samsung Live Focus & Dual Capture Explained & Tested.

This is also the world’s first dual-lens camera to boast optical image stabilisation (OIS) for both lenses! This is especially important for the telephoto camera, as it is paired with a “slower” f/2.4 lens. What this ultimately means is better photos and videos with either camera, even in low-light conditions.

If that’s not enough, the Galaxy Note8’s dual-lens camera is also the first in the world to allow you to switch between the two lenses on-the-fly while recording videos! This is an incredibly useful feature. Once you tried it on the Galaxy Note8, you will wonder why on Earth can’t other dual-lens cameras can’t do the same thing!

We will share with you photo and video samples later in the review. You will be able to see for yourself, the quality of the images captured by the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check). Be sure to also check out how useful it is to switch between the two lenses on-the-fly in our video samples. This is, no doubt, the best dual-lens camera system in the world today.

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Hybrid SIM & Fingerprint Sensor

This is the South East Asian model (SM-N950FD), which supports Dual SIM, dual standby capability, and comes with a hybrid SIM tray. This gives you some flexibility – you can choose to use either a second SIM card, or a microSD card, but not both at the same time. The microSD slot supports microSD cards of up to 256 GB in size.

With the removal of the physical Home button, Samsung moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the Galaxy Note8. This is not unique as many smartphones have a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor (e.g. Huawei Mate 9, Honor 5C). However, the Galaxy Note8 fingerprint sensor is awkwardly placed next to the camera sensor, instead of the more natural position below the camera sensor.

The higher position makes it harder for the user to reach, because the Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is a tall device. Being offset makes it harder for left-handed users to use, and makes it easy for all users to smear the main camera lenses with their oily fingerprints.

Obviously, we do not like this fingerprint sensor at all. It is harder to use, as our Galaxy Note8 set-up video will show, although its usability improves with practice. But the good news is – the Samsung Galaxy Note8 also supports alternative login methods like iris scanning and face recognition, that work better.

Next Page > Iris Scanner, Facial Recognition, IP68, S Pen Stylus

 

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Iris Scanner & Facial Recognition

These are not new abilities for a Samsung Galaxy Note device. They were first introduced in the Galaxy Note7, The iris scanner was easy to set up and use, and so, it quickly became our favourite way to log into the Galaxy Note8.

The iris scanner works best if you are not using glasses or contact lenses though, and it may not work in bright sunlight. Its accuracy may also be affected by dirt and fingerprint smudges on the iris camera and LED sensor. Finally, the iris scanner takes longer to log in than the fingerprint sensor, but the coolness factor is undeniable.

The facial recognition feature is easier and faster to use because it does not require you to align your eyes with the sensor focus circles. However, it is less secure than the iris scanner or fingerprint scanner.

 

IP68 Dust & Water Resistance

Like the Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is IP68-rated for dust- and water-resistance. Best of all, you don’t even have to prepare it in any way before you dunk it into water! For more information how how Samsung achieved this feat, take a look at The Samsung Galaxy S7 IP68 Engineering Explained.

Officially, the Galaxy Note8 can withstand complete immersion in water up to 1.5 m in depth, for up to 30 minutes. That means you can take it for jogs in the rain, reading in the shower or soaking in bath. Heck, you can even take it for a swim!

There are some caveats though. The IP68 rating applies to a specific set of test conditions : 15-35 °C, 86-106 kPa, 1.5 metre, 30 minutes. Even so, water may enter and damage the Galaxy Note8 if it is exposed to “water moving with force“, like running water from a tap or waterfall, or ocean waves.

In other words, this is not a waterproof phone like the Oukitel K10000 Pro or the Kenxinda ruggerdised smartphones. It is IP68 water-resistant, so you need to be gentle with it. You can read more about this in our article – The Samsung Galaxy S7 IP68 Engineering Explained.

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S Pen Stylus

This is the defining feature of the Samsung Galaxy Note8 – the S Pen stylus. This is the same S Pen used by the Galaxy Note7, with a 0.7 mm tip and 4,096 pressure levels. The S Pen is electromagnetically-powered by close proximity to the Galaxy Note8, so there is no need to worry about batteries – which is just awesome.

A set of spare nibs and a tweezer are included, so you can also swap the default black nib for a white nib, depending on your preference for more friction (black) or a smoother writing experience (white).

Next Page > The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Setup Process, Ergonomics, Memory & Storage

 

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The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Setup Process

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat, and is very easy to set-up. If you are setting it up as a new device, it should take you only 5-7 minutes to finish the setup process.

 

The Ergonomics

Looking at the specifications, you would expect the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) to be a large phablet. After all, it has a large 6.3″ display. Yet, it is about the same size than its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Note7 with a 5.7″ display!

Despite its larger display, it is only 0.9 mm wider, so it fits most hands comfortably. But this is still a two-handed device, because of its height. If you prefer to use only one hand, you can turn on the One-handed mode option.

The Super AMOLED display is beautiful as always. However, the WQHD+ resolution of 1440 x 2960 results in a non-standard 18.5:9 display ratio. Watching movies will result in some pillarboxing – a black bar on each side of the movie.

The Gorilla Glass 5 back looks fabulous… at first. It is easily smudged by oily fingerprints, because it lacks the oleophobic coating of the front Gorilla Glass 5 cover protecting the display. The smudges are particularly obvious on the Midnight Black version. Perhaps that’s why Samsung threw in a clear TPU bumper case – it protects the Galaxy Note8 while keeping the shiny back smear-free.

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Available Memory & Storage

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) comes with 6 GB of LPDDR4 memory, of which 2.8 GB (37.5%) is available for use. There is obviously quite a fair bit of bloat. That said, 2.8 GB of memory is more than what many smartphones ship with, and is more than enough to run many applications simultaneously.

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check comes with 64 GB of internal flash storage, with 51.1 GB of free space for you to use. That is enough space to store about 11,500 photos, or 6.25 hours of 1080p videos, or 2.5 hours of 4K videos. If that’s not enough, you can top it up with a microSD card (up to 256 GB).

Next Page > The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Camera Performance – Photos & Videos

 

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Camera Performance – Photos

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) uses the same excellent 12 MP sensors as the Galaxy S8 (Price Check) for both the wide-angle and telephoto cameras –  either the Sony IMX260 sensor, or Samsung’s own ISOCELL S5KL1 sensor. They are both identical in specifications and performance – with Dual Pixel autofocus technology and 1.4 μm pixels.

The maximum 12 MP resolution is attained with the 4:3 aspect ratio. Each picture has a resolution of 4032 x 3024, and a file size of between 3.8 MB and 4.8 MB. Here are 6 high-resolution samples for you to check out. Click on them to load the full-sized photos, which you can also download to examine.

It’s no surprise that the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) performed exactly as the Samsung Galaxy S8 (Price Check), in this respect. It still remains one of the best, if not the best, smartphone camera out there today.

What’s unique though is the Galaxy Note8 Live Focus feature, which allows you to create really awesome bokeh for the background. No doubt, the bokeh is artificially created, but the simultaneous use of both cameras allow for precise delineation of the subject and the background. Live Focus also allows you to adjust the amount of bokeh for the background.

You can read all about Samsung Live Focus and the accompanying Dual Capture feature in this separate article – The Samsung Live Focus & Dual Capture Explained & Tested.

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Camera Performance – Video Recording

Like the Samsung Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is capable of recording 4K videos from both front and back cameras. However, this time, Samsung has limited the 4K recording time to just 10 minutes. This was likely done to ensure that the sensor does not overheat the battery that lies next to it.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge has no such limitations, and is thus, a better smartphone for 4K video recording. However, the Galaxy S7 edge is somewhat limited by the 4 GB file size limit. When you record a long 4K video, it will be broken up into separate files that are about 11.5 minutes in length, with a short recording gap in between. So its advantage is limited.

Samsung appears to be using a more efficient codec for the videos, allowing 1080p videos to be recorded to about 40 minutes before hitting the 4 GB file size limit. This is about 25% longer than the Galaxy S7 edge, which only managed about 31-32 minutes.

Below are four video samples, all taken without the use of gimbals.

Test #1 : Piano (1080p)

As expected, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) did an excellent job capturing this live performance. The audio quality was very good, albeit lacking the wider dynamic range of the HTC 10 (when HiRes Audio is enabled). The noise reduction is decent, although the background noise is still audible.

We LOVE the ability to instantly switch between the wide-angle camera and the telephoto camera while recording. You can also see how well the OIS worked for both cameras. In other smartphones, videos recorded with the unstabilised telephoto lens will often induce nausea…

Test #2: Piano (4K)

Note the incredible amount of detail capture by the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check). We are very impressed with its ability to capture such detail even in the bright background, which is often overblown in other smartphones. Note that you can still switch instantly between the wide-angle camera and the telephoto camera while recording in 4K.

Test #3 : Street Market (1080p)

In this test of the Samsung Galaxy Note8’s image stabilisation capability, you will note that it does a rather decent job of smoothing out the jerkiness during our walk. It is not the best we have seen, but it’s still pretty good.

Test #4 : Street Market (4K)

The image stabilisation for the 4K video was also good. In addition to OIS (optical image stabilisation), it appears to perform some EIS (electronic image stabilisation) as well.

Next Page > The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Work Performance, Battery Life & Recharging Speed

 

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Work Performance – PCMark

We tested the Samsung Galaxy Note8’s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

Work 2.0 Samsung Galaxy Note8 Samsung Galaxy S8+ Samsung Galaxy S8 Huawei Mate 9
Performance Score
5617 5285 5303 6316
Web Browsing 5433 5041 5155 5624
Video Editing 4872 5219 4998 5370
Writing 5696 5122 5158 6326
Photo Editing 8563 7003 7082 9864
Data Manipulation 4329 4369 4458 5333

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is powered by the Samsung Exynos 8895 SoC, which is really fast, albeit not as fast as the Kirin 960 SoC used in the Huawei Mate 9 (Price Check).

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the Galaxy S8’s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

Work 2.0 Samsung Galaxy Note8 Samsung Galaxy S8+ Samsung Galaxy S8 Huawei Mate 9
Battery Life 8 hours 50 mins 9 hours 34 mins 10 hours 32 mins 11 hours 27 mins

Of the four smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) has the smallest battery at 3,300 mAh. The Huawei Mate 9 (Price Check), in comparison, has a 4,000 mAh battery. Even so, it managed to deliver almost 9 hours of non-stop operation.

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Battery Recharging Performance

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 comes with an adaptive fast charger with a power output of 15 W. Take a look at how fast it recharged the 3,300 mAh battery.

It took the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) just under 83 minutes (1 hour 23 minutes) to recharge its battery from 20% to 100%. That is a battery life : recharging ratio of 6.4 : 1 – a very good performance.

The fastest recharging happened up to the 85% level. This took just 53 minutes. Then the recharging speed slowed down, and it took a further 30 minutes to top up the remaining 15%.

Next Page > Overall Performance, Our Verdict & Award

 

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Overall Performance

AnTuTu is a nice benchmark for testing various performance aspects of Android devices.

AnTuTu Samsung Galaxy Note8 Samsung Galaxy S8+ Samsung Galaxy S8 Huawei Mate 9
TOTAL SCORE 178168 170991 175422 123167
3D SCORE 74302 72039 74336 40114
– 3D (Marooned) 43996 42844 43953 23313
– 3D (Garden) 30306 29195 30383 16801
UX SCORE 54965 50518 52159 39975
– UX Data Secure 8100 7822 7996 7943
– UX Data Process 6079 5830 5866 6985
– UX Strategy Games 11072 10359 11165 11860
– UX Image Process 24646 21998 22716 5580
– UX I/O Performance 5068 4509 4416 7607
CPU SCORE 38240 38274 38513 31992
– CPU Mathematics 10970 10958 10996 9680
– CPU Common Use 11135 11001 10939 11139
– CPU Multi-Core 16135 16315 16578 11173
RAM 10661 10160 10414 11086

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) sure is fast in AnTuTu. Its Exynos 8895 proved to be much faster in 3D rendering than the Kirin 960 used by the Huawei Mate 9 (Price Check).

 

Our Verdict & Award

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is truly in a class of its own. It is the only phablet in the world with an electromagnetic stylus, an Infinity Display and a dual-lens camera. Nothing else, not even the new Apple iPhone 8 Plus (Price Check), is in the same league. It builds upon the excellent, albeit unlucky, Galaxy Note7, with a plethora of major improvements.

First and foremost is the Infinity Display, which is almost bezel-less and covers almost all of the front aspect. To achieve this, Samsung integrated a pressure-sensitive Home button into the display itself, and moved the fingerprint sensor to the back.

The Infinity Display also allowed Samsung to increase the display size while reducing the width of the device. The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) has a large 6.3″ display in a form factor that equivalent to a regular 5.5″ device. It makes for a better fit for smaller hands, and most pockets.

The new 18.5 : 9 aspect ratio is useful for viewing two different screens at the same time, but introduces pillarboxing when you watch movies. Samsung allows you to stretch the videos to fit the entire screen, but you will lose the upper and lower parts of the videos. So it’s a trade-off.

As their flagship phablet, it comes as no surprise that the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is very fast, thanks to its top-of-the-line Exynos 8895 octa-core processor. It also has an incredible amount of memory and it comes with a reasonably large storage capacity of 64 GB. This should be more than enough for even power users, even if they enjoy recording 4K videos.

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The Samsung Galaxy Note8 extended the amazing camera used in the Samsung Galaxy S8 by doubling it to create a dual-lens camera system that is unparalleled. Both cameras are optically-stabilised and work simultaneously. This allows the Galaxy Note8 to support the new Live Focus and Dual Capture features. It also gave us the ability to instantly switch between the two lenses while recording video.

It bears pointing out that Samsung took extra care with the Galaxy Note8’s battery, employing greater scrutiny and safety protocols to ensure its safety. Even though it has a relatively small 3,300 mAh capacity, it lasted just under 9 hours of non-stop operation in our stress test. Best of all – you can completely recharge it in less than 1.5 hours!

The offset fingerprint sensor, though, was awkward to use. We highly recommend that Samsung move the fingerprint sensor to the more conventional position below the main camera in their next device. We far prefer the iris scanner, which is really easy (and cool!) to use.

Samsung really went the extra mile with the Galaxy Note8, making sure it is in a league of its own. There is no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) deserves our Editor’s Choice Award. Job well done, Samsung!

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